Build a Villa in Spain: Insights and Experiences from Expats


Wondering if anyone here has bought land to build a villa in Spain?


These are the answers of Spainguru’s Facebook group members:

“This is possible in some places as long as allowed. Small Pueblos inland have many plots of land where you can build your home

“Yes did it in Castilla La Mancha, in 2004 around 70km south of Madrid. It was a financial disaster. Spent around €300K but now the value of the property is less than €150K. The place is completely depressed and no buyers in view. Stuck with the property and the loss.”

“We bought a plot of land in a small town outside of Madrid and had a house built.”

“I’m currently building a home in an ancient village in Galicia. The process so far has been 4 years. Almost 2 years under construction. We’re almost done!”

“People do it all the time. You can’t just do it anywhere you want – the land has to be zoned for whatever you want to do with it, same as in some US states.”

“Trust me when I tell you that building a brand new home anywhere in Spain will take several years, lots of paperwork, a lot of money and even more patience. I’ve had friends and family who have built homes in Galicia that took years to complete. You are much better off buying a home on some land and renovating.”

“We are building a home”

“Terreno urbanizable yes, Rústico no, you can put a cabin but check with town hall before you spend the money, government can demolish buildings at your cost”

“I’ve build thing but in Malaga city. Every region varies on what you can do, but on rustic land, as a general rule of thumb, you can’t.”

“You may buy an entire town, there are many for sale.”

“Depends on your budget of course, but in Marbella area would take about 3 years for permitting and building. There are a lot of presales with flexible options if you’re interested as well. Those are typically with a larger down payment, then payments over 3 years and 3 year completion.”

“I have, and I’m still in paperwork process, basically I need to get the money together for my building permits.”

“It’s going to be really difficult on rural land. Spain is funny about that. It is best to find an old house and fix it. You can build in an urbanisation.”

“I have no specific experience with building, but I can tell you that the stereotype of red tape and bureaucracy is true. I don’t think it would be as straightforward as it is the US, that you could do it yourself – get all the right permits, etc.

But they do build houses here so there must be a way. If I were doing that here, I think I’d try to find a contractor that knows how to do it and have them handle all the complications.”

“No way! Until I have the permanent residence.”

“Of course you can with the permits but just the thought of it gave me the goosebumps. What a nightmare dealing with Spanish contractors.”


The journey to build a villa in Spain is filled with varied experiences, from successful projects to financial and bureaucratic challenges. While some expats have navigated the complexities of zoning, permits, and construction to create their dream homes, others caution about the potential pitfalls, including financial risks and the lengthy, often frustrating process.

The consensus suggests that thorough research, understanding local regulations, and patience are crucial for anyone looking to build a home in Spain.

Need a consultant to find a plot and build in Spain? Contact experts here.