All posts by Bo i Spanien

Buying and selling property in Spain

Wow. There are umpteen sites to browse properties for sale in Spain. But maybe you are not there yet, first you have to decide whether to rent or buy. And if you are renting, would you consider renting from a spanish person (yes, it is usually more economical) or does it have to be a countryman (usually you understand each other better).

My personal experience here in Spain is that the interior quality is usually better in apartments and houses owned by foreigners than properties owned by the locals. If you live in a harsher climate, you will have higher demands on the standard of your habitat.
But as usual, you have to pay for it and the spanish owned properties are generally cheaper to rent.

Buying from realtor or private?

If you are buying property, first thing to consider is whether you shall buy from a real estate agent or privately. The laws varies from country to country. For instance, in Spain you do not have to have a degree to work as a real estate agent. That’s why you want to make sure you contract one of the better ones.
The greatest advantage of using a real estate agent is that if you find a good one, they have long experience of the purchase process and know the area perfectly and have access to tens of thousands of properties for sale through their networks.

Since the real estate agent has very limited responsibility in Spain compared to many other countries, you always contract a lawyer to do all the check-up of the property. He/she makes sure all mortgages are disclosed, that the seller is really the owner of the property and so on. I can recommend the law firm  Wallin & Partner in Fuengirola or Nordgren Law if you are buying around Marbella.

Recommendations for buying and selling an apartment or a house

After more than 11 years here in Spain, I have found some real estate agents that I find trustworthy. Alamo is one of the major agents in Fuengirola, Serneholt Estate has offices in several of the most popular areas in Spain  and StartGroup in Calahonda, between Fuengirola and Marbella. They all have an international staff and they can all source properties from the whole market as they have cooperations with lots of other agents. You can also find them on Facebook: Alamo, Serneholt & StartGroup.

If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you might find some unlisted properties on Vibbo (prev. Segundamano) and Milanuncios. Some UK sites also sport spanish properties, such as Rightmove and A Place in the Sun, in case you don’t speak Spanish.

One final advice for the road. Try it. If you are not already living here, visit the place and make sure you really get along well before you buy. Then when you buy you will really have a good time here. Olé!

Spending winter in Spain

Ouch! The sun is not always shining on Costa del Sol. The winters can be really cold an moist. Like last Sunday when snow fell in the Mijas mountains just a few kilometers away. (Image from Mijas Comunicación) The temperature here at beach level was maybe 5-7 degrees Celcius so no snow here (unfortunately for the kids), but believe me it was really cold.

I must say, coming from Sweden I think I have been freezing more here than I did in Sweden. Why? Well because the houses here usually have no insulation whatsoever, apart from new houses. Electricity is expensive so you end up paying a lot, burning propane or fre-e-ezing.

So looking at houses or apartments down here, check for insulation. You might also want to look at ways to remove moisture in the house or apartment using a solar heated ventilation. There is a Danish product called Solarventi that uses solar heat to warm up air and blow it into the building. A very efficient, economical and environmentally solution to improve indoor climate, although depending on size, it might not be enough to heat the building completely. If you are going on vacation, make sure to bring some warm clothes just in case.

On the plus side, even winter time, clouded skies rarely last more than a day and then you can always lay down and let the sun heat you up. Just the opposite of what I was used to, but feels good!

Emigration and immigration

It’s interesting. In my home country, Sweden, there is an ongoing debate about integration. Since I was a kid I’ve always heard that the immigrants must integrate and I always wondered why immigrants to Sweden to such an extents settle in less secure areas. Apart from the obvious economic reasons, why not move to a safer area?

Then we moved to Spain. Or moved, yeah in the beginning we just went for a month a couple of times to try it out before we moved. But let’s rewind the tape a little. Because even before we came here we started looking. Where is there a Swedish School? Where in that city does most Swedes live? One day under the sun I realised we had done exactly what immigrants to Sweden do. You look for security – your countrymen. Cause it is so much easier to form a friendship with fellow countrymen than with somebody that has been spending their whole life in the country you are moving to.

On top of that, we were just “trying it out”. We didn’t board the plane saying “Let’s become Spanish!”. We will never be Spanish, no matter how much we love Spain and the Spanish, we are and will always remain Swedes. Let’s face it, even if we tried we would never be as good Spanish as the Spanish who grew up here. Integration takes generations.

I think that is exactly how immigrants to Sweden, Germany, UK also reason.

For me this experience has been an eye-opener and I hope this short text could help people understanding each other just a little bit better.