There are numerous risks and problems that might go along with the purchase of a Villa in Spain. We are here to tell you how to avoid them so you can purchase your Spanish villa with more peace of mind.

These recommendations are especially aimed at a house in the countryside but they can also apply to any holiday home that is not an apartment or is not in the urban areas.

Beware of real estate agents

Real estate agents will try to get a sale closed asap. So many of them will force you into signing a reserve or purchase contract that you do not understand and that might be against your interests.

Real estate agents can lie about the legal situation of the property, about the certificates or permits needed and even about the actual meters of the property.

Real estate agents might advise you to use their lawyer or somebody that will be your advisor that is on their payroll.

Just for the record, NOT EVERY REAL ESTATE AGENT IS BAD, we have met really good agents during all these years, but you have to be careful.


Urban land, means that you are allowed to build on the specific plot of land with compliance to planning and building regulations. So if you purchase a property and the land registry certificate “nota simple” says that it is urban land and the house and the land/plot are registered with the Land Registry, everything is correct.

Rural land, means that you can only build a small house or barn for agricultural use. Rural land is just land to farm, not to build. Therefore, if you are looking for a house in the countryside probably, the house will be in rural land and this is where the problem starts.

The seller probably built the house without the council permits and illegally because they could not build. However, if the house was built a long time ago, the house could be legalised with the passage of time.

 Not every property in the countryside can be legalised. There are restrictions for properties built in natural reserves or very close to natural protected areas and also villas too close to the seaside.

If the villa you intend to purchase is not registered with the Land Registry and has not been legalised or you wish to purchase land to build your house but it is rural land you may never be granted authorization to connect to water/electricity.

So Beware of rural land, because this translates to agricultural land, which provides very strict constraints on what can and cannot be built – and the size of what can be constructed on this plot of land. You could end up paying a lot of money for a piece of land, on which you will never be allowed to build!

So, before buying a property, it is fundamental to check with the land registry (Registro de la Propiedad) to make sure that the plot of land you want purchasing has planning permission so that you can legally build on this property. This will also need to be confirmed with the urban planning of the corresponding city council (AYUNTAMIENTO)

If the property does not have appropriate planning permission and it is recently built, the council can start proceedings against it and demolish the buildings or constructions on the property.


It is essential to check with the Land Registry because many of the houses illegally built are not registered with the land registry, and if you do not find out, you might end up acquiring just a piece of land according to the land registry.

If the house was built more than 10 years ago, the seller should start the legalisation process. The seller will need an architect to write a report and then go to the Notary to do a New Construction Declaration (Declaración de Obra nueva). If the council has not started proceedings against the property to demolish it, then the Land Registry will register the house with the land and you will purchase a legal property.


This happens every day. 

“The agent/seller said that the house has 250 meters but the land registry says that it has 170 meters”.

This is because the seller might have built something else after he registered the house for the first time or they registered fewer meters to pay fewer taxes.

Same thing happens with the land. Sometimes you are told that there are 5.000 meters but the land registry has only 3.000 meters registered.

If this is the case, you have to make sure that the seller registers the correct building and land meters with the land registry.

Hire a surveyor/architect to check the property

Before purchasing a villa it is advisable to hire a surveyor/architect to check the property. He will make sure that there are not any structural problems and can also make sure that the meters you are buying are actually there.


When it comes to property purchase, especially a Villa, you have to be careful and have a lawyer by your side that will check the legal situation of the property and that will help you with the contracts and that will protect your interests.

Having a lawyer from the beginning will be in your best interest because you might be regretting later not having hired one to assist you with the property purchase.

We can deal with all the process on your behalf and make the purchase of your property in Spain a stress-free experience.

Please contact us, every consultation is free!