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Buy a flat in Barcelona

Buying Property in Barcelona: New Construction or Existing Home?

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Written by Daniella

If you are considering investing in a property in Barcelona, you might wonder whether to buy a new construction or an existing home. This decision depends on many different factors, like what type of property you are looking for and what your budget is. As with every kind of important decision to make, there are pros and cons. In this article we will go into some of the specifics, so you can make a better choice for one of both forms of real estate.

New construction or existing home?

Before talking about the advantages and disadvantages of both types of property, we will firstly explain some of the definitions, so we are all on the same page when talking about new constructions or existing homes.

When we say ‘new construction’ or ‘newly-built home’, this is a type of property that you buy directly from the real estate developer in Spain. There haven’t been any previous owners, because the property is brand new. If this is the type of property you want to buy, we strongly advise you to contact someone who knows the local market. A real estate agency can help you find the best new construction homes in Barcelona. This is the right path to follow if you want to be sure your investment in a property abroad is worthwhile.

On the opposite of a newly-built home is a home that has already existed for some or many years. This type of property has had at least one previous owner, but there may even have been many property owners before you. This type of property is what we call an existing home.

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What to consider when buying a new construction or existing home

Now that we are clear on the differences between new constructions and existing homes, we want to dig deeper into what could affect your choice for one or the other. As you can imagine, there are many advantages to buying a new construction, but don’t forget that buying an existing home comes with certain advantages as well. Generally speaking we would like to remind you of the following aspects when weighing the pros and cons:

Moving date: a.s.a.p. or somewhere in the future?

This is an elementary factor when deciding to buy a newly-built or existing home. Most new construction homes that are for sale in Barcelona are known as ‘turnkey’ homes. This means you will have to wait until all building activities have come to and end. It may actually take many years (after the sale) before the building is completely finished, but you can also be lucky and move into your new home within only a couple of months. 

If, however, you are looking for a space to move into in the short term, a new construction is not really a realistic option. You are better off visiting existing homes than waiting for a property that still needs to start being built or is not yet finished. If there is an existing home you like, all that is left to do is go through the formalities of the seller accepting your offer and the notary making the sale official. That’s when you get the keys to your new home.

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Apartment building

Location within the city

When you have decided to invest in an existing home or a new construction in Barcelona, you should mainly be focused on finding the right location for you. It all depends on what your goal with the new property is. If you want to buy the apartment for you and your family to move into, or want to buy it to rent it out for the long term or as holiday accommodation makes a big difference.

New constructions can mostly be found on the outskirts of Barcelona, while existing homes that have been built many years ago are more centrally located in the city. Whatever you want to accomplish with buying the property, the location is where you start your search from.

Related article: 5 Factors to Consider When Buying Property to Rent Out in Barcelona

Materials used during the building process

Of course it is clear that new constructions are built with different materials than existing homes used to be built with in the past. With ‘turnkey’ building projects, however, the buyer often gets offered several choices of materials (at least partly) to be used when building the apartment. Personal preferences for colours and decorative styles can also be taken into account, because the property is still in the process of being built.

A home that was constructed many years ago obviously doesn’t come with these choices. You can decide to remodel (part of) the property in the future and adapt it to your personal wishes, but you initially buy the property in the state that it was in when it was put up for sale. That means you can only accept the choices for materials the previous owners have made. 

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Energy-efficient installations

The new Ley de Ordenación de Edificación states that new constructions should comply with certain energy-efficient rules. Besides that, it is now regulated that there is a 10-year warranty on the main construction of the building, a 3-year warranty on liveability faults, and a full year warranty on the finishing elements of the property. These types of warranty, as you can imagine, couldn’t possibly be given on any existing property.

You now know that there are many key factors when deciding to buy a new construction or an existing home. If you could use a helping hand buying property in Barcelona, don’t hesitate to reach out to ShBarcelona and its experienced real estate agents. They know the city inside and out and love to help you find your ideal property.

About the author


Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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