Spanish property is one of the subjects I get most questions about.
Buying a home in Spain is something that many dream about and with careful planning you can make this become a reality.
Frequent questions I get in my inbox and comments are:
- Where should I buy a house in Spain?
- When is the best moment to buy a Spanish property?
Tips to Move to Spain
So here are my top tips about moving to Spain. I hope some of these pointers help you to find the right property for you.
Since moving to Spain in 1998 I purchased a property in Barcelona city, then sold it 8 years later. A few months after that I purchased an apartment in Granada, in the Andalusia region. I am speaking from personal experience here.
It is important especially if you do not speak fluent or native Spanish to make sure you get good assesment.
Spanish property Checklist
Make friends with locals
Life will be far easier if you interact on a basic level with the local community. Whether it be a school, neighbours or a local business. It may take a while but it will be worth it. Just a quick ´Hola´ each morning may make a difference! Often you wil find that the Spanish locals are looking to speak english. Looking to improve or practise their language too. You may come across a language exchange buddy very easily.
Get professional advice
Make sure that you know the area where you want to settle down. Make sure that all licenses and Spanish paperwork is in order to avoid nasty surprises in the future. Get legal documents translated professionally so that you understand all the small print. Look at the town or village in all seasons. If you can rent for several months to see the area over a period of time then this is much better. Things can change dramatically depending on the time of year.
Some places are lively in summertime but practically a ghost town in winter months. Other places are similar all year around. For example the Costa Blanca area has a moderate climate year round. The weather can be dramatic in Spain too. Look at information on flooding, earthquakes, snowfall etc. Yes, all of these do happen in Spain.
Getting professional help is the best way to avoid paperwork and tax problems.
Lifestyle in Spain
Choosing Spanish property which fits with your lifestyle is critical. Base your decision on real things that you actually now do rather than an idea you may have for the future. Generally people don´t change radically when they move abroad. For example if I meet a person who is used to a fast city lifestyle who talks about buying a run down shack in the middle of the Andalusian countryside. I can read all kinds of warning signs immediately.
I am thinking:
- How long will it take to get to the airport?
- How on earth will he get a good Internet connection?
- How close is the nearest hospital or emergency healthcare?
There are always places that fit each buyer, but it takes time and patience to work on the search. Whether you are looking for a rural idyll, a beach house or an urban apartment, make sure you are not just jumping at the first home that you see. Where you take your 10 day summer holiday doesn´t feel the same all year around. The initial honeymoon period will always be thrilling and exciting, but think about your vision for this property on an average cloudy morning in February.
VISA for Spain
Depending on which country you are from you may need a VISA for an extended stay in Spain (or the EU). There is lots of updated and specific information on the iVisa website. Whichever nationality you are it provides lots of detail about paperworks, permits and when you should get in touch with your embassy.
Exploring Spanish Towns
Spain is a huge country. Explore the different regions. Discover the difference between Asturias in the North and Cadiz in the South for example. There is so much to see and discover. It seems the longer I live in Spain the more I found out that there is to see. The Spanish are generally a friendly bunch but the different accents and social norms wary from location to location. There will be places that you feel more at home than others. Choosing a Spanish property is something that will have a long term impact so the decision should be made carefully.
Is it important to Speak Spanish?
Yes I know…boring… This you have probably heard this before. It may seen an obvious tip. When you have a problem knowing what people are saying or at least getting the gist of what is happening is invaluable. Misunderstandings can cause unnecessary stress if words are lost in translation. It can could also cost you a lot of money too.
Learning Spanish can be done online even before you arrive in Spain or you can sign up for an intensive course when you first arrive too.
A Place in the Sun
Moving to Spain can be exciting and daunting at the same time. Whether you are thinking about buying or long term rental or you have already made the move, you may have other advice for my readers
What helped you make the move and smooth out the planning of your relocation?
Let me know in the comments. It could be handy for others too.