Moving to rural Spain.

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15 May 2012 17:51 by GerryAttrick Star rating in UK. 2 posts Send private message


 Hi Again,

My partner and myself have thought long and hard about what we want out of life and have decided it is not what we have at the moment, which is why we feel that Spain can offer us far more than a lot of other euro.countries. We are late 30s early 40s and both have health issues which we feel would benefit from living in a warmer climate.

What we are looking for is a small property with enough land to enable us to grow our own fruit and veg, keep chickens and possibly goats as we are unable to drink cow's milk - one of the problems we have. We are not idealists expecting Spain to be the golden goose and realised a long time ago that life has a habit of  "biting you in the bum" , when you least expect it 

We are looking at a possible move within the next 12 months to the Alhama de Granada and quite like the area around Zafarraya which seems to be fertile and possibly ideal for what we are looking to achieve or are there areas better suited to our proposed lifestyle.

At the moment we are looking to carry on with the work we do now, which is web related and gives us a reasonable income per year, we live quite frugally and would appreciate knowing what people feel about actual living costs - should we be looking at 1000/1500 euros per month, more - less, we have no idea, as we obviously need to keep the rainy day fund topped up as a provision fot the future, in case we cannot work.

Sorry to ramble on a bit, but any and all advice would be gratefully received.

Thanx Ben & Ness

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15 May 2012 18:51 by claire T Star rating in Torremendo, Orihuela. 689 posts Send private message

EOS Supporter

Hi and welcome to the forum.  I hope you find it as useful as I did when I was first dreaming of a life in the sun!

I don´t know the area you are talking about, but hopefully someone on the forum will and they can give you some local info.  The point I wanted to make was that you should check out your access to healthcare if you both have pre-existing medical conditions.  Each region in Spain has different rules about healthcare and here in Valencia you can choose to pay into the state system, which can work out significantly cheaper than private cover.  I have clients moving to this area who have worked out that the husband will pay into the state system, as he has existing health problems, and the wife will go private, as she has not.

You will also get access to the Spanish health system if you are self-employed but this costs around 275€ per month minimum, so again you should check this out.

Some things in Spain are significantly dearer than the UK, eg cars, phones and internet services.  Food tends to be cheaper and wine is certainly cheaper! 

All the best with your plans and do let us all know how you get on.


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16 May 2012 11:45 by summer70 Star rating in Granada. 92 posts Send private message

summer70´s avatar

We live in the Granada area and know Alhama De Granada very well. The town itself is beautiful, a real slice of history with fantastic views, but also with modern facilities.  The people are generally friendly and helpful and, because Alhama is a bit like an island in some ways - set all by itself in the mountains, you should be able to find everything you possibly need there in the way of provisions, shops, stores, an excellent health centre, etc. There is also a reasonable bus service into Granada, Velez Malaga to the South, and surrounding areas.

However, we live in a small village which is around 20 minutes drive away from Alhama itself, so our costs of living will be different.
Properties in Alhama De Granada and the surrounding countryside are still a little on the pricey side, especially considering the downturn of the property market.  However, it would definitely pay you to haggle over price.  You may or may not be lucky, but it is certainly worth a try!

As to your health requirements.
If you have up to date national insurance payments in the UK, you could consider applying for an S1 form.  This would give you access to state health care.
However, this would only be short term, as I think the most you will be covered this way is for 2 years, and sometimes less, depending on your last contributions.
Either way, as you are in your 30s-40s, you would not be able to get free state health care on a permanent basis unless you were paying into the system.

Some regions of Andalucia did, until recently, have a system whereby you pay a small amount per month, and for this gain access to the local state healthcare services. However, any costs on top of this, including visiting a consultant, xrays, scans, etc, plus prescriptions, you would have to pay for at the full rate.
I also think that this scheme is no longer in existence since the changes in healthcare laws as of April this year, but may be worth checking out.

