Real Estate Abroad – Get Your Spanish Dream Home!

Many “Northerners”, mostly from UK but also from other countries such as Germany, Sweden or Norway have long learned about the advantages of owning real estate in a sunny, southern European country. Amongst the top favorites for owning real estate abroad is Spain. There are many things which make it very attractive to own a home in sunny Spain.

The Spanish real estate market is not untouched be the overall poor European economy. While this is a negative if you plan to re-sell right away, it can be a big opportunity if you are looking for a cheap home or villa. All throughout Spain, from the rural areas to the busy tourist locations on the Costa Blanca, you can find real estate agents that offer incredible homes, villas and apartments at very low prices. Many of the properties come fully furnished and have all the amenities one could wish for, such as a swimming pool, air condition or a sun-roof. The properties in Spain are offered at a fraction of the cost what an equal home would cost back in the UK.

Many people from the UK purchase affordable apartments that will become their holiday home whenever they want to go on vacation. They spend most of the year back in the UK and then visit Spain for a week or two over the holidays.

The advantages are obvious: Instead of paying for costly stays and hotels, a nice apartment will wait for you in sunny Spain! Not only will you have nice real estate for holidays in a beautiful southern country: Who knows, at some time you might want to retire and Spain might be just the right place for it!

Another option is if you buy a home or apartment in Spain cheap and then rent it out to other holidaymakers. This can be quite lucrative if you get a good deal on a place such as on the beautiful Costas in Spain. While you will own a nice place in a great country, you will in addition have a good income each month from your rental fees. The agencies will normally take care of everything, like finding tenants and collecting the rent. The real estate agencies usually offer maintenance services as well, this means they will look after your property when you’re back home and you don’t have to worry about anything.

Many real estate agents that offer holiday homes and other property in Spain are originally from the UK, so language will rarely be an issue. Chances are you will find a real estate agent that can advise you with all questions you might have. If you indeed plan to relocate and retire in Spain (a good idea, by the way!) the agents often can give you helpful advice in regards to all the formalities and paperwork required. Owning a property in Spain will be a fantastic option if you are tired of the stress and the poor, rainy weather back home!

Danielle is a real estate expert and has extensive knowledge in how people can find homes using estate agents Glasgow. She enjoys helping people find their dream home!

How British Expatriates Can Make Money Online

Due to an unfortunately limited amount of opportunities in the United Kingdom, many Brits have opted to relocate abroad. A greater amount of jobs on offer in a variety of different fields have led many to view working abroad as a great opportunity to start or sustain a career. However, not everybody working abroad is paid healthily. There are many expatriates who find themselves on lower wages. The solution for these Brits is the internet. Here are a few ways expatriates can make money online.

Content Writing

The internet is a machine that runs on content. From blogs on technology products to articles on football, the internet feeds off writers. While much of the written content online is non-paid and done purely for the love of writing, there are plenty of paid writing opportunities online if you know where to look.

Due to the art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google ranks websites higher due to the amount of quality written content affiliated with the company and the keywords used in the content (amongst other metrics). Therefore, there are a range of companies seeking writers to produce content related to their businesses.

Scour the web for content writing jobs and search employment websites such as Reed for content writing opportunities.

There is also a range of writing opportunities through writing product reviews. ConsumerSearch.com for example pays freelance writers a minimum of $350 per article for reviewing a product. However, you will need good writing skills and thorough researching capabilities.

You will also find more opportunities if you learn how to write in another language. Learning how to write in widely used languages such as Spanish, Arabic or French for example opens up a plethora of additional opportunities. .

Advertising

If you have your own website you’ll probably be aware that by generating a half decent amount of traffic, you could earn quite a few quid. Simply conjure up a traffic generating website and monetize your site (monétisez votre site) by placing other business’s advertisements onto it.

Music

Being a musician may seem like a farfetched pipe dream, but the internet is filled with success stories of music artists who either started off generating a fan base online or actually purely sold records online without the help of a record label.

If you’re a decent music artist, try posting your music unto different indie blogs throughout the web, as well as social media networks such as Twitter and YouTube. Songs can be sold on iTunes, Google Music, AmazonMP3, Spotify and a host of other websites and platforms.

One drawback is that you might actually need to be pretty good or get very lucky.

Stuart Daniels is a British freelance writer and SEO.

How the Recession has Changed Spain’s Property Market

The economic crisis had a huge effect on property markets all over the world, and Spain is no different, with the Mediterranean country suffering significantly as a result of the recession. To find out just how it impacted on Spain and everyone hoping to get on the property ladder in the country, read on.

