Moving to Spain- There’s No Place Like Home!

You have found that picturesque destination and you have discovered the perfect place to invest in Spanish real estate. You have also done your research and you have made a budget for how you can live comfortably for years to come. Everything is perfect… or is it? No matter how cheap and wonderful everything may seem, the most important question to ask when moving overseas is, can you really love this new place you are putting so much effort into? Just because you are able to get the most of your money doesn’t always mean that life is always going to be happy.

What you need to do is take a step back and examine the clues. It is unreasonable to expect that all the conveniences of your former residence will be present in your new home. So you are going to need to learn to make do with what is at your disposal. Therefore it is important to like or at least appreciate almost every aspect of your new home: Such as the culture, the food, the weather, and the entertainment. If you can’t like the basic things, then the transition is not going to be as satisfactory as one may hope.

It is normal to experience a certain amount of culture shock in the beginning: Also a bad day every once in a while is unavoidable, no matter where you live. The important thing is that once the bad day has passed you can sit back and enjoy your home. Home is the key word here; feeling like a stranger in your new environment is no way to spend your life, after all the effort and research you put into actually getting yourself to that point.

So before making the final commitment, close your eyes, step outside of the moment, and click your heels three times saying “there is no place like home”. Hopefully when you open your eyes, your new place of residence will be exactly that; HOME.

Moving To Spain? Let’s Talk About The Cost of Living

If you are considering moving to a new life in Spain then it is important that you plan your budget in advance. If you have a job offer on the table you need to get an idea of how far the salary will take you. Don’t get on the plane without a clear idea of the cost of living in Spain. Whilst Spain has a reputation as one of the cheapest destinations in Western Europe, one must not lose sight of the fact that wages are low, and that real estate is disproportionately expensive.

This article has a lot of data points, but here are a few fast facts to give you a sense of pricing: you can get a haircut for 10 Euros, a beer for 2, but may have to pay 50 Euros a month for a gym to work off the calories. A cheap date can be had for 16 Euros if you take in a movie (6 Euros) and tapas for two (10 Euros).

With real estate, if you are thinking of buying in one of the major cities then as at February 2010 you will be paying around 3,500 Euros per square meter for a centrally located flat. This is about 30% less than 2009 prices, and compares to around 11 Euros per month per square meter if you want to rent. This data applies to Barcelona and Madrid, but rent gets cheaper in cities like Seville where it drops to as low as 6 Euros per square meter per month.

One thing to watch out for is the Balearic Islands: The prices can be higher than the mainland.

Once you are in your property; whether purchased or rented, you are responsible for paying the utilities. Even in a modest flat these expenses can soon rack with gas costing around 25 Euros per month per person when used to heat water and a stove. Electricity costs around the same, and will rise in the summer by 15 Euros per month if it is used for air conditioning. Phone bills will depend on your usage, but bear in mind that a landline costs at least 20 Euros per month just for line rental. Parking is usually extra when you rent a flat, and in cities expect to pay around 100 Euros a month.

The cost of healthcare will vary depending on your country of origin. If you are from Europe then you may benefit from a reciprocal arrangement with your home nation insurance. The important thing is to check the facts and make sure that you are insured; otherwise this could end up being an expense that bankrupts you.

Eating out need not be expensive if you know the right places: A meal for two can cost as little as 10 Euros at a decent tapas joint, and you can get a beer for 2 Euros – these are prices far lower than places like London and Paris. And some say the food it tastier too! Groceries for one can come in at under 200 Euros a month.

So all told what is the cost of living in Spain? Well it will vary with income, but to have a decent lifestyle you should make sure you have at least 1,500 Euros of disposable income each month.

Benefits of Owning a Second Home in Spain

Spain is one of the most popular countries in Europe for holiday-makers and tourists. The climate is enviable, with hot summers and mild winters. Every region of Spain has its own, unique culture, different styles of food, traditions and local fiestas. One thing, that every city, town or village, has in common is a warm welcome.

If you are thinking of buying a second home, you are sure to find a place in Spain that has the right life-style for you. Costal areas are a great attraction; the Costa Brava, Costa  Dorada, Costa del Sol or the Costa Blanca, are all tempting locations for a second home. For city lovers, Seville, Madrid, Granada or Barcelona, are all historic, cosmopolitan cities, ideal for holiday apartments. Spain has locations for all tastes; there is the Camino de Santiago to be walked and the slopes of Sierra Nevada to be skied.

Owning your own second home means that you visit whenever you wish, and for as long as you wish. Budget allowing, you can choose the type of property you want, be it a studio, an apartment, a town house or a villa. Your property will be suitable for you and your family and you can equip it to your needs and taste. Excess luggage does not have to be carried to and fro; it can be left in a wardrobe.

Many second home owners find that an extended stay in the winter months is beneficial with blue skies and lower heating bills.

Owning a second home will mean that you will have more time to get to know the region of your choice. Spanish is a relatively easy language to pick up, and in general, the local residents are helpful. Local shops and markets supply very fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, a wide variety of different fish, and fresh meat. Visiting “bodegas” and enjoying “tapas” are part of the Spanish way of life and a custom well worth adopting.

Many people find it financially beneficial to rent out their home to holidaymakers or travel companies. If you are interested in using your second home for holiday renting, it will be necessary to check with the local town hall authorities, in order to ensure that permission for holiday rental is available. A good number of apartment blocks and housing estates are solely for residential purposes and can only be let for long term rentals.

Home prices vary largely and at the moment there is a glut of properties on the market, so it can be a good time to invest. Take into consideration travel needs; you do not want to be too far from buses, trains or airports. Some bargains are to be found for a quick sale, but it is always best not to rush when buying abroad. A second home in Spain should be an investment to be enjoyed.