What You Need To Know When Buying a House in Valencia

What You Need To Know When Buying a House in Valencia

Houses in Valencia are currently great value. As apartment prices have increased in Valencia City itself prices outside the city have remained very competitive, take a look at our report on this price trend here. When you ally this to an increased movement of families into the area due to the lifestyle and culture, we are seeing much more demand now for houses that suit families, houses with large gardens, easy access to towns or villages and with them being under half an hour from the city so as to enjoy everything that Valencia has to offer, which is a lot.

What You Need To Know When Buying a House in Valencia
What You Need To Know When Buying a House in Valencia

Over the last month or so we are also seeing a trend towards families from the UK fleeing the Brexit shambles and wanting to establish residency for themselves in Valencia before the 29th March 2019. We are seeing ever greater numbers of people from the United States fleeing Trump and the mess and divisions that are being created there on a sociocultural level. And, after appearing at a real estate fair in the Netherlands, we are seeing more people coming from the Low Countries looking to settle here or have a family holiday home. Within these groups there is still a tendency to look for apartments in Valencia city but we are seeing growing numbers wanting the perceived greater value of a house outside the city.

Buying an apartment is more of a straightforward process than buying a house. With a house there are more legal issues to be clarified by your legal representative to make sure you are buying with clean title and without any liens on the property. You must remember that many properties were originally built without any permits or licences and some remain in a legal limbo so it is essential that you know what to look for when buying a house in Valencia. Following is a guide for things to look out for starting with the most important distinction, the type of land.

Types of Land For Houses

There are three types of land, urban, urbanizable and rustic. You can find houses built on all three types of land and you can find legal and illegal builds on all of them.

The first type of land is “Suelo Urbano“. This is land that generally connections to the public networks of electricity, drinkable water, sewage connections etc. Depending on the size of the plot and local regulations in place you can usually build on this land with no problem after getting a permit as long as the building falls within the limitations for building in the area. Urban plots tend to be smaller and you can usually build up to a maximum percentage on the plot, a footprint of around 20-30%. There are height restrictions, often 7m2 high, and volume restrictions, usually around twice the footprint. Therefore, logically, the large the plot the larger the house you can build but beware of strange shaped plots as normally you cannot build within 3m from the side borders of the plot and 5m from the front of the plot. Subsequently you often find many thin plots for sale at “Bargain” prices. That is because it would be near technically impossible to build on them within the restrictions imposed on building on urban land.

Secondly you have “Suelo Urbanizable“. This land can potentially be reclassified as suelo urbano but it is not going to happen for certain. A “Plan Parcial” for the area must be approved first and this is followed by the approval and execution of a “Proyecto de Urbanización”. Lots of land was reclassified during the boom between 1999 and 2007 but never built on. If you buy a house on Urbanizable land then you may have further costs down the line when any “Plan Parcial” and “Proyecto de Urbanización” is put into place. This will mean paying your part of the costs of putting in proper sewerage, tarmacced roads and street lighting for example. It may never happen but bear in mind that potentially it will and the cost can be considerable.

Finally, there is “Suelo Rústico“. Land of this type usually will never be reclassified as suelo urbano. Construction is very restricted and buildings that are there traditionally were agricultural style buildings such as barns, stables etc… However in the boom of the early 2000s many “Rústico” properties were converted into housing and “legalised” and were connected up to the mains electric and water for example. Some properties on rustic land remain in legal limbo, they will never be demolished, but you cannot add to them, extend or radically change them. You should always bear in mind when buying a rustic property that you will not be able to add to it legally unless you have over 10,000m2 of land and the footprint is currently under 2% of that land, ie under 200m2.

From a legality point of view it is always better to buy a house on urban land with all of the documentation and legalities clear. From an aesthetic point of view you may want that rustic property with its awesome views and sense of isolation, away from the madding crowd.

However, despite practicalities often outweighing idealism, sometimes the heart rules the head and people want to buy a rustic property with all that this entails. If that is the case then make sure you listen to your lawyer because if they advise you not to buy a rustic property they are not doing it to annoy you, they are doing it because there are solid reasons to think that the property is illegal and may be affected by a demolition or modification order in the future or that you would not be able to connect up services to the property.

Licences For Working on Your House

Having talked about the type of land there are other considerations to look at when buying a house in Valencia. If the property needs modernising then you will need to get a licence for it and if you want to extend a different type of licence is required. The two licences are called “Obra Menor” and “Obra Mayor“.

Obra Menor is the licence for internal works such as changing the kitchen, the bathroom and certain other works inside and outside the house. Obra Mayor is for extensions if allowed, internal renovations involving demolition of walls for example or secondary buildings on the plot. You can contract an architect to present the Obra Mayor to the town hall to make sure it falls within the regulations but an Obra Menor licence you can easily do yourself, it just describes what you intend to do and pay the fee for getting the licence. Lots of people do interior work on their houses without applying for this licence.

If you want to add another building on your land you would think that is an Obra Mayor, and it usually is, but certain structures do not require a licence and therefore many people “build” these structures to avoid having to go through the process of applying for an Obra Mayor licence, taking away the requirement to contract the services of an architect or surveyor.

