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Living the dream?

Living the dream?

Old Nov 25th 2020, 10:41 pm
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Default Living the dream?

Hi - like many reading this me and my partner have had the idea for some time now of going to live in Spain in the next few years, I wonder if anyone can find any obvious problems with our plans where we are trying to be pragmatic / realistic about things:


- I work in the UK home based for an employer that would support me working in another country eg Spain. I earn a good salary by UK standards and have a very comfortable life in the UK but I am not really interested in a big house / mod cons etc.

- My partner's work currently could not be done in another country, her plan for income is for any property we buy in Spain to have an annex or we will build a Yurt or similar for eco friendly retreat or eco tourism guests to pay and stay. We know the property we buy will likely be remote for the kind of lifestyle that we want and yet near good transport links / airport to appeal to this kind of tourism market.

- I'm under no illusions that getting paid employment will be near impossible especially in the kind of remote areas that we would plan to move to, so I would not consider moving without at least one of us having paid employment that we can do remotely long term.

- In a few years we will have paid off enough on the mortgage on our UK house to sell and buy with cash a Spanish property together with having savings to develop it as needed. In Spain we are not sure of the area but probably the budget hopefully will run to a restored but basic finca in the south somewhere with a good amount of land. We have 2 allotments here in the uk and are into eco living, compost toilets, rain water collection etc etc so want to expand this theme with a lot more land and living off growing fruit and veg in a much more amenable climate. I also know the winters can also be very cold even in the south of Spain.

- I know roughly the pitfalls with land types and urbanised land / illegal houses so have some rough idea of what kind of questions to ask at the buying stage. I understand the tax will be quite large when buying a property in Spain.

- We would like to live somewhere isolated, not really bothered about integrating but we are both learning Spanish and aim to at the very least be at a high conversational standard when we are ready to move. Will have a car to get into the town and I would also like to drive around to go to good hiking spots and general sightseeing.

- We would like to keep some animals for food eg chickens maybe sheep. I have seen a thread on an expat forum the somewhat depressing fact that animal neglect and cruelty is a significant problem in Spain. Ironically we would like a couple of dogs for security reasons and maybe a cat or two as well more for the practical purposes than just being a pet.

- I've spent some time in rural Spain when I was younger so hope I have a reasonable understanding of day to day life in a remote area might involve. I guess living will be basic, internet is not the best and expensive, electric is expensive. Fine. When not at work / hosting guests in our accommodation we would be working on the land or tending our animals or just enjoying the scenery.

- Initially we would rent a property for say 6 months while we are looking around locally for the right place, we know we need to get to know an area properly before making a commitment and so hope that renting will hep us find our feet before making a commitment.

- I will be nearly 50 when we move, I have loads of energy and very fit now but I am not sure how that will change in around 10 years, having several acres of land will take a lot of work and this is my slight worry as I get older it will become a burden.

- For me I am disillusioned with UK life and the corporate game, appreciate this is not a reason to move to Spain but for me the "3 bed suburban" life is not really for me. My girlfriend feels similarly and I think is also looking forward to the warmer climate.

- The Brexit thing is an unknown, I hope that it will still be possible for UK expats to settle in Spain as previously, there is a lot of UK money in Spain so personally I would be surprised if there are any significant changes to the arrangements but you never know.




So I hope this doesn't look too much like my personal diary but if anyone sees any obvious problems with these plans or even has done something similar it would be great to hear.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 7:30 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

From what you describe, it seems to me that you aren't necessarily looking for the "Costa-style" kind of life. If so, then I'd suggest somewhere like northern Spain, which still gets its fair share of hot sunny weather, but is also blessed with more rain, hence greener.
There are many 'empty' villages in Spain, such as Soria, Aragon & Asturias. All of these provinces have mountains and pretty good infrastructure for outdoor sports such as cycling, mountain walking/climbing as well as sea sports. Navarra is also interesting. We live in the Basque country, retired, as my wife is from here, and whilst it offers most things, it can be more expensive. I worked most of my life in agriculture in England and still enjoy the odd spot of sheep shearing locally. There is a growing 'thirst' for local, 'green' produce in most of Spain.

Being in a rural area will mean your speaking Spanish, which you said you are doing.
Property prices are lower than along the Costas; but you would need a reliable solicitor/house agent that is not out to make a quick buck.

Our son lives near Lekeitio and has a run-down farmhouse they are renovating slowly; 20 sheep, chickens and some pigs too! Plus a yurt which they lived in for a year before taking it down temporarily but plan to erect it again to use as a 'glamping' project.

I'm sorry not to be able to give you precise info such as property websites, as I have luckily never needed them.
But if I can help in any way, stay in touch.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 8:07 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

It sounds like you have all the bases covered with realistic expectations. My two pieces of advice would be to ignore all advice as only you know your situation and to keep grounded.

Your comment about considering how fit you will be in ten years indicates you will stay grounded. So many people grab their lump sum and buy the place they've been dreaming of for years and suddenly realise their bodies aren't up to it and discussing their dreams in English with friends over a pie and chips was all they really wanted. That's why you find the enclaves of Brit pubs on the Costas.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 8:29 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

After the 'Brexit thing' I think it very unlikely that you will be able to come to Spain and work remotely for a UK employer as is possible now so would be a non starter.

