Moving To Spain - Where And How To Begin
Everything You Need to Know to Get You Started on Your Spanish Relocation Journey
While it might seem a lofty dream, in reality, purchasing a home in Spain is a goal that is attainable for most people, but it does require a certain amount of vision and planning. Moving to another country is not a case of waking up one morning and deciding you will up sticks and go, it is usually an idea that develops over some time.
In many cases, the thought of moving to another country begins after spending a fabulous holiday in your desired region, or perhaps you have friends or family who have already made the move?
Once you have made up your mind, if you are like most people, you will probably start a property search online and begin to hang out in expat forums asking questions about schools and employment opportunities in your chosen area. You may have visited an overseas property exhibition in the UK and asked about financing possibilities when buying a Spanish property.
There comes a time when you need to decide to turn these small steps into real actions, which means booking a ticket to Spain or picking up the phone and speaking to an agent based in Spain. Unless you take this all-important step, your dream of moving to warmer climes and leaving the rat-race of the UK behind is likely to remain just that – a dream.
If you do not feel entirely ready to give up the UK for good, you can join the thousands of Brits who own a property abroad and use it as a holiday home several times a year. If you do not use the property all year round, it may be a viable means of generating extra income through vacation rentals. This way, you have the best of both worlds – you can get used to the Spanish way of life at your own pace without leaving your job, UK hometown, or friends and family behind for long periods.
Not from an EU Member State?
In 2013 the Spanish government approved a much-awaited investors residency law which became known as the Golden Visa. The Golden Visa allows non-EU state residents to purchase a property in Spain and spend time in the country without restrictions. The reason for this change in law was to give the struggling property market a nudge in the right direction.
Therefore, even if you are not a resident of a European Union country you are now able to purchase a property in Spain and travel freely to and from the country.
The minimum investment must be over a total of 500,000€, although this can be spread over several properties. You should also take into consideration you can expect to pay a further 11% or 12% of your investment for tax, VAT, stamp duty and legal services.
At the time of writing, it is not clear if UK residents will also be part of the Golden Visa scheme, or if a different legislation will apply after the transition period of Brexit ends on December 31st 2020.
The Very First Step
The first step to making a successful move to Spain is knowing what you want. To clarify your ideal conditions, all you need to do is open a new text or excel file on your computer or get out a notepad and pen and begin writing!
Ask yourself what your perfect home would be. If you will be living alone, a luxury villa with independent grounds and multiple bedrooms may not be the best idea; you might find maintaining such a large home in which you only use 25% of the space is a waste of time and money. You need to decide if you will use a terrace, a garden, and a swimming pool. If you plan on letting the property as a holiday rental for part of the year, these are great assets as you will be able to ask for higher rents and have more potential tenants showing interest, but if not, you may find you have little use for a pool or large garden once you make the move and live in Spain.
You also need to think about the location of your property. If you do not drive, or do not wish to own a car in Spain, ideally your new home will be within easy walking distance of local facilities, shops, public transport and if appropriate, the beach. Remember when researching to gather your information from a variety of sources and do not rely on a single website or book.
Determining precisely what you want will give you a much better chance of moving successfully - those who do not know what they're looking for in advance usually end up with something less than perfect for their needs, so don't let this happen to you.
Why Do You Want To Move?
Also write down why you are planning to move.
Common reasons include a better quality of life, the need for more living space, escaping the dreary UK weather, or perhaps you want to live a laid-back life with less hurrying and stress. Maybe you have a young family and want to bring them up in a more relaxed environment away from city crime and street gangs.
If you are planning on purchasing a holiday home, it could be your reasons include having an idyllic place to spend quality time with your friends and family without wondering if you can afford holiday accommodation several times a year. Or maybe you want to combine owning a second home with the possibility of earning rental income to cover your vacation and property maintenance expenses.
Either way, writing down your reasons is a good place to start and remind yourself from time to time why you are taking this life-changing step.