Cost of living in Spain
If you exclude the popular tourist destinations in the season, you’ll find that the cost of living in Spain is much lower than in the UK. To compare Barcelona and London:
- Consumer prices are around 30% lower in Barcelona.
- Rent prices are nearly 70% lower in Barcelona.
- Groceries are around 20% cheaper in Barcelona.
- Apartment prices are around 80% lower in Barcelona.
And altough properties seem rather affordable, keep in mind that legal regulations in Spain are an adequate counter-weight for that.
Buying a House in Spain
Buying a house in Spain appears to be quite straightforward — but you must be prepared for the expenses — translator, notary, lawyers and taxes. You must also be aware of the notorious Valencia Land Grab Law, where the government seizes land from owners of property, without compensation. The idea was to facilitate low cost housing — but the result has been catastrophic for many British expats.
So you need to be very wary, and unless your Spanish is really fluent you are strongly advised to hire an independent translator. Certainly not one supplied by the estate agent, who will have other interests at heart.
The notary will draw up the deeds and give you some help with taxes and registering yourself as the new owner. You also need independent legal advice to avoid possibly years of trying to legalise your ownership of the property. The Spanish laws differ from those in Britain. Don’t forget the survey before you buy and be sure you understand fully everything you sign. People may sign what they think is an expression of interest only to find they have signed to buy — and are legally obliged to go ahead.
You will find more information on the AUAN website (http://www.almanzora-au.org/).
So — translator, legal advisor, notary and a great deal of suspicion should enable you to buy wisely, and enjoy years of sunshine in this fascinating country — but do be diligent at all stages of buying. Check here for more in-depth guide on buying a house in Spain.
Working in Spain
You can live and work in Spain without a visa or work permit. That is thanks to The European Free Movement Of Workers agreement.
Your ability to find work depends upon our language skills. English is a bonus, but it helps to be fairly fluent in Spanish, as Spanish people expect you to do the courtesy of learning their language. If you are moving for employment, the administrative details may be handled by the employer.
It is wise to get a written contract if possible. A verbal contract assumes that the period of work is for one year, and there is little protection working under such an agreement. With only seven days notice required to terminate the contract and seven working days redundancy/severance pay due per year worked.
EU citizens may set up a business in Spain without restriction once they have their NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). This serves as a fiscal identification number. The NIE number begins with an X followed by seven or eight digits and another letter.
The Spanish State Department for Tourism and Trade offers an English-language information website. You’ll find there a step-by-step guide to the process of starting a business in Spain. http://www.investinspain.org/invest/es/index.html