To come with the intention of starting up a business your 'partner' will require a work visa which in turn will require a viable business plan including evidence that it's either unique in Spain or fills a defined gap in the market which Spanish business are not fulfilling or are not able to fulfil, and of course proof of the financial resources to realise it.

A lot is indeed still up in the air but I wouldn't bank on Spain (it would have to be the EU and the Schengen countries actually) easing the requirements for non EU nationals as British citizens will become on Jan 1st. The bulk of the money Spain rakes in from the British is from tourism and once the dust has settled there's no reason to expect that to fall off significantly.

BTW 'partner' has absolute no meaning in law anywhere and to be considered a couple in Spain you would have to enter into some sort of legal pact recognised here. I understand they do exist but you'll have to do your own research on that I'm afraid.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 9:06 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

Just on one point, it seems quite an automatic reaction for many to instantly think of going to southern Spain but especially if you are interested in the growing stuff side there are vast swathes of the south where the soil/sand/rock and the climate are working against you. There are places that are fertile but in some areas they take quite a lot of 'digging out' to find them. The suggestion of thinking further north does have merit.
My place is where there is little but olive trees for kilometres around and I've often tried to grow various things, not in a large way, just having like a veg/herb/fruit garden and I've more or less given up now because to do so I'd have to stray further and further away from any natural bio methods to get good results - yet there is a (Spanish) guy who lives nearby in small valley who seems to grow everything because of the soil down there..
The point being only a very small percentage of my area, less than probably point one of a percent, has the right soil to do much with.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 9:48 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

You might need to improve the soil condition
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 10:17 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

Have you looked into the feasibility of getting a sufficiently good, reliable and fast internet connection in the type of location you are envisaging to enable you to work remotely?
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

Originally Posted by nb888 View Post
Hi - like many reading this me and my partner have had the idea for some time now of going to live in Spain in the next few years, I wonder if anyone can find any obvious problems with our plans where we are trying to be pragmatic / realistic about things:


- I work in the UK home based for an employer that would support me working in another country eg Spain. I earn a good salary by UK standards and have a very comfortable life in the UK but I am not really interested in a big house / mod cons etc.

- My partner's work currently could not be done in another country, her plan for income is for any property we buy in Spain to have an annex or we will build a Yurt or similar for eco friendly retreat or eco tourism guests to pay and stay. We know the property we buy will likely be remote for the kind of lifestyle that we want and yet near good transport links / airport to appeal to this kind of tourism market.

- I'm under no illusions that getting paid employment will be near impossible especially in the kind of remote areas that we would plan to move to, so I would not consider moving without at least one of us having paid employment that we can do remotely long term.

- In a few years we will have paid off enough on the mortgage on our UK house to sell and buy with cash a Spanish property together with having savings to develop it as needed. In Spain we are not sure of the area but probably the budget hopefully will run to a restored but basic finca in the south somewhere with a good amount of land. We have 2 allotments here in the uk and are into eco living, compost toilets, rain water collection etc etc so want to expand this theme with a lot more land and living off growing fruit and veg in a much more amenable climate. I also know the winters can also be very cold even in the south of Spain.

- I know roughly the pitfalls with land types and urbanised land / illegal houses so have some rough idea of what kind of questions to ask at the buying stage. I understand the tax will be quite large when buying a property in Spain.

- We would like to live somewhere isolated, not really bothered about integrating but we are both learning Spanish and aim to at the very least be at a high conversational standard when we are ready to move. Will have a car to get into the town and I would also like to drive around to go to good hiking spots and general sightseeing.

- We would like to keep some animals for food eg chickens maybe sheep. I have seen a thread on an expat forum the somewhat depressing fact that animal neglect and cruelty is a significant problem in Spain. Ironically we would like a couple of dogs for security reasons and maybe a cat or two as well more for the practical purposes than just being a pet.

- I've spent some time in rural Spain when I was younger so hope I have a reasonable understanding of day to day life in a remote area might involve. I guess living will be basic, internet is not the best and expensive, electric is expensive. Fine. When not at work / hosting guests in our accommodation we would be working on the land or tending our animals or just enjoying the scenery.

- Initially we would rent a property for say 6 months while we are looking around locally for the right place, we know we need to get to know an area properly before making a commitment and so hope that renting will hep us find our feet before making a commitment.

- I will be nearly 50 when we move, I have loads of energy and very fit now but I am not sure how that will change in around 10 years, having several acres of land will take a lot of work and this is my slight worry as I get older it will become a burden.

- For me I am disillusioned with UK life and the corporate game, appreciate this is not a reason to move to Spain but for me the "3 bed suburban" life is not really for me. My girlfriend feels similarly and I think is also looking forward to the warmer climate.

- The Brexit thing is an unknown, I hope that it will still be possible for UK expats to settle in Spain as previously, there is a lot of UK money in Spain so personally I would be surprised if there are any significant changes to the arrangements but you never know.




