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  • Writer's pictureNeal Ball

Moving to Spain - the check list

Hopefully these will guide you in your thought process.

These are my tips and observations about what its like here; to buy and then to live in Spain. Its not a definitive list, just....

Purchase fees

Allow around 13% for legal fees and ingoing taxes, this will vary according to the area.

If your property is part of an urbanisation, there will be fees associated with the upkeep of the Pool; lifts or it might be as straight forward as some lighting. The level of fees will vary considerably.

Here in Villamartin, a 2 bed 2nd floor apartment (with lifts) has a community fee of @€1000pa; a 2 bed "lola" style bungalow in the Verdemars area, also has a community fee of @€1000pa, but they have really nice gardens as a feature running through the middle of the development.

Yet another urbanisation with only a Pool and a small amount of lighting has fees of €365pa for a 3 bed house.

“Community fees: make sure you are aware of the level of fees.”

Our apartment block at Villamartin Plaza had a high level of debt, where owners were not paying the fees. This became an issue when the urbanisation needed painting.

SUMA Taxation

This is the equivalent to Council tax in the UK. The difference is that in the UK we paid something like £1500 for a 3 bed semi, here the SUMA is @€350 This is payable in September. If you buy a car, the car tax (again administered by SUMA) is payable in April.


I can recommend a solicitor, who will assist you during the property purchase. Typically the process will take a couple of months, although when we moved over in 2019, we completed in 2 weeks! You would be expected to go to the notary, although you can give power of attorney to your solicitor.

The days of property sales in cash have gone!

These days the full purchase price is declared and taxed accordingly. It used to be the way for only a partial valuation to be declared with the balance paid in cash. This is now illegal.

Going legal:

If you are going to live in Spain. I am sure you will want to be legal.

You will need to be added to the Padron. (electoral role); this needs to be renewed every two years. Although if you need to prove your address with another Spanish department, you will need to renew it early.

Residencia: You need this to be considered a Spanish citizen and during the 2020 Covid19 pandemic it was only your Residentcia that was going to allow access back into Spain when the borders were closed.

Non resident tax: If your property is only going to be a holiday home, you will still need to pay non resident tax. I would suggest this is done by your solicitor or an accountant.

Keeping in touch:

Its all very different from when we first had the apartment back in the early 2000's. These days we have fibre optic cable, just as good if not better than some parts of the UK.

There are a number of different companies selling broadband; TV; mobile 'phone and a landline service if you want it.

We use Ole fibre, only because it's their fibre network in the street.

To get Freesat in this part of Spain, you need a dish 1.9m or bigger, together with a Humax Freesat box and you can get UK TV at no cost.

We don't have access to catch up TV, if you wanted that you would need to pay for a satellite TV service. Or one of the VPN services - the only danger here is that so many different schemes giving you access to UK TV (in our experience) have been closed down over the years.

But in the summer are you really going to be watching Corrie or Eastenders all the time? Of course not.

If you are selling:

Your solicitor will retain money, for any last minute bills that might come in after the sale has been processed. Additionally they will retain @€5000 (varies) for any non-resident tax.

You will then (hopefully) get some of this refunded about a year later, once the tax office has calculated everything.

Good luck with your property search!

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