With thousands of miles of beautiful coastline and sun a plenty, it’s not surprising that Spain has long been one of the most popular destinations for Brits abroad.
However, any move overseas requires a huge amount of research and planning. To help you get started on your journey, we’ve put together a shortlist of some of the things you should consider before relocating to Spain.
The first thing that may come to mind when imagining life working in Spain is a laid back office atmosphere in which everyone enjoys a leisurely segundo desayuno (second breakfast) every morning before taking a nice siesta in the afternoon.
However you may be in for a rude awaking as the Spanish typically stay at work later than most of their peers across Europe.
Roughly 80% of Spanish companies still have a two hour siesta in the afternoon, usually from 2pm to 4pm, with the two hour break being your time to grab a meal or catch up on some sleep.
This may sound great, but the main reason that those working in Spain get home so much later than workers in other nations is because they still need to fulfil their contracted hours.
Spain’s debt crisis has also seen the work-life balance eroded in recent years. Spain’s financial crash meant that many families couldn’t afford to lose any income and took on increased hours to make ends meet, a trend that has continued thanks to the substantial unemployment rate. Spanish joblessness is second highest in the EU.
However the Spanish government is making strides in improving the work-life balance, introducing new initiatives and public measures and attempting to influence change in work culture.
You may also be pleased to hear that Spain also enjoys a large number of public holidays and paid leave, with most employers granting 30 days paid holiday a year – that can really help to take the sting out of the longer working hours!
Buying a property can be a potential financial minefield no matter what country you’re in, however with a different language to deal with and a lot of bureaucracy to navigate, you may run into additional issues in Spain.
The first thing to know is that the country’s bureaucratic system is infamously slow.
It also pays to keep in mind the locally known law of Falta Uno, which is based on the idea that there will always be one bit of paperwork missing no matter how thoroughly you check and you can be sure that your property purchase will not be able to progress without it.
Always ensure that you have multiple copies of all legal documents that you might need and be prepared to bring them every time you visit your solicitor/estate agent, these things go missing with alarming regularity.
Corruption can also be a major obstacle when it comes to purchasing property in Spain, with the country being ranked higher than any other nation in the EU for perceived corruption.
With property debts being carried across to new owners and the lax planning permissions of the 90’s making some homes legally unsellable, you may find that some unscrupulous estate agents and sellers are all too willing to sell off property at rock bottom prices and then leave you to deal with the potential time bomb.
The best advice to those looking to purchase a property in Spain is to ask family, friends and locals for recommendations and advice of which agents, translators, lawyers etc to use, with the many expat forums on the web also being a great resource for finding reliable people to work with.
While the main appeal for many when theymove to Spain is the ability to enjoy a life in the sun just remember that too much of a good thing can have its own drawbacks.
Even if you love the sun you may find that from late July-August the sunny weather makes your life a nightmare with temperatures often reaching 35 degrees or higher. This can make leaving the house unbearable at the height of summer, especially if you’re not acclimatised to such heat.
Consequently, because of the glorious sunshine many Spaniards choose to take their holidays at this time, with many business during August shutting down as large portions of the workforce take a break.
This also means that even if you wish to venture out in the scorching sun during the summer you’re likely to find that the beach has become a sea of swimsuits as half the local population and droves of tourists descend.
And don’t forget to be aware of mosquitoes, the insects come out on mass during the warmer months!
One final consideration to make when looking to relocate to Spain (or any other country) is how you will transfer your funds into the local currency. One way to make this a little easier (and a lot more cost-effective) is to consider using a reputable currency broker to transfer your money.
While your first thought may be to use your bank, the more competitive exchange rates brokers are able to offer could save you thousands. You’d also avoid the fees that are often tacked on by banks and have access to a range of transfer services that can be tailored to suit individual requirements.
If you’re considering moving to Spain in the near future, find out more about your currency transfer options.
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