How to Avoid the Potential Pitfalls When Moving to Spain

By: Robert Griggs

There is no doubt that many people plan on either purchasing a holiday home abroad or living abroad permanently at some point in their lives. With so much property development worldwide there are many hotspots and emerging property markets popping up to allure people into investing into their dream holiday home or primary residence.

But there are many things to consider when buying a new home or property investment abroad, all of which will help you to decide whether that purchase is in fact going to be your dream property and not turn into a living nightmare.

Believe me, as someone who emigrated to Spain 3 years ago, I have personally seen and know of a number of people who have made the huge mistake of thinking that the grass is always going to be greener on the other side. In some cases it is and in some cases it definitely is not.

So, you and your family have finally plucked up the courage and have now decided that you have had enough of the Uk or wherever it is that you reside and are now looking for a warmer climate that is safer for the kids and will give you the opportunity to live a healthier outdoor lifestyle.

Spain is a wonderful country for setting up a new life but before you decide to buy a new property there, there are a number of things to consider including the following:-

Real Estate Agents - It is vital that you find a trustworthy real estate agent to work with when looking for your new property for sale in Spain. Try and find one via recommendations as there is nothing quite like a good recommendation from someone who has used an agents services before.

Language - Needless to say, not everyone in the world speaks English. This is something to think about because if you do not make an effort to speak the native tongue of your newly adopted country, you will find it difficult to do the simplest of things such as asking for food in a supermarket, asking directions, speaking to the authorities and of course, speaking to your new neighbours.

When you do not speak the local lingo, life can become very stressful as the most simple of jobs can become very difficult. So take some time to learn the local language before you emigrate and this will help you no end when you arrive and begin to integrate into your new surroundings.

Lawyers - When buying a property in Spain you will need to find a good Abogado(lawyer) to act on your behalf during the buying process of your new property and with helping you with tasks such as registering yourself at the local town hall(Ayuntamiento), getting your residence card or changing your driving licence to a Spanish one.

Make sure that your lawyer speaks good English at least sufficiently enough to explain everything to your clearly. Its vital when purchasing property in Spain that you go over the small print and know exactly where you stand, especially when buying a new home.

Employment - Finding work in Spain can be very difficult if you do not have a firm grasp of the language. Salaries are also a lot less than you would find in say the UK or U.S(unless you are moving to a larger city) so you may want to consider starting your own business.

Starting your own business is fairly straight forward and any good solicitor or lawyer can help you with this. You have the option of going autonomo(self employed) or you can start a limited liability company(called an S.L).

You then declare your income and expenditure every month to your accountant or solicitor and pay into the social security in Spain which costs around 220 euros per month and provides you with healthcare for yourself and your family.

Healthcare - If you pay into the social security system in Spain you and your family are entitled to medical care 24 hrs a day. The healthcare in Spain is very good and is on a par with the UK if not better. Its also worth taking out cover with Helicopteros Sanitarias who are like the flying doctors. They will visit you in your home at any time of day and attend to you for just 300 euros per year. They also speak English which is an added bonus for those who haven't quite grasped the Spanish language.

Summary - Moving to any country including Spain is a huge step, especially when you have a family and young children. Its important that you look at every aspect before you take the plunge as you will be surprised at just how many people end up moving back again within a short space of time.

Saying that, emigrating to Spain for me has been very rewarding and a real journey for myself and my family. The one bit of advice I would give to anyone considering moving to Spain would be this - Rent before buying!!. That way, you can always give yourself a year or so to find out whether Spain is for you. Its also means that you will not tie all your money up in a property and you will also be able to move back fairly quickly without too many constraints.

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