Welcome to pacheco & asociados


Here you will find answers to many problems that expats may come across when embarking themselves in building or buying a place in the sun. These solutions and explanations shown here are the result of more than 25 years of experience working as an architect in Spain. These articles have been published previously in one of the best newspapers for expats in Spain, "Costa Blanca News".

 

If you have a particular problem which is not covered here, do not hesitate to send me an email and I will try to respond as soon as possible... and free of charge, of course.


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RECENT POSTS

Nine steps to follow if you are buying a home. (Part 1)

The recovery of the Spanish economy, competitive mortgages and an investing appetite to put product in the rental market are the causes of growth in the real estate sector. The data for the end of 2016 and the first months of 2017 encourage us to be reasonably optimistic. 

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Important real estate facts you should know about.

When you are buying a house and the seller mentions the area of that house do you know if it is a net area or is it a total gross area and what are the differences?

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Construction shoots up in the Valencia Region

We architects are the first one to feel the crunch and the first ones to appreciate any improvements in the building industry. I am glad to say that this time we are appreciating an advance in the construction business.

 

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Installing surveillance cameras? Don’t make these errors

After the implementation of the so called Omnibus Law in Spain, any company or individual can install a security camera system without having to comply with the requirements demanded by the Ministry of the Interior. Thus, many communities of neighbours may choose to install the CCTV cameras themselves. But the results are not always as expected. 

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The biggest increase in the price of housing in a decade.

The price of housing grew by 4.7% in 2016 and adds three consecutive years to the rise, according to data published Wednesday by INE. The most pronounced price increases were in the communities of Madrid (+ 8.6%), Catalonia (+ 7%) and the Balearic Islands (+ 6.2%). I believe that there is no bubble, but a price recovery after the 'brick bubble' punctured in 2007. The lack of new housing supply and the scarcity of land are the two major concerns in the sector in the face of future increases in price. 

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How to design the perfect kitchen. Part 1

This idea has been reintroduced over the years, and today a kitchen should offer more than functionality: it should be the centre of family reunion, sometimes replacing the function of the dining or living room.

Anyone who has ever organised a party in their own home knows that no matter how comfortable and inviting the sofa and a fireplace may be, where everyone ends up meeting is in the kitchen. In fact I consider it is possible to determine the degree of friendliness of the people gathered in a home by the time they spend around the kitchen.

 

Where can I find an inspiration?

From modern to classic, from extravagant to minimalist: Just Google "Kitchens" “images” and innumerable ideas and inspiration on how to decorate a kitchen for all tastes will be seen. Although portals such as Instagram,  Houzz,. Inhabitat etc have better and more up to date styles.

Moreover in those portals if you see a kitchen that you like, with a single click you can add the photograph to your book of ideas. Books of ideas are used to collect inspiration. You can add or delete photos at any time, as well as change your order manually. In addition, text fields that are predefined in idea books allow you to include personal comments to your favourite projects. The idea books already created are stored automatically in your profile so you always have all your ideas in sight.

 

How do I start designing a kitchen?

There are different styles with which you can decorate a kitchen. Since space must primarily reflect our individuality, it is first essential to define your own personality or taste. Once this point is clear, you can start making decisions regarding colour, layout and style of cooking that we want to use. Do you want a kitchen with an island or, on  just a standard kitchen? Do we want to bet on shiny finishes or do we prefer soft ones? What kind of flooring combines best with the selected kitchen surfaces?

 

 The biggest challenge in planning a kitchen is to know how to combine taste and functionality. I will unveil some of my tricks to combine everything and provide you with some inspiration.

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How to design the perfect kitchen. Final Part

In my previous article we looked at the different places where we could look for inspiration. We also recommended starting by defining your own personality or taste then proceeding by making coherent decisions regarding colour, layout and style of kitchen that we want to use etc.

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Let plants do the dirty job!

The air quality of some cities is not good, but the quality within homes or offices can be even worse. Contaminants of all kinds can be present in indoor areas with various harmful effects. The increasing use of plastics, detergents, varnishes, and the use of more efficient external joinery which hermetically seal off the incoming of fresh air is causing cancer figures to rise each year.

 

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Which appliances consume electricity even when switched off?

We have seen electricity prices rocketing up in Spain this winter. The Spanish electric companies offered very poor excuses before a passive Spanish Government. They picked on the coldest days of the year to increase electric prices by as much as 60%.

 

So apart from installing our own electric photovoltaic panels the next thing we can do is to save electricity by any means. One way of saving is to switch off all those appliances which we have on standby.   

 

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Let’s produce our own electricity.

