Buying information - houses for sale in Galicia
Aim of this page
To give you some idea of the variety, style, location, description and cost of houses for sale in Galicia.
What to look for
Firstly a house is usually called a casa (casas - plural), chalet (chalets) and very occasionally in Galicia, a villa. You may also see the word finca which covers a multitude of descriptions from a farmhouse to a mansion, but usually situated in the countryside (el campo). Many country houses and especially those in need of refurbishment are described as a casa rustica (rustic house). Just to keep things complicated you will find all of the above descriptions used by different agents to describe the same property.
Who sells houses in Galicia
Casas, fincas, chalets and casa ruticas are sold through agents in the same way that properties are advertised and sold in the UK, USA and most other countries.
One other feature that is worth knowing is that there is never any exclusivity to selling a property. This means that you will see the same property for sale on anything up to a dozen different agents, and with varying prices. It can sometimes appear to be nothing more than pot luck in determining which one to select.
Location and price
Prices vary considerably based on location. Simply put, the closer you are to the coast and a main town or city, the higher the price. Move inland from the coast with a location away from any significant urbanization and prices drop considerably. Find a remote spot in the hills and an old run down casa rustica or finca and you will pay very little.
What do you get for your money
As ever you get what you pay for. A remote ruin in the back of nowhere will be cheap and can be refurbished by one of a growing number of small builders. The completed cost will offer excellent value for money and may give you substantial living space.
There will however be a downside. The property will not normally be connected to mains water and will not have access to a municipal sewer. Phone connectivity will be extremely unlikely and there may not even be an electricity mains cable available.
Most of these problems may not be as significant as they appear. Many small towns in Galicia are lacking in mains water and sewerage, but there are commonly used alternatives. Natural springs are used extensively for water supply (and are drinkable) and many properties have a sess pit in the garden. It sound unpleasant, but it is not and most only require emptying every few years (this is done by a specialist company). Mobile and radio phones are substitutes for land lines and can offer (slow) internet connections. Electricity is however not so simple to get around and this should be checked prior to any purchase.
How to find a house, casa, finca or chalet in the region
It is not a good idea to arrive in Galicia on a whim and hope to find your perfect house. You will succeed only in wasting your time and money. You need to spend time (several hours) scanning the internet for properties and the companies offering them. You then need to put together a short list of houses and contact the companies offering them. Give these companies the dates on which you plan to visit and tell them (or ask them for) an agenda or schedule of property visits.
How to buy
Do not make an offer, do not agree to a sale and do not sign anything without proper legal advice first, preferably from someone fluent in Spanish land law and the English language.
If you are told that an actuary will do everything for you, get nervous. An actuary is not your representative and has no obligation to give you advice of any kind. He or she simply verifies the contract and makes it binding in law. You must get legal assistance in order to ensure that you are getting exactly what you think you are getting without any catches or tricks. Ownership problems are rife in Galicia, so be sure that all the necessary checks are made before you buy.
The golden rule is simply to look at what you would do, want and expect in your own country and then to follow the same approach in Galicia. You will need searches on ownership, possible access issues, service access, planning permissions etc. You should also be aware that doing these things properly takes time. If an agent tells you that the contract can be signed sealed and delivered in a very short time span, get worried.
Finally, to emphasize the same point, do not be rushed. The Galician house market is slow and many properties take years rather than weeks or months to sell. If an agent tries to pressure you into buying quickly before the house is “sold to someone else”, the chances are that he is bluffing. Be cautious, it is a big decision.
Where to find the houses
Most of the English speaking agents selling houses in Galicia have links on this site on one or more of our property pages. Using these links will give you access to a vast array of house for sale in all the Galician regions. Use these links (and the rest of galiciaguide.com) to research prices, locations and agents and check the prices of identical properties between agents. Some agents can be agents for agents.