Where is your office and how is the communication?
Our office is situated in Maella (Calle Santa Barbara 20), which is surrounded by small villages. Each one of them has their historic centre and their shops, restaurants, bars, events and markets. The larger cities are located at the following distances: Batea (20 km), Gandesa (34 km), Alcañiz (49 km), Tarragona (112 km), Lleida (114 km), Zaragoza (130 km), Castellón (191 km) and Barcelona (190 km). The roads are in good condition and the two main motorways leading to each city of Spain are 80 kilometres away from Maella.
There are good train and bus connections to and from the larger cities. For example, the bus (Hife) travels to Barcelona in 3 1/2 hours. The train (Renfe) travels the same routes. For example from Caspe to Zaragoza in 1 hour and 41 minutes and from Caspe to Barcelona in 3 hours and 24 minutes.
The airports near Maella are:
- Reus (101 km from Maella) – It is possible to fly to Reus from London, Glasgow, Dublin, Cardiff, Frankfurt, Brussel, Amsterdam and Eindhoven.
- Zaragoza (130 km from Maella) – It is possible to fly to Zaragoza from London, Paris, Brussels (Charleroi) and Munich.
- Barcelona (190 km from Maella) – It is possible to fly to Barcelona from London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and all other major cities from Europe.
What are the brokerage costs if I want to buy a property with your assistance?
The brokerage costs are included in the asking price.
Is it possible to live permanently on a finca?
After a meeting between Alvarez & Pannekeet and the municipality in September 2015, it is possible to be registered as a resident of Maella at the town hall when there is a “mas” on the property. Although facilities such as electricity, water and the internet should be generated alternatively, because the plot is situated outside the urban area. It has also been agreed that those who live outside the urban area will pay waste tax (around 75 euros per year), just like the inhabitants who live within the urban area.
Is it possible to renovate a mas?
It is possible to renovate an existing building, when it is located within the boundaries of the finca or when the building has its own plot number. It’s important to check this before purchasing a property. Sometimes even the vendor does not know this because it is quite common in this area that the building is located on “monte” (municipal land). In order to renovate a “mas”, a permit is required and, if necessary, a corresponding project from an architect.
The project of an architect is only required when a new roof has to be placed or when the “mas” is going to be extended. For other cases a permit is enough.
What exactly is your assistance in house renovation?
Alvarez & Pannekeet accompanies the customer throughout the process of a renovation. This guidance starts with a visit to the property or town house with a local contractor where the (new) owner submits his or her wishes. Based on his knowledge and experience the contractor advises and when a clear image is formed, the contractor prepares a quotation. Once there is an agreement, the contractor applies for the appropriate license (permit).
We work with local contractors, those who are aware of the regulations and the process of the application for permits and the ones who are in contact with other local professionals such as architects, carpenters, painters, ironworkers, etc. We also mediate in renovating roads and the provision of, for example water and firewood.
During the renovation, there is direct contact between the customer and the contractor via email. We remain in contact with both parties if there are any questions and / or additions in the works. We regularly send photos, so that the customer can follow the renovation works (from home), in case they are not in Spain.
There are many satisfied customers about the result of their renovated house, farmhouse or track. The link below will take you to our FLICKR page where you can see various renovation processes which Alvarez & Pannekeet has assisted:
What possibilities are there for new construction on a finca?
The process of the construction of a new building is normally a bit more complicated than the renovation of a “mas”. For example a minimum surface area is required, it varies per municipality and in which area it is located. In addition, aspects such as distance from the boundary of the plot, distance from the road, distance from the river and from other houses play a part. And possibly other aspects that play at that particular location.
Thanks to our experience, contacts and good relationship with the municipality we can find out if it is possible to build something new on a plot and under what conditions.
In general, the municipality’s preference is for the renovation of existing “mas”.
Can a mobile home or similar be placed on a finca?
Officially it is not allowed throughout Spain to place a mobile home or similar on a finca rustica. The state sees this as camping, even though it is situated on its own property. And to be able to camp on a finca, a license is required which is valid for three days. This is what is described in the regulations.
In the practice, it is different and it differs per municipality how flexible they are with this. In Maella, it is currently accepted, although there are sometimes checks and people have been asked to remove the caravan. Placement of a mobile home can thus be solely on your own responsibility.
However, if a license has been requested for the renovation of a mas, it is accepted to stay in a mobile home during the renovation.
Do I need a license to build something on my property?
Yes. There are different building permits for different types of renovations. If you work with a contractor, the contractor applies for the license. If you prefer to built yourself, you will request the permit yourself. For the possibilities of building, we recommend consulting a local architect.
What about the weather in the area?
