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.

Top 5 Places to Enjoy the Romance of Resort Retirement in Sunny Australia

Post by Sharon Freeman, freelance Australian writer and blogger

When you think of Australia, whether you are from here or elsewhere, the tendency is to think of a bright and sunny place with rolling deserts, exotic plants, wildlife and endless beautiful beaches. With more and more seniors enjoying active lifestyles well into retirement, there is a new kind of retirement community beginning to gain momentum, known as the ‘retirement resort.’

With all the amenities and enjoyment of a permanent vacation combined with that perfect Australian weather, some of the best new resorts up and down the East and West coasts are made for those 50 and over. Check our recommendations of the retirement resorts in the country.

1) The National Lifestyle Villages

Located in West Busselton, Western Australia is the Busselton at the Bay retirement resort. This resort is owned by the National Lifestyle Villages and only a short drive or pleasant walk from the town centre.

Unlike yesteryear’s retirement facilities designed for 65-and-overs, those operated by National Lifestyle Villages are designed for people aged 45 and up. This young and fun vibe is great for hanging out by the pool, playing tennis, having BBQs or beverages in the outdoor entertaining area or relaxing in the spa. Enjoy the surrounding natural environment of Geographe Bay, Naturaliste and area attractions like Margaret River Vineyards and the Busselton Jetty.

2) Lifestyle

Taking the idea of ‘resort living’ very literally, Lifestyle has a handful of top retirement resorts both existing and in-development across the country.

Victoria offers one of the best retirement experiences and the Lifestyle Warragul retirement resort is one of them. Mixing a ‘Country Club’ environment with resort amenities, Warragul offers a spectacular rural setting an easy drive outside of happening metropolis, Melbourne. Enjoy an active lifestyle with the bowling greens, gymnasium, billiards room, tennis courts and even dance floor! Choose from a range of custom-made 1 and 2 bedroom homes for ultimate comfort and relaxation at home. Just south of the Sunshine Coast, this is a Queensland retirement dream!

3) IRT Parklands Currimundi

For those retires who like the beach, bush and bustle of the city all in one centrally located resort retirement community, Currimundi is the best option.

Currimundi has beautiful world-class beaches and only less than an hour’s drive away from Brisbane. Heading to the west, you can enjoy the serenity of the Glasshouse Mountains and surrounding National Parks. Even without leaving home, residents here live amongst a rainforest habitat and enjoy seeing the natural wildlife wandering the grounds on a daily basis. A unique feature here is the availability of 3 bedroom homes, whereas many retirement resorts offer only 1 and 2 bedroom units. This is great for visiting family and friends. Residents here must be over 50 and pets are allowed.

4) Crighton Lifestyle Resorts

If you aren’t quite ready to retire, it might be worth waiting for The Hermitage Lifestyle Resort- Tea Gardens.

Located just north of Sydney and between two top-touring destinations of Sydney and Byron Bay, this New South Wales retirement village already has several stages completed and more phases to come. Retirees who enjoy golf will love the chance to play a round at the top-tier country club while enjoying the scenery of Waterlilly Lake. For an extra touch of luxury and romance, take a stroll through the “Monet”-inspired grounds and gardens. Check out the newsletter on the official Hermitage website for an idea of what is going on in the community and with the development.

5) Palm Lake Resort Deception Bay

You can find this little gem, the Palm Lake Resort, on the beautiful Deception Bay in Queensland. The resort is truly designed for retirees who want a quiet retirement and those who want to continue enjoying an active lifestyle.

In addition to the usual pools (indoor and outdoor), bowling greens and tennis courts, this retirement resort features a croquet lawn, craft room and handyman work shop. If you are more interested in molding your mind than working with your hands, there are other facilities – a full library and a computer room. If you’re more musically-inclined, enjoy the baby grand piano in the clubhouse. Located right on the water, many residents own watercraft or enjoy dining, shopping and nightlife in town.

Sharon Freeman is an Australian freelance writer and blogger. Since 2007, she has been writing about buying, selling, renting real estate and articles for companies like http://taylors.com.au/

How to Decide Where to Retire

From my US News & World blog

One of the most important retirement decisions we will make is deciding where to live. We must decide whether we want to retire in place or relocate to a more exotic locale. Some people downsize, transition from a house to a condo, or move to a retirement community upon retirement, while others just make some changes to their existing homestead.

[See The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012.]

I have spent a considerable amount of time contemplating myideal retirement location and have decided it would look something like this:

  • Near the beach and rolling waves—three to five blocks ideally, a few more if absolutely necessary
  • Walking distance to the local downtown where we have our favorite coffee bar, breakfast restaurant, bookstore, dinner establishment, and wine bar
  • Temperate weather and no snow
  • A diverse age group with young and old making up the local population
  • A small-town feel, but with modern conveniences
  • A good public transportation system
  • Access to quality hospitals and health services

[See 11 Retirement Benefit Changes Coming in 2012.]

Important questions to ask. If you have not begun your investigation, here are a few preliminary considerations:

1. How important is the outdoors and nature? If you cannot live in it, how close do you need to be to it?

2. Do you prefer a big city with lots of cultural experiences and nightlife or a small-town feel?

3. What kind of weather is desired or acceptable?

4. How important is having friendly neighbors? Here you may want to spend some time walking through the prospective area, getting a feel for the people and families, and talking with local vendors to get their first hand view on things.

5. Can you comfortably afford the cost of living? In retirement our funds are limited, so be brutally honest in this analysis.

Relocate or renovate? Many retirees are happy with their existing home, established network of friends, and familiarity of surroundings. For these people, the option of sprucing up their current dwelling may be more attractive than moving to a new place. Here are a few ideas for getting the most for your renovating dollars.

  • Improvements that aid accessibility are useful as we age. Try to choose fewer and shallow steps, lower kitchen and bathroom counters, and handles on doors rather than doorknobs. Easy access bath tubs and showers are nice upgrades.
  • Better lighting throughout the house.
  • Improved insulation to keep warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • Drip irrigation is efficient and easy to care for.

[See The 10 Sunniest Places to Retire.]

As you plan for retirement, consider the many variables that can contribute to living a fulfilling life as a senior citizen. Carefully plan for contingencies such as failing health as well as identifying fun things you will do to keep active. You may need to evaluate several possible retirement locations.

Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.