Following up on march blog post ‘Foreign Owned Property in Spain’, Brits are indeed still at the top of the foreign buyers list followed by France, Russia and Germany. Data from the Bank of Spain last week showed that foreign purchases in 2013 exceeded €6bn (£5bn) for the first time since 2004.
However as house prices in Spain continue to fall and reports of 90,000 Mediterranean dwelling Brits returning home a read through the comments section of such articles highlights the importance of integration and immersion in the host country, specifically for business owners and home owners in the coastal areas. Indeed, this is not the first time we have read this news, British press are keen to highlight the woes of expats heading to sunnier climes, “expecting a lifelong party, only to find that you may still have to work hard to support your lifestyle, and pay a lot for the pleasure“. Or, the idyllic rural dream of a self built home on a Spanish hillside becoming a nightmare for many by risking the incorrect planning permissions, and suffering the clampdown on illegal construction heavily underway.
Clearly, this is a generalisation to which many factors play a part (changes in life stages, unhappy with tax system, returning to see family) however here are some of our tips to make the most of your time here in Spain:
1. Learn Spanish- it’s true you may be able to get by purely socialising and working with expats, but your life will be truly enriched by understanding the locals and culture, and if you are ever looking for a job in Spain, ‘enchufismo‘ is rife with spanish employers preferring to hire recommended friends of friends, so become that friend!
2. Understand the administrative and legal system or hire someone who does (we do here at Spainwide!) It is so important to have correct legal and bureaucratic information to get your business, car purchase, home sale – or whatever you may need – moving swiftly.
3. Adapt your client base to include more Spanish and international customers and don’t rely purely on the English speaking market however tempting it may be…
4. Ensure you build your home legally and with planning permission. Always choose an independent advisor and be very careful with estate agents who have a conflict of interests. A home demolition can never be an easy thing to deal with.
5. Take a deep breath and accept that there are differences in cultures from your country of origin and Spain, but that they are working on improving their fiscal system, clamping down on corruption and unraveling the web of bureaucracy.
Please do contact us on the number above should you need independent advice.