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Thinking of a move to Spain?

Thinking of a move to Spain?

Old Nov 22nd 2006, 7:55 am
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Red face Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Originally Posted by BigDave
Hello All,
My Wife and I are really keen at looking to move to Spain. To be honest, the thought of doing so is quite daunting and we are looking for some help from those of you who have had the balls to do it!
We are early 40's and neither of us have a trade in work terms. We will be able to cover any work that is sales based, customer service based or property sales based. To be honest we will do anything initially to earn an income that will support us?
We have no savings as such but will probably have enough to support ourselves for up to 6 months whilst looking for work.
We are having some trouble in terms of trying to find websites that offer anything other than holiday accommodation to rent (these are quite expensive) can anyone offer us a link to a property agency that deals with long term rental that isn't extortionate?
We are also keen to know how the work situation is in Spain? Are jobs hard to find generally for brits?
Any information that you can offer us would be greatly appreciated and I look forward to hearing from anyone who can offer us some help.
Many thanks,
Dave.
We are flying out to Spain in January in much the same position as yourselves. We are having terrible difficulty in finding reasonable rental prices for long term lets. We have decided to book into a hotel for three weeks then look around specific areas before looking to rent from hopefully a Spaniard. Having been over twice this year and booked holiday lets (the first one in La Manga which was beautiful but nowhere near anything and the second a villa which was also beautiful but in the middle of nowhere, on agricultural water and very sporadic electricity and I won't tell you about the flies!!!!!!!!).

We think by doing this we can decide on the area which is right for us otherwise you could find yourselves having a long term let of say six months in totally the wrong place. We have decided to bring out enough money for six months and we are either looking for employment or hopefull will try and purchase one of the many hundred and thousands of bars for sale (and before anyone says it we know we are totally mad!) and if neither works out then back we will come.

We are in our mid 50s and if we don't do it know we never will. Our notices are handed in and I beginning to panic but as long as one of us only panics at a time we are ok!!!
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 8:09 am
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

I think you just need to get out here and have a look around and get a feel for an area.

As someone said, most people would recommend their own areas, so I'm going to do just that

We've settled to the east of Malaga and love it here. It's not too touristy (yet) but there are plenty of other Brits around if that's what you want, alternatively there are areas which are still predominantly Spanish.

The coastal area here is popular with Spanish holidaymakers and not overrun with "Brit bars".

Just going inland a little there are villages such as Torrox and Algarrobo which are still reasonably priced and within reach of larger towns.

If you wished to venture this way, I can point you in the direction of cheap accommodation.

Good luck.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 8:15 am
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Dave, I don't want to be negative but you should be aware that currently spaniards are living with their parents until age 35 because of the high cost of housing and low salaries. This is in the news constantly. The kind of job you mention (sales, etc.) will hardly pay more than 1000 Euros/month, so if you decide to move to Spain do your math first.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 9:04 am
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Dave, I sympathise totally with you and your wife's wish to get away from the "rat race" in Britain but I really would advise thinking very long and hard about making the move to Spain if neither of you have any Spanish and need to work to make a living.

I am just about to move over myself - have owned a house in Spain for over 3 years but no way would I have moved permanently until we had enough money to support ourselves without the need to find work. Like Kayley I will be living East of Malaga - I know a number of British people living in our town, most of them are retired, some do part time/casual work to supplement other income or have made money by buying run down properties and renovating them to sell on, but I only know one couple of working age and believe me things are very diifficult for them. They both have absolutely fluent Spanish, having lived and worked in Gran Canaria for 8 years before moving to the mainland. They don't have any great problem finding jobs, the problem comes more with getting paid at the end of the month, firms going out of business, short term contracts with no financial security, and weeks or sometimes months in between jobs with no money coming in. I met an English couple in a restaurant a few months ago, they had come out for six months, in rented accommodation, and had looked for work in the estate agency/property lettings sector and could not find anything that was not commission only and would have to return home at the end of the six months.

