For many years a lot of people have retired to a mobile home park in the UK having sold their bricks and mortar first to release the capital in the home in order to enjoy retirement to the full. Then one day someone had a bright idea and thought that living in a mobile home in Spain would be so much nicer. How right they were.
Before this bright idea the only mobile homes could be found on campsites along the coast alongside tents and caravans. Since then dedicated residential mobile home parks have opened up big time in the Antequera region and now there are 4 parks with almost 600 mobile homes.
The advantages of living in a dedicated mobile home park are that 1/ language is never a problem as the parks have offices with English speaking staff and are there to solve your problems, 2/ you are never alone and making new friends comes easy, 3/ you have all the facilities including a swimming pool that you and your friends and family can enjoy. The downside is that once you own a home in Spain you will be amazed how many friend and family want to come and visit you.
The costs are very simple also, you pay a site fee which is around 320 Euros a month for dedicated sites and a premium rent if you are one of these people who have to live 30 yards from the beach. For your money you get 24hr security, landscaped park, rubbish collected daily, no council tax to pay, manned office with English speaking staff and in the case of one park free water. It begs the question why live in the UK in a mobile home?
New or resale: With resale you get to see the home on the park and usually it includes a lot of extras. The biggest advantage with a resale is that the decking has already been built and wood is one of the few things that is expensive in Spain. If the resale includes a shed you know you are saving a further £500. The second advantage of a resale is that you can buy the home more or less straight away and be living in the sun in a matter of weeks. It is also an uncomplicated way of buying a home in Spain to live.
New homes either made in the UK or in Spain take longer as once you have chosen the Park and more to the point the plot you then need to choose a home. Once that has been done the home is ordered and built. The whole process can take between 3 and 6 months before the home is in situ, connected and ready for you to move into. This method is ideal if you are planning to retire in 6 months time. The prices of the homes are much the same new or resale and you can normally find a good resale home with lots of extras for less than £40,000. You can also have your dream new home on the Park for less than £40,000 but bear in mind you have to add decking and sheds and they can cost as much as £7,000 on top.
Now to the technical points in living in Spain. Having bought your mobile home and moved in the first thing you need is to get registered with the local council and doctor. Do not panic. Some parks do it for you and for those that do not there is always someone who will do it all for you charging between 20 and 30 Euros. That is not a lot of money to pay for peace of mind; they speak the language, take you to the police station etc and get you registered for everything. As they do it all the time they know the procedures and make it easy.
The beauty of being on a residential park is that no mater what the problem is there is always someone who knows how to solve it, or knows someone that does. Ex-pats love to share information and help each other out. That's what being retired is all about. An important thing to get your head around in Spain is that Manaña does not mean tomorrow as it is written in the phrase book but means "not today" and this may also be accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders
Further good advice: Leave or sell your UK car at home. It is expensive to transfer your car to a Spanish number plate. Buy your car here and there is always someone to help you do that. Having a right hand drive car on Spanish number plates makes no sense. It costs around £1200 to transfer to Spanish plates, the insurance is dearer for a right hand drive, plus you either have to drive it out or pay to have it shipped out, more expense.
True Fact: The weather in Spain is so much better than in England BUT do not be fooled, it can and does get VERY cold at night in the winter months of December, January and February, frost at night clearing by 11.00 hrs and a possible temperature of 14 deg C by that time so make sure the home you buy has central heating and double glazing. True Fact: In July & August it gets VERY hot. Choose a home with Air Conditioning if buying resale and if buying new have it fitted here in Spain as it is one fifth of the cost of one fitted in the UK.
True Fact: There is very little rain. That means that if you like gardening you must choose your plants carefully as you pay for all the water you use here. Water is however surprisingly cheap. Retiring and living in a mobile home is very easy if you have lived in a mobile home in the UK.
Do not let the language be a worry: You will soon learn the basics of Spanish because you will hear them every day, thank you, good morning and good night for example. For those people who want to learn Spanish properly there are always Spanish teachers available who charge 6 Euros per hour. If you are seen to be trying to speak the lingo the Spanish also try a little English and between you can have a good laugh.
Shopping: The local produce is very good and fresh and reasonably priced. Fruit and Vegetables are fantastic and Cigarettes and Alcohol are a lot lower than the UK. If you smoke and drink a lot then living here is a must. Petrol is also well below the UK price. The Spanish tea bags however are not good so bring plenty out with you and tell every visitor to do the same.
Spanish People: They are fantastic in the local villages, they just love to try what little English they know and the shop keepers soon manage to understand what you want.
Peace of mind: That is exactly what you get. All the parks have a Park Management structure and they are able to help you with whatever problem you have. Unlike buying a property in Spain and throwing yourself into the Spanish way of life a Mobile Home Park allows you to be British, live in Spain, enjoy being Spanish "fiestas" for example yet knowing you cannot go wrong.
Motoring: The Guardia Civil are no mugs and will fine anyone for speeding. 200? to 300? fine (that' s £150 to £200) for speeding, much more expensive than the UK. If you do not have enough money on you they escort you to the nearest bank. This is very rare as most of us Brits drive slowly anyway as we are now on the other side of the road.
Car insurance here automatically includes breakdown cover so you will never be stranded.
To finish, if you are the sort of person who wants everything done yesterday please forget Spain. If you are the sort of person who likes to relax and sit out on your decking late at night having a quiet drink under a fantastic star filled sky late March until late October come and see for yourself what a good idea it was when someone thought "why live in a mobile home in the UK"