Everyone connected to Spanish electric grid had a good scare when on the coldest days of the year, around the 11th of January the Spanish electricity wholesalers announced that the price of electricity has reached its highest value since December 2013. The price boom has intensified in the last hours of the afternoon, when the cost of the megawatt hour (mwh) exceeds 92 Euros, a very high quota if you take into account that just a year ago the same mwh was worth 60 Euros, 33% less. 

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3 proposals to make a saving when rehabilitating your home

Believe it or not banks are beginning to charge for money deposited in their banks. That also means that obtaining a loan from them is at minimum levels specially if the money is invested to improve your home.

 

The current offer on loans for building works allows comparing several products and choosing the most economical.

 

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What are the costs of purchasing a home? (Part 1)

Many clients do ask me about the cost of construction  and being an architect it is a forthcoming question, nonetheless every now and again I do get ask for other costs associated to the actual purchase of a house, in which case I have to do a little research to find out.

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What are the costs of purchasing a home? (Final Part)

Following my last article on the costs that have to be taken into account when purchasing a home in Spain, see here a quick reminder of what it was specified last week. Please see below a guideline. 

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What are the costs of purchasing a home in Spain? (Final Part)

Following my last article on the costs that have to be taken into account when purchasing a home in Spain, see here a quick reminder of what it was specified last week. Please see below a guideline. 

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The best pension plan? Rehabilitate your home.

The energy saved in renovating a home may be more interesting as an investment than the interests that you may obtain from an endowment policy for retirement.

 

The efficiency obtained in the energy saved could be up to 1.675 Euros per year in a standard house.

 

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A half home

That was the original Chilean plan to create decent housing after a complete town was destroyed by an earthquake. A firm of architects devised a controversial strategy; they designed homes divided in two: 

 

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5 reasons why 2017 will be the definitive recovery of the real estate market in Spain.

Although I have been blowing my own trumpets since a year ago writing about the end of recession for the real estate market, a new BBVA bank report has officially declare that 2017 will be the definitive recovery for the real estate market. 

 

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The revolutionary Tesla roof

If you haven’t heard the name Tesla it will probably be because you don’t have to pay nearly 60€ to fill your car’s tank every week as I do, and therefore you don’t read technical articles on electric cars praying for its arrival in Spain sooner than later. 

 

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Have I sold too cheap? Had I bought too expensive?

Every day more than a thousand houses are sold in Spain and about 20% of those properties are bought/sold by an expat.

 

Once signed the contract of sale is exactly when doubts assail both those who have sold their home and those who have made the purchase. "Have I sold too cheap?" "Have I bought for too much?" Should I have raised the price a little more?" Should I have asked for a bigger discount? 

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Urban rooftop orchards. (Part 1)

This article points out the world's most outstanding urban gardens on rooftops, their advantages and challenges and how to create one.

 

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Ozone pollution in Spain, how it affects us.

This article points out how it affects Spain ozone pollution, how it is formed and what citizens can do to combat it.

 

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10 reasons to be optimistic.

Today I am feeling good.

 

The struggle for the environment is getting good news that motivated me to continue working for a better planet

 

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Property valuations increases by 13%

You will remember and I you don’t I am here to refresh your mind that as long ago as April of this year I wrote an article called “The price of housing is soaring in Barcelona and Madrid”. In this article I did warn of the next property rise especially on the large cities of Barcelona and Madrid a prelude for the rest of Spain to follow.

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Gas or electricity?

One of the questions we are frequently asked when designing a new house or rehabilitating an existing one is whether to opt for gas or electricity in the kitchen.

To see what is more economic if electric ceramic and induction hobs, or gas cookers, should be taken into account not only the time and energy saved in gas supply or electricity but also the fixed rates of each supply that must be paid to the company.

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What building works should not be made when purchasing a home to make a profit?

The rehabilitation of a used house is an option that could be up to 20% cheaper than to buy a new home with some exceptions such as structural problems or other complications which may be too complicated for the layman to undertake.

 

But what kind of reforms are good investments when buying and which are not?

 

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A house that may be divided into two in case of divorce.

If you are planning to marry soon maybe you should contemplate taking a look at this new conceptual design in housing and don’t say that we architects don’t  think about everything!!

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Why house prices will continue to rise in the coming months?

The average price of housing rose 7.5% between January and June, according to the latest data from the Association of Registrars, and everything points to maintain this positive trend until the end of the year due to the good tone ON residential demand, with next sales increased to 16%. This improvement is based on several factors, according to the BBVA Bank Research Group:

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Did you know that a mortgage can now be cheaper than renting?

