Every year, thousands of people buy properties in Spain. But, while many opt for new builds, there are several gigantic reasons to go with an older property. Spain, as a country, is chock full of heritage and purchasing an older property that portrays that heritage and character is one of the deciding factors for many when it comes to buying property in Spain.
Older Spanish properties offer a host of advantages over their newer counterparts, improving the quality of life of those who own them. In this article, we will briefly run through just some of the top reasons why you should consider old over new.
Advantage #1: You’ll Pay Less
Older homes in Spain cost less than newer builds of a similar size and quality. The reasons for this are complicated. But it mainly comes down to the fact that older builds have had more time to depreciate compared to their newer counterparts.
Think about it this way: if you had a choice between two houses that were identical in every way except their age, which would you choose (if both cost the same)? You may consider the newer home because you assume that you would pay less on maintenance over the years.
Older houses are usually considerably cheaper than newer builds for this reason. However, despite the fact that sellers of older properties may have to compensate buyers for the fact that maintenance costs might be higher, in reality, this isn’t always true.
In most situations, older houses won’t need any more maintenance than newer ones. It’s only the perception of buyers in general which pushes the price down, meaning that there are bargains to be had out there.
Advantage #2: They Have More Character
Traditional properties in Spain ooze character. Older Spanish homes have a variety of features that make them instantly identifiable and nothing at all like their modern counterparts.
The first feature is stucco, a type of plaster used all over the walls of traditional Spanish buildings. Many rustic properties have thick, artistically-applied stucco that looks incredible.
The second main feature of traditional Spanish properties is prominent arches. Spanish architects of the past used arches in multiple facets of building design, including walkways, doors, and windows. Rounded arches give traditional rustic Spanish properties a distinct feel, reminiscent of their North African influence.
Older Spanish homes also like to juxtapose light stucco walls against the dark hardwood floor and ceiling features. You’ll also often see older homes incorporating whimsical wooden architectural elements and dark wood furniture made of walnut and ebony.
Advantage #3: They Are More Stylish
Modern Spanish builds tend, in general, to lack artistic flourishes. While there is an attempt to emulate the styles of old, there’s a general sense among buyers that they don’t quite get it right.
Part of the problem is that people these days want to use their homes to have radically different floor plans from those prevalent in the past. Open-plan kitchens, large, spacious bedrooms, and bathrooms all affect the outward appearance of the building, making it more blocky and less amenable to traditional features. It is still possible, of course, but you’ll pay a premium.
Older homes, however, come with style in their DNA. Almost every surviving example of an older property in Spain has some kind of artistic flourish that makes it unique. Spanish homes were never built on the massive scale that they are today. Each property was a project unto itself, reflecting the style and personality of the original architect or owners.
When you buy an older property, you get a variety of design flourishes that regulations and building objectives make impossible on today’s newer builds.
Advantages #4: You’ll Pay Less Tax
When you buy a new property in Spain, you have to pay two taxes: VAT and Spanish stamp duty. Currently, VAT in Spain on residential property is 10 percent (and 21 percent on properties with commercial potential). If you’re buying a new home in the Canaries, you’ll pay slightly less: 4.5 percent. Stamp duty is one percent of the total purchase price, but can sometimes vary from region to region.
Combined, these taxes make it quite expensive for buyers to buy new properties in Spain. However, the tax implications for older homes are much less onerous. The Spanish tax authorities consider old houses “resale properties.” A resale property is one that is being sold for a second time or more and is not bought from a developer. The Spanish government does not charge VAT on resale homes saving buyers money.
Unfortunately, there are still taxes to pay, but they are likely to be less than you’d pay on a new build. The Spanish transfer tax is a tax paid by the buyer of an old property before the completion of the sale. The general rate of this tax is 7 percent, which is considerably lower than that of a new build.
Advantage #5: You’ll Have More Space
Traditional Spanish homes built decades or even centuries ago tended to have much larger lot sizes. The reason for this was simple: there was a lot more space to build back then that there is now. More than 40 million people live in Spain today and there is tremendous overseas demand for housing.
Spanish developers haven’t helped either. Homebuilding companies crammed new builts together to reduce the costs of servicing each unit and keeping the price down, reducing plot size further. This has been known to lead to other issues like neighbour disputes and people wondering “do you have to declare neighbour disputes“.
Buyers are often surprised to discover just how inexpensive the land that comes with many traditional Spanish properties is. The value tends to depend on the type of development that is allowed. In Spain, development rules are strict, meaning that the majority of residential land is worthless, at least from a commercial perspective.
For home buyers like you, however, the advantages are tremendous. You get hectares of space at an affordable price that you and your family can enjoy. What could be better than that?