Moving house, wherever it is in the world can be a scary time. But Tim from Costa Property Spain, not only moved to Spain himself, he now helps people for a living. Read his story and helpful tips below.
I´ve been asked to write a personal view of moving from the UK to mainland Europe, with the purpose of helping your move to be as pleasant and as successful as possible.
If you take on board the philosophy of life to “laugh all your laughter, cry all your tears…” (Kahlil Gibran1883-1931) then moving to mainland Europe is a pretty good way to do it.
That said, a few unbiased observations from somebody who has tread the route beforehand is arguably the best way to ensure that some of the tears are tears of joy!
My first experience of Spain was as a very young man. My fiancé and I were invited for a couple of weeks family holiday in a new villa at Marbella, a city already shiny with very wealthy British, German and Arabic buyers – some famous, some not famous, some downright infamous.
Back to Spain decades later I started to look around for an area where my wife and I might settle after life became free of living kids or dying parents.
First painful lesson: Spain is big, varied, and except for the coastal strip, is (why should it be a surprise) very…. Spanish. So I recommend learning some of the language before buying here; the idea of “just picking it up” doesn’t work.
That said, most of Spain is remarkably welcoming of people who haven’t taken the trouble to be polite enough to communicate the basics – far more tolerant than we Brits!
It’s a very varied country in landscapes, lifestyles and weather, so it’s worth checking the many internet pages with unbiased info. Estate agencies are usually based locally and don’t necessarily have the basic info you need if you are at the beginning of your search.
Tiredness is the greatest enemy in the home search, followed ironically by the huge amount of choice in this country. Spend time in a place, visit several times if possible before making a decision. It is sometimes easier to make a list of “not wanted” for example “city life, traffic, rain, beach” or “small village life, nothing to do, too much sun, mountains”.
That said, the finance is in a category of its own: whether borrowed money or cash, around 12% needs to be allocated for tax, lawyers fee, etc. (purchases after first purchase have their own demands) and you need to secure your purchase costs against constant variations in euro-sterling rates.
It’s a common idea that sellers sometimes used to demand a percentage of the purchase price in cash thus minimising taxes. Although of course it’s not legal, the unavoidable result in addition is that if you come to sell a property bought in this manner, then you will probably be paying higher capital gains. I am informed by the older generation of a number of Spanish people that the practise of under-declaring value of property and land sizes was made common at the time of the Spanish civil war when some considered it civic duty to pay as little as possible to the Franco regime.
I was asked to make some independent comments for sterling- based buyers interested in buying property in Spain. Aforementioned are just some very few basics, and to summarise I suggest the most important points are first to get the finance right, second take time to look around and find what’s the best area and property for you (there’s an enormous choice – stay clear of weariness, and rushing) and bear in mind that Spain is Spanish, even on the more internationally populated coastal strip. It’s a foreign country; recognise and respect that the Spanish do things their way, not ours!
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This post was written and provided to us (Foremost Property Group) by Tim from Costa Property Spain.