It is the old arithmetic that many citizens turn to when they are faced with the dilemma of choosing between going to live in a rented property or becoming the landlord. 

 

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What can an architect do for me? (Part 1)

To tell the truth I had taken for granted that the normal thing to do when anyone wanted to build a home was to call an architect first; however that wasn’t the impression I obtained from a close friend this last August. The conversation started when this friend asked me if I knew a good local builder as he wanted to build a house.

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What can an architect do for me? (Final Part)

We did look at the advantages of engaging an architect when you want to build or renovate a property in Spain and also how you can obtain value for money.

Also and on how an architect can inject imagination into your project and provide peace of mind by dealing with all the necessary paperwork specially in a bureaucratic country such as Spain.

 

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Why should we protect coastal sand dunes? (Part 1)

Without dunes beaches will disappear. It is as simple as that.

 

In Spain the sand dunes have been mistreated during a long time, nevertheless now the Spanish authorities have realized of their importance and are trying to do something to improve them.

 

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Why should we protect coastal sand dunes? (Final Part)

In my last article we analysed the conditions and estate of coastal sand dunes in Spain and discovered that the sand dunes have been mistreated during a long time, nevertheless the Spanish authorities have realized now of their importance and are trying to do something to improve the situation because they have discovered a simple fact; without dunes beaches will disappear.

 

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Can cycling and town planning coexist in Spain?

Spain is a world reference for tourism there is no doubt about that and could become a world reference for cycling tours but at this time is far away from other countries such as Holland. 

 

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What is the minimum, legal size for a dwelling in Spain?   (Part 1)

There has been a norm in Spain since 1944 called “Order of the Ministry of the Interior of 29 February 1944”. That law laid down the minimum conditions to be met by all kinds of homes, regardless of ownership throughout Spain. Believe it or not this legislation is still in force in several autonomous regions (including the Murcia region) where they do not have a particular law which lay out the minimum conditions to be met in the design of any type of home. 

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What is the minimum, legal size for a dwelling in Spain? (Final Part)

On my last article I did explained the different regulations which emanated from the many Spanish regional communities on the minimum standards accepted for a minimum size house and how we still use in some regions a law from 1944 such as the Murcia region.

 

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The impact of a swimming pool in your home.

Did you know that a pool may double the selling price of a home in Spain?

 

Reading through various websites I was struck by a remarkable fact; a simple pool can double the price of a home in Spain.

 

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Ways to prevent a break-in while on holiday. (Part 1)

Apart from what is lost and the damage caused, personal feelings also come into play. To find out that total strangers may have been in your home going through your personal belongings may leave a strange sense of vulnerability and helplessness and of course the incident will spoil your well deserved holiday in Spain.

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Ways to prevent a break-in while on holiday. (Final Part)

On my last article we were looking at the different ways of protecting your property not only your holiday home but also your home back in UK while on vacation.

 

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Curious relationships.

I am referring to the curious relationship between car sales and housing prices and on how that statistical data may provide us with an insight on how the house market may perform on the next year or two.

 

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Buying a holiday home to let. (Part 1)

Are you interested in buying a holiday home as an investment?

These following tips could be useful in helping you making the right decisions so that you obtain the maximum return on your investment.

 

Obviously the most important decisions which have the greatest impact on the house are made before the property is bought. 

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Buying a holiday home to let (Final Part).

In my previous article we looked at the different points to be taken into account if you were considering buying a holiday home as an investment.

 

One important aspect that we analysed was to know the assessed value of your future home before you buy.

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Be warned (again…).

Home purchase in Spain has triggered and prices recorded their biggest rise since 2007. This April, 35,199 homes changed hands, 29% more than a year earlier and the highest since February 2013.

 

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They are not only cheap they also help the environment

Yes, I am referring to renewable energy.

 

If the production of renewable was doubled by 2030 it would increase the global GDP and save trillions of dollars on pollution expenses, according to a recent reports by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). 

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What are the main doubts of a home buyer in Spain?

The decision to purchase a home in Spain is never easy to take. Even now that the market has started to recover there are questions and doubts that potential buyers and visitors to the “Sima” Madrid International Real Estate Exhibition have expressed. Sima took place from the 5th to the 8th of May. 

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Net Zero Energy Building. (Part 1)

Well, the experts haven’t yet agreed on how to call these new homes.

You might have seen them announced as Zero Net Energy Building (ZNEB), Net-Zero Energy Building (NZEB), or Net Zero Building. Basically it is the same thing. Well not basically, it is the same thing.

These are homes that hardly consume any non-renewable energy. 

 

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Net Zero Energy Building. (Final Part)

Energy saving…. that is the key.