These structures are those that are not considered to be permanent such as sheds, wooden outhouses, car ports, standing pools surrounded by decks, gazebos and others. Usually they are not considered permanent if they have no foundations and are built of wood or other light materials. If the wooden house is placed on a concrete slab, to avoid potential sinkage for example, then it would be considered permanent as it has a solid base or foundation thus requiring a licence to build.

Can I Divide the Land?

Sometimes you are told that the land is of a certain size which means you can divide it up into two plots and build another house or sell it to somebody to build on. Again this totally depends on the type of land and the size. There are minimum land sizes for building on as we have already mentioned.

For example on the Torres de Portacoeli estate typically the plot sizes were between 1025 and 1035m2 although local planning regulations only demanded 700m2 to build a detached property on urban land. We have sold quite a few houses in the past on double plots on Portacoeli meaning that the owners can sell off a single plot if required in the future or build a second house. However if they only have one plot then you cannot divide it into two as the resulting 500m2 would not be large enough to get planning permission as they require 700m2. Equally a double plot of 2050m2 wasn’t enough to divide into three plots as all there would be below 700m2 if divided equally. You could apply for two plots of 700m2 of course but then there would be a non buildable 600m2 plot either in the middle or off to one side which is pretty pointless, better to use a full sized plot and have a larger build on it.

Older properties tend to have larger plots of land. Newer properties tend to be on estates developed by a single developer where they divided the plots into the smallest sizes possible in order to maximise the buildable areas and sell more houses. Often you can find estates where the builder has built a lot of semi detached houses, pareados or adosados, as the required plot size can be as little as 300m2 with a buildable area up to 60%. The older the house therefore the more likely you are to have a larger plot size. Modern houses almost by definition have smaller plot sizes except where the plot has been in the family for years and they recently built their property on it. Newer properties built by developers are more likely to be on legally developed urban land. 

Always take the advice of your lawyer of course. 

What can you buy in a house with your money at the moment then? Let’s take a look at a few examples for under 200k. Just click on the images for more photos and a fuller description.

105000 Euros Lliria House For Sale
105000 Euros Lliria House For Sale

“This excellent house and gardens near to Domeño outside of Lliria has a main house of three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room with a lovely terrace overlooking the Turia valley. Set on a plot of just over 1000m2 with filtered pool, garage, car port, storeroom, outside bathroom and washroom and lovely gardens it also has an underbuild with storeroom and two bedrooms for guests.”

150000 Euros Olocau Property for sale
150000 Euros Olocau Property for sale

“This house in Olocau on the Lloma estate offers a lot of outside space for your money. It is actually on two plots. The house is on a rustic plot and is legalised meaning you can maintain and update but not extend. However it has five bedrooms currently with a decent sized living room, kitchen, covered terrace and garage. There is also a paellero, storeroom and swimming pool on the plot. The second plot is currently undeveloped but is on Urbanizable land so in the future can potentially be sold off for building a second property.” 

185000 Euros Olocau Villa For Sale With Two Separate Three Bedrooms Parts
185000 Euros Olocau Villa For Sale With Two Separate Three Bedrooms Parts

“A rather superb example of the type of property that most people want, large, spacious plot and two separate parts so your visitors can be there long term without stepping on each other’s toes or you can rent out a whole part of the house to tourists. 

The plot of 1400m2 is divided into various inviting areas, with the part around the pool particularly nice and the quiet front garden allowing you to exercise, do yoga or relax. There are shady areas for reading and enjoying our climate and also fruit trees and all the equipment needed to look after them. The outhouse and storeroom complete the outside space. 

The house itself is on two floors. Both parts are comprised of three bedrooms each, a living room, a kitchen and bathroom. There is also a storage room below and an amazing terrace on the top floor with views over the garden and pool. The terrace is almost totally covered and just invites you to watch the sun going down over the valley to the south. 

The property can be sold fully furnished if required and is exquisitely presented. Well worth your time and money.” 

136000 Euros Siete Aguas Villa For Sale With Large Proper Swimming Pool
136000 Euros Siete Aguas Villa For Sale With Large Proper Swimming Pool

If you are a swimmer then you are looking for a swimming pool, not a dip pool, not a kidney shaped pool but a proper pool where you actually take some effort to get from end to end. This house is for swimmers therefore. Set about 1km away from the Siete Aguas railway station from where you can get into Valencia easily or you can take the motorway into the city in just 35 minutes, this 180m2 house set on a 1000m2 plot has a 16m long swimming pool for your exercise needs. 

The house is a well set out four bedroomed place with one bathroom and kitchen. All the bedrooms are doubles and the bathroom is large. The kitchen is a little small but there is a door from the kitchen, through the bamboo wall, yes you heard that right, to an outside kitchen where most of the cooking gets done.” 

Whatever your budget and requirements we can help you find your perfect Valencia property both inside and outside the city. We also know about the legalities or otherwise of properties and will let you know of any issues that we are aware of. However, as emphasized above, always listen to your legal representative. We know of plenty of cases where the lawyer has said “Don’t touch this with a bargepole” and the buyers have ignored them and bought themselves a problem. We also know that some of our clients have previously wanted to buy a property and the lawyer has said no meaning they came to us for some real expert advice rather than relying on what an estate agent told them at the same time as telling them that they didn’t need a lawyer… Sure!

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you to buy your own house in Valencia.

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