Buying in Spain: new construction versus resale

A resale in Spain sometimes seems tempting. Mostly because of price: a used home often costs less than a new build. Or so it seems anyway, because there is more than one catch. Many people complain afterwards about their choice of an existing property. Therefore, for the following reasons, you should prefer new construction to resale in Spain.

renovation belongs to resale in Spain, not new construction

Build quality

Today, new homes in Spain must meet a resembling set of legal standards. For example, a new building must achieve at least energy standard B. That’s equivalent to quasi-energy neutral. The government also imposes minimum standards on building owners in the areas of thermal insulation and acoustics. If you don’t get it as a contractor, you simply won’t get a building permit. Result: if you opt for a new building, you know you are buying quality.

With pre- 2015 second-hand homes, you are not guaranteed of this. For it was only then that the concrete legislation entered into force. Consequently, older properties are usually built without the slightest standards. You can guess the result: walls of cardboard. In such a house, you will notice perfectly when the upstairs neighbor has a visit from the mistress who invariably trips around with stilettos. Also when the neighbor flushes the toilet, or when the baby of three is hungry higher up, you have known it.

This is the moment you curse that Spaniards are such a loud people. Unless you have voyeuristic tendencies, such a living environment is a disaster. After all, you came to Spain just before the break, right?


“Ear muffs on, the neighbor’s little daughter is going to practice her violin.”

Maintenance and fixed costs

The purchase price of a new build in Spain is above that of a resale. But that’s not the only thing you need to take into account. In a new building, you have no repair work and the energy and water bills are significantly lower. So in the long run, that choice is cheaper.


In the past, when the Spanish costas attracted mostly domestic tourists, construction was done differently. Spaniards like to protect themselves from the sun. That means thick walls and small windows. Matter of keeping the sun out as much as possible.

For a Belgian, deprived of the necessary vitamin D all year on the home front, the reverse is true. You are tempted by the sun. And likes to draw them into your home. It can be done with sleek architecture. Think large glass windows, expansive open spaces and spacious terraces for the better baking and roasting session. Do apply a little oil.

Fortunately, for the last five years, property developers have been taking into account the wishes of Belgians and other Northern Europeans moving towards the sun. At least in new construction, because when it comes to resale, this is not the case, or much less so, in Spain.

And say it yourself: the choice is quickly made, isn’t it?

Renovation costs

Ah, we hear you say, but then you just renovate, right? With the penny saved, you reason, you can easily pay for those works. Right? Bwa, our experience says otherwise. In a resale, you know where you start, but not where you end. Spanish contractors are kraks at exceeding the predetermined budget. Thus, there is a chance that your resale will be a lot more expensive than a high-quality new build in Spain.

Not to mention the yard you will live in for months. About that nice layer of dust on your breakfast cakes, while the monotonous drone of a drill slowly drives you crazy. About the Spanish workmen who can’t even count to
un, dos, tres
can count in English. And about the sedate “Spanish rhythm” they are working to.

This. Months at a time.

Liability and bank guarantee

For a new construction, a contractor is required to purchase a 10-year liability insurance policy. A bank guarantee is also a must since the 2008 financial crisis. No surprises. In Spain, a new build, much more than a resale, provides peace of mind.

Additional Costs

In Belgium, you pay 21 percent VAT on top of the cost price of a new home. A resale, on the other hand, will only cost you ten percent registration. A significant difference, which settles the argument for a lot of buyers in favor of a used home. In Spain, that difference between new construction and resale hardly exists. The additional cost differs between the two by only half a percent.

Conclusion: new construction or resale in Spain?

As far as we are concerned, the risks of a resale do not outweigh the security and peace of mind that a new build offers. Especially for those who consider their purchase an investment. Learn more about the difference between the two in our webinar:



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