Author Topic: Buying a house and retiring in Spain  (Read 9557 times)

Blues

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Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« on: May 23, 2014, 07:07:52 AM »
Hi,

I'm currently living and working in US, but I'm planning my retirement. I was considering buying a house and retiring in Spain. Does anyone have any general advice or things to look for there? Is maintenance high there? Are taxes high? Not sure where to start...

Thanks!

former player

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 07:57:59 AM »
That sounds a bit vague.

Do you have the right to reside in Spain?  Check visa requirements for your nationality.  What will you do for medical care?

Spain has pretty varied terrain, so think carefully about where you want to be.  How much time have you spent there?

How good is your Spanish?  Castillian Spanish will serve you better than Mexican/South American.

Be careful buying near the southern coast: there have been a lot of problems with invalid building permits. 

There has been a big crash in Spanish property over the last few years.  But other costs (taxes, food, etc.) haven't gone down.


Blues

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 10:45:07 PM »
Visa wise I'm good as I was born in Europe. Regarding medical, I assumed they have some kind of private medieval insurance. I better check...

I've been there a few times and I liked it quite a bit. The food seem pretty cheap. I'll probably look for something close to the beach. It does not have to be a big city. Thanks for the tip on permits. I'll do my homework.

I've been teaching myself Spanish for a couple of months using Duolingo. I'm pretty confident I can learn except that Duolingo teaches me more South American Spanish.

Anyway, thanks for your comments!

former player

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2014, 01:12:35 AM »
If you have (or can get) a passport from an EU country then you will have potentially useful rights as an EU citizen.  For instance, you will be entitled to health care in the national system on the same basis as a Spanish national if you are working.   You may also be entitled to health care once you reach state retirement age (currently 65?), although it would be worth your checking whether or not you need to have had a record of working in the EU in order to claim - strictly speaking, it is a right for retired workers and their families (I'm not sure to what extent this gets checked, or whether it has been extended to being a citizen right rather than just a worker plus family right).  The same goes for social security rights - they may be based on having a record of working and paying contributions in the EU.

There is a big retired UK expat community in Spain (particularly on the southern coasts), so in some areas you could probably get by without much Spanish at all, at least to start with, by joining that community.  Madrid and Barcelona are pretty cosmopolitan, too.  Googling for British citizens retiring to Spain may get more results than US citizens retiring to Spain.

Spain is wonderful for both climate and lifestyle, so provided you do your homework (eg are happy with potential exchange rate issues) retiring there could be a great choice.

Daleth

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2014, 02:31:54 PM »
Visa wise I'm good as I was born in Europe. Regarding medical, I assumed they have some kind of private medieval insurance. I better check...

Where in Europe were you born, how long did you live there, and what was the citizenship of your parents? Just being born there does not mean you have citizenship, unlike in the US.

I've been teaching myself Spanish for a couple of months using Duolingo. I'm pretty confident I can learn except that Duolingo teaches me more South American Spanish.

Pimsleur (which I've used for multiple languages--it's excellent) has Castilian Spanish:
http://www.pimsleur.com/Learn-Spanish-Castilian?term=Spanish+%28Castilian%29
You can buy it at their website and download it directly onto your iphone/whatever. Also, some libraries have it on CD or can get the CDs through interlibrary loan, so you could get it that way if that option exists at your local library.

Annamal

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2014, 04:46:33 PM »
I've got kind of an interest in Spain because of the Camino (which incidentally might be worth trying if you want to get a feel for those parts of Spain on foot without making a commitment...I think it would be a great thing to do to celebrate retirement)

Try the blog big fun in a tiny pueblo for musings by an ex pat American:
http://moratinoslife.blogspot.co.nz/




Blues

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2014, 09:14:32 AM »
Thanks for the tips and the links. They are very helpful. I just ordered the Pimsleur CD from the library.

Would you have any tips or things to look for in the real estate market?

agent_clone

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2014, 03:41:01 AM »
I remember watching a UK show about people who had disastrous results buying abroad (I think the show was either Homes from Hell or Selling Houses Abroad).  Apparently of the people who move to spain for retirement from the UK about half are back in the UK after 2 years.

Here some things to watch out for:

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/aug/12/beware-buying-property-abroad

i.e. if buying off the plan make sure your builder has the actual development approvals, and personally I would purchase something that is already built, rather than something off the plan.  Otherwise make sure the council (or whoever the development authority is) isn't going to be knocking the place down anytime soon.

I would also maybe rent there for 6-12 months and getting a feel for the place and to see if you want to actually live there long term.

Basic advise is to make sure you have an exit strategy so you can go back to the US if you want.

