At the end of March 2001 we travelled back to Santander then on to Plymouth by ferry without having reserved accommodation for the following winter – we simply did not know what our circumstances would be. Our conversation during the long journey was speculative. What would the next 6 to 9 months bring? we kept asking ourselves. Still we had a plan – sell our property then emigrate; rent a property in the Costa Blanca area until we could find a suitable property to purchase. There was also the car – we would need to change our Laguna for a left hand drive.
During the first week back home our priority was information. We needed lots of it. A well known book store provided the material:
Plenty of bedtime reading! Followed by dreams – I was listening to the walking group again: “If you buy a property for it's view make sure that a multi-storey apartment block can't be built in front of you” --- “Make sure you buy a property that is legal” --- “Don't buy on a dry riverbed which can easily flood” --- “Be careful of areas built on landfill sites” - would our move in fact turn out to be a nightmare? There seemed to be so many things to think about.
We did discover that as soon as we completed a period of 6 months in Spain, whether we had purchased a property or not, we would have to apply for Residencia ie become a Spanish resident. As we were under official Retirement age this would cause a problem medically – the solution was that we would need Private Health Insurance and we would have to confirm our income (both to ensure that “we did not become a burden on the country”).
The books also told us to take into account additional costs when purchasing which can be as much as 10% of the purchase price – including VAT at 7% - something that isn't paid on British properties of course. Also property tax (IBI) and wealth tax would be payable annually but we had no way of assessing these at that stage.
Nevertheless, we placed our property on the market in late April 2001 and accepted an offer near the asking price quickly on the basis that the purchasers could sell their own property by July. They explained where it was situated and we were satisfied it would sell.
BUT, of course, it didn't. We were cross with ourselves for not leaving our property on the market.
This lead us to re-advertise in August. But we were not getting any viewers. What was happening? It was a seller's market! Time was short. We wanted to be on the last ferry of the year from Plymouth on 11th November. As late as the end of August we were getting desperate. Do we stick with our present agent?, do we change agent?, will we ever sell?, were thoughts going round and round our heads. CHANGE AGENTS and RE-ADVERTISE was the answer.
Summary of Links
Moving to Spain
Part 1 - The Idea
Part 2 - The First Trip
Part 3 - The Return Back Home
Part 4 - Second winter in Spain
Part 5 - Xmas Eve in Spain
Part 6 - Trips to Spanish Cities
Part 7 - Madrid
Part 8 - Third winter in Spain
Part 9 - The Villa
Part 10 - The Decision to Move
Part 11 - Research
Part 12 - Leaving Home
Part 13 - Buying a Car...(or not!)
Part 14 - The Perfect House
Part 15 - Completing on the house
Part 16 - Moving In