So I hope this doesn't look too much like my personal diary but if anyone sees any obvious problems with these plans or even has done something similar it would be great to hear.

As you mention Brexit we can assume you are UK nationals. After Brexit you will not have free movement within EU. This means you will be classed as third country citizens and will face much more stringent conditions if you want to live in Spain. First you will need work Visas which will be not be available if you intend to be employed by a UK firm. You will need to show incomes of approx 30,ooo euros each and will require private medical cover. All in all it will be far harder to do than it was pre-Brexit. Admittedly you are talking of 10 years time in which case things might change but I doubt that Uk will rejoin the EU. Scotland could be independent and have rejoined so you might have a Scottish bloodline or even an Irish one
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Living the dream?

Originally Posted by Chipmonk View Post
Scotland could be independent and have rejoined
Ha Ha, best laugh I've had this week!
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Notdunroamin View Post
Ha Ha, best laugh I've had this week!
But you might not have the last one.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: Living the dream?

I see your internet connection will be key for your income, please be sure to make absolutely sure it is at a speed you can depend on before you consider a rural location. Very important I would say.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 5:48 pm
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Default Re: Living the dream?

A lot can happen in ten years but the countryside is unlikely to be cabled ( copper or fibre). There are 4G routers that use a SIM. Ours gives 10 meg down and 700k up but is unlimited. It is provided by Movistar. Comes as a package with mobile phone(s) , landline and tv. Product is Fusion Radio. About the only other alternative is satellite internet. About the same speeds but limited unless you pay quite a lot. A reseller is Bentley Walker . Google Tooway Home to get an idea of products and prices.

Both are subject to vagaries. Satellite by weather and 4G by heavy usage ( black Friday, rush hour and so on) Spain has an aggressive rollout planned for 5G. That will improve things and will help in rural communities but when you come to buy a property you will need internet service high on your basic list.

as said earlier, you get huge variations of soil fertility from one area to another often in the same village. I would now only contemplate buying somewhere already productive. A key consideration is availability of water. Spain, particularly the south , is becoming more desertified. We have seen neighbours wells plummet in how much water they give now compared to ten years ago. Don’t be sucked into thinking you will gather rain water for all your needs ( unless you settle in the north of Spain) . Storage is expensive and rainfall is sparce

Having said all that, better to have tried ( and possibly failed) than not to have bothered. We only have one life. We have done many of the things on your list. Some successes and some duds. The point of physical ability is a good one. Ten years ago we could run the concrete mixer from dawn to dusk , now just looking at it brings me out in a sweat. Research is the key.
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Old Nov 26th 2020, 7:31 pm
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Default Re: Living the dream?

Again some good advice here and as mentioned climate and soil is something to consider. Especially if you are far inland, it gets too hot in summer and too cold in winter and variety is limited. We see it with friends and they say it's a struggle with droughts. We have a place in the North East but since it's a holiday home only planted drought-resistent plants for now and wanted something smaller and easy to maintain. Although it's so easy to grow things in Ireland, it's still a lot of work maintaining everything and keeping it tidy. This year we were sick of the mini melons and gherkins. There's only so much you can eat, so gave most to neighbours and I cant imagine how much work it would be with acres of land when you are old.

Last edited by Moses2013; Nov 26th 2020 at 7:40 pm.
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Old Nov 27th 2020, 7:52 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

Thank you everyone for all your replies, they are really useful and some of the comments I must admit hadn't occurred to me, eg not having the right soil type or insufficient fertility to grow fruit / veg / herbs. The availability of water is a good point and my girlfriend raised this as a big consideration as more water seems to be getting sucked out of the system by big producers and general climate change. Being near a reliable water source is definitely going to be key, so yes perhaps it would make sense to look further north where there is more abundance of water. I think this is a problem that will only get worse over time.

Brexit is an unknown, in 10 years who knows what the situation will be. I guess it is a case of waiting and seeing. Based on our current circumstances I think we would be ok to meet the immediate post brexit requirements but who knows how the goalposts will move in the future. Yes we are both British nationals living in the UK at the minute, I do have immediate bloodline from a EU country but I am not sure if or how that would help, this is something I will need to research more.

Internet is essential so another important consideration, without a decent connection we can't do the day job! Thank you olivefarmer for the information about the internet, this is really useful and I'll do some research on those providers.

Thanks again for the feedback, I will be sure to ask any more questions. At the very least I will update this thread in 10 years time to say if / when we have made it to Spain!

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Old Nov 27th 2020, 8:14 am
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Default Re: Living the dream?

Originally Posted by Notdunroamin View Post

BTW 'partner' has absolute no meaning in law anywhere and to be considered a couple in Spain you would have to enter into some sort of legal pact recognised here. I understand they do exist but you'll have to do your own research on that I'm afraid.
Apart from being separate individuals concerning the probable future Visas, this is particularly important when buying property jointly. In France, for example, "partners" who aren't legally bound are considered non-related individuals where Inheritance Tax is concerned (60% on the value of the bequest) and if one partner dies intestate, his/her share of the property goes to the next-of-kin, not to the surviving partner. The OP should research this legal aspect in Spain and consider getting married before they eventually arrive!
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