Energy saving measures, are the most significant questions that these houses solve, reducing the consumption of all kinds of energies, heating, electricity, refrigeration etc. and secondly, by reducing the energy demand from the building itself.

 

There are energy certificates attesting these models of passive house as the Passivhaus or Minergie (Swiss). Another "third way" in this sustainable model also takes into accounts other energy criteria, which incorporates other environmental related concepts such as green building and the application of non-polluting materials.

 

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How to soundproof your home for less than 1.500€

68% of Spanish households do not qualify for good quality sleep.

I am a Spaniard but I have to confess that we are a noisy lot.

 

When we go out for dinner with friends we do select the restaurant not only because of the quality of their cuisine and their prices but also depending of the sound level within the restaurant. Ok, I do confess that I have sound meter telephone app and I do measure the decibels inside and outside the restaurants every time we do visit the restaurant and take down the readings. 

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Amigos for ever?

Because I am a member of the British Institute of British architects (RIBA) …brag, brag, I receive a free copy of its monthly the RIBA magazine.

 

In this monthly copy there is an article which distraught me a lot so I wanted to share it with you. It is about the consequences of providing free professional advice to a friend just to show that we architects must always be on our guard.

 

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The price of housing is soaring in Barcelona and Madrid.

I don't want to say anything but don’t tell me in the future that I have not warned you.

 

Property prices are to rise from now on if we continue without a major world calamity. The prices of houses in Barcelona have increased at an annual rate of 9.2%, while the value of apartments in the capital have increased by 7.5% and I remember that these were the same symptoms when everything started around December 2001.

 

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Can you put a value on your house?

Easy.

 

Consult similar offer in internet portals, analyse the profile of the potential buyer and assess the general state of the property. These are the key elements to put the right price on your home. 

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The Spanish Cadastral Office is catching up on you.

The Spanish Cadastral Office is scanning the whole of the Coast looking for new builds, renovations or changes of use of buildings that were previously invisible to them. 

 

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Why Spain has the most expensive electricity bill in Europe. (Final Part)

The renewable energy 'trap'

 

The truth is that when the boom of renewable began in 2007, the electrical system had accumulated a deficit approaching the 10,000 million Euros, but in later years increased an additional 4,000 to 5,000 million Euros each year.

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Why Spain has the most expensive electricity bill in Europe. (Part 3)

The boom of renewable energy.

 

And after the expansion of combined cycle plants, came the outburst of renewable energy parks, which grew at times uncontrolled by juicy hefty incentives. The problem was not the proliferation of windmills and solar panels, of which we should be proud of, but its high cost. Renewable and cogeneration eventually totalled 9,000 million a year in governmental aids, apart from the money they receive by selling electricity to the market. 

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Why Spain has the most expensive electricity bill in Europe. (Part 2)

On the first part of this article we saw that we pay one of the highest bill on electricity in Europe.

We also analysed how the famous debt of the 30,000 million Euros in favour of the electricity companies was created and why we have a unique system for the electricity industry in the world.

We also discovered that the electric deficit is an example of how the confusion of public and private interests and an apprehensive double set of regulations misguided planning and a failed market can produce some disastrous results. Companies benefited at the expense of widespread over remunerations that has had the effect that now, consumers have to pay extremely expensive electricity which not so long ago had a reasonable price.

 

This article will centre on the history of why we are where we are…paying the most expensive electricity in Europe.

 

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Why Spain has the most expensive electricity bill in Europe. (Part 1)

I am afraid my love for Spanish electricity companies remains at its lowest level. After the new laws on solar cell panels and after increases on our electricity bill of nearly 80% from 2004 to 2014 it is more of a hate relationship.

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All you should know about video surveillance in communities of owners. (Final part)

It is legal to place video surveillance cameras in a workplace?

Article 20 of the Spanish Workers' Statute empowers the employer to take "any action it deems most appropriate to watch and monitor or verify compliance by the worker of their obligations and work duties

 

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Seven reasons to use biomass to heat your home.

 

 

More and more citizens in Europe use biomass as a renewable fuel.

 

This article offers seven environmental and economic reasons to install a heating and hot water system using biomass as a fuel. 

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All you should know about video surveillance in communities of owners. (Part 1)

Need to improve on safety in your own community? It seems that the burglary has grown in the neighbourhood where you live and you do not feel safe without surveillance measures in the building or complex where you live?

 

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Spain is the EU country where most people live in apartments.

Eurostat spends a good amount of money in producing statistics about almost any activity within the EC and offers very valuable information about the construction industry. This time it has produced an array of figures about where the European likes to live.

