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Renting in Spain
14 September 2018 @ 08:00

For those moving to Spain, I think renting is possibly the best option for people, at least initially until you know that Spain is right for you. 

I've seen a lot of expats who bought a Spanish property, particulalry during the boom years and moved straight out to Spain, without ever having properly lived in Spain.  They went on holiday there and decided they wanted to buy their dream home in the sun! Living in Spain is different to being on holiday in Spain.  It can be a very stressfull and bureaucratic country and it can be difficult to get anything done.  There is definitely a manana attitude here.

When I moved to Spain I spent the first 5 years happily renting a 3 bed town house on the Costa del Sol.  You could argue that it was 5 year's worth of dead money, but I enjoyed the flexibility that renting gives you.

Renting lets you move from place to place with ease.  If you buy a house in Spain and then decide to move, there are lots of fees involved in buying selling.  You basically need to have made around 20% capital growth just to break even on a property sale.  That's why a lot of Spaniards buy a house and stay put.

As well as buying and selling expenses, there are also ongoing expenses such as community fees, IBI (council tax) and so on.  Some community fees can be mouth-wateringly high each month.  If you are renting, the landlord pays all of these fees.  You pay the rent and utilities and that's it.

I was paying a very low amount in rent each month when I was renting in Spain.  Rents are still quite low in the coastal areas because of the massive oversupply of property from the boom years.  Granted, the big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona can be quite expensive, but then salaries are higher there.

A lot of expats that move to Spain eventually end up going back to their home country.  Some stay for a year or two; some stay for longer and a smaller percentage will end up staying for good.  Reasons for leaving Spain can include loss of job/lack of work; illness; relationship breakdown or just good old fashioned home sickness.

Although the property market is improving in Spain, we are still not talking "property boom" here, so selling a property can take a long time.  If you rent in Spain, you can give your notice to your landlord and can get back home relatively quickly.

But if you're sure about moving to Spain, have done your homework and are in it for the long haul, then buying in Spain makes sense.

In summary:

  • Buying/Selling a house in Spain can be expensive
  • Ongoing fees such as IBI and community fees
  • Renting offers flexibility
  • Selling a house in Spain can take a long time if you need to go back home
  • Renting can be inexpensive in Spain, particularly in the coastal areas.

 

 



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