Moving to Spain – Here's What You Need to Know
Moving to Spain can understandably be one of the most important decisions in your life. If you are determined to take such a step, however, you must prepare for it properly. Before leaving, it is worth getting to know – among others – the specifics of the property market in Spain, the cost of maintaining the apartment, the cost of living and how much you might pay for organizing the move itself. Shall we start?
In the year 2019 before the appearance of the coronavirus, foreign investors spent ca. 17.1 billion EUR in real estate in Spain. This is according to the data of Spanish Notaries. Then the pandemic froze the market and transactions slowed down, but now international investors are again looking more and more towards the Iberian Peninsula. Some buyers do it with an investment in mind, but there are also those who simply want to move to Spain and start a new life here.
If you are also thinking about relocating, we have a few tips that will help you enter and move on the Spanish real estate market more easily.
Moving to Spain? First, learn about the real estate purchase process
I recently wrote about the current and forecast moods on the Spanish market HERE. After reviewing the general situation, it is worth moving on to the next topic that should be explored before moving to Spain – it is the real estate purchase process. As you know, every country has its own customs (also legal), so we always recommend that you use services of a Spanish lawyer for the transaction. The lawyer will watch over the proper course of the purchase and will help you avoid trouble. What is especially important to remember?
Moving to Spain – NIE Number
First of all – NIE, that is Numero de Identidad de Extranjero. This extremely important identification number is necessary for foreigners to carry out any legal / tax activities. The application for its posting should be submitted to the police station (or to the Spanish consulate in your country), but it can also be done for you by a representative, i.e. a lawyer. The procedure of assigning a NIE number usually takes up to three weeks.
Moving to Spain – bank account
Second – a Spanish bank account. Without it, you will not be able to buy real estate in Spain. To set it up, you need not only a passport or ID card, but also the already mentioned NIE number.
Moving to Spain – reservation fee
Third – the reservation fee. Once you have decided on a specific property, you will be required to transfer to your solicitor's trust account, usually between € 3,000 and € 6,000. The security of the transaction is then confirmed by a document signed by the lawyers of both parties.
Moving to Spain – private contract
Fourth – contrato privado, or private contract. It precedes the conclusion of a notarial agreement and lawyers are also responsible for its preparation. In short, contrato privado's job is to write down all the terms and conditions of the purchase and make sure that the property is legally correct. Only then can the date of signing the notarial deed and closing the transaction be set.
Broker support when moving to Spain
When it comes to moving to Spain, the broker can play a much more important role than in your country. Especially if you choose a specialist who is well versed in a given region (which we recommend).
How do we operate at Dream Property? If you decide to buy a property on the Costa del Sol, we will first send you an initial list of offers based on your guidelines. You will get acquainted with them, choose the most interesting items, and then we will prepare a precise, final list of properties for viewing. However, our work does not end with the presentation of real estate and piloting negotiations.
If you are in Spain for the first time, we can arrange a meeting with a lawyer for you and help you open an account with a local bank. We also support you during the various stages of real estate purchase, because we know how important a perfect command of Spanish is (English alone may not be sufficient). We will also take care of the good flow of information between the parties of the transaction and we will solve possible problems on an ongoing basis. After that, we can also accompany you during the meeting at the notary's office.
But it still doesn't end there. If you need further support, we can help you find a renovation company, for example, or manage the property when you are away. We can also be support in such everyday activities as, for example, settling an official matter.
Estimated logistics costs of the removal
The mission "moving to Spain" is not only looking for real estate and arranging formalities. It is also logistics. After all, there may be times when you want to transport a lot of personal belongings or furniture. This requires a good plan as the route might be long.
Of course, you have two options: car or plane. Most people choose the former. If your belongings are not too big and they can easily fit in a bigger car, you can do it on your own. Calculate well the cost of fuel and don’t forget tolls for motorways.
What if your belongings are large and you are not able to arrange the move to Spain on your own? Then you have at your disposal companies that specialize in such transports. Obviously, this comes with more expense, but if you can afford it, you have the whole problem solved.
Costs of maintaining real estate in Spain and of living itself
Since we are talking about money, you also need to know the costs associated with maintaining the property. When you have your own apartment or house, you need to take into account such expenses as:
- real estate tax – Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles (so-called IBI),
- annual property insurance,
- community fees – comunidad,
- waste disposal tax – Impuesto de basura,
- utilities (electricity, water),
- fees for TV / internet,
- maintenance / repair costs,
- Important: investors who are not permanent residents must also pay Spanish income tax on non-residents every year, the so-called IRNR.
This is what real estate costs look like, now it's time for expenses related to your daily maintenance. Here are the average prices of sample products for the whole of Spain, without division into regions (source: numbeo.com):
- milk 1 liter – 0.79 euro
- eggs 12 pieces – 1.87 euro
- chicken fillet 1 kg – 6 euro
- apples 1 kg – 1.73 euro
- potatoes 1 kg – 1.64 euro
- water 1.5 l – 0.62 euro
- a bottle of wine – 5 euros (here “sky is the limit” ☺)
- Marlboro cigarettes – 5 euros
- three-course dinner for two, mid-range restaurant – 40 euros
- 1 liter fuel – 1.30 euro
- public transport ticket – 1.40 euro
- monthly ticket – 40 euro
- taxi – initial fee 3.50 euro, then 1.05 euro / km
How can this translate into annual maintenance? Of course, it all depends on your needs and lifestyle, but such an analysis was prepared by International Living. As we read, "apart from rent or mortgage payments – and depending on living standards – a couple can easily live on $ 20,000 a year and still eat out regularly."
Read, check, ask, talk!
If you have already chosen your dream property in Spain and completed all the necessary formalities, it's time to... do your homework. It's about getting to know the specifics of life on the Iberian Peninsula, because you will find yourself in a culture that is slightly different from yours on many levels.
Portals about Spain, guides, movies, books, newspapers, podcasts, internet forums... – you will find a lot of important information about this country everywhere. Do you know someone who lived in Spain or was there regularly? Great, shower him with questions. Do you have the opportunity to participate in foreign real estate fairs? Excellent, in one place you will meet many experts who know the inside out about the real estate market in Spain. Of course, a lot of valuable information can also be found on the websites of real estate agencies specializing in a given region.
And if that is still not enough for you, you can always write to us. At Dream Property, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about moving to Spain. Good luck and see you!