Building a house in the Canary Islands: advantages and disadvantages

Building a house in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are an increasingly popular destination for Italians, who wish not only to spend their holidays in a mild climate and a unique natural environment, but also to move permanently to realize a life project.

One of the most important and delicate aspects for those planning a move is certainly the house, which, based on the personal choices and economic availability of individuals, can be rented or owned.

Lately we have read several comments on social media from people who would even like to build their own house, purchasing land and building a "custom" property on site: this article is dedicated to these people.

Building a property in the Canary Islands

Let's start with one thing straight away: building a property involves a whole series of economic, legal and technical aspects that the purchase of an existing property (whether new or used) does not involve at all. This is just to say that construction is not an alternative to purchasing, but rather something completely different, which requires efforts and skills typically foreign to the majority of those who would like to try their hand at an initiative of this type.

I believe it is also necessary to underline that not even those who have previous experience in Italy can consider themselves fully prepared to tackle a construction project in Spain: each country, in fact, has its own peculiarities and the complexity of an operation of this type implies the physiological presence of a series of “local” variables unknown even to the most experts.

However, there is no doubt that building a house is an option capable of offering various advantages, including:

  • Freedom of design and customization: building a house allows you to create a tailor-made property, based on your needs and preferences. You can choose the location, size, shape, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, materials and finishes.
  • Quality and comfort: those who build their own home have the opportunity to use high quality materials and finishes, guaranteeing a high standard in terms of comfort and liveability (rarely present in the local real estate offer).
  • Value of the property: there is no doubt that the newly constructed building also offers economic advantages, both in terms of less maintenance and conservation of its value over the years (therefore better resaleability in the future).

There are, however, also a series of disadvantages, which must be considered before embarking on such an adventure. Let's see, also based on my personal experience, which are the most important:

  • Costs: while the purchase of an existing house has a certain cost (provided that it is approached with the necessary tools and the necessary checks) the construction has margins of uncertainty that must necessarily be taken into consideration. It is therefore very important to supervise the entire process with the greatest possible diligence, from design to implementation up to closure of the construction site, both from a construction and bureaucratic and urban planning point of view. Every unexpected event increases costs, as does every delay.
  • Times: Building a house takes time, from several months to a year, or more. It is very common to underestimate timing, especially those that do not depend on the construction site or in any case on the team. Every bureaucratic hitch translates into waiting and every wait translates into an additional cost. Never before has the old adage "time is money" been more apt than in the case of a construction site.
  • Responsibility: tackling a building project with the related construction site is not something that can be improvised. Anyone who buys land and builds a house in Spain has a number of legal responsibilities that they must be prepared to respond to, regardless of their level of preparation. In this context, it is essential to rely on competent and reliable professionals, capable of maintaining low risk levels during all phases of construction.


Building a house in the Canary Islands is an option that offers several advantages, but it is important to carefully consider costs, time and risks before making a decision. It is essential not only to have an adequate budget, but also excellent planning and a reliable and competent team.

I close this article with some little advice, the result of my direct experience of over seven years as an investor and as a "promoter" in the Canary Islands:

  • The first step you must take is not the search for land (as everyone else does), but the construction of a team. It is useless to move without first having contacted an architect, a appliance (our surveyor), a construction company and, in particular for those who do not live on the island, a real estate consultant who plays a super-partes interface role with the team.
  • Once the team has been identified, before starting to look for the land, it is advisable to define a rough project: knowing what you intend to build is essential in order to choose the appropriate land. If I want to build a 300 m2 villa on two floors, to live in, I have to find land that is not only urban residential, but which allows me to build 300 m2 on two levels. In fact, each piece of land has its own use, its own building coefficient, its own construction and design constraints.
  • Never purchase land independently, without the support of a professional who is able to verify, through appropriate investigations, that its characteristics are actually compatible with those of the project. Furthermore, this information should never be taken directly from the seller, or from a third party who has an economic interest in the sale: I recommend that you always have the members of your team carry out the necessary checks and assessments.
  • Your presence on site, during all phases of the project, is essential to ensure compliance with deadlines and costs. “The eye of the love engulfs the horse”, they say in Spain (the master's eye fattens the horse): be present as much as you can or delegate the coordination activity to a competent and extremely trustworthy figure.

There would still be a lot to say on such a vast topic, but I am sure that the information reported in this article can at least direct "new builders" towards a healthier and safer approach.

If you still have any doubts, write it in the comments.

Article by Marco Sparicius Canary Islands Real Estate Consultant

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