Expert Opinion – Top 10 Home Renovation Tips and Tricks

Tempted to buy a home in Spain to renovate? Our international sales expert Karen Storms gives her top tips on how to transform a home in a cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly way.

Lucas Fox Expert Opinion

Increasing numbers of buyers are coming to Lucas Fox not just to buy a home in Spain but also for renovation advice. Home remodelling can add significant value to your property, especially when combined with a well-priced purchase. A renovation project can be less profitable if it is not carefully thought through however. Lucas Fox’s Head of International Sales Karen Storms gives her advice to anyone who is thinking of taking on a home renovation project in Spain.

Think about how you want to live

Spanish homes, especially older ones, can be built differently to the way homes in other countries are designed. In Spain, it can get very hot in the summer, so in the days before air conditioning, windows were small to keep out the heat and bedrooms might be downstairs where it is often much cooler. This can make some homes very dark, so it is worth investing in large modern windows to maximise light and good air conditioning systems. Think also about the distribution of your home – if you would like the living room opening out onto a terrace or balcony and the bedrooms all together at the back or upstairs.

Invest in heating and air conditioning

Following on from this, many Spanish homes do not have air conditioning and heating installed and this can be a significant extra cost. In the cities, most people need some kind of air conditioning at least during the night. Prices for units can be around €300 to €500 and installation about another €200. There are also units that have heating as well as air conditioning which are more expensive but useful if there is no central heating fitted in a home.

Get good recommended help

Lucas Fox has more than 12 years’ experience working with a range of architects, interior designers, painters, carpenters, plumbers and electricians and we have a streamlined database with the very best suppliers Spain has to offer. It can save you a huge amount of time in the long run to go for recommended suppliers who are used to working on different scale projects, are multilingual and are good value for money.

Plan well ahead

Making your product selection early can prevent delays later on. It can also help keep you within your budget (don’t forget to include maintenance and repair costs in your budget). Planning ahead also ensures you have everything delivered on time.

Set up a temporary ‘camp’

Many renovations include having to decamp from living spaces and kitchens for a period of time, which can be pretty inconvenient if you haven’t got anywhere to move to temporarily. You can keep inconvenience to a minimum if you set up a temporary kitchen / diner away from the works site. Include a refrigerator and microwave oven, so you can continue to make light meals at home and don’t spend all your budget on take-away meals!

Renovate the kitchen

Improving the kitchen is always beneficial, not least for lifting the value of your home. It does not necessarily mean having to replace the whole thing, it can be a case of simply replacing worktops and giving it a coat of paint. Extra features such as industrial-style lighting, integrated rubbish bins or water filters are also a good investment. Don’t forget about storage solutions so that the kitchen never looks cluttered.

Lighting is key

A home can be transformed with the help of clever lighting. Add floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise incoming light, with shutters on the outside. Create windows where the views are best or invest in a skylight. Have a mix of light sources at every level: use a combination of floor and table lamps in a living room, focus on overhead lighting in the kitchen, use a chandelier or pendant above a dining room table and use low wattage bulbs to mimic candlelight in a bedroom.

Choose the correct flooring

Along with good lighting, flooring can also make a huge difference to a home. Flooring is one of the first things that people will notice and it does not mean you have to invest in new floors. Re-sanding or painting existing wooden floors and buying a bright rug or having carpets professionally cleaned makes a big impact. Remove vinyl and linoleum floors if possible.

Buy quality products

When people are on a budget it is tempting to always go for the cheapest option available. This can be a false economy as the cheapest option is usually the one with the poorest quality. It is equally advisable not to go for the most expensive option either. In terms of the resale value of your house, neither option will give you the best return on your investment in the long-run. Mid-range priced products from a reputable company are normally the best way to go.

Go Green

Demand for eco-friendly home products is continually on the rise. Having an environmentally friendly home which is also energy-efficient is beneficial for all so it is worth investing in, even it is a little more expensive. You should save money further down the line in any case with your energy savings as a result.

Here are Lucas Fox’s top homes to renovate in Spain:

Barcelona

Spacious principal floor property to renovate in a Modernista building in Eixample

€2,750,000
Ref: BCN3407
8 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
Size 425m²
Terrace size 360m²

A principal floor apartment within a Modernista building dating back to the early 20th Century. The property is brimming with period features and has a surface area of 378m² plus an impressive 361m² patio. Located just seconds away from Plaza de Cataluña and the exclusive Paseo de Gracia, this apartment has heaps of potential.

properties for renovation

Apartment to renovate in El Born, next to the Catedral del Mar, with 6 balconies and high ceilings

€510,000
Ref: BCN6323
4 Bedrooms, 1 Bathrooms
Size 116m²

Property located in a historic building dating back to 1798, on a lovely pedestrian street in the Born neighbourhood of Barcelona Old Town. Near the Catedral del Mar, Passeig del Born and the beach, this property is perfectly located to enjoy the city to the full.

