FAQS

FAQ´s

What are the brokerage costs if I want to buy a property with your assistance?

The brokerage costs are included in the price when you wish to purchase a property from the ¨our properties¨ page.

Additional services that are required are not paid separately, they are part of the purchase.

If you wish to use our services from the ¨other properties¨ page, the associated costs are indicated per point.

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: Gandesa (34 km), Alcaniz (49 km), Tarragona (112 km), Lleida (114 km), Zaragoza (130 km), Castelló (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.

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. 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 outside the plot. In order to renovate a mas, a permit is required and, if necessary, a corresponding project from an architect.

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.

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).

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 masses.

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, grapes, almonds, peaches, nectarines, 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 and grapes. 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?

Gas:

In Spain, people do not have natural gas at home like in another countries where each household has a gas connection. In Spain this is not possible, 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 +/- 35 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.

Water:

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.

It is indicated in the description of the finca if a finca is connected to water.

Light:

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, gas 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?

A single person speaks 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 rustica 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. If there is a registered building it´s possible to get registered as a citizen of Maella at the town hall. A finca urbana on the other hand does have an address.

Do I need a cap 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?

Per hectare this is about 4 euros for the road tax and 5 euros for the property tax.

What costs, in addition to the asking price, should I take into account? Such as notarial fees, brokerage fees, etc.

Notary fees:

This is an amount of between 200 and 500 euros.

Agency fees:

The agency fee is included in the price.

Impuesto Transmision Patrimonial:

Transfer tax: In Aragon this is 8% of the purchase price.

Registration fee:

These are the costs to put the finca into your name, and are between 100 and 500 euros.

Where can I apply for a N.I.E.?

There are two ways to apply for a N.I.E.:

  1. You can apply for your N.I.E. at the Spanish Embassy of your country. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks before you will receive your N.I.E. The cost of this is +/- 9.50 euro.
  2. You can apply for your N.I.E. in Spain. This can be done in Zaragoza, a city about 130 km from Maella. 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.

To reserve a house or finca it´s not necessary to have a N.I.E. This is done by a Contract of Deposit and therefore the details of your passport or DNI are enough. Once you come back to your country, you can apply for the N.I.E. so that when you return to Spain you´ll have the N.I.E. for the Notary Agreement.

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?

You can pay taxes in two different ways. You can pay cash and you can pay by bank automatically. For direct debit, you need a Spanish account number. The first payment must be paid in cash with the bank, if you want to pay by direct debit, you can then indicate this.

Can I open a bank account if I do not have a Spanish address?

Yes. You can open an account once you have a N.I.E. 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.

What factors affect the price of a property

There are several factors that affect the price of a property, some examples of which are;

  • The location
  • The presence of water and / or irrigation system
  • The size
  • Emotional value of the seller
  • Reachability
  • The plantation
  • 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
  • The state of the orchard
  • Personal financial situation of the seller

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.

Glossary

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.

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 and is 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 are deposits inside the mases 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.

Note 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…

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 1985. 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 500-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. 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 25 euros per year.

ALVAREZ & PANNEKEET, S.L.

info@ruralpropertyspain.com
T. 0034 633 714 148