what where we’re up to now…
It’s interesting that as yet none of our friends has asked if we’re being a bit naive, (even crazy?) What with the economic situation there, at first glance you’d be right to think so.
Spain is still the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone. The UK comes in at third, so it’s not like Spain is much less stable than the UK. However, in general it is more risky to buy a property there, simply because there’s the potential for more pitfalls, and legal loopholes that work in the banks favour. Fortunately things have improved since their EU bail out. One of the agreements in it was that Spain rids itself of “dirty money,” banks would be fined if they didn’t comply and it worked. They also had to adhere to other strict EU policies imposed and did.
The housing market there is predicted to remain stagnant for up to the next 5 years. So if you want to get a bargain, become a Resident, and intend to stay there for any length of time, then it’s a winning situation.
There are things to be aware of such as bogus estate agents, who can easily fool people that jump into things without a care. The pitfalls are endless if you don’t do your homework first. We heard of someone recently who bought a property in France through an online agency, without even going to look at it! Oh dear, it was set up to “fall through” & they lost everything including a property that didn’t exist. That can happen anywhere, but you have to be stupid and reckless to be taken advantage of.
Another thing to check up on is that there’s no debt owed on the property you buy, with paperwork to prove it. Otherwise you’d be taking on the debt!
We did our homework on estate agents and followed advice from the British Embassy in Madrid. There are only 4 that they recommend on their website so we went with one of them. All do conveyance too and speak English. Yes, you pay extra for conveyance, but it’s a security measure that can’t be overlooked. We also checked out the most reliable banks and went with one of those. Contracts are all in Spanish but can be translated to English.
What about any effect from Cyprus? Well, that could be a guessing game. The media are making a big thing out of it affecting Spain and Italy. In reality Cyprus is a “one off” situation. It doesn’t have many connections with Spain & Italy except to introduce uncertainty. Contrary to popular belief, the Spanish Government can actually take advantage of the situation by raising interest rates – if only to the level of inflation to encourage investment.
Even in recession, Spain & Italy are too important to the EU to impose such draconian measures (as in Cyprus) on the population. In doing so the Euro would implode, because every country in the Eurozone would lose all credibility to the outside world. So we’re almost 100% sure this wouldn’t affect us, but just to be certain all our savings are staying put here.
I won’t keep banging on about it, the recession in Spain is regional, mainly in cities & large towns inland, where construction was on-going when the economy crashed. We saw 2 such deserted areas within the 40 kilometres to the airport, where, sadly, what were new building sites are now old building sites. Frozen in time, with cranes pointing the finger at part finished property as if saying “It’s all your fault!”
So why the regional difference? Well already well established areas like Benidorm remain so, it’s like they’re immune to the fragile economy. And there’s other good news, thanks to the effort put into making the area even more beautiful & safe than ever before. Cops are everywhere and the “yob” culture has been put off from going there due to the crackdown. Then of course there’s the sun, Blue Flag beaches, sand and sea. Investment in seaside towns is obvious. Even down to basic things like recycling bins being emptied every night.
Fact: The whole of the UK is affected, go somewhere like Benidorm and you see the massive difference. “Rip off” Britain only really becomes visible when living in comparison.
Medical care: EHIC (the successor to the E111 card) is enough for free healthcare. If you’re a resident in Spain and above the big 50, then fill in an E121 form, as a member of the EU treatment is free, just like the NHS. No, sorry, it has a reputation for being far superior to the NHS. In addition, the same medication is cheaper, checked it out already. Or you can pay monthly and go private, which if someone has a “previous medical condition” then it’s a requirement.
In summary: Homework and research is everything, you have to do both to stay SMART. It’s worth every penny. So in our spare time we’re both sat at our laptops (like now) refining info, and tailoring it to ourselves.
Sounds too good to be true? No,,, we’ve seen the difference first hand for ourselves…
Oh, and for the ladies! “Florence & Fred” at Tesco, and “George” at Asda, have nothing on less than half price clothing of better quality. Um, secondary to that, but more important – food too…