 

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All you need to know to produce your own electricity at home. (Final part)

Following the thread from my last article I did argued that today more than ever, it is essential the introduction of renewable energy sources so that we alleviate external dependence on energy and with the intention of facilitating access to heating and hot water at low prices, in addition enabling the rehabilitation of buildings with the aid of the administration to encourage energy saving and efficiency. 

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All you need to know to produce your own electricity at home. (Part 1)

How to produce your own electricity

 

On October the 17th, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the Platform for a New Energy Model Spain reported that energy poverty affects 10% of the Spanish population and will continue to increase: more than two million families are not able to turn on the heat simply because they cannot afford it.

 

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Be among the first to pay less property tax this year.

You may pay less property tax this year 

 

Local councils offer discounts from January 2016 of up to 20% in the IBI of homes and offices that use less energy. That is the news.

 

The Ministry of Finance has devised an energy reduction law on Property Tax (IBI) which offers discounts of up to 20% for households (and offices) more efficient on energy saving. 

 

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If you are going to buy a home in Spain….

Buying a home in Spain

Buying a home can be one of the most important economic decisions in our lives. An investment that will require more or less effort according to the type of house, location, status and the savings that we already dispose of. In any case, given the importance of the operation, we should remember a few things to consider before signing the loan and even if we are already mortgaged.

  

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Biomass a good profitable energy in homes and public buildings

Biomass, as a renewable energy system is outpacing minority alternative energies.

Its efficiency is being demonstrated as a more reliable and cost-effective heating option. So much so that not only is winning the private households sector, but in recent years several public institutions have decided to integrate it into their buildings.

 

Every kW produced by diesel costs almost twice that of biomass.

 

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My predictions for the Spanish house market in 2016

It is no secret that 2014 and 2015 were a turning point for the Spanish real estate market after a long period of crisis. In these two years the market began to get back on its feet after biting the dust in 2007 and 2008.  

 

The building stock has been declining in many zones, although others persist and quite possibly may have difficult to sell. Most important, the housing crisis has been a debugging in the industry, finishing with the least professional firms and opening a window of opportunity for the surviving companies.

 

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Why we pay in Spain one of the most expensive electricity in Europe?

Between 2008 and 2014 the electricity bill rose 52% in Spain, well above the European average, which has the fourth most expensive electricity bills in the EU, behind Denmark, Germany and Ireland. 

 

What are the reasons?

The intervention of various governments with renewable energy grants and taxes hinder the electrical industry and determine the electric bill to rise.

 

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The ideal Home Show in Spain.

There is an Ideal Home Show in Spain too (or similar) which takes place from 23rd to 25th of October. Next year 2016 (just around the corner) will take place from the 5th to the 8th of May which it is called the SimaExpo and normally takes place in Madrid.

 

In this article I will try to analyse the statistics which are beginning to emanate these days from the show, to see if it will give us some insight as to the general tendencies on type of dwellings, public etc.

 

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The ideal home for the Brits.

Following my last article I have immersed myself in this study by RE / MAX Europe to fish out some more valuable info and this below is what I have found.

 

It must have a garden and a pool; with a large dressing room; with garage for at least three vehicles; with home cinema; heliport ... as it is mentioned in a traditional Spanish lottery advertising campaign "We do not have cheap dreams" or maybe yes? 

 

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Houses best preferred by the Europeans.

I am not a passionate reader of opinion polls but in this case I have made an exception. Is not only because this particular poll has provided very valuable information for me as an architect but also because I always like to analyse factors like cost, location, size, sources to find a property etc that do influence the other Europeans citizens when they decide to build or buy a new house here in Spain.


A representative study named “Looking for and finding properties in Europe” by RE/MAX Europe, conducted in 16 European countries, reveals that the Internet is clearly the medium of choice in the search for real estate.

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Security measures on balconies and terraces. (Part 1)

How many times have we heard of small kids falling through balconies or terraces? We have a Spanish saying, "accidents never occur.... until they do".


Terraces, balconies, attics and roofs terraces are greatly used in this part of the world, especially in urbanizations and properties around the Costa, because their design are mostly orientated for people to enjoy sunbathing on them. To enjoy these places without problems, it is essential to attend a series of recommendations, especially if there are children around the house or even if they visit us occasionally.


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Security measures on balconies and terraces. (Final Part)

In my last article we were examining different aspects of security on terraces and balconies taking special care on the safety features if there were children around. This week however, we will look at other elements that it may pass inadvertently but it could certainly be dangerous.

 

Let us take for instance the placement of those popular inflatable swimming pools. Some years ago the models available were few and usually used for toddlers. Now days I have seen swimming pools capable of sustaining many tones of water, think that 1 cubic metre is approximately 1 tone, so you can calculate yourself the weight of these pools.

