Practical advice to find a home in Spain
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Two things I love about Spain are the friendliness of the people and the open lifestyle.  It’s something to think about when you are considering where to find a home in Spain.

When I lived in the Dubai, you could choose a Villa based on 6 different types!  Spain has homes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages and styles.  Maybe you have always had a dream of living in a cortijo, or a hacienda with avocados, oranges and mangos, or a heavenly view from the penthouse!  Before you get swept up into the dream, here’s my tips based on talking to various friends over the years:-

1.         Buying or Renting

My top tip has to be to ‘rent before you buy’.  Areas can change quite dramatically over the course of a year.  What may appear to be a busy vibrant hub with lots of restaurants and bars during the summer can become a dead end during the winter.  The temperature of certain towns can rise, or fall dramatically depending on the season (think 45+ in the summer and -10 in the winter).  

Don’t be bamboozled into buying something that doesn’t tick your boxes. It’s a big investment in a country in a different language, with different laws and could be a big mistake.

We have rented both of our homes in Spain before we bought them.  Something the Landlord might be interested to explore with you if you discover it’s just the right place for you.

2.         On your doorstep

What is on your doorstep can make a huge difference to your life in Spain.  Once you find somewhere you want to buy, do lots of research about the area, the town hall’s plans, transport links, local shops/supermarkets and bars, and your neighbours.  It could be that many of the people in the block rent out their properties for holiday lets.  This could mean an increase of people trying to get parking, using the swimming pool, lift etc. and of course associated noise during the holiday seasons.  
We love our home; it is near enough to walk to the train and good transport links and into a larger town, but part of a smaller, Spanish community.

3.         Campo or Pueblo

If the countryside is your thing, just think about whether this will be your forever home, or a home to enjoy for 10 or so years.  If you have children, are there good schools in the area (Spanish public, or International depending on your preference)?  Do you drive?  Are you working from home, or a TV addict so need a good internet connection? What happens when you enter your third age, or may need hospital treatment?  As beautiful as THAT view is, how practical will it be as you get older?

Town-living does it for me and whilst I would love to be jam making in the campo, I believe I have the best of both worlds, a short drive to the countryside, a short walk to the beach and a 300MB internet connection!

4.         Community Living

When I moved to Fuengirola in 2002, my husband was already living in an apartment so I immediately became part of that community.   If you live in an apartment, or villa which is part of a complex you will become part of a ‘community’ too.  Your home will be subject to the Spanish Law of Horizontal Division (Ley de Propiedad Horizontal) whether you are resident of Spain, or not.  The law covers common areas such as swimming pools, gardens, cleaning services, support of services etc. and each owner has to pay a monthly fee to be part of the “community”.  There will be (at least) an annual meeting with the other owners where you discuss and agree any changes to the common parts of the community.  Before you buy, check to see if there are any major renovations scheduled and does the community save up or have a reserve for big expenses that could increase your monthly fee.

Of course there is another part of that community which you will become part of – the neighbours!  Before you buy, it’s a good idea to find out from your Seller what is it like to live there too.  We live in a community of 24 apartments (where my husband is the president) and as well as Spanish neighbours we have Finnish, Swedish, Indian and English living together, making for a very colourful united nations!

5.         Hobbies and Interests

Is a deal breaker being near to your hobby or activity?  Do you play golf, want to learn padel, get to the gym, swim in the sea, climb that mountain, ride your horse or something else that ticks your hobbies box?  These could make a difference to the location of where you want to live too.  Are you keen to make new friends and meet for coffee, or attend networking events?  Whilst you might be used to driving for an hour in your home country to an event, you might not in when you arrive in Spain.  In fact, you might want to live somewhere where you don’t need a car!

Enjoy making your plans, doing your research into areas and planning your move to sunny Spain!