Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recommend

Do you have a query about moving to Andalucia and buying property in Andalucia. Find out by posting questions and reading about other peoples experiences.
Kirsten1
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:15 pm

Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recommend

Postby Kirsten1 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:55 am

Hi, we are in the process of purchasing a 2nd hand property in Spain. I hear it's not the norm over here, but would a structural survey be recommended?

User avatar
Trooperman
Resident
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Fuente de Piedra

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby Trooperman » Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:33 pm

Well - you might have to be prepared to interpret a structural survey in a way that you wouldn't have to if it was, for example, in the UK.

My own house (in Spain) would not approach the standards of construction I was used to or expected, in the UK, nor those that a UK building society would expect to see in order to approve a mortgage. But when it was built here in the (1970s I guess) it was of a normal build quality and, surprise, surprise, it's still standing 40 years or so later. It has periodic cracks, the thermal efficiency is absolute [email protected], roof tiles always need replacing, dpcs don't exist! etc etc. But against that we have many, many pluses, and defects may be repairable or improved upon.

New(er) property will (probably) be better constructed

My advice is: yes! get a survey done, but take it as just one input factor in your buying decisions.
nil illegitimum carborundum

User avatar
Martin Page
Resident
Posts: 1805
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:57 pm
Location: Chiclana de la Frontera - Costa de Luz

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby Martin Page » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:50 pm

My advice would be .. based on you asking the question - would be, if your concerned, then walk away!

It is not the norm to have a structural survey. If you are a belt, braces hip-pins and gimbals sorta guy - your probably worrying too much.

If you have a structural Survey Done - will you be able to understand what they are telling you ?

And lastly - Caveat Emptor and Mia Culpa .. are the two Spanish phrases very applicable here. If you Do have a survey and they say 'Yes - its Fine' and you find out in a couple of years its not - Their defence against any claim will be - 'we only advise..... ' Its your responsibility at the end of the day !

ajtg1952
Resident
Posts: 1612
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:11 pm
Location: Concas, Los Ventorros de Comares

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby ajtg1952 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:41 pm

I am a retired chartered structural engineer and looked at over 50 houses before we bought. In every case, if there was a defect it was pretty obvious despite what the vendor told me.

Common sense should prevail. If the house is benched into a hill make sure the whole house footprint is within the cut area and not partially on fill. If it is partially on fill the seller may say it has been piled, in an old house that is unlikely.

Minor vertical and horizontal cracks do not necessarily mean a problem. Diagonal cracks are nearly always serious. Door and window openings should be square and the roof shouldn't sag. These were always the first things I looked for.

Any doubts, no matter how perfect the house is, walk away. There will always be a better one.

El Cid
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 15253
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: La Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby El Cid » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:09 pm

If it is less than about 12 years old it will have been built to a much higher standard and had various surveys done before it was even built. It would also have a 10 year warranty from the date of completion.

So, if it falls into that category, a survey should not be needed. If it is older than that you would need to be more careful.

Sid

katy
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 12850
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 3:45 pm

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby katy » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:40 pm

Not sure about that. In theory it should be but during the boom many builders cut corners, they knew they could sell anything. A friend who bought about 10 years ago found their swimming pool was splitting and looked like it would fall down the slope. They filled in the gaps with bricks and resurfaced, sold it to some sucker who flew out for a couple of days. Not very nice but that's what sellers do.

El Cid
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 15253
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: La Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby El Cid » Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:25 pm

Quite possibly but pools would not be covered by the new building regs and certainly wouldn't be included in the 10 year warranty/insurance scheme.

After the law was changed it became impossible to sell a property without the 10 year warranty - it would not get past the notary. That said, I am sure it is not impossible to arrange a bent insurance which looks legal but would never actually pay out.

Sid

User avatar
Roz
Andalucia.com Amigo
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 3:05 pm
Location: Halsall, Lancashire and Montejaque, Near Ronda

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby Roz » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:43 pm

Keep your British head on, if you would have a survey in the U.K. then why wouldn't you have one in Spain. In short YES!

User avatar
Martin Page
Resident
Posts: 1805
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:57 pm
Location: Chiclana de la Frontera - Costa de Luz

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby Martin Page » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:33 pm

Leave your British Head in the UK .. it will cause you more problems than its worth .... when in Spain- do as the Spaniards do

vinuela vinny
Resident
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:00 pm
Location: La Puebla de Cazalla and Cambridgeshire

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby vinuela vinny » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:01 pm

Roz wrote:Keep your British head on, if you would have a survey in the U.K. then why wouldn't you have one in Spain. In short YES!
Agreed - it is YOU whom you need to satisfy, not others, who might not even see the need for such a survey in the UK. If YOU think that such a report might be useful, then the investment of a few hundred euros in a structural survey, is money well spent.....

We did that exactly that, knowing that we were a bit technically naive. We employed a qualified English speaking Surveyor (there were several advertising in the coastal newspapers at the time), and he was excellent. He spent six hours at the house, and gave us a comprehensive written report, which listed the items not checked (such as the well) and highlighted several minor building problems which we progressed on completion, and several other long-term issues which we have had resolved progressively over the past decade (like mending the roof while the sun was shining). The Spanish vendor merely shrugged his shoulders, and as it happened there was nothing so consequential as to cause us to abort the purchase or re-negotiate the price, but we FELT better. Our 'clever' new English speaking friends in the area ridiculed us, but not surprisingly all have had unexpected problems with their houses in the same time period, which a survey would have likely have highlighted at the outset......

YOU do what YOU think best, not what somebody else might think - it's your money, so why risk it?

