10. Architect & structural survey

Hiring an architect to conduct a structural survey when you have certain doubts or if the dwelling is older is recommendable. This inspection report will cost a few hundred Euros and the architect can combine it with measuring the house. This is especially convenient in the countryside to check if the data of the Land Registry and Cadastre are correct. You could try to negotiate the structural survey as a limiting condition in the reservation contract of the real estate agent.

Probably the lawyer can recommend a certified architect because they all have their own work field. You can´t compare a New Build architect with a specialist in a structural survey or a topograph. The architect, however, will operate under his own professional responsibility. He -just as the lawyer- has to be officially licensed.

Click here for the other chapters of ´LEGAL ADVICE BUYING HOUSE IN ANDALUSIA´. 

The architect

When do you need an architect for your house purchase in Spain?
When do you need an architect for your house purchase in Spain?

Besides the structural survey during the legal investigation of the lawyer architect are also hired for f.e. the following issues. The first two procedures can be necessary for the correct inscription of the property in the Land Registry and Cadastre.

  • New Build Declaration of Notary (for this you need an architect´s report with the official measurement of the constructions, often with antiquity declaration).
  •  Notarial deeds of ´Exceso/Reducion de Cabida´ for the correction of the boundaries and surface based on a topographic survey/measurement (mostly countryside)
  • Application for the DAFO certificate at the Town Hall
  • Application of the Opening Licence (B&B / Casa Rural / restaurant) through the Council
  • End-of-construction certificate in case of New Build promotions
  • Large Building License/Permit (Licencia de Obra Mayor)

Costs for buyer or seller?

Normally the seller pays for the costs and taxes of the first 2 procedures, but in the end it´s always a matter of negotiation. If you have a mortgage then it´s a must to have the property correctly inscribed in the Land Registry. Make sure that all deals will be put in writing in the private purchase contract of the lawyer.

Structural survey architect no 100% guarantee

Which value has a structural suvery of the architect have to avoid risks when buying?
Which value has a structural survey of the architect have to avoid risks when buying?

Keep in mind that the architect could never give a 100% guarantee. He, after all, can only detect visual defects. This is for the simple reason that he can´t break open any walls and can´t look underneath the ground. Therefore he can´t check things like cables, piping, septic tank and the state of the soil. Unfortunately, you just can´t rule out all risks if you buy a house. Anyway, always arrange good home insurance from day 1 at completion, especially in the countryside.

Check by real estate agent

Be -together with your agent- aware of defects in electricity, water supply, drainage/septic tank, noise, structural defects (leakages, mold, cracks in the walls, loose tiles, etc). These deficiencies can be expensive and you can´t claim hidden defects on the former owner after your house purchase in Spain.

For this reason, it´s very important that the real estate agent checks the house again shortly before completion. Make a clear agreement about this because agents are often busy and it doesn´t always have the highest priority. The agent then checks the general state, cleaning, furniture list, active service contracts (water, electricity) and other particularities.

Building Licenses / Permits

If you want to renovate an urban property, then you´ll need a building license/permit. In many cases, people chose the Obra Menos (small), although it in reality should be Obra Mayor (big).

For rustic properties (countryside) you can´t get a building license, even though many owners illegally renovate anyway. Some renovations however you could also justify within the DAFO application in terms of health and safety.

Obra Menor (license small renovation)

The Licencia de Obra Menor is meant for small renovation of a bathroom or kitchen and can be applied for by the constructor. With this, he for example can place a temporary waste container. The payment for the permit varies per Town Hall.

Obra Mayor (license large renovation)

The Licencia de Obra Mayor needs to be applied for by a certified architect. He will make a technical plan that also secures the safety of the builders. This automatically means that there are inspections. The problem with this Obra Mayor license is that is much more expensive and often you need to wait a long time to get it. For these reasons people often just apply for the simple version. Be aware though that the owner of the house is responsible. He can for example be held responsible if there would be an accident on sight with one of the workers.

Referrals & references real estate agent & lawyer:

Need a referral for a good estate agent in Andalusia? Or like to receive an example offer for the legal investigation of a specialized and independent lawyer? Find out more through the link above. 

©2023, Ariane van Wijk