 

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Construction deficiencies in newly built homes. 

One of the most disagreeable parts of my work has to do with having to prepare technical reports on construction deficiencies and this is not only due to the fact that normally it implies poking my nose into somebody’s work, but also the grand effort that I have to make in attempting to be as impartial and objective as possible keeping into perspective the interests of my client and that of other parties, and this is not because I am a good hearted person (that I am) but more to the fact that this sort of building pathologies tend to end up in court and judges, who are dealing every single day with similar cases tend to pass sentences taken into account the actual problem and its real quantification and have a propensity to act negatively when it is clear and apparent that one of the parties is intending to take advantage of circumstances. 

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Some interesting facts on the worst planning disasters in Spain.

Spain has more than 25 million homes, of which nearly three and a half million are empty. The urban construction in recent years has caused serious environmental and economic consequences across the Spanish geography, although it is more evident in coastal areas. In this article I will try to indicate the worst urban of Spain.


A question of figures. Some of the data of the so-called housing bubble speak for themselves: Spain, with a population of about 47 million people, had by the end of 2006 about 23.5 million homes (in late 2012 just over 25.3 million), according to the Ministry of Development. Of this total number, nearly three and a half million are empty, according to the most recent (2011) National Institute of Statistics (INE).

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How much does it cost you to keep your empty property in Spain? (Part 1)

Let me apologies first for bringing up this impertinent issue. I know this is not the appropriate time to ask this socially incorrect question.

 

But if you include taxes, services supplies and insurance, the bills could soar up to over 2,000 Euros a year for a house of 80 square meters. But if you include taxes, services supplies and insurance, the bills could soar up to over 2,000 Euros a year for a house of 80 square meters.


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How much does it cost you to keep your empty property in Spain? (Final Part)

Well, to continue with this rather thorny issue from last article where we were doing an estimation of expenses attach to an empty property in Spain could be alarming if you have never rolled up you sleeves and got down to do a few sums.


In our last article we mentioned taxes and other fixed expenses, this week we can take a look at the community of owners' expenses and other domestic payments.

 

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Prefabricated houses: advantages and disadvantages (Part 1)

Nowadays there are many firms with glossy catalogues on prefab houses boasting that once they are bought they are ready to move in and prices are more affordable than those of a conventional home. How true are these statements?

 

Nowadays there are many firms with glossy catalogues on prefab houses boasting that once they are bought they are ready to move in and prices are more affordable than those of a conventional home. How true are these statements?


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Prefabricated houses: advantages and disadvantages (Final Part)

In my last article I did make a long list of the advantages of prefab houses, well now is the time to see the other side of the coin so that you can make a balance decision in case you want to proceed forward and build yourself one.

 

You can read here, the previous post:

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A decent night sleep. A practical guide to noise insulation (Part 1). 

Sound insulation

Yes, Spain is sunny, people are friendly (sometimes), food is fine, (if know where to eat), but I have to admit it, we are noisy, very noisy.


Yes, Spain is sunny, people are friendly (sometimes) food is fine, (if know where to eat), but I have to admit it, we are noisy, very noisy.


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A decent night sleep. A practical guide to noise insulation (Part 2). 

We continue from last article where we explained the serious problem of noise in Spain in almost on all ambits of life. This week we propose to concentrate on the practical side of noise insulation.


We continue from last week article where we explained the serious problem of noise in Spain in almost on all ambits of life. This week we propose to concentrate on the practical side of noise insulation.

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A decent night sleep. A practical guide to noise insulation (Final part). 

Noise Insulation
Noise Insulation

There is a before and after regarding sound insulation in Spain and the date was September of 2009. Any building which building licence was obtained after that date must comply with very strict rules on sound insulation.


The “Código Técnico de la Edificación” the counterpart of the British Building Regulation states that the protection against noise generated in the same unit of use i.e. adjacent rooms in the same home unit:The global index of noise reduction, in, Ra, shall be for partition walls not less than 33 dBA for airborne noise, DnTA., 


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New law on solar panels cells, how does it affect us? (Part 1) 

What the new decree says on electric energy consumption. 

This new law reduces the chances of consumers at home to produce their own electricity from a renewable sources. The Government has finally approved the decree law regulating the consumption of electricity in Spain. Any consumer who wants to produce their own electricity at home with a solar panel must be aware of it. Several specialists have confirmed what they had forecast and pointed exactly to the stagnation of the renewable energy sector in this country. 

 

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New law on solar panels cells (Final Part) 

Although this is a continuation from last article on this theme let me just do a small recapitulation on this subject matter.

