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Last Updated on 06/07/2023 by STEPHANE
How to find the perfect first home in Spain?
Our definitive guide to find the perfect property matching your expectations.
In this article, we give you the best tips on how to search for your ideal first home in Spain. 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 first home search in Spain
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 first 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 (see step 5)
Step 5 List your criteria for your ideal property: create a list of the best location criteria: What is the perfect location for your Spanish property? After that, create a list of your ideal property criteria. In order to assist you, we gave you hints for those two lists in the next two sections.
At the end of our article, you will find our easy to use downloadable form allowing you to rank different properties.
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 14 location criteria for your new home to relocate to Spain
- A lively neighbourhood 12 months per year, yes, you don’t want to live in a dead village 10 months or 12 months per year.
- Commuting time to work and Schools should be less than 40 minutes for yourself, your partner and your children
- Do you have many shops in the neighbourhood? Are most of those within walking distance? Are the big supermarkets within 20 minutes by car?
- What about the transport network? Are you living in the middle of nowhere? Road network is the first transport of course, (Which motorways are toll-free in Spain?) but what about busses, rail, biking network which could be equally important for your family members,…
- Is the cost of life of the city fitting with your desires and your wallet? Read more on that here: Which are the cheapest cities to live in Spain?
- Is the weather as you want when you will go (winter months?)? Check our monthly weather statistics for the top 20 Spanish cities
- Most of the time we don’t need it but when you need it but the proximity of the hospital or care centres is important.
- Is the neighbourhood nice, do you like it? Are there green areas and parcs for children?
- Make sure that you have all the sport infrastructures close to your new home and no more than 20 minutes by car away.
- Within 45 minutes of the Airport by car, yes, you are living in Spain now but many of your relatives and friends will visit you as they don’t have that chance.
- Are restaurants close to your home? Friday and Saturday evening, we all love to chill-out.
- If you play golf, are golf courses within 20 minutes by car? Yes sure, you don’t want to relocate to Spain just to work even more, do you? Work better is the message.
- Discover the best new build projects located on a golf resort
- Most of the time you want to relax with your family, so recreational and family activities should be available in the region.
- Consider renting first (with purchase option)? You don’t have to buy “day 1”
This is our top 14 criteria, make this list yours and adjust this list with your location criteria for your ideal Spanish first home. Have a look at our downloadable pdf available at the end of this section for an exhaustive list of criteria and our ranking system for your future first homes.
If you don’t know where to start searching your Spanish first home, don’t miss our detailed article on that: Where are the best places to buy a property in Spain?
The top 20 property criteria for your ideal Spanish first home
- Your personal feeling. Of course, it is your new home so it should be as you dreamt about it.
- Is the number of sleeping rooms & bathrooms corresponding to your expectations? Take it big enough as you will always have friends visiting ;).
- Is the size of the property as you want? Build space and plot if a villa
- Are the outdoor spaces corresponding to what you want? Garden, Terrace,… You will be enjoying the nice weather, so make sure you can live outside.
- Is the quality of construction correct? How old is the property?
- If you want a pool, yes the pool is important the refresh during hot summers. Is the size as you want?
- 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. It’s your first home, so yes, you should get it as you want but as it is your first home, you could need to sell it soon, don’t overpay!
- Is the layout of the property sound? Natural light correct?
- Is the size of the kitchen as you want? > 15m²
- Are the size of the sleeping rooms as you want?
- Air conditioning? Could seem normal, but it is not always the case
- Buying within a community? Check how are you spaces fitted? Concierge, pool, garden, terrace, dog park, picnic area, children area, Fitness space, indoor workspace,…
- Garage or parking space large enough
- Eco friendly? Insulation, Solar panels, Water
- Yearly maintenance costs, property average maintenance time /week
- Yearly taxes
- Yearly community costs
- May I rent the property short term? Is it legal? Why not get some extra funds during summer months?
- Security: fence and/or entrance gate, alarm?
- Any fire alarm?
If you plan to buy a new build property, we wrote this specific list that will guide you to your ideal new build first home in Spain. Don’t forget to add those criteria to your personal list.
The top 9 property criteria for your ideal new build Spanish holiday home
- 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
Spanish first homes
Download our form, 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 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.