The climate has, within it’s Mediterranean characteristics, a continental tone. This means relatively long winters and summers. During the winter, temperatures range between 0º and 15º Celsius, while in summer it hovers between 25º and 40º Celsius. The many hours of sunshine are occasionally broken by a small rainfall. The winters contain warm periods, and as the fog settles in the valleys, this landscape shows an extraordinary beauty.
Agricultural activity is the main source of income for the region. People grow olives, almonds, peaches, nectarines, grapes, cherries and figs. At a private level, there are many locals who have their own garden ‘huerta’ where they grow all kinds of vegetables, often ecologically.
Is the climate good for growing vegetables and fruit?
It is a perfect environment, with excellent weather conditions to grow all kinds of vegetables. With water, you can grow vegetables throughout the whole year. The climate is ideal for grapes and almond, olive and peach trees. It is also possible to plant apple, fig, nectarine and walnut trees. The landscape is flat between the mountains and therefore ideal for working with the earth.
What can I do with the trees on my property?
The trees mentioned above generally do very well in these areas. Villagers have been earning money for years for the sale of their almonds, olives, peaches, grapes and all kind of fruits. Depending on the rainfall, the trees sometimes need some extra water to improve the quality of the nuts and fruits.
It is also possible that somebody else takes care of the trees. There are farmers who whish to maintain trees. You can also work with someone who has experience in maintaining a finca. With the goal to maintain the finca independently in a few years.
How do I get gas, water and light?
In Spain, in rural areas, people do not often have natural gas (city gas) at home like in other countries where each household has a gas connection. In Spain this is not possible everywhere, due to the distances and the landscape. That´s why gas bottles are used. Gas bottles are available at many gas stations. For the bottle you pay one-time +/- 25 euros. The price for the gas is changing regularly, so we can not list a price. For those who want to replace their bottle for a full one, they can also redeem with the gas delivery truck that drives through the village. In summer it is once in two weeks, in winter it is every week.
Some properties have a connection to water and others don´t. Plots that do not have a connection are often equipped with a water reservoir (cisterna) or a water tank (deposit). It is possible to fill this reservoir by rainwater, which is collected via the roof. Or you could collect water from the village or it can be brought to your finca.
Another option is making a well. In our area the water is about 100 to 200 meters deep. The price per meter is about 80 euro. The licence for making a well is about 800 euro. The well needs a pomp, that works on a generator or solar panels.
It is indicated in the description of the finca if a finca is connected to water.
There are several ways how to get electricity. If a finca is near the regular electricity grid, it is possible to establish a connection. If this is not possible, you can also get energy by alternative methods like solar panels, benzine generators and wind turbines. Due to the many hours of sunshine and wind, these are good alternatives to obtain energy.
What if I want to learn the language?
Not a lot of people speak English in this area. Of course, it is nice if you are in a supermarket, bakery or restaurant and you know some Spanish words. Lessons are offered in each village. This is very well arranged by the municipality. Twice a week there are lessons of about 2.5 hours. You will soon learn a few basic sentences and you can manage yourself reasonably. Additionally, you may not see them, but hidden between the mountains and in every village, you will find people from your country or people from other countries.
Does a finca have an address?
A finca has a ¨poligono¨ number and a ¨parcela¨ number, no streetname. That´s why post won´t be delivered on a rural property. Therefore you could open a mailbox at the postoffice corresponding to the municipallity where your finca is located. If there is a registered building on the finca it´s possible to get registered as a citizen of the municipally where the property is located at the town hall.
A village house on the other hand does have an address, the post will be delivered and it’s possible to get registered as a citizen as well.
Do I need a permit to remove the trees?
No. You can decide what to do with the trees and if you wish you can cut them. Only the trees on your property, not the ones (mostly pine trees) that are growing on the mountains, surrounding the plot.
What are my fixed annual expenses over my land?
If there is a building with a roof the anual taxes are about 60 euro. Per hectare this is about 4 euros for the road tax and 5 euros for the property land tax. If there is water you pay a fix amount per hectare, sometimes you also pay for the consumption depending on the water system. If there is electricity you pay a minimum amount per month plus the consumption.
What costs, in addition to the asking price, should I take into account? Such as notarial fees, brokerage fees, etc.
The agency fee is included in the price.
Impuesto de Transmision Patrimonial:
Transfer tax: In Aragon this is 8% of the purchase price and in Catalonia this is 10% of the purchase price.
This is an amount between 200 and 600 euro.
These are the costs to put the finca into your name, and are between 200 and 600 euro.
What is a NIE number?
Foreigners who, due to their economic, professional or social interests, are going to be related to Spain, must be provided, for identification purposes, with a personal, unique and exclusive number.