1. Bursting of the property bubble

A few years ago, the story in Spain was very different. Indeed, immediately after Spain joined the euro, the country experienced a huge surge in housing values. Between 2004 and 2008, prices of property rose by 44 per cent.

However, growth on this scale was not sustainable, and this was particularly noticeable once the economic difficulties hit. When people became unable to afford the steep prices of property, demand for houses dropped and, subsequently, so did real estate values.

Many people who had taken out mortgages on their homes also found that their assets had declined in value despite them still owing a huge amount on their properties. Those who could afford their repayments were therefore left paying for more than their house or flat was now worth, effectively bursting Spain’s property bubble.

2. Values have dropped

As I briefly mentioned, all this activity resulted in a sharp decline in property values, and the reduction in the number of people who could borrow money and get on the market meant that there was little movement.

While the housing situation has slowly been recovering in recent years, Lloyds TSB figures show that typical values in Madrid dropped from £219,465 (€248,900) to £193,451 from 2010 to 2011. This is a decline of 11.85 per cent. Other Spanish cities have also felt a drop in property prices, with Valencia’s values declining by 10.15 per cent and Barcelona’s falling by 9.22 per cent in the same period.

Despite this decline, figures from the bank also reveal that Spain is the ninth most expensive place to buy a property out of 13 nations across the world, with the average price coming in at £170,737. It is therefore pricier to get on the housing ladder here than in Germany, the USA and the United Arab Emirates.

3. Rental market faring better

Spain isn’t just expensive in terms of sale prices, as Lloyds ranks it the tenth most expensive country to rent accommodation in, too. Its typical monthly rental price is £672, with Madrid being the most costly of the Spanish cities in which to be a tenant.

The rental market hasn’t been as badly affected by the recession as sales were, as more people were driven to renting property because they couldn’t afford to buy a home or pay their mortgage fees. As a result of this, there was no change in rental costs in Madrid between 2010 and 2011 (with average costs being £804 per month). There was only a small drop in prices in Valencia and Barcelona, declining by 1.62 per cent and 2.74 per cent over the 12 months respectively.

4. Construction has ceased

Another way the recession affected the property market is that many developers were no longer able to continue with their projects, as they couldn’t afford to finish the work and there were fewer people with the means to pay for the final product.

Construction work stopped, which had a huge impact on the property market, as no new assets were coming into the sector, causing it to stagnate.

5. Wider financial crisis

Of course, the property market collapse had other far-reaching effects; for instance, there were no jobs for construction workers, and those who had mortgages could no longer afford them, meaning a number of people lost their properties.

With unemployment levels at such a high (with half of all people between 18 and 25 years of age out of work), many people cannot afford to get on the housing ladder or pay for the home they have. What’s more, the fall in the number of people who can afford to buy a property will mean that there’ll be a lack of movement in the sector and they’ll be priced out of the market for a considerable amount of time.

For the property industry in Spain to improve, the entire country needs to lift itself out of its economic crisis, and it desperately needs expats to provide a financial boost to the market by buying houses there themselves. The good thing about purchasing a residence there now is that prices for properties are far lower than they were a few years ago.

Could Catalonia Survive Outside of Spain?

It looks like battle lines have been drawn, as Catalan independence seekers gave victory to separatist parties in a regional election on the 25th November 2012. Catalonia is Spain’s most powerful economic region, and if the various separatist parties can reach some sort of agreement it could hold an independence referendum that will not be sanctioned by the Spanish government in Madrid.

Yet, while some of their politicians seem desperate to leave Spain, not all Catalans are convinced. Many are happy enough to speak a different language and leave it at that.

Economically, there are serious questions about whether the region would survive on its own. Just like the rest of Spain it has high unemployment. At the of September 2012 the rate was 22.56% compared with just over 25% for the whole of Spain, so it isn’t as though Catalonia is an economic powerhouse right now.

There’s a good chance that the rest of Spain would turn its back on Catalonia as far as buying goods is concerned, and that could result in some businesses leaving and relocating to other parts of Spain.

Independence would mean the population of Spain decreasing from its present 44 million people to around 36.5 million.

Bear in mind too that dropping out of the EU is something Catalonia wouldn’t really want to do. The Spanish are generally considered ‘good’ Europeans.

It’s true that places like Barcelona enjoy a big tourist industry, but unfortunately it’ll take more than the income derived from tourists to keep the economy in Catalonia afloat.