Spartana

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2014, 03:32:15 PM »
 I lived in a small beach resort town in Spain called Le' Estartit on the Costa Brava for about a year many years ago. There was a U.S. Coast Guard Loran station there (I was in the coast guard) and many of the service members bought homes in town and, after they retired, moved there permanently. They all remained US citizens but were able to buy property with ease and to get some kind of residency status that allowed them to stay in Spain longer than the 90 day at one time max allowed (although you can just travel out of country for a bit and then re-enter Spain for another 90 days without problem).  So unless things have changed (probably) it was definitely doable to buy property and live in Spain.

The problems you may encounter could be if you needed to get a loan rather then pay cash (especially if you are not in an EU country and exchange rates fluctuate wildly). That may be hard or impossible if you aren't a citizen and rates may be much higher also. Jobs are very hard to find there even for citizens so if you need to work it's not the place to go unless you set something up before hand. Getting Spanish Citizenship is hard also but if you are in an EU country already then it would be easier. Languages are different in different regions too - where I lived the predominate language was Catalonian Spanish not Castilian. Same if you live in the Basque region.  The lifestyle is different too and may take some getting use to - slower, not too service oriented, etc... Travel  around and rent awhile before making any big long term commitments. And have an exit plan if needed.

Blues

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2014, 04:47:35 PM »
Thank you! The feedback and pointers are very helpful.

yyc-phil

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 05:25:25 PM »
My wife and I have been dreaming of moving to Spain (Catalonia specifically), where my maternal grand-parents were from. I've traveled extensively and lived on four continents, and Spain is easily the only place I could see myself living permanently. We've looked at a number of properties, condos/apartments and small country houses. Areas we really like are Murcia (especially villages like Moratalla and Totana), Valencia (Xirles, close to Benidorm), Barcelona and area (Sant Carles de la Rapita), Menorca (Alayor and Mao, where my grand-parents are from), but preferably a few kilometres inland in smaller mountain villages away from the beaches where the hordes of well-oiled northern europeans in speedos gather from June to September, but still under 30 minutes from the coast. Prices are attractive, weather is beautiful almost year-round, food and wine are good and cheap, people are generally friendly, the cost-of-living is low, and the quality of life for expats who have a steady income is very high. I could buy a nice piece of land near Benidorm, about 20 acres with trees such as olive almond lemon etc., belonging to our family heritage for under 25,000 euros, and build a small house for about the same price. In the end, we decided not to buy, and opted to rent. Our reasons are personal and may not apply to your situation. While I have EU citizenship and can settle there permanently and work without problem, and also have relatives and friends in Spain, France, Italy, I have five adult kids who are in Canada for the time being, so this is probably where I will keep a permanent home. So instead of buying, we plan to rent a small apartment or a little house for extended winter stays when the weather is crappy almost everywhere in Canada, alternating between summers in Canada/USA, and winters in Spain, Mexico, and wherever we feel like going at the time.

ADD: but when I am too old to go anywhere, it will be Spain for sure, and I want my wife to park my wheelchair every morning with a nice plate of pinxhos and a bottle of wine for the day, in front of the mountains of Xirles, where my cousin has a little house waiting for me, next to hers.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 05:36:24 PM by ykphil »

Igil

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2015, 02:02:13 PM »

[/quote]
Hi,

I'm currently living and working in US, but I'm planning my retirement. I was considering buying a house and retiring in Spain. Does anyone have any general advice or things to look for there? Is maintenance high there? Are taxes high? Not sure where to start...

Thanks!

I could help you if you want. Im spaniard!

Ask me everything you want to know... Ill be glad to help you

Daleth

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 02:26:40 PM »
Hola, Igil! What are property taxes (or the equivalent) like in Spain?

Zoot Allures

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 04:10:16 PM »
Regarding medical, I assumed they have some kind of private medieval insurance.

Is that the kind that covers leeches and bloodletting? :)

Igil

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2015, 10:34:39 AM »
Hola, Igil! What are property taxes (or the equivalent) like in Spain?

We call it IBI aka Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles is a local tax but you cant really compare with the american (canadian in my case) property taxes because theyre way cheaper.
They depend on the city population, kind of house, year of construction... but so far are affordable and not a big pain to take in consideration if youd buy a property.
I can show you some examples of how much were paying in our houses there:

85/year (not monthly) for a 2B apartment in Caceres
180/year for a townhouse on the beach in Alicante
My father is paying over 500 for a "ranch" style with a few acres.

I guess you should be more careful with the "strata fees" (Cuota de comunidad) because is so common to have pool, gym in the building and this cost a lot to maintenance.
In our previous properties we pay 60/monthly (not yearly) for the apartment (has elevator) and 40/monthly for the townhouse

But in my opinion the best option is to rent for a while and during this time move around, know different provinces...

Igil

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2015, 10:47:45 AM »
That sounds a bit vague.

Do you have the right to reside in Spain?  Check visa requirements for your nationality.  What will you do for medical care?

Spain has pretty varied terrain, so think carefully about where you want to be.  How much time have you spent there?

How good is your Spanish?  Castillian Spanish will serve you better than Mexican/South American.

Be careful buying near the southern coast: there have been a lot of problems with invalid building permits. 

