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Last Updated on 18/07/2023 by STEPHANE
How to find the perfect holiday home in Spain?
Our definitive guide to finding the perfect property matching your expectations
In this article, we give you the best tips on how to search for your ideal Spanish holiday home. If you want to read further on the subject, it came from our detailed series:
Our ultimate 2021 guide to buying your property in Spain and more specifically the third article The best searching tips for buying your Spanish property.
5 easy steps to start your Spanish holiday home search
Step 1 (optional) Hire a local property hunter from our network to save money and time and make the process smooth.
Step 2 Hire a local Spanish property lawyer speaking your language from our network.
Step 3 Define your budget: How much own funds available? Should be at least 45% of the property value, ideally 70%. If you need a mortgage, have a quick look at our paper: our ultimate guide to your Spanish mortgage.
Step 4 Define the property use: Second home, first home, home to retire in Spain or investment property. Here it is a second home, a holiday home but don’t forget it could change in the future. If it will change, your set of criteria for the ideal property will change as well.
Step 5 List your criteria for your ideal property: create a list of the best location criteria: Where should your property be in Spain? After that, create a list of your ideal property criteria. To assist you, we give you hints for those two lists in the next two sections.
In section 5, you will find our easy to use downloadable pdf allowing you to compare different holiday homes in Spain with a preset list of criteria that you will need to adjust with your own criteria to make it yours. When you will complete this easy to follow process, you will know for sure, which property is your ideal holiday home.
Holiday means more pleasure, time to enjoy your family and doing things for yourself. Chill out… Doing nothing… As you will notice, most of our top location criteria will have this meaning.
The top 13 location criteria for your Spanish second home
- Within 45 minutes of the Airport by car. We all know it: we only need 3 hours to fly to Spain but yes, the quicker, the better. When leaving at the end of your stay, being close to the airport could be an asset and even more for early flights.
- Is the weather as you want when you will spend time at your holiday home in Spain (winter months?)? If you love to spend time in Spain in January, for instance, and you love hot weather, there is only one place to go: Canary Islands. Check our monthly weather statistics for the top 20 Spanish cities and you will know in advance if you are searching in the proper Spanish region.
- Is the beach close to the property? 90% of foreigners buying a property in Spain want to be close to the beach. The Spanish countryside is very nice as well and it real estate is much cheaper. If you are on a tight budget, don’t hesitate to check it. Read our famous article on that: Which are the top 10 Spanish cities where foreigners are buying properties?
- If you play golf, are golf courses within 20 minutes by car?
- Discover the best new build projects located on a golf resort
- Are restaurants close to the property?
- Most of the time you want to relax with your family, so recreational and family activities for all ages should be available in the region.
- Is the neighbourhood nice, do you like it? Neighbourhood in Spain could vary a lot (as anywhere in the world actually) so it is very useful to spend some time where you plan to buy your property at different time of the day and ideally of the year.
- Is the cost of life of the city fitting with your desires and your wallet? Have a quick read at our detailed paper: Which are the cheapest places to live in Spain?
- What about the transport network? Are you living in the middle of nowhere? Road network is the first transport of course, but what about busses, rail, biking network,…
- Do you have many shops in the neighbourhood? Are most of those within walking distance? Are the supermarkets within 20 minutes by car?
- It is your holiday home so, you will love a nice and peaceful neighbourhood filled with green areas.
- On holiday, you will want to be active and practise some sport, make sure you have all the sports infrastructures close at no more than 20 minutes by car.
- Most of the time we don’t need it but when you need it, you will be happy to enjoy the quality and the proximity of hospitals and medical infrastructure in Spain.
This is our top 13 criteria, make this list yours and adjust this list with your location criteria for your ideal Spanish holiday home. Have a look at our downloadable pdf available at section 5 for an exhaustive list of criteria and our ranking system for your future holiday homes.
If you don’t know where to start searching for your Spanish holiday home, don’t miss our detailed article on that: Where are the best places to buy a property in Spain?
The top 18 property criteria for your ideal Spanish second home
- Your personal feeling
- Is the number of sleeping rooms & bathrooms corresponding to your expectations? Take it big enough as you will always have friends visiting ;).
- Are the outdoor spaces corresponding to what you want? Garden, Terrace,… You will be 90% of your time outside.
- Buying within a community? Check how your spaces are fitted? Concierge, pool, garden, terrace, dog park, picnic area, children area, Fitness space, indoor workspace,…
- If you want a pool, yes the pool is important to refresh during hot summers. Is the size as you want?
- Is the quality of construction correct? How old is the property?
- Is the layout of the property sound? Natural light correct?
- Is the size of the property as you want? Build space and plot if a villa.
- May I rent the property short term? Is it legal?
- Is the property price aggressive vs the market? Real estate agents in Spain love foreigners… That’s why a property hunter will get you better prices.
- Yearly maintenance costs, property average maintenance time /week.
- Yearly taxes.
- Yearly community costs.
- Security: fence and/or entrance gate, alarm?
- Any fire alarm?
- Air conditioning? Could seem normal, but it is not always the case in Spain.
- Eco friendly? Insulation, Solar panels, Water.
- Garage or parking space large enough.
If you plan to buy a new build property, we wrote this specific list that will guide you to your ideal new build holiday home in Spain. Don’t forget to add those criteria to your list.
The top 9 property criteria for your ideal new build Spanish holiday home
- The reputation of the builder. Have you checked other projects realized by the same builder?
- Design & standard set of specifications
- Possibility to personalize to my taste
- Bank warranty
- Advanced technologies, fire alarm, security
- Delivery date
- Payment schedule
- Detailed plans for the property
- Community spaces finishes
Read more on that subject: What are the advantages of buying a new build property in Spain?
Download our exclusive PDF form and compare your holiday homes
Now that you wrote your own list of location and property criteria, it is time to download our form so that you can rank and compare each property.
Print it as many times as needed: one per property, one per partner.
Fill the forms:
How to fill this table? How to compare different Spanish holiday homes?
1. List (location & property) criteria for the ideal Spanish holiday home with all the persons involved
2. Give a WEIGHT for each criterion between 1 and 10. (10= important, 1= not important)
3. Print a list for each person involved in the project
4. Visit the potential properties and each person involved give RATINGS between 1 and 10 for all the criteria. (10= criteria met perfectly, 1 = bad)
5. Compare the total scores for each property, rank them and compare them with the results of other persons involved in the project.
Criteria WEIGHTS (1) are the same for all the properties while Criteria RATINGS (2) are specific for each property.
If you want to read more on how to use this ranking system, please go to section 9 of our detailed article
How much does it cost to buy a property in Spain?
Depending on the fact that you are buying a resale or a new build, the cost will be different but a good rule of thumb is 14%. Read more on that in our detailed article: The cost of buying a Spanish property.
How much does it cost to own a property in Spain?
A good estimate is 0.7% as we wrote in our detailed article: The cost of owning a Spanish property.
How do our partners help you with those first steps?
- We have a local mortgage broker dedicated to getting mortgages for foreigners. Ask for a free mortgage quote.
- Our property hunters are there to assist you to find the perfect property more on that in the 3rd article: “How should you search for your dream property?”
With our team of more than +100 local real estate partners, HowtobuyinSpain helps foreigners to buy real estate in Spain.
The experts from our network are active in all the fields you need:
- Property finders
- Money Transfer
- Holiday rental management
- Insure your Spanish property
- Property survey
Would you like to read further?
Last year we wrote detailed property buyers guides custom made for any nationality. Here are our FREE pdf property buyers’ guides written for all the foreign nationalities looking to buy in Spain: Click on your country flag, you will find your pdf report at the end of each article.