Buying land, new or off-plan properties in Marbella

By Salma Hwedi on - 3m. reading time

When buying properties, future homeowners face the standard problems plus national “peculiarities” of urban planning, zoning, legislation and lifestyle.

When buying a plot of land in Spain, it’s necessary to check whether it is agricultural or residential, suitable for construction, infrastructure and services connections are in order. You don’t need as access problems, border issues with the neighbours, or their right to pass through your territory.

In Andalusia and some other areas, non-market compensation for land is allowed for urban development need. As usual, it’s a double-edged sword. There’s a story about authorities who bought the land for the needs of Madrid from some owners. They paid the price for agricultural plots; however, the toll road was built on this land and 15 years later, the court recognized that the transaction was carried out with violations. The former landowners received 2.5 million, a nice addition to 26.000 E.

To sell the new property developers must produce the following documents:

  • Building license.
  • Certificate stating that all building work has been completed (Certificado de Final de Obras), issued by the architect.
  • First Occupation License (Licencia de Primera Ocupación), issued by the local council’s planning department, stating that the property is fit for habitation.
  • Certificate of a 10-year insurance policy (seguro decenal).

Buying needs good professional advice and legal checks on the developer and development. Drumelia helps its clients to have it done.

Once you are satisfied that the paperwork is in order, the next stage is signing a contract and paying a booking deposit (for both new and resale properties). The amount can vary (10- 40%, in some areas 3000 - 6000 euros, for a special luxury property can be up to 10 times more).

A new property usually comes with built-in kitchen furniture and equipment, pre-installation or installation of plumbing, air conditioning, etc. A mortgage loan can be given for 20 or more years, for up to 70% of the cost and average annual rate of 3.2 - 3.5%.

Off plan has many benefits: fixed prices, often cheaper than resale equivalent; good resale potential; personal touch (a choice of fittings, flooring and finishing); spreading costs.

N.B. According to Spanish law, developers can’t expect full finance for the purchase while it’s being built. Usually, payment is made in stages, each trimester or quarter, with final payment after receiving the keys.

Escrow Account

According to the contract with developers, a bank holds funds in a trust Escrow Account. This ensures that your transaction is protected against fraud or any uninsured losses by the bank itself. The developer cannot cash this money, but can use part of it for materials. The funds are held in the Escrow Account until the buyer has approved the merchandise.

The vast majority of dozens of thousands of buyers who purchase off-plan property in Spain every year experience no problems and enjoy a straightforward transaction. The developers are happy too and keep building. The Costa del Sol real estate market already develops 11,000 properties of 200 projects, and in the next 3 years it is expected that up to 35, 000 homes will be developed. One of them can be yours!

Collaborator Salma Hwedi