Maybe they just stick to the rivalry of the two major football clubs in Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and forget any thoughts of independence!

Factors to Consider Before You Book Your Next Vacation

Planning and preparing for a vacation can be just as exciting as the vacation itself. Often, the best part is picking out the actual destination you would like to visit. When planning a vacation, you will often be faced with a number of travel destinations to choose from. It would be too easy to make a decision by simply pointing to a destination. You need to undertake a certain amount of research to ensure that you make the right choice. Your shortlist of destinations may contain a number of places that you would like to visit very much. However, you have to be practical about making such decisions. Take the following factors into consideration before booking your next vacation:

Budget & Exchange Rate

managing the exchange rate when emigrating to spain

The most important factor that determines every aspect of a vacation is the available budget. Irrespective of whether you have saved up for a vacation or plan to pay later in installments, you will have to set a budget. For a memorable vacation, you should be able to make the most out of the available funds. If you opt for a vacation within the country, you already have a very good idea about what everything costs. It is international travel where a number of permutations and combinations come into the equation. Often, the biggest game changer in terms of budget is the currency exchange rate. Many a vacation plans have been dashed thanks to insufficient planning that did not take into account unfavorable exchange rates. If you really want to visit a destination, irrespective of the currency dilemma, you may have to make some sacrifices and modify your vacation plans.

spanish animal in colorful gear

Peak season or Off-season

Always take into consideration the time of the year that you intend to travel. If you are visiting a place the same time as every other tourist, you will find yourself smack in the middle of peak season; off-season travel entails visiting when the other tourists are staying away. Each kind of travel has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, traveling during off-season means easily available and cheaper airfare, along with lower accommodation costs. On the other hand, many vacation destinations are in full swing only during peak season and off-season usually overlaps with the time of the year when the weather is not at its best. Once again, it is a question of choosing what fits your needs and requirements best.

Travel & Health Advisories

Although perhaps the most crucial part of the planning process, it is often overlooked by travelers. Always check to see if any travel or health advisories have been issued for a destination by your government. If so, the only sensible thing to do would be to avoid such spots. Also, look into the need for any specific vaccinations that may be required or recommended before departure. Those with allergy issues should do a proper amount of research before embarking to a new destination.

The planning stage is undoubtedly the most crucial part of the process to make a vacation successful. Take the mentioned factors into consideration and you should be able to plan a fantastic trip that you can cherish forever.

How to Plan Your Finances for Retirement Abroad

Many people approaching retirement age sometimes start to think about the idea of taking early retirement and getting away from their everyday life – with a move abroad becoming a more appealing option due to difference in weather and the cost of living that can be attained – cheaper countries will help people to use their retirement savings a lot more frugally.

If this is something that you would like to do then there are a few things that you should consider… and in fact many more things will need to be prepared if you want to retire abroad.  For example, should you find a small part-time job to keep you busy, and how are you going to integrate in terms of language and culture?

Look Into Taxation and Property Issues

When it comes to finances, there are some important considerations for retirement abroad.  For example, if you are planning on retirement abroad in low-cost countries such as Mexico, North Cyprus or Belize then your retirement money is always going to go much further. You will also find that tax on property will often be a lot less in many foreign countries – as well as property prices being a lot more affordable.  With reduced food and general living costs as well, it’s no surprise that so many people are opting to travel to hotter climes.

What are the Options Regarding Health Insurance?

If you are planning on retiring in a country that is not as well developed as your current residence, then there are some considerations that you should bear in mind.  For example, what provisions will you make for health care insurance and coverage?  Make sure you investigate this fully, as on occasions you might be surprised.  Using North Cyprus as an example again, the price of medical treatment is so low that the actual excess you would pay on an insurance policy is usually a lot more than what you would be paying anyway.  Of course, this is an exception to the rule, but it just goes to show that you need to fully research the country you are planning on retiring in.

Find Out the True Cost of Living Abroad

Also make sure that you look at what the true cost of living is when it comes to more everyday items.  Before you make any firm commitments to retire abroad, sign-up to a few online forums and ask questions.  If you are planning on moving to Switzerland there is an ex-pats website called the English Swiss Forum which is where English-speaking people can share experiences and help each other with advice.  A quick Google search should tell you if there is an equivalent forum in your country of choice.

Will You Be Able to Integrate Socially?