This number is the equivalent to the DNI number of any Spaniard and is necessary to be able to pay the taxes related to the purchase of a property.
Where can I apply for a NIE?
There are three ways to apply for a NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero):
- You can apply for your NIE at the Spanish Embassy of your country. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks or even months before you will get an appointment to apply for your NIE. The cost of this is +/- 10 euro.
- You can apply for your NIE giving power or attorney to the buffet of lawyers, we collaborate with “Lawyers in Spain”. This power can be signed the same day that you purchase the property at the Notary in Spain. It can be signed also at your country. In this case we would prepare this power for you and monitor the whole process. The NIE would be obtained in about one week. This is the fastest way to get it. The cost of this is 199 euro. You will pay this to the lawyers we work with.
- You can apply for your NIE in Spain. This can be done in the “Oficina de Extranjería”. You will there receive an application form, which you can fill in. This form can also be printed and completed before. Normally you are able to collect your N.I.E. within two weeks. The inconvinience in this case is that normally they will give you an appointment for many months to come.
To reserve a house or finca it´s not necessary to have a NIE. This is done by a Contract of Deposit and therefore the details of your passport or ID are enough. Once you come back to your country, you can apply for the NIE, so that when you return to Spain you´ll have the NIE. for the Notary Appointment. Else you can apply it the same day of the signature at the Notary as we mentioned by giving a power of attorney.
Is it mandatory to have a NIE number to be able to buy a property in SPAIN?
Despite the fact that in all the internet forums you will find the information that it is necessary and essential to have the NIE on the day of signing the sale before a Notary, with us there is more flexibility.
In our case it is possible to buy the property without having the NIE yet, and on the same act give powers to our specialized buffet in obtaining the NIE number. This is due to the fact that our Notary Public accepts it, since the true purpose of the NIE is to be able to settle the Transfer Tax (Impuesto de Transmision Ptrimonial) within one month after the signing before the Notary Public.
Because the NIE is usually obtained within a week after signing, it makes it possible to pay the Transfer Tax within the allowed period.
In all cases the NIE is obtained without exception.
Can I receive internet on my finca?
You can receive internet via satellite or via a dish. There are also packages with internet access which go with a mobile phone subscription.
What is a Nota Simple and should I apply for one?
A Nota Simple is an official document of the Spanish Property Register about a property. Alvarez & Pannekeet applies for a Nota Simple at the register at all times before the transaction. On a Nota Simple, it is easy to state whether there is a debt on the finca or house, whose is/are the owner(s), if the property is rented to someone, whether the property is taken by the bank and whether the taxes are paid in the past. We also inform us at ‘La Comunidad de Regantes’, if a finca or house has water and to know if the water is paid. Before the purchase, we also collect information at the property the Cadastre, the town hall where the property is located and the Notary.
Do I need a Spanish bank account to pay taxes in Spain?
Its not necessary to open a bank account, because it´s possible to pay by bank automatically, by direct debit with your foreigner account. If the property has water and/or electricity then you will need a Spanish account to be able to pay these bills also by direct debit.
For the purchase itself its not necessary to have a Spanish account.
Can I open a bank account if I do not have a Spanish address?
Yes. You can open an account once you have a NIE. The bank will ask you for a phone number and an e-mail address to send bank statements. If you go to the bank please bring your passport or ID as well.
What factors affect the price of a property
There are several factors that affect the price of a property, some examples are:
- The location
- The presence of water and / or irrigation system
- The size
- The plantation
- The state of the orchard
- Emotional value of the vendor
- Is there a building and what is the size and state of this building?
- Does the property have an ecological certificate?
- The invested money in the property by the vendor
- Personal financial situation of the vendor
What does it mean if a finca or house is ‘RESERVED’?
If a finca or house is reserved, someone has signed a reservation contract and made a deposit. In a reservation contract are the details of the seller, the finca or the house and the buyer. Furthermore there is an end date in the contract; the buyer is willing to complete the purchase by the Notary before this date. The deposit and the end date have been determined in consultation with both parties.
Mas: This is a house made of natural stone, which is often over 100 years old. The mas has traditionally been made exclusively of natural materials; Natural stone, a mixture of clay, lime and sand and wood from the pine trees that grow here. A mas is perfect for the climate here. In the summer it is pleasantly cool and in winter it keeps the warmth inside from the wood stove.
Finca: This is a piece of land, that sometimes includes a building.
Finca rustica: A piece of land that is located outside the boundaries of the village, these plots are not connected to the drinking water and electricity grid.
Finca urbana: A piece of land that is situated within the boundaries of the village, which is always connected to water and electricity.
