Moving to Spain - Buy Or Rent?
When you decide to move to Spain, you’ll have a list as long as your arm of things to do before you go.
Near the top of that list is likely to be ‘finding somewhere to live.’ But one of the big questions is should you rent or should you buy?
There will, of course, be certain limiting factors on whether you buy, including your available funds and whether you can own property as a foreigner in Spain.
But assuming neither of these things affect you, is it still a wise decision to buy a property straight off?
Where to go?
If you have have already secured a job in Spain then you will likely know the location you need to look at when looking for somewhere to live. Or if you are going with an open mind, there are so many different places you could consider.
From modern world famous cities like Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona, to beautiful countryside, medieval towns or you could move to one of the many popular beach resort destinations like the Spanish Costas.
How well do you know the area?
If you were looking to move somewhere else in your home country would you just make an offer on a house without having spent any time in that area? The answer is probably no, and you should take the same approach when moving abroad.
Even if you’ve visited several times on holidays, think very carefully about whether the location you’re considering is a place you’d be happy to live in rather than just somewhere for a getaway. It’s sensible to travel to your chosen destination at different times of the year, so you get a feel for what it’s like in every season.
By the same token, do your research about the property market and look at the cost of renting versus buying. Visit several local agents and, if you can, speak to other expats who live in the area to see if they’ve got any tips about where to look for the best property deals.
You should always carefully weigh up the cost of renting versus buying before you make a decision. In countries like Spain where property values are high, it may not be feasible to buy somewhere initially.
Prices are higher in places like Barcelona and Madrid where for a basic two bedroom flat you can be looking around 350,000+ Euros.
If the average price of purchasing a home is high for you, while the median cost of renting is around £1,150 per month, even though leasing costs aren’t cheap, it's infinitely more affordable than buying.
If you do want to buy, bear in mind to expect to pay between 8% and 11.5% in taxes on a property purchase in Spain.
Whether you are looking to buy or rent, the cost of living in Spain is fairly cheap though compared to other European countries, and with the warmer climate you will likely not spend anywhere as much on gas and electric as in other countries.
There are also lots of afforded energy companies like
Tiekom, who are committed to 100% renewable energy. Tiekom can help you make significant savings in your electricity bill, whilst also benefiting the planet.
Are you sure you want to stay?
One of the main arguments for renting over buying when you first move overseas is that it’s much easier to up and leave if you decide the expat life is not for you than it is if you’re tied to a location with a property.
It is considerably less hassle to cancel a rental contract and see out the final months of your lease than it is to market and sell a property – not to mention having to deal with transferring the cash back home and all the other expenses associated with a foreign property transaction.
Ease and flexibility
A final, compelling reason to go down the rental route is that it’s much easier. It gives you a lot more flexibility, too. For instance, you may love the city you’ve moved to but hate the particular district you’re living in. If you’re renting, it’s not too hard to find a new place and move on, whereas it will take much longer if you have to sell a home.
It’s also a lot less stressful before you go. Signing a rental contract and paying a month or two’s worth of rent as a deposit is much easier than dealing with all the legal paperwork associated with a property transaction in Spanish and having to arrange international transfers.
And, of course, there’s no reason you can’t rent first and then buy a property once you’ve settled into your new home and had time to get a better idea of where exactly you’d like to live.
If you are thinking about moving to Spain without speaking Spanish this can be a challenge. Not everyone in Spain speaks English and so it is recommended to learn at least the basics before arriving. You could also search classes from Spanish schools in Spain, there are options throughout the country.