1. Be sure that you won’t expend a lot in structure reparations or other expensive issues
It happens that a lot of from 50’s to 70’s spanish buildings are made with a sort of concrete called “aluminious” that means if that concrete suffers presence of water could deteriorate seriously and finally collapse.
Also a lot of old floors made with wood beams could be hard to rehab: reinforcement slab or addition of new beams are solutions not always feasibles.
Our recommendation is first, before buying, you must ask for a document called ITE (Building Technical Inspection in spanish) it’s a mandatory inspection and a report of the status of the building, there you could notice if there is a serious constructive illness that affects to your flat. Also its easy we to do a flat structure inspection before adquisition.
2. Buy cheap the worst flat in best location
Make a good investment: some of the areas in Barcelona are passing through a good moment to buy and other seems to be overrated
3. Be aware the possiblities of new wall distribution
Do you want a open concept living-dinning room-kitchen? Sometimes is really complicated because there is a structural wall to bother us.Lot of space wasted in a infinite corridor? Somtimes you will have to earn that space to other more usefull areas in the house.
4. Look at your new neighborhood
In fact Barcelona is not a dangerous city, but anyway there is certain neigbourhoods with higher rates of ciminality.
5. Be sure the flat has legally use as a dwelling
… be sure you are not buying a ilegal extension neither a flat with a use as a shop in the deeds. A dwelling in spain has a protected status by law and in consequence dwelling prize could be more than a doble of a comercial flat prize. Mortgages are easyly assigned to buy dwellings but otherwise is more difficult to have a mortgage for a flat that is not a dwelling. To prove that is a dwelling, the dwelling has asigned a document called “cedula de habitabilidad”
6. Make a project before of hire a contractor
A project is a definition of a lot of things: spaces, functional and aestheticaly, materials, etc. instalations, etc. But fundamentaly a project is highly usefull to compare prizes and contractors because. Project save unnespected problems during de construction works, saving time and money at last.
7. Better if contractor doesnt pay the architect
By law, in spain, the one who controls the job of contractor is the architect or technical architect. So always is better if contractor doesnt hire the architect because there is a conflict of interests.
8. Before paying contractor be sure of compare at least 3 budgets
Not all contractors has the same prizes neither same quality or experience. Goal should be is pick the one who has the optimal combination. The better to knows what a refurbishment finally costs is to have serveral offers, then you could avoid some temerary discounts that will bring us problems during the construction works.
9. Pay the contractor invoices as his work progresses
Your contractor is asking for a payment of 50% before they start the works? Your contractor says he has finished the works and wanna you to pay? He wants money for windows but the windows are not full mounted (with slabs, sealled, etc.) Before payments better be sure what you are paying is really excecuted.
10. Make a refurbishment with the due steps
Follow the steps. First do the Project, later the budget of the works and comparing offers, then making a good contract, controlling properly the works and economically the payments.
Better call Kaitek Arquitectura and keep calm. We can assess you in all parts of the process.
Sergi Sanz, architect
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