Mon 15 February 2021
Spain Guides | What Is a Casita, Uses, Build or Buy, Costs, Pros and Cons
What Is a Casita? Uses, Build or Buy, Costs, Pros and Cons
We have experience in selling a great many properties with Casitas, they are certainly a bonus for property buyers. Casitas that come with a property in Spain can be a great advantage in maximizing use and space. But what is a Casita exactly?
Here’s where we give you the full overview of Casitas, their benefits, uses, and more...
A Casita originates from the Spanish term meaning “small house” and is generally a small separate building built next to or near the main house with its own entrance. They comprise a bathroom and often a kitchenette. The main area of the structure is typically used as a home office or a bedroom.
Casitas can serve a multitude of functions these days, In the US, you might consider a Casita as a guesthouse, workshop, gym or office contained in a detached building next to or near the main house. In the UK this could be a small cottage or building on the grounds of the main property, or again an office, gym or similar additional functional space.
The benefits and functionality of a Casita these days are numerous.
Where you will likely find a Casita
Often found in Spain, as well as parts of Mexico and the SW United States. Some new housing developments in the SW area are in fact including them as a basic structure, and in Spain they've been a common feature for centuries.
Not all family homes in communities have a casita built in their backyard, however, they are popular enough that many developers are likely to offer some models with an option of a casita - even on new build homes.
Accessory dwelling units or ADUs can be referred to as guest houses, granny flats, mother-in-law quarters, or casitas, and they can serve as a great way to make your house suitable for multiple generations.
Even though these terms are used interchangeably, there are a few fundamental differences amongst the four; granny flats, for instance, can be attached or detached to the main house and are usually found in the front of a house, as compared to casitas which are generally located in the backyard.
Properties with advertised fully functioning casitas can reach prices of 2 million euros or more. While one is likely to find a casita in higher-value homes, anyone with the budget and space should consider building one.
This is of even greater importance in price range and areas where a guest house is almost expected.
Why you should have a Casita built on your property?
Casitas are typically used as a rental space or family extension dwelling.
Casitas are likely to add extra value to the main property because of the variety of options it offers. Homeowners can rent the space out to family members, paying guests, and even use it as an Air BnB.
Purchasing a property with a casita can prove to be extremely beneficial in terms of both conveniences as well as the property value.
Reasons to have a Casitas
Casitas are well suited for:
- Mother-in-law suites where a parent, grandparents, siblings, or other close relatives could live comfortably for an extended period of time or as permanent living quarters.
- Separate living quarters for young adults, for example, those who have returned home from college or have moved to their parent’s house to save money to buy their own home.
- An art studio, a location for a tiny business venture, or a home office, which could qualify as a tax write off. It is, however, advisable to check with your tax professional to be sure.
- An amazing source of rental income, either by renting out for a couple of days, a week, a month, or any other time frame. However, do check with your local planning laws and local authorities first to find out if your region allows this or not.
- Quarters for domestic staff to offer them some privacy as well as convenience.
- Fun family activities, such as a home theatre or a game room.
What does a Casita consist of?
What is normally in a Casita?
In the world of home building and home remodelling, casitas are essentially small guest houses (generally around 600 – 1200 square feet) and typically include their own bathroom.
They may also have a small kitchen or kitchenette. In most builds, casitas usually consist of a bathroom and one main room.
Homeowners can use their casitas for a variety of purposes. These little houses can be designed as media rooms, home offices, music rooms, special hobby rooms, or art studios.
Since they are separated from the main house, casitas serve as an amazingly quiet retreat, making them ideal to be used as a meditation room or a library.
They’re also highly suited to be used as an extra bedroom suite for friends and family that come over to stay.
Cost of building a Casita
When compared to building or buying a new home, Casitas or Accessory Dwelling Units cost much less to build.
The cost of a Casita depends largely on the size, materials, and labour costs. A small basic build Casita could cost as little as €7000, as you scale up to more expensive materials, larger size and requiring specialist builders then the cost will also scale up. The ultimate cost could be €75,000+
A significant portion of these costs comprises of fees, as well as any taxes, licenses, building codes, utility connection fees, and city-required property upgrades should be taken into consideration too.
Permits can become particularly costly if handled incorrectly. Some permits could come with an expiration date; which means that you must apply for a new permit if they are unable to complete the construction in time.
Inspections are also required by building regulation authorities during and even after the completion of the project.
If you fail an inspection, then you may have to start the permit process all over again, which can turn out to be a very expensive mistake. Additional, or even after-hours inspections and subsequent remodels can add additional costs.
The cost of construction can increase dramatically with an inexperienced team handling your project. While some people think that hiring an architect is a good idea, the price of hiring can be high.
Having a separate architect, construction, and the design team is bound to cost way more when compared to an all-in-one design-build firm.
Separate teams also mean a greater risk of miscommunication and mistakes that can lead to additional costs and delays.
You need to tread cautiously, always use reputable or recommended building services with proven track records.
Buy a property with a Casita, or build one
There are pros and cons for each in terms of whether to build or buy an existing one. Ultimately building your own may work out cheaper, and allows more flexibility in terms of position, layout and materials etc.
We would ordinarily say, assuming a casita is not the top priority on your list, then treat any casita as a bonus to the property. If it is a ‘definite must’ on your list and if there isn’t one already - then consider space, permits and costs of adding that to the property, perhaps straight away or as a later addition.
Factor these options into the whole question of is it worth buying a property in Spain.
Where to build a Casita
If the casita is attached to your home, you will be closer to guests and visitors. You’re likely to enjoy fewer zoning restrictions and taxes may be lower. On the other hand, separate accommodation can lead to more zoning restrictions and higher taxes.
Your casita may also need to be linked to the main house utilities. So building your Casita further away could incur greater costs and potential issues in connecting these services, correct running capability of the services such as suitable water pumps and larger load sized cables, as well as ongoing maintenance.
Need a property with a Casita?
If you’re looking for a property that either has an existing casita or one that you would like to add a casita to, then come and talk to us. We have experience in finding thousands of homes for those looking to purchase property in Spain.
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