Vincent

oliveview01
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 2984
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2005 2:31 pm
Location: Sevilla

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby oliveview01 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:57 pm

When we were house hunting we looked at many houses, one house on an almond farm had a very high flat roof- we went back for a second look, there was a big brown stain on the kitchen ceiling- we asked if the roof had leaked- oh no, it is not a leak, it was where the snow lay for a long time :lol:

Another house had thick wires at neck height (I am 5´ 2¨) from the front wall to the back wall, holding them both together- just the right height to do a nasty injury if you got up for the bathroom in the night! :shock:

Another had a ´babbling brook´ at the front of the house, going round the side, the house wall was the side of the ditch. We wondered what the babbling brook would be like in a storm?

The farmhouse was fabulous, a big bodega in the middle of the house- what we would have done with 2 HUGE wine vats I do not know, I think the house was built around them, there was even a stable in the middle of the house with a donkey, luckily we had sensible hats on.

We looked at a couple of houses near the coast in Granada province- they had fabulous views over the hills to the sea- the track road was good, we went back for a second viewing- the track road was dreadful- very dangerous to drive along, the agents car got stuck, and that was a 4WD, but it was ok, the townhall would be building a new road all the way through to three houses on the hill- yep, sure they would! :lol:

All the above mentioned ´faults´ were brushed aside by the agents- so before you get a survey you need to get sensible agents!

BENIDORM
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 3809
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:15 pm
Location: Granada Province

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby BENIDORM » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:28 pm

Personally I would suggest that if you think you need to have a structural survey, then you are probably looking at the wrong type of property..Probably you will be throwing your money away.
May I suggest that you only consider buying new or very recent property ( after making sure that it is legal ! ).
I've watched so many expats sinking their money into 'Dream' ruins and dilapidated and 'done up' property...never ending money pits that no one wants when you try to sell.
I hope that the property that you are considering doesn't fall into the above category....
Good Luck,
Gordon.. :wave:
Last edited by BENIDORM on Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

vinuela vinny
Resident
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:00 pm
Location: La Puebla de Cazalla and Cambridgeshire

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby vinuela vinny » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:19 pm

BENIDORM wrote:Personally I would suggest that if you think you need to have a structural survey, then you are probably looking at the wrong type of property.....

May I suggest that you only consider buying new or very recent property....
Interesting theory that new or very recently built properties are likely to be structurally ok.....

Not sure that I would agree..... :?

But each to their own opinion, I suppose.....

Vincent

El Cid
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 15253
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: La Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby El Cid » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:26 pm

It's far more likely that they will be, due to the new rules introduced in 2002 with regard to building regs and mandatory 10 year insurance policies.

Sid

katy
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 12850
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 3:45 pm

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby katy » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:40 pm

Providing that they have been building according to the rules. Various stories suggest not. Hit and miss as usual. I would go with something built in the mid to late ninties, new regs or not.

El Cid
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 15253
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: La Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby El Cid » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:48 pm

Yes of course some builders will get round the rules, but it is far more likely that properties built in the nineties, before the new rules came in, will be more likely to be built poorly.

Sid

smith12
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby smith12 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:50 am

Thanks for the recommendations, I am also planning to move to Spain soon. There are quite many interesting properties, can´t wait to visit them! :clap:

User avatar
Wicksey
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 4114
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:21 pm
Location: Axarquia coast

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby Wicksey » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:08 pm

The campo area where we used to live was heavily developed from 2002 onwards, despite the new planning laws. Around 25 plots were made in the hillside around us and many developed.

We saw a couple of villas being built with foundations but the others did not have any at all. I'm not sure that the houses had permission (being in the campo) and building regs here just don't seem to exist to the UK standard.

We saw hillsides being worked by a bulldozer for a couple of weeks to produce a flat platform, and the very next day a square of wooden shuttering was simply laid on the soil and filled with concrete. Within the next couple of days they began to build (usually large villas with pools). We used to go and 'inspect' the works when the workers had gone home and they used to leave a big uneven hole for the window to go in and then stop up the gaps with old cement bags and odd bits of rock.

One huge house was built by a couple of Moroccans who lived in the empty shell of the building. The owner would come up with a bag of food for them each day but we felt really sorry for them as they only had brick shell to live in with a basin for washing in and a 'bucket and chuck it' toilet. I don't think they were trained builder either!

We saw this type of building practice many times and is no exaggeration of how poorly they were built. Of course, the end finish of render and tiling made it all look wonderful, but we knew what was underneath (very little :lol: )

El Cid
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 15253
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: La Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby El Cid » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:42 pm

Wicksey wrote:
We saw this type of building practice many times and is no exaggeration of how poorly they were built. Of course, the end finish of render and tiling made it all look wonderful, but we knew what was underneath (very little :lol: )
The buildings you mention were clearly not legal so they did not bother to conform to the new building regulations and 10 year warranty system that was introduced about 13 years ago.

We built our house at that time and the regs were very comprehensive. It took 9 cement lorries just to fill the foundations! Then there were the seismic surveys, 4 boreholes to check the state of the ground, concrete and steel samples sent away for testing and so on and so on. Very expensive, but at least we know it was built properly.

Sid

Manchesteral
Resident
Posts: 1668
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:48 pm

Re: Buying property in Spain, is a structural survey recomme

Postby Manchesteral » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:55 pm

Roz wrote:Keep your British head on, if you would have a survey in the U.K. then why wouldn't you have one in Spain. In short YES!
The problem with having astructural survey is : the surveyor is a bit like a man listening to his wife moaning, he'll tell her anything she wants to hear.

Buildind standards in Spain are very different to the U K, I certainly think there's absolutely no point to it, if you can't see any obvious defects then it's likely to be sound.
Following that even if a structural survey was carried out and given the all clear, then, at a later date a fault was found who do you think you're gonna sue ?
I know a number (upwards of 10) people who have bought in Spain and never had a structural survey done, forget it and go with your instinct !


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest