Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Retirement Property in Spain

Guest Post by Mark Shaw

More people than ever are moving abroad for retirement. For one thing, it’s easier to research information nowadays, thanks to the Internet. And of countries to choose from, Spain is a much-desired retirement location, with its better quality of life, sunny climate and warm weather. In fact, Spain is the healthiest country to live in Europe according to the Lancet study and the World Health Organisation.

Spain also has a general lower cost of living than the UK and many other European countries. There is, however, a lot to consider and sort out between deciding to move to Spain and finally getting the keys to your new Spanish home.

Questions to ask

One of the deciding factors when choosing your new home might be its beautiful location. But as well as aesthetics, you will need to make sure the new area you will be living in is practical too. For example – is everything you need within a reasonable distance, such as doctors, local shops and transport links?

It is also advisable to meet a few of the locals for yourself to find out any information specific to the area. If your Spanish isn’t that good, will that be a problem or will you be able to get by? Also ask what the area and neighbouring areas are like. Even better, if you can talk to any other expats that live close by – how have they found the acclimatization and do they have any tips?

Pitfalls to avoid

When retiring to Spain, or anywhere else for that matter, it is advisable to avoid overly romanticizing your future. Living in Spain has many advantages, but it will not be like a constant holiday, because real life will eventually prevail. That doesn’t mean you have to expect the very worst – but just don’t expect to have that constant holiday high.

It’s easy to get excited and make quick decisions when moving to Spain – but it’s important to avoid any rushed decisions. This is especially true if you are buying your first property, rather than renting. Make sure you don’t buy the first property you look around, no matter how much you may love it.

It’s also important to make sure you don’t get lured into a cheap property. Your dream home may be a great deal, without any catches, but it’s still important to be wary of any lower-priced properties just in case. There is usually a reason for really low prices, something that might not be immediately visible when initially viewing the property.

When you have found your favorite house in your preferred location, don’t sign anything without a lawyer present. Make sure all documents have been translated into your first language. Just like in the UK, it’s important to read through every detail on your contract and look for hidden fees.

Legalities to be aware of

Buying a property in Spain is not the same as it is in other EU countries, nor is the law. This means you will need to be even more thorough, and double check everything. Do careful research and take independent legal advice from a property lawyer who fully understands Spanish law and fluently speaks your language, somebody impartial who will not have a conflict of interest in helping you.

Benefits of retirement in Spain

Once you’ve gone through the process of deciding on a property and sorting out everything to go along with it, there are many benefits to retiring in Spain. The sunnier climate can bring about many health benefits, including mental health benefits. The pace of life is a lot slower than in the UK, which you may find more relaxing, especially when it comes to afternoon siestas.

Life expectancy is higher in Spain, the climate is sunnier and the diet is fresh, healthy and delicious. And of course, living costs can be a lot lower. It is a different way of life in Spain, one that many UK retirees seek out.

Regions of Spain popular with British expats

Spain is a popular retirement spot for Brits, in particular, the towns of Javea and Moraira in Costa Blanca. Javea, for example, is quite an international town, where around 50% of the population are expats, and it has been popular with English-speaking expats since the 1970s. Often referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown of the Costa Blanca’, you can easily find beautiful villas for sale in Javea like these villas that come with a communal swimming pool – which couldn’t be further away from properties or the dismal storms and flooding in the UK.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.