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PROPERTY

How does Spain’s new website to find cheap homes up for auction work?

Spain’s Tax Agency has created a new web page where you can find great bargains on properties sold at auction. Here’s what you need to know.

How does Spain's new website to find cheap homes up for auction work?
The new website in Spain where you can buy properties at auction. Photo: Viktoria Niezhentseva / Unsplash

If you’re looking for a property to buy in Spain, one option you may want to consider is buying a home at auction, where you will often pay below the market value.

In Spain, the Agencia Tributaria or Tax Agency owns many properties, most of which have been repossessed or seized due to outstanding debt.

Many of these properties are put up for auction, enabling you to get some great bargains. Up until now, it has been difficult to find out when these auctions are held and the details of the homes being sold, but recently the Agencia Tributaria launched a new web page providing all this information.

The page provides details on all the properties in all the different provinces across the country and is dedicated to the sale of homes, garages, plots of land and commercial spaces with prices from just €20,000. You can access the site here

When you get to the page, simply click on the province that you’re interested in and you’ll find a list of all the properties to be sold at auction there, including photos, information on the size and number of rooms, a description, and a guide price.

The site will also give you financial information such as the minimum bid amount, the auction value and an appraisal of the property.

When you find some properties that you’re interested in, you can go and log-in with your Cl@ve PIN to save them to your favourites list and receive notifications to your phone about the date of the auction.

READ ALSO: How to save lots of time on official matters through Spain’s online Cl@ve system

According to property giant Idealista in order to place a bid, you must pay 5 percent of the starting price and when the auction is over, if you are the highest bidder, you will have to pay the remaining amount within a particular time frame. You can pay this in cash or through a mortgage. 

Be aware that you may also have to pay several fees, as well as the price of the property such as the Patrimonial Transfer Tax and Tax on Documented Legal Acts. 

If you register on the Auction Portal with your digital certificate or a username and password, you will also be able to see the bids that have already been made on the home, as well as the cadastral reference. You may also be able to place provisional bids ahead of time.

For those who are unsure of how the auction process works in Spain or are nervous about going to their first auction, the Tax Agency website also details all the auction and bidding procedures. For any other information that you can’t find online, you can call 91 598 63 34.

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PROPERTY

How much does it cost to refurbish a bathroom in Spain?

Traditional Spanish bathrooms are not to everybody's liking, and yet these narrow, dark and often pretty tiny spaces remain fairly common. So how much money can you expect to spend on refurbishing 'el baño'?

How much does it cost to refurbish a bathroom in Spain?

Picture it: you’ve just moved to Spain, bought a place for a good price, and are ready to start your new life. But there’s only one problem, you’ve got a pretty traditional (and pretty tiny) bathroom. You knew that before you bought it, of course, but as you stare into your reflection in that narrow, dark, 1970s mirror, you think how nice it’d be to rip it out and remodel it all.

If you’ve spent time in Spain, you’ll know all about these sorts of dingy bathrooms. Many apartments in Spain have these small, dark bathrooms. Often, they only have a single tiny window for ventilation, and sometimes bathrooms can be so small that for taller people sitting down on the toilet can mean your knees are up against the sink!

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to renovate your kitchen in Spain?

So, you decide you want to refurbish your Spanish bathroom. How much will it set you back, and what are the most important things to know?

How much does it cost to refurbish a bathroom in Spain?

Obviously, the price of remodelling your bathroom, like anything, depends on many factors: your budget, where in Spain you live (doing it in a penthouse in Madrid will be pricier than a one bedroom flat in Murcia, for example) but also the materials you want to use, the builders you choose, and whether you want a full-scale refurbishment or to make more superficial changes. So the real answer is, it depends.

That being said, we can look at some ballpark estimates to try and get a rough idea of how much it costs to refurbish a bathroom in Spain.

Eduardo Mora, Head of Acierta Hogar Valencia, told Spanish property portal Idealista that “bathroom refurbishments are one of the most demanded by customers, undoubtedly one of the fastest to complete, and that along with the kitchen, add value to the home.”

“The complete reform of an average bathroom can range between €4500 and €6000 + VAT depending on the quality [of materials] chosen by the customer,” he added.

READ ALSO: Do I need planning permission in Spain and how do I apply for it?

The plumbing and electrics

You might think that redoing the plumbing and electric would be the most expensive part of a bathroom refurbishment. However, according to data from Idealista, this is not entirely true, as changing the plumbing installation doesn’t even exceed 20 percent of the total budget in many cases.

Idealista reckons you can do complete renovation of the electrical and plumbing installations for around €900 + VAT, so if your bathroom is quite old it may be worth doing.

The walls and floors

Probably the most eye-catching part of any bathroom: the walls and floors. What should you do with them? Tiles, different types of paints, resins or cements, and, of course, which colour? The most important thing is that whatever you go for, the material chosen must be damp resistant. If not, you’ll be refurbishing your bathroom again and much sooner than you’d like.

Idealista estimates that complete ceramic tiling in Spain costs around about €1200 + VAT, depending on the size of the space. However, it is possible to significantly cut down on the cost by reducing the area covered by ceramic tiling to the areas that receive the water supply and using a water-repellent paint for the rest.

This small change alone could reduce the price of the wall tiles by almost half, around €600 + VAT.

Some people choose to tile the walls and floor, which obviously makes it more expensive. Home reforms website Habitissimo estimates that tiling the walls and floor of a 5m² bathroom in Spain has an average price of €2,000, which works out to about €25 – €30/m², although in the case of some materials it could reach as high €90 – €100/m².

Bathroom fittings

For most people when they think about refurbishing the bathroom, they are mainly thinking about the toilet, sink and taps, and the bath and/or shower tray. Of course, you could do this cheaply, but if you want to make an investment in the house and do it in the medium-high quality range, this will cost around €2,000 + VAT on average, and is therefore the most expensive part of the refurbishment, accounting for 40 percent of the total budget.

One thing to note is that if you’re considering making a bit more space by swapping the old bathtub out for a shower tray, that would involve changes not only to the plumbing system but also the walls and tiling around it. Major refurbishments to the bathroom fittings (including toilet, bidet, sink, taps, and bath/shower) could between €2000 and €2500 + VAT, according to estimates from Idealista.

Obviously, prices vary considerably depending on the model and brand, but as a guideline, Habitissimo estimates that a complete refurb of all the fittings could cost as much €3,000, including the assembly and installation of the toilet. The change of bathtub for a built-in shower costs around €1,000 alone, for example.

Installing a shower screen

Bathroom screens are more aesthetic and hygienic than traditional shower curtains, since they can be easily cleaned, as well as making the bathroom seem more spacious – something pretty essential in the smaller bathrooms you find in Spain.

Habitissimo reckons the most basic models can be found starting at €150, and the average price of installing a shower screen in Spain is €400, but can get far pricier depending on the material.

Do I need planning permission for bathroom refurbishments in Spain?

The type of planning permission and permits you need differ depending on the type of renovation to be carried out. For example, if it is a partial reform, a building permit or a minor works permit (known as a licencia or permiso de obra menor) should be fine.

However, if your planned refurb will involve more structural elements, such as partition walls or changing the orientation of the bathroom, a major building permit must be requested (known as a licencia or permiso de obra mayor).

For both you’ll need to apply for planning permission through the local town hall (ayuntamiento) so you can find out exactly which you’ll need there.

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