There has been a big crash in Spanish property over the last few years.  But other costs (taxes, food, etc.) haven't gone down.

These are really good questions to consider before thinking in buying.

If you are non-resident or non-european you can contract a Health Insurance for over 60€/month and the private hospitals are better than public but anyway the public health systems works really good there, better than Canadian.

About learning Spanish, if you move to an area with foreign people the language is not a problem at all cause the British visitors are common. The disadvantage of the tourist areas is that they are in general more expensive.

If you decide to buy something Ill let you know what paperwork you should ask to the owner, but in this cases to hire a Real Estate Agent could help. Anyway the Building Permits issue is for new developments but are isolated cases.

The crisis over there affected the properties prices, in the previous ten years (before 2007) the houses prices increased an average of 12-20% every year and millions of people decided to buy a house (w/mortgage of course) and the majority of the population worked in something related with construction industry. With the subprime crash the European banks stopped the credit flow and the developers new buildings credits and the companies downsized thousands of personnel who without a job, cant afford to pay their mortgages anymore.
The mortgage system there works different and if you dont pay the mortgage the bank take your house (with an actualized price less than your mortgage) and you still have a debt with the bank for years.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 11:19:55 AM by Igil »

Igil

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2015, 11:26:38 AM »
Visa wise I'm good as I was born in Europe. Regarding medical, I assumed they have some kind of private medieval insurance. I better check...

I've been there a few times and I liked it quite a bit. The food seem pretty cheap. I'll probably look for something close to the beach. It does not have to be a big city. Thanks for the tip on permits. I'll do my homework.

I've been teaching myself Spanish for a couple of months using Duolingo. I'm pretty confident I can learn except that Duolingo teaches me more South American Spanish.

Anyway, thanks for your comments!

Youre really lucky because with your British passport you could access to the public health system and works really good comparing with the Canadian as example. Its not medieval at all and if you move to a place with foreign people they have translators in hospitals.
If you want move to the beach just let me know and Ill recommend you some places and help w/ the search.

If you learn the basics in south american is going to be ok and when youll move there you could find classes or a teacher in a very reasonable price.

yyc-phil

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2015, 11:31:05 AM »
Regarding medical, I assumed they have some kind of private medieval insurance.

Is that the kind that covers leeches and bloodletting? :)

Medieval insurance can be expensive. Just look at these treatments :D

http://listverse.com/2013/07/31/10-bizarre-medieval-medical-practices/

Igil

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2015, 11:34:21 AM »
I've got kind of an interest in Spain because of the Camino (which incidentally might be worth trying if you want to get a feel for those parts of Spain on foot without making a commitment...I think it would be a great thing to do to celebrate retirement)

Try the blog big fun in a tiny pueblo for musings by an ex pat American:
http://moratinoslife.blogspot.co.nz/

Have you seen the American film "The Way" w/ Charlie Sheen is a good perspective from a foreign of El Camino de Santiago
I want to do it too when Ill retire despite Im not believer at all.

LazySod

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2017, 11:36:48 AM »
I am considering moving to spain after FIRE. How is taxation for investment income, knowing that most of them will be in my home country?


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Laurafromlasvegas

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2017, 01:26:03 PM »
Dont worry about Spain Spanish vs South American/Mexican Spanish. I am an American and lived in Spain for a couple years. Spain is a melting pot just like the United States so you will run into different Spanish accents. South Americans use a few different words and have a different accent but Spanish is Spanish. Youll understand just fine. Spain Spanish always sounded a little clearer to me, though. Have fun! :)

badassprof

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2017, 08:28:34 PM »
Dont worry about Spain Spanish vs South American/Mexican Spanish. I am an American and lived in Spain for a couple years. Spain is a melting pot just like the United States so you will run into different Spanish accents. South Americans use a few different words and have a different accent but Spanish is Spanish. Youll understand just fine. Spain Spanish always sounded a little clearer to me, though. Have fun! :)
Also, if you end up in Andalusia, the Spanish there is quite different from Castilian. I have a friend who lives near San Lucar de Barameda, and another friend who lives about two hours away in Playa del rey, and they speak very different Spanish. Much like the US in terms of dialects, etc. But you adapt when you get there, regardless of where/how you've learned Spanish. Had the same experience living in Italy and France, too.

elysianfields

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Re: Buying a house and retiring in Spain
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2017, 10:56:31 PM »
...They all remained US citizens but were able to buy property with ease and to get some kind of residency status that allowed them to stay in Spain longer than the 90 day at one time max allowed (although you can just travel out of country for a bit and then re-enter Spain for another 90 days without problem).  So unless things have changed (probably) ...

As you guessed, it's no longer so easy.  Without some sort of residency permit, an American could only remain for 90 out of 180 days, and would have to leave the entire Schengen area (=EU + Iceland + Norway + Switzerland), not just Spain, for at least 90 days.

cf. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/schengen.html.