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Saturday, 6 May 2017

383: Oh this year I'm off to sunny Spain.....

I've done it! I've bought a tiny apartment (a bijou pied-a-terre to use most of my Franglais in one go) in Salou on the Costa Dourada and at the end of June I will move my teaching base from Poland to Spain. Bring on the sunshine.
This blog will take a slightly different format from my usual 'travelogue' style and instead I will give the reader an insight into the kind of things you might like to consider if you ever decide to buy a property abroad - and one or two things that tripped me up.

Once I had decided I wanted to move to Spain I had to decide where. In theory the further South one goes the warmer the climate. Around Malaga and Alicante would have been ideal if I was simply seeking the sun. But actually I wanted to keep the same working regime as I have at the moment (i.e. 3 weeks 'abroad' and 1 week in UK). Looked at from that point of view then somewhere 'near' Barcelona would be better. I started looking at properties on the internet that were on the Costa Brava (North of Barcelona) or Costa Dourada (South of Barcelona). Once I found what I hoped were reputable estate agents (realtors to my American friends) I signed on and sat back to wait for details of a plethora of available properties to come winging their way into my in box.  

It wasn't a plethora because there wasn't that much available in my price range but there were a few that I thought I might like and I decided to visit and inspect them. Then I made my first mistake. I decided to visit Spain on 5th January because it was Epiphany in Poland and there would therefore be no lessons to miss. Stupid boy - it was Epiphany in Spain too so the estate agents were closed. In fact it turns out that in the winter most of them are closed on Saturdays as well. At least I got a look at the local geography but I had to arrange another visit to view any properties. 

I went back a few weeks later and had a look at a couple of properties that looked interesting. I whittled down the list to just one, in Cambrils, and made a tentative offer. It wasn't ideal, and didn't even have a balcony. At this point fate intervened and nothing happened for several weeks. I decided to start looking again and found the palace I am now the owner of. Do please notice that the first 'a' in palace has been crossed out.

Before moving in I had to get a NIE number and open a Spanish bank account. Without either of these things it is impossible to buy property in Spain. The first proved easier than I had thought and the second much more difficult. I downloaded an application form for an NIE and presented it, and several other documents, to the Spanish Consulate in London. I had fully expected the trip to be in vain and to be told that I needed all sorts of other documents but no, they accepted what I had taken along, with only minor modifications, and a few weeks later my NIE appeared in my email in box. The bank account was a different story. When I opened a bank account in Poland a couple of years ago I simply showed them my passport and hey presto, here is your account number and debit card Sir. In Spain, rather different. I needed to prove not only who I was but how much my pension was and where I had got the money I was hoping to plough into this property in Salou. It's all done now and internet banking is fine but it was a bit of a naus jumping through all the hoops to prove I wasn't laundering money.

I've rambled for long enough. There can be a Part II but it will only appear on request.

hang on a minute...
Welcome to the Med

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