Whilst at the age of perhaps 50-something when you’re planning a retirement to Spain the idea of ever needing a home help or good access to local medical services will be a million miles from your mind, one day down the line it may well become important for you or your spouse. So, if living the dream in Spain for you is retiring to a rural community – just take a few moments to be as realistic as you can be about how that will impact upon your life in 10 – 20 years time when getting out and about is less easy. Future proof your retirement.
Future proof your retirement.
Whilst the thought of escaping UK and landing up in a sunnier setting overseas is all that’s keeping you going as the winter nights draw in and the days get shorter at this time of the year, you’ll be surprised how much you will miss some aspects of your life once you do move abroad. For example, if you have children you may one day have grandchildren, and as much as that thought may be a million miles from your mind today, one day that will matter to you a great deal. So, again, future proof your retirement to Spain and make sure wherever you choose to live you’re within reach of international transportation links. The good news for those moving to Southern Spain and the Costas is that these are all areas well serviced by airports.
Actively begin looking at health insurance options for when you’re in Spain. If you’re going to be beyond retirement age when you end up living in Spain you will be covered by a reciprocal agreement between the UK and Spain for your basic health care needs. However, if you’re retiring early or want more than just access to basic health care, you will need to look at insurance. The sooner you search out a suitable policy the better, as some insurers refuse to cover those over a certain age unless they have already been paying into a policy for a set term. As stated, you will be entitled to some health care in Spain once you reach the age of entitlement as things stand at the moment, but when it comes to at home and residential care for older people, the standards are just not as high as in the UK.
Make sure you have a local will in Spain that covers all of your assets in that country, you will also need one in the UK if you still have British assets and you will need legal advice to make sure your affairs are properly dealt with. Do not leave it until it’s potentially too late to get your wills sorted – no matter what age you are, if you’re an adult you should be responsible enough to have a will so that your family does not have the additional stress and trauma of sorting out your estate when you die. The laws of succession in Spain differ to those in the UK, if you don’t have a will stating your intentions, your estate may not be dealt with as you would have wished.
You will get so very much more out of your new life abroad if you make an effort to learn the lingo. You will be able to appreciate the local culture and customs more, you will meet more people, have the chance to make more friends and what’s more, you’ll show those around you that you’re committed to your new life and this will make them far more accepting and welcoming. You gain a new skill to boot, and you can show off to friends and family when they come and stay!
Get an accountant!
Most articles about property and buying in particular, will tell you to get a lawyer of course, but few will tell you to get an accountant. However, the tax system in Spain can be very complicated especially when you bring property taxes and foreign earned income into the mix. A good accountant will help you make head and tail of the taxation system and protect you from paying too much!
Get ready to relax.
The way of life and pace of life in Spain are different to what you’re used to. Chances are this is one of the main reasons you’re contemplating retiring to Spain in the first place! However, many people fail to grasp what that will actually mean to them! You need to be aware that life slows right down, you’ll literally get nowhere fast if you try and rush and you’ll come up against a brick wall if you try and rush others. Be ready to feel lazy initially, and then be ready to embrace long lunches that take until the late afternoon to finish! You’ll soon wonder how you survived without a siesta!
Rent before you buy.
You need to try the lifestyle before you commit to it and you need to try a property and an area before you buy a property in Spain. Once you have retired, you will have all the time in the world to spend time getting to know Spain. Don’t rush your relocation, instead enjoy the process of getting to know all you can about the different regions of Spain that you’re interested in. By taking this approach you are far more likely to succeed in making the move and making it a smooth and easy experience.
Don't forget central heating.
Get central heating installed in your villa or apartment. Split unit air conditioning units are not sufficient in the dead of winter. Ignore anyone who tells you otherwise!
If you decide that you want to renovate a property in Spain or just improve on a home you’ve already bought, know that permission is needed from the local council for almost everything you’ll want to do! If you can, find well-recommended architects and builders who will make the whole process simpler for you by applying for this permission. When you get a quote, make sure you find out whether VAT is included and bear in mind that it is normal to have to pay about 50% up front before building work commences. Don’t take a chance on an unknown builder, get good recommendations from trusted sources and insist on seeing examples of their work. If they’re a good builder they’ll be proud to show you what they’ve done before!
Spanish Property in the credit crunch
Despite the fact that the Spanish property market is really suffering a drought in terms of buyer activity at the moment, don’t be fooled for a second into thinking that expatriates have fallen out of love with Spain. For one thing, there has to be more to Spain than its property market to have attracted something in the region of 500,00 Northern Europeans to relocate here.
Spain has it all – i.e., all regions of the nation are accessible from all parts of Europe and usually for a fair price. Not only that, but the climate is fantastic with Spain averaging 137 days of sunshine. The culture is rich and diverse in Spain, the cuisine is thoroughly appealing, the wine is delicious, the history of the nation is fascinating, and then to cap it all off, the scenery in Spain is breathtakingly magnificent. How many more reasons does one need to think that actually, living in Spain might just be ideal and idyllic?
If you’re not yet convinced however, consider the fact that the nation is also vast, and because of Spain’s landmass you have such diversity, therefore there is a part of Spain that appeals to each and every one of us. For those who prefer a more temperate climate, Northern Spain is cooler for example, and for those who want as much sunshine as possible, the Costas are ideal. Alternatively, if you’re a winter sports enthusiast or a lover of the great outdoors, what about the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada, and if you prefer island living then there are the Spanish Balearic and Canary Islands of course. And there is even a property type and a property price for everyone nowadays.
Because sales volumes have dropped by an average of 27% across the entire nation, many developers and private vendors are slashing the prices of their properties to guarantee a sale. As the underlying appeal of Spain has not been damaged by the falling property prices, many Expats are taking advantage of the fact that you can now finally find truly good value for money in the Spanish real estate marketplace. If you’re seriously contemplating a move, then haggle hard when you find the property of your dreams – because as a buyer you’re best placed to be the one doing the negotiating. In fact, it could be that there has never been a better time to buy in!
And finally, the lifestyle. The emphasis in Spain on the family and on relaxing and enjoying life. Expats quickly adapt to this change in culture and realise what they have been missing out on by constantly being on the go and living to work rather than just working enough to live. Generally speaking one can expect this positive change on ones life to result in an enhanced feeling of well-being, and sooner rather than later your old friends and your family back home will see this positive change in you and themselves begin thinking about whether living in Spain could be just the ticket for them too!
There is so much in Spain’s favour that we non-Spanish cannot do anything about the love and passion we feel for this nation. It appeals to us on all levels, and now that Spanish house prices are falling and it is therefore becoming easier to buy in to the inimitably enjoyable and good lifestyle that Spain offers, so those Expats already living the dream in Spain can soon expect to be joined by a whole host of new neighbours!