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What they hide the bargain flats

Eight out of ten homes sold in Spain are used and many are susceptible to hide deficiencies that demand large and costly reforms

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What they hide the bargain flats

So far this year have been sold in Spain 217,539 Homes, 11.5% more than in same period of previous year, when y changed hands 192,438 houses, according to INE. More than 80% are second-hand and in many you have to do more than remove dust. In fact, seven out of ten houses that are sold pass sooner or later for reform. All more when re are hooks in between: a refurbished floor can take up to 30% more rent, according to National Association of Distributors of Ceramics and building materials (ANDIMAC). In addition, Government grants for first time aid for works that are made inside houses.

Missing does. Half of homes in Spain are more than 40 years old and have been built with low quality criteria. The pace of ageing in park increases to 3.3% per annum and 81% of properties are over 18 years old, according to Andimac. Behind purchase of a used home is usually price: y are 15% cheaper than new average. The square meter of first is 1,559 euros and second is 1,795 euros, according to Ministry of Development. Some of m are real bargains. However, y may have hidden shortcomings that demand a major reform that will put savings on ground.

How do you know when to buy an old house? The concept is not regulated in any legal text, although "it can be considered from age of 30, that is, since first technical inspection of buildings (ITE), because it really is when building and house begin to require some kind of readjustment, Rehabilitation or updating, says Javier Méndez, director of technical cabinet of Madrid Association of Surveyors. Although truth is that in last decade regulations of construction have advanced so much that in "just 11 years homes before CTE (entered into force in 2006), have become old," he adds. Therefore, before stamping signature in contract of sale it is advisable to know exact date of construction, something that can be obtained in cadastre. It should be taken into account that "if a house of more than 25 years is acquired, a comprehensive reform must be made, which has an average cost of between 450 and 1,000 euros per square metre, depending on quality of materials. On or hand, if you are between five and ten years old, you will need a facelift and a partial reform (painting, floors, bathrooms and kitchen). The average cost would be between 150 and 300 euros, "y explain in Habitissimo reform platform.

Beyond Cracks

But this is not enough. The buyer must lower his enthusiasm and analyze some elements that give more clues. Beyond visible cracks (which are sometimes disguised with a plaster layer), behind walls re are electrical connections, drains and heating pipes whose state tends to go unnoticed to buyer, points out Méndez. For starters, you can find out what state pipes are by opening bathroom taps and kitchen faucets. Lack of pressure indicates deposits in piping and odor can be a reflection that toilet siphon is empty or re is a blockage. The electrical installation is anor of obligatory stops, although when buying a very old house it is best to renew it, adapt wiring and frame, especially power limiters. The energy certificate, compulsory since 2013, shows measures to be corrected to improve ir energy efficiency: if windows have rmal breakage, if re is a chamber of insulation or if walls and forgings are in good condition, indicate in Habitissimo.

The humidity says a lot. Beyond stains on walls, look if tiles are convex or floor is raised. They can be caused by a punctual loss of a pipe or a more serious problem, since humidity can be of filtration, capillarity or condensation. In addition to problems of sanitation, y carry appearance of fungi, efflorescence, deterioration of materials, loss of rmal properties of enclosures, reduction of useful life of dwelling... All can be solved, but not done properly decreases lifespan of buildings. If thing is not too complicated, average price for treating humidity can be 1,347 euros.

It is also important to know where cargo walls and downspouts are because y condition reform if you want to make a change in distribution.

There are cracks and fissures that are not dangerous, but many ors may be symptom of a much more important structural problem. In this case, buyer will need a professional look. The average price of repair of superficial cracks in a building can be around 3,000 euros, while those that pose a structural problem could reach up to 10,000 euros, say in Habitissimo.

The Windows do not affect eir health or safety, but y do in pocket. Most of old houses have some that do not isolate. It is worth initial investment for subsequent savings in energy bill. A seemingly cheap house can get very expensive in medium term if it is not well insulated and cost of air conditioning is high. To know se details, surveyors recommend that buyer request Environmental assessment Report (IEE), a compulsory audit for buildings of more than 50 years that can provide a lot of information to buyer on conservation, Accessibility and energy efficiency. "The IEE is indispensable in old houses," say Madrid riggers. Then re are or less obvious aspects but also influence that price is very low, like future urban projects that could affect habitability, like projection of a highway.

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