It’s not just about the financial implications of retiring abroad though.  You also need to consider any social considerations.  You will be far away from friends and family and those things that you take for granted which could make it very difficult to settle in a foreign country. This sense of movement is completely natural and will be known to a lesser degree or higher by all those who move abroad – but it’s a feeling that can be overcome by making an effort to meet new friends and establish new links with people – which means that sociable types who find it easy to make friends and meet a lot easier to retire abroad.

Make Sure You Have Money to Cover an Exit Plan

One final piece of advice: if you are planning on retirement abroad then make sure that you have an exit strategy planned.  Be sure to put some money aside that can bring you back home if things to do not go completely to plan.  There could be nothing worse than being in retirement and getting stuck abroad with no means to get home.  Obviously this is a last resort, but not everybody who moves abroad for their retirement will have a positive experience – so make sure that you are prepared for all eventualities.

Guest Post: Thanks to the Wall Street Journal Subscription Website

This guest post was written by the team at Wall Street Subscriptions.  They specialize in offering discounts and deals on many different financial planning publications including the MarketWatch Retirement Weekly newsletter, and of course a Wall Street Journal Subscription.  For more information you can visit their website on; www.wallstreetsubscriptions.com.

Expats in Spain – The Dream

Graham and his wife Joyce moved from the UK to Spain, little realizing at the time all the hurdles they would have to contend with. Hopefully their experiences will help others to avoid some of the pitfalls in taking such a major step, and provide some useful information about the do’s and don’ts in joining the millions of Expats in Spain.

graham - expat in spainjoyce - expat in spai

The Dream

Hola, and welcome to our site. Hopefully this will provide some helpful information to those of you who might be thinking about becoming expats in Spain at some point in time.

When my wife said that she wanted to go and live in Spain I was more than a little apprehensive. What is it that is so inviting about a country which is almost twice the size of the U.K, has a smaller population, where they drive on the “wrong” side of the road, and where most Brits cannot speak their language? One big plus was the fact that as both the UK and Spain are in the EU it meant far fewer formalities in moving from one to the other. And upon checking web sites about moving to Spain it all seemed so easy – the sun – the lower cost of living – the beaches – laid back pace of life – and we went ahead with it. We took the plunge and lived there for over six years, joining many other British expats in Spain.

spanish dancersOf course like countless other Brits we had been on holiday to Spain and its islands a number of times, and always appreciated the culture of Spain. This time though we felt like escaping the vagaries of the British weather permanently. Instead of moving to a place where Brits typically go when on holiday in Spain – such as along the well-known coasts – we decided to go somewhere quieter, not too close to the Costas. Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and the last thing we wanted was to live where the lager-lout culture of Britain was present. So, we sold our bungalow, said our goodbyes to our family and friends, and joined the million or so of other expats in Spain.

For those of you who may be considering emigrating you can do all the reading in the world about your new country, visit all the official websites going, but there is nothing like living the experience for yourself. We thought we had prepared as well as we possibly could by researching such subjects as the Spanish health system, driving in Spain, buying property etc. And, to a certain extent you can prepare yourself, but some things you`ll only learn once you get over there.

Nearly Didn’t Make It

The first six months were pretty rough, due to broken promises from builders, vague assurances of assistance that did not come about, not being able to speak the language, and the shock to the system as regards the massive change in procedures and lifestyle. Our dream was fast becoming a nightmare. By this time of course we were totally committed. If not we might have been ‘nearly expats’ abroad.

After a while though we got used to the different ways of doing things, our dream came true, and we settled down as happy British expats in Spain.

It has to be borne in mind that Spain is still facing an economic crisis. The government has taken strict measures to reverse the financial downturn, including a halving of the deficit, government investment increases, and measures to help the poor. But, there is still a long way to go before Spain gets back to the boom times of a few years ago. Meanwhile, there is a lot of public unrest about some of the measures introduced which have affected pensions, jobs and wages.

According to figures from Eurostat there are currently 390,880 officially registered Brits living in Spain. This is almost 3 times as many Brits who settle in France.

In some areas Dutch expats in Spain can be found in larger groups too. The majority of expats in Spain tend to live around the Costas from Andalucia in the south up through the east of the country. But, since the British started to come out to Spain to live back in the 1980′s, a larger proportion have been buying property away from the coasts. Some have integrated well with the locals in smaller towns and villages

Where we lived started off as Rojales, then, as a new development, it was regarded as being in Benimar. About 20 minutes drive from the sea it was in the ideal location for us.

But, not everyone wants to live close to the sea. Many expats prefer life in the larger cities with all the visitor attractions that go with them. Madrid and Barcelona are very popular destinations in fact.