renovation properties

Costa Brava

Charming farmhouse to renovate in stunning natural surroundings

€550,000
Ref: CBR6718
7 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms
Size 670m²
Plot size 27ha

18th Century farmhouse in a unique countryside setting surrounded by outstanding natural beauty. The 27-hectare plot is set on the edge of a stunning valley combining dense forests and fields that border a river. An exciting renovation project in the Girona region.

renovation properties

Country house to renovate on a large plot 1,000m from Sa Riera beach on the Costa Brava

€750,000
Ref: CBR5877
5 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms
Size 290m²
Plot size 8,600m²

This house enjoys total privacy as it is surrounded by pine forests and within walking distance of the beach and many local restaurants. A prime location on the Costa Brava, with the beautiful town of Begur just 3km away. The property has a 50m² swimming pool that was built in 2007.

renovation properties

Maresme

3-storey villa of 780m² to renovate with huge potential in Sant Andreu de Llavaneres

€890,000
Ref: MRS5289
9 Bedrooms, 7 Bathrooms
Size 780m²
Plot size 2,560m²

This 9-bedroom villa is set on a generous 2,560m² plot with an enclosed garden with flowers and mature trees. The outdoor area provides a space for parking and a swimming pool and a small guest house. It enjoys an excellent location within walking distance of the town centre, schools and the golf course.

renovation properties

Traditional Catalan Masia to fully renovate, located in Tiana on the beautiful Maresme Coast

€1,600,000
Ref: MRS6327
7 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
Size 961m²
Plot size 23.9ha

The property dates back to 1300 and is set on a plot with a vegetable garden, trees and 5 hectares of vineyards. The property requires a full renovation. Currently there are 7 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and various living areas.

renovation properties

Ibiza

6-bedroom property for sale in a quiet area of Santa Eulalia del Río

€1,275,000
Ref: IBZ3535
6 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms
Size 249m² (2,680ft²)
Plot size 1,933m² (20,806ft²)

This wonderful property with a large garden and pool is situated in an excellent location only 5 minutes from the beach and 5 minutes’ walk from the village of Santa Eulalia. The large living and dining areas are spacious and bright and the property boasts a fantastic outdoor space with fabulous terraces perfect for summertime dining and enjoying the stunning views.

renovation properties

Wonderful opportunity to renovate a charming villa on a seafront plot with views of Cala Tarida

€1,590,000
Ref: IBZ6458
4 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms
Size 119m²
Plot size 1,000m²

This traditional family home sits on a plot of 1,000m² with sea views from its private garden and lake-shaped pool. The property would make an enviable first residence or holiday home on the white island thanks to its excellent location and stunning sea views.

renovation properties

Valencia

230m² fourth floor apartment with high ceilings and large windows in the living area

€600,000
Ref: VAL6110
6 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
Size 227m²

This property enjoys a wonderful location on one of the most elegant streets of the Pla del Remei neighbourhood, just steps away from the emblematic Colón Market. The property occupies the entire fourth floor of the building making it unusually spacious and bright.

renovation properties

Spacious fifth floor property with a huge living area, library and double bedrooms

€925,000
Ref: VAL6721
5 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms
Size 343m²

This property boasts abundant natural light and spacious rooms. With some updating and renovation this property would become one of the most unique and luxurious homes within walking distance of the Colón Market.

renovation properties

Sitges

Large country house with almost 5 hectares of land, situated 8km from Sitges

€860,000
Ref: LFS4560
10 Bedrooms, 7 Bathrooms
Size 640m²
Plot size 57,680m²

Fabulous house in need of some updating, set on almost 5 hectares of land. The house is located on the edge of a village, 8km from Sitges and just 40km from the centre of Barcelona. The property has a separate caretaker’s lodge, a swimming pool, a pool house and several outbuildings.

renovation properties

1,350m² plot with a house to renovate in Levantina close to Sitges

€860,000
Ref: SIT4299
3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
Size 130m²
Plot size 1,350m²

This property would be ideal for someone looking to acquire an extra large plot in one of the best locations of Levantina. The extensive plot requires landscaping and offers the possibility to subdivide the land and build a second property on the untouched half of the plot.

renovation properties

Madrid

Spacious property with 3 large balconies and great renovation potential on Calle Príncipe de Vergara

€1,750,000
Ref: MAD6264
6 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms
Size 376m²

This spacious first floor apartment for sale is on the first floor of a 1920’s building with a beautiful classic façade. The property is located on Calle Príncipe de Vergara, an unbeatable location close to the Golden Mile area and surrounded by a wide range of shops and restaurants.

renovation properties

Bright penthouse with 3 bedrooms, a sunny terrace and open living spaces, located in Chamberí

€990,000
Ref: MAD6184
3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
Size 150m²
Terrace 20m²

In a stunning turn-of-the-century building with period features in Chamberí, we find this exclusive 150m² penthouse with a 20m² terrace, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The building has a concierge service and enjoys abundant natural light and 180º views over Madrid.

renovation properties

For more information about buying a home to renovate in Spain, contact Karen Storms at karen@lucasfox.com.

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