Finca with water: This is a finca that is connected to irrigation water. This could be via the irrigation canal of the village or via the water network that supplies water to finca rusticas. Not all fincas are connected to water, this is indicated in the description of the property.
Water deposit: Sometimes there is a deposit inside the mas which is a concrete reservoir where rainwater is stored. This concrete square reservoir is often situated under the mas, so the water stays cool. They can have a capacity of for example 10.000 liters.
Ruin: This is a mas, of which only the walls are remained.
NIE: This is a fiscal number you have to apply for at the Immigration Service when you want to purchase a house or a finca, it´s your identification number in Spain. You´ll also need this number to submit your tax return, start a business, open a bank account, for almost all other forms you need to fill in, as well as the purchase of different items.
Nota simple: This is an extract from the Spanish Property Register. This shows whether there are multiple owners and whether there is any debt and / or inheritance.
A piece of history of our village…
Until 1970 there was mainly self-sufficient life in Maella. The inhabitants of Maella ‘maellanos‘ had chickens, donkeys, horses and pigs, grain and vegetable gardens and did trade. Until then there were no tractors and the people of Maella sometimes walked 20 kilometers from their village house to the finca. They stayed there for weeks and sometimes months, for example during the olive harvest. At the finca they lived in a ¨mas¨, a place to stay, which is made exclusively from natural materials. The walls were made of natural stone and the roofs of pine trunks, reed and handmade roof tiles. Insulation and the joints between the stones were made from a mix of water and soil.
The finca consisted of various parts. One or more plots consisted of the orchard, these were mostly olive groves and vineyards. One parcel was set aside for the grain that was used for making bread, for the animals and for the farmers to sleep on. And, often on a higher elevation, the plot that is called the “era”. There the grain was processed and the chaff separated from the grain.
A lot changed for the ¨maellanos¨ when the first tractors were purchased around 1960. The long walking tours were no longer necessary and the work went faster. People also no longer had to stay for months on their finca. That is why no new ¨mases¨ were built after 1960.
But since a few years now, the sometimes 300-year-old mases are getting a new life. For example, the floors and the joints made with earth are replaced by cement and the houses are equipped with a kitchen and a bathroom. The ¨maellanos¨ use the mases today as a place to spend the day or the weekend with family and friends and for others the mas turns into a beautiful home.
What do we offer?
Alvarez & Pannekeet offers finca rusticas, finca urbanas and casas de pueblo. Below we briefly explain what this means:
A finca rustica is a piece of land that is situated outside the boundaries of the village. These plots are not connected to the drinking water and electricity network, which means that you are responsible for these facilities, for example with solar panels and a reservoir for storing rainwater. We, as an intermediary, can answer all your questions about this and we can assist you in acquiring these provisions. There is often a “mas” on the finca rusticas that we offer. The “mas” can be renovated at any time after obtaining a permit, if the mas is situated inside the plot or has its own plot. The possibilities for building and renovating differ per property. After seeing a cadastral map, we normally know what the possibilities are through our experience, but you can always consult a local architect for a second opinion. Sometimes there is no mas on the property. Depending on the location and the size of the land, a new home can be built.
A finca urbana is a piece of land that is situated within the boundaries of the village and, unlike a finca rustica, are connected to the drinking water and electricity network or at least have the right to be connected. These plots are normally smaller plots than the finca rusticas and the price per square meter is higher.
A casa de pueblo is a village house. The village house was traditionally used as a farm. They lived in, animals were kept and the work vehicles and work materials were parked there. Most village houses in this region therefore have the same layout. Downstairs the donkey, the horse and the pigs slept and there was room for a tractor. The family lived on the first, second and sometimes third floor and chickens were kept on the top floor. Most houses still have all kinds of authentic elements, such as the massive natural stone walls, wooden beams, granite stairs and ceramic tiled floors.
What do the villages have to offer?
The small villages in the area have all kinds of shops, such as greengrocers, bakers, supermarkets, butchers, bicycle shops and larger stores such as do-it-yourself shops and hardware stores. There are also post offices, swimming pools, tennis courts, cinemas and gyms. There are churches and in Maella there is a 24-hour GP station. Every village has several bars and restaurants and annual events. In Maella, for example, there is a cooking contest ‘Sartané‘ and each village has its own ‘Fiesta Mayor‘, a large seven-day summer event with eateries, life music, children’s activities, sports competitions, fireworks and disco evenings. And in several villages, such as Maella, it is possible to take Spanish lessons, the costs for this are around 30 euro per year.
Renovations and Locations
Ruralpropertyspain.com shows assisted renovations via Flickr and the locations of the finca can be viewed on Google Maps: