Buy a building in the right place, with the views and the space and the lifestyle you want, and convert it into the home you are looking for.
Property is cheap in Spain at the moment. And as someone said to me the other day there are plenty of people out there who want to take their money out of the bank and put it somewhere safe!
Spain is a wonderful place to live. In my opinion it has everything: a sunny climate, beautiful beaches and mountains, great food, a fascinating history and culture, lovely friendly people with a great attitude towards family life and having fun.
There are also some beautiful country villas for sale with extraordinary views and cosy looking interiors.
The problem often is with the quality of build such as thin walls with no sound or thermal insulation and rising damp. Or the problem could be with the layout. I’ve recently come across a swimming pool in the shade “because there was nowhere else to put it” and a multimillion pound villa without even a dining room.
Converting a property is easier than you think. You can take advantage of the low prices to be found, buy a property in your ideal location, and still have exactly what you want.
How to make it comfortable without burning money or fossil fuels
Many people thinking of buying in Spain don’t realize its cold in the winter especially inland. The worst cases are those country houses with cathedral like entrance hallways. And it’s easy to underestimate just how hot it can be in July August.
Converting your home into a comfortable energy efficient one could involve the following steps:
Insulate it: this can be exterior or interior depending on the budget and circumstances.
Make it airtight: change the windows and doors so they have a good seal and also improve insulation, aesthetics, and security at the same time.
Under floor heating and cooling: all the surfaces, the walls the floors and the furniture get to your desired temperature and give a radiant heat which is far more comfortable than simply heating the air. It’s like being warmed by the sun. You can pad about barefoot even in winter.
Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Exchanger: Extract dirty wet air from the kitchen and bathroom and exchange it with fresh filtered air from outside. In the winter the cold fresh air from outside exchanges heat with the warm dirty air you are expelling. It works to over 95% efficiency. It’s healthy too. In the summer it works the other way around keeping you cool.
Use a heat pump: Now you’ve reduced your energy requirement a heat pump can do the job keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer at a fraction of the cost and without burning fossil fuels.
Shading and terracing: We’re all in Spain to live the outside life. Terracing can combine with shading to keep the sun of the house for greater comfort and also to create areas for relaxing, cooking, eating, or playing.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could find one company that could take care of everything from design to implementation?
Here’s one we did earlier: Cortijo de Morales
Author: John Wolfendale
Bio: John is a founder of Eco Vida and is passionate about bringing modern design and construction practices to Spain. He believes a home which is warm in winter and cool in summer is largely a matter of design and selective use of materials. He is British and a Chartered Surveyor with 18 years experience living and working in Spain.