But to be honest, your best bet would have to be to take out private health care insurance to cover your needs and (see below) you will need to do this before you set up home in Spain.
The costs of this vary according to insurance company (and you will need to find a company which provides a service in your area), but health cover in Spain, through a Spanish company, is usually cheaper than in the UK or via an English company.
But here comes the crunch.
As already noted, insurance companies will either refuse to insure you for existing health conditions, or your premiums will be extremely high in accordance with these.

There is another way around this, but it is not cheap.
As ClaireT has said, you could set up as self employed - Autonomo.
Only one of you would need to do this, as the other could claim healthcare entitlement under their partners claim.
But this will cost a minimum of 260 euros per month, according to your situation, and this is for state health cover and future pension.
On top of this, you would have to make regular tax returns and pay tax on profits. Setting up as autonomo is really for those setting up a business, so tax returns and payments have to be made accordingly. You would also need to set up an invoice and payments system. You would definitely need an accountant or gestor to help you with this, so their fees would have to be taken into consideration too.

For any financial transactions in Spain, you will need an NIE and, as living permanently here, the Government of Spain will also expect you to sign on the Foreigners register and obtain a green card.
And in fact, you will find it increasingly difficult to do many things in spain without this Green card.

The main issue right now, however, is that, since April this year, laws on healthcare have changed, and with these, entitlement to a green card.
The new rules seem to be that you cannot get your green card without showing that you have access to health care (which will either be an S1 or a private insurance certificate) and that you can prove that you have enough to live on each month (and thus not become a burden on the hard pressed spanish State).
This will mean either showing a contract of employment or perhaps your business books.  Savings only count if you can show that you have investments providing a regular income.

(Some posters here will state that all of this is against EU legislation, but that is debatable and either way, Spain is doing this so you have to comply if you want to live here with less hassles ).

And the crunch here is that many local councils are awaiting confirmation of rules before they issue green cards and this could take some time!

Sorry for the side trip into ongoing health and residence issues, but it is something you will have to deal with.

But another issue is your work online.
The internet service in Spain is not as good as you may have found it in the UK, especially in rural areas.
Where we live, we only have access to ADSL from Movistar (previously known as Telefonica) and it is very unreliable. WIMAX is unavailable to us and Satelite internet services are expensive and have strict rules about usage.
Any other ADSL service we used would have to work via lines set up by Movistar, so they are not much use to us.

However, this may not apply to Alhama De Granada or to Zafarraya.
Alhama is at the top of a mountain, rather than in a dip (as we are), so better signals may be available.
But you will need to check this out as you will be continuing your internet work here.

Sorry for the extremely long post (and even then, it didnt answer all of your questions!), but I hope that at least some of this helps.

And good luck in finding your new home!

No me lo puedo creer! Living in Spain as an Expat.

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16 May 2012 13:53 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 4869 posts Send private message

Thanks Summer 70.
But, for the sake of clarity.
The document referred to as the ‘Green Card'  is the Certificate of Registration required by citizens of the EU. For them ‘Residencia’  was abolished in April 2007.
Those coming from outside the EU they still require’ Residencia’ as before.
The scheme allowing people to pay to be in the health system was not in Andalucia (worse luck)  but I believe in  Alicante


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16 May 2012 14:21 by summer70 Star rating in Granada. 92 posts Send private message

summer70´s avatar

The scheme allowing people to pay to be in the health system was not in Andalucia (worse luck)  but I believe in  Alicante

There was a similar scheme in Andalucia, but on a very local basis in the West of the region.  I know a couple of people who paid into this. They still had private health insurance to cover major health issues, but paid into the local scheme also, so that they could visit their local health centre rather than travelling quite a few k to their nearest insurance-covered doctor. However, it didnt apply anywhere in Granada as far as I know.


This message was last edited by summer70 on 16/05/2012.

No me lo puedo creer! Living in Spain as an Expat.

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16 May 2012 15:41 by cazzy Star rating in Inland Andalucia. 185 posts Send private message

 Are you going to rent or buy? Alhama is very expensive and very  nice, but you are a bit out on a limb, 

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