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Moving to Spain… advice from those who have done it?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by manicatel, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    Rather than take the “early retirement” thread off topic,
    Asking for opinions from those who ( I think) have made a permanent move to Spain from the UK after retiring, so SteveinSpain, MickP & maybe a few others.
    This would be a full time move, living off our private pensions ( which will easily meet the post Brexit financial stipulations that the Spanish Govt now want), so not concerned about the employment situation.
    We have been visiting Spain, around the Sotogrande/Alcadeisa area near Gib for several years. My wife speaks very good Spanish, mine is work in progress.
    My main question really revolves around how necessary it is to retain a home in the U.K. “just in case” something goes wrong, or is it considered ok to go all out to buy a bigger place in Spain & not have any bolt-hole type place back in England.
    I have a couple of friends in Spain who tell me not to worry about having a U.K. home, other who tell me it’s a must.
    We’ve looked into applying for Spanish Residencia & are aware of the need for private medical cover etc. We don’t play golf, so wouldn’t be a part of the Brit expat golfing set.
    So over to those that have made the transition………..
    bob and Tony Lockhart like this.
  2. Cheese

    Cheese Bitter lover

    No experience here, except that of the the expats I've met (well mainly in Asia, I can imagine those in Spain to be made of a better wood), most don't make a very happy impression on me. They criticise their home country just as much as their new fellow countrymen, they sound bitter and arrogant at the same time. I guess it's often a matter of luck, kind of like the guys you will have to work with at your new job.

    The only thing I am sure of is that if you have a good network of people in your home country - I mean people you really care about - accept the climate and cost of living of your home country, and stay there.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
    andyoz and Snufkin like this.
  3. Spraggons Den

    Spraggons Den pfm Member

    Don't drink the water and if, after a few sangrias, you find yourself standing in the middle of a round shaped arena with a bull nearby, it might be a good idea to run.
    manicatel likes this.
  4. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Sounds like you have been there several times but living in a place is different from a visit of a few weeks. Why not rent for 3 months, return to UK for 3 months and then rent again for 3 months: after that decide for yourself.
    What are the reasons they say a bolt-hole in UK is a "must" ? Is it social or financial or something else ?
    Less risky plan would be to buy a smaller place first, keeping your 'bolt-hole' in the UK. Then decide after a couple of years at which time you will know much more about the property market there
    Or just splurge everything on a place in Sotogrande and play golf...
  5. cj66

    cj66 pfm Member

    We lived and worked in Spain for almost the entire duration of children's education. 20 mins east of Malaga.
    We really enjoyed our time there and although have now moved on to Asia, we have no bitterness or bad memories ( worth a damn ) about Spain, we simply wanted another change.

    What I did see much of though, was folk that had retired to Spain ending up going back to UK for all sorts of reasons. The stand out one was to be close to family again, as the years were marching on.

    Based on that I would say keep a bolt hole in the UK if you can afford to do so. We didn't but weren't retiring and have a bolt hole in Spain instead.

    Rent first is the top advice. Be absolutely sure the region you choose is " the one ".
    Ian G likes this.
  6. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    Yes, the latest plan ( there have been several) is to rent in the area we want to buy for 3 months, which is as long as we can stay without having residential status. 6 months+ would be ideal to properly get a feel through different seasons, but alternating 3 months might have to do. If we could rent a place with a view to buying it after the rental period has expired that would be ideal. We know this can happen sometimes but would involve a large dose of luck.

    I think the rationale behind keeping a place in the U.K. is that if we ever did want/ need to return to England full time, we would have a home straight away, as selling in Spain can take longer than in England, & house prices also go up quicker than in Spain.
  7. synapse

    synapse pfm Member

    be wary of wildfires?? I have friends in Gaucin who are getting a little concerned going forward
  8. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    Your points about language and golf sound like you want the real Spain. And yet the strip from Gibraltar to Malaga is the most expat part of Spain; and the friends you mention are British.
    The housing market in that area must be in turmoil after Brexit: alternating 3 months would be wise at first.
    That is a good point about wildfires. And see the floods in the south of France.
  9. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    Yea the recent fire around the Gaucin area was huge. Started on purpose, apparently. Madness.
    I’m told that sometimes, drug gangs start fires on purpose to stretch the police resources to make job of bringing in stuff from Africa easier.
    Wildfires up in the campo aren’t unusual but it does make you think carefully about having a home up in the hills for sure.
  10. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    I take your point about the expats in the area, & we are most definitely not in the fuengirola/Marbella mindset. But neither can we deny we are English.
    So as an example, we want to speak Spanish in everyday life ( until our limitations are reached) live by local laws & customs ( & not constantly whinging how things are done differently back home etc) but still have a jar of marmite in the cupboard, Haha.
    There are quite a few places between Marbella & Gib that have a good blend of expat convenience yet still with Spanish authenticity, a blend of both, if you will.
    Yes, my friends I referred to are English expats, golfers etc. And to a degree, that’s why I’m asking here, to get opinions from outside of that clique.
    My wife & I want to tread the line between having that English element but not being the typical Brit-Abroad.
    The housing market is definitely on the up in our chosen area, after a very rough period. There’s a mix of Spanish, ( a fair few of whom work in Gib), along with the Brits & Scandinavians.
    stevied likes this.
  11. wacko

    wacko pfm Member

    ^ all the best Manicatel. You sound like model residents-to-be who have done their homework.
    stevied and paulfromcamden like this.
  12. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    OP you should look at Competa it’s a small village in the hills about an hour away from Malaga airport (West opposite direction from Marbella etc) with excellent transport links down to the coast and the airport/trains etc and a really nice place too with great restaurants and lovely people.

    Think there’s a few people on here either live there or have holiday homes there.

    Decent hotel too, hotel balcon de competa, we’ve stayed there a couple of times.
  13. cj66

    cj66 pfm Member



    That does remind me to change the handle-name though....
    twotone likes this.
  14. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Aye lovely wee village Archez think Oscar who owns/owned one of the restaurants in Competa came from there, he also lived in Maryhill of all places for a few years:D
    cj66 likes this.
  15. Tony Lockhart

    Tony Lockhart Avoiding Stress, at Every Opportunity

    An ex-workmate was on the verge of retiring with his wife to rural France, and this had been their dream for decades.
    Then he went home one day, and his wife asked what would happen to her if, after a year or so, he popped his clogs. She might be left with few friends, no family nearby, and a house that wouldn’t enable her to buy her own place if she had to return.

    They stayed here.
    manicatel and Snufkin like this.
  16. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    I always read the local English paper in southern Spain and what struck me reading it was the amount of adverts for furniture and people advertising removal services back to the UK and used UK cars for sale.
  17. SteveG

    SteveG pfm Member

    Our thinking at the moment is that we might well buy a house in the Dordogne with the view that we'd spend half the year there during the first decade or so of our retirement, and the other half in the place we have in the north of Scotland. Then depending on health we'd revisit where we then wanted to be for the later part of our retirement - which might then mean selling both properties and maybe returning to Edinburgh.

    If retiring early then I think it's best to plan on different phases of retirement, but allow for flexibility depending on stuff like health - and stuff like the arrival and location of grandkids.
    Tony Lockhart likes this.
  18. cj66

    cj66 pfm Member

    He did a stint in Collumpton as well!
  19. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Nice enough guy struck me as being a bit of a Columbian marching powder man though.
  20. cj66

    cj66 pfm Member

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