 

A new law has been approved by the Spanish Government that reduces the chances of any consumers at home to produce their own electricity from a renewable source.

 

Any consumer who wants to produce their own electricity at home with a solar panel should be aware of it.

 

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Less solar panels and more thermal insulation

We all have a guru or person who we admire. In my case is the Swiss economist Mr. Massimo Filippini. This professor has done a lot of research on energy consumption in Switzerland and other part of the world. he has carried out innumerable studies with regards to energy consumption. He has been during decades analyzing key economic efficiency of health systems, transport and energy for several countries in Europe. Massimo Filippini (born in Lugano, Switzerland, 1963), is a professor at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, the European counterpart to MIT in Boston, and arrived at Galicia to participate in the Atlantic Workshop on Energy and Environmental Economics, a workshop that brings together a selected reduced group of European scientists at Toja every two years to discuss their researches. 

 

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How to avoid paying for a fraudulent Energy Certificate  (Final Part)

As we mentioned last week, Energy Certificates are raising many doubts among consumers, and some scams have been reported.

 

This article is a follow up from last week´s and try to explains how much can cost an energy certificate for buildings, lists the possible fraud, pointing to what should be included and provides the keys to improve the energy efficiency of a building.

  

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Five tips to reduce your mortgage.

The reduction of the price of money is creating more and better opportunities for a mortgage is to be signed today, or if we want to improve the existing conditions of an existing one. In this regard, banks are launching new offers with lower interests, meaning reductions in monthly instalments. But there are other ways to pay less for a home loan: a closer relationship with the bank and to opt for loans for properties sold by banks can add extra advantages to tip the balance your way. Here are some of the tips which may help you to lower mortgage costs.

 

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Net-Zero Energy Buildings (Part 1)

Yes I must confess that I am obsessed this "Net-Zero Energy Buildings". And I know that I have written articles on this subject before but I am worry, very worry, because I just have no idea on how on earth we architects are suppose to design building with zero renewable energy consumption buildings by the year 2020. Yes you read correctly, buildings that should not use any none renewable energy in six years time. Just round the corner.

 

We all know that our cities consume enormous quantities of energy, with the heating and cooling of buildings accounting for more than 41% of total demand in Europe alone. This means buildings have a dramatic negative global environmental impact, which is unsustainable, given the world’s predominant reliance on fossil fuels and their rapidly increasing costs. We accept that, but legislating in the limbo and not providing sufficient knowledge to us architects on how we are suppose to carry out is a bit risky to say the least.

 

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Net-Zero Energy Buildings (Part 2)

Last week we broadly explained what a zero-energy home was, but just to remind you, let me explain that the basic objective of a conventional property developer now days is to build a home with the possible lower construction costs, that current regulation allows.

 

In this way, the consumption of more or less energy throughout its useful life is something secondary, which in any case that expenditure will fall on the user.

 

However, in a zero-energy housing the main concern is with the user spending the minimum possible energy and that this energy comes from a renewable sources of the building itself.

 

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Net-Zero Energy Buildings (Final Part)

On last articles we generally explained what a zero-energy home was, but just to remind that these new buildings will come into force in Spain in the year 2020 and in UK in 2016.

 

Today 13th of March of 2014 here in Spain, as I am writing this article, it comes into force a new regulation for energy savings in buildings which greatly increases the specifications for newly design buildings and brings closer the concept of zero-energy buildings.

 

Where on earth are these buildings being built now days? 

 

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Heating your home this winter without going bust | Part 1

Only a couple of weeks ago I was writing articles on how to keep cool a Spanish home and all of the sudden the "Gota fria" is here. We are having torrential rain all along the Coast, a well known prelude for the cold winter to appear.

 

We are already in autumn, and temperatures will come down dramatically without notice in much of the country during the day and at night. But in this sixth year of crisis, with rising prices of key households' supplies this autumn and winter will be extra tough for most pensioners and many other people.

 

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Heating your home this winter without going bust | Final Part

As I mentioned last week in Part 1 of these two articles we are already in autumn, and temperatures will come down dramatically in much of the country during the day and at night. In this sixth year of crisis, with rising prices of key households' supplies this autumn and winter will be extra tough for most pensioners and many other people. So here are a few more tips following last week articles to avoid cold temperatures to penetrate our dwellings and, at the same time, saving lot of money on heating.

 

A lot of the very expensive energy we pay for goes down the drain through the cracks and gaps around bad window and door joinery.

 

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Nearly zero energy buildings

I am sure that you would guess without difficulty what the biggest worry is for Spanish architects at the moment. The shortage of work!! That has been the main problem for the profession for the last six years or so. But I would bet a cup of coffee with anyone that would not guess the second!!

 

Nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB). 

Yes, how to design NZEB. According to the Directive 2010/31UE of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD directive), defines in its article 2 "the buildings of nearly zero energy consumption" (Nearly Zero Energy Building, NZEB) as those "with a very high level of energy efficiency, to be determined in accordance with Annex I".

  

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The end of incandescent light bulbs | Part 1

The most wasteful and polluting bulbs are removed progressively until 2016. As of September the 1st, the classic incandescent bulbs will no longer be manufactured or imported into the European Union (EU). And will not be the only ones. Its manufacturing will continue until September 2016 with the phasing out of the other models which waste more energy to be substituted by more efficient models.

 

The Community institutions responsible for this measure, intends to reduce high energy consumption for lighting and  its environmental impact, and incidentally save up to 10,000 million Euros per year, up to 50 Euros per household.

 

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The end of incandescent light bulbs | Final part

Last week we were looking at the progressive phasing out of incandescent light bulbs.

 

The most wasteful and polluting bulbs are removed progressively until 2016.

 

As of September the 1st, the classic incandescent bulbs will no longer be manufactured or imported into the European Union (EU). And will not be the only ones. Its manufacturing will continue until September 2016 with the phasing out of the other models which waste more energy to be substituted by more efficient models.

 

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How the greenhouse effect will influence Spain | Part 1

Autumn is the time for the "gota fría" in this part of Spain and normally we can observe torrential rain inundating cities the length of the Spanish geography and some are people claiming that is getting worse.

 

Since the last glaciations, the fascinating figure of 52 million cubic kilometres of water were redistributed by the planet, ice sheets melted and previously depleted global sea levels increased more than 130 m thus compensating the weight of the enormous masses of solid water distribution. The rebound effect today continues and accelerates alarmingly.

 

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Should owners of empty homes cut off their water and electricity supplies? (Part 1)

I am asking this question because this is the fourth rise on the electricity bill during the last couple of years; water bills are also taking the same trend. They have risen around 50%, plus similar increases in gas, phone and other taxes. So the controversy, to cut or not to cut home supplies have reawaken, especially among those with empty houses in rent, holidays homes, inherited residences that remain uninhabited most of the year etc. Most Expats wonder why, taxes (such as IBI), municipal taxes and others fixed payments, communal charges etc, have to pay monthly fees if services are never use, instead of paying when used.

 

I will detail how much it costs to maintain an empty home and if it is cost-effective to terminate the supplies and hire them again when needed.

 

Empty house = high expenses.

 

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Should owners of empty homes cut off their water and electricity supplies? (Part 2)

Last week we were looking at the dilemma of cutting off the companies' services of our empty property or of a property that it is only occupied for a short period every year.

 

Is it worth it or is it better to just pay the minimum bills and keep connected?

We came to the conclusion that that when you have an uninhabited house, to unsubscribe from all services and supplies because if services are kept connected, minimum consumption charges must be paid to the supply companies. So, having an empty property means to confront with minimum domestic bills which now days they are not so minimum.


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Should owners of empty homes cut off their water and electricity supplies? (Final part)

In these last two weeks we were looking at the dilemma of cutting off the companies' services of our empty property or of a property that it is only occupied for a short period of the year.

 

Is it worth it or is it better to just pay the minimum bills and keep the house connected?

 

The annual price of just keeping supplies connected could be as much 450€ per year.

 

To cut off supplies involves a series of steps concerning an expenditure of time and money. While, keeping the minimum cost of all basic supplies connected in an empty house can amount to about 450 Euros a year.

 

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Do I need an Energy Certificate to sell or let my property | Part 1

The answer is yes and no. Any new buildings and those which have being rehabilitated from 2007 are forced to pass an energy certification exam and be provided with an energy certificate label. On January 1st of this year, the law should had been passed for existing buildings but.....the Spanish Congress must be too busy with other problems and although everyone I have talked to, including the Official College of Architect of both Murcia and Valencia, they all say that it is eminent the publication of the law for existing buildings but as yet, it still it has not been published.


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Do I need an Energy Certificate to sell or let my property | Final part

Last week we informed about the new imposition on owners and landlords to obtain an Energy Certificate which any building must display this sort of label indicating its energy expenditure similar to electric appliances.

This law requires from year 2007 that new homes carry a label, similar to that of appliances where its energy consumption is reported.

 

Very soon, this certificate shall also apply to second hand properties. The owners must obtain an Energy Certificate of their properties to be offered to buyers and tenants.

 

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