If you do move and go to live somewhere other than the major tourist areas (where property will be more expensive to rent) then you will find it hard to even get by in day to day living without any Spanish. In the town where I live hardly any people working in shops, for example, speak any English and that is a big place not a tiny village. My OH is already over there and was telling me that yesterday he was in the builders' merchants buying something when an English guy came in who had real problems as his septic tank was overflowing, sewage everywhere. The staff spoke no English and he had no Spanish at all, result, he gave up. On the other hand, the guy who runs the removal firm who moved our stuff over told us he has lived in Fuengirola for 5 years and run his business, and cannot speak Spanish at all. You can certainly manage with no Spanish in the big coastal resorts and of course there are many more restaurants and bars catering to British trade there, where work might be found, but the pay will be low, the hours very long and have you thought about working at the height of the Spanish summer in temperatures of 40C and over, sometimes.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 9:56 am
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Originally Posted by Lynn R
Dave, I sympathise totally with you and your wife's wish to get away from the "rat race" in Britain but I really would advise thinking very long and hard about making the move to Spain if neither of you have any Spanish and need to work to make a living.

I am just about to move over myself - have owned a house in Spain for over 3 years but no way would I have moved permanently until we had enough money to support ourselves without the need to find work. Like Kayley I will be living East of Malaga - I know a number of British people living in our town, most of them are retired, some do part time/casual work to supplement other income or have made money by buying run down properties and renovating them to sell on, but I only know one couple of working age and believe me things are very diifficult for them. They both have absolutely fluent Spanish, having lived and worked in Gran Canaria for 8 years before moving to the mainland. They don't have any great problem finding jobs, the problem comes more with getting paid at the end of the month, firms going out of business, short term contracts with no financial security, and weeks or sometimes months in between jobs with no money coming in. I met an English couple in a restaurant a few months ago, they had come out for six months, in rented accommodation, and had looked for work in the estate agency/property lettings sector and could not find anything that was not commission only and would have to return home at the end of the six months.

If you do move and go to live somewhere other than the major tourist areas (where property will be more expensive to rent) then you will find it hard to even get by in day to day living without any Spanish. In the town where I live hardly any people working in shops, for example, speak any English and that is a big place not a tiny village. My OH is already over there and was telling me that yesterday he was in the builders' merchants buying something when an English guy came in who had real problems as his septic tank was overflowing, sewage everywhere. The staff spoke no English and he had no Spanish at all, result, he gave up. On the other hand, the guy who runs the removal firm who moved our stuff over told us he has lived in Fuengirola for 5 years and run his business, and cannot speak Spanish at all. You can certainly manage with no Spanish in the big coastal resorts and of course there are many more restaurants and bars catering to British trade there, where work might be found, but the pay will be low, the hours very long and have you thought about working at the height of the Spanish summer in temperatures of 40C and over, sometimes.
All very good advice and I agree with everything. If you are going to give yourself any kind of a chance to make sure you stand out above the rest in the jobs market speaking spanish is essential. A home study course with cassettes will not suffice.

Why dont you enrol with a language school here in spain? (several months will be needed). They always offer cheap accommodation with the course - not what you would call luxury, but usually adequate, centrally located and fully equipped. You wouldnt pay more than 400 - 500 euros per month for that type of accommodation, but the course will probably cost you another 500 euros on top.

If you have time, you could do a crash course in the UK to get yourselves trades - beauty/hairdressing, english teaching, whatever takes your fancy.

Be prepared to invest money in yourselves to give yourselves a lead when you get over here.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 10:25 am
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Can I echo some sentiments above. I´ve been here for a month and a half ... I don´t need to work, but I am finding it incredibly difficult to get the simplest of things done because of the language. If you needed to work then it would be amplified ten fold. I have had to reply on our neighbours to get a telephone line for us as Telefonica were ignoring us and registering on the Padron has turned into a nightmare for some reason also.

I am learning, but it will take a long time before I am up to a reasonable conversational standard. Just bear this in mind
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 1:24 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Originally Posted by Cape Blue
I think Keith has given you some pretty sound advice there, although you'll probably need to choose an area where there is at least a degree of Brits taking hold to ensure potential employment in the estate agency arena.

Be advised that a lot of people of working age who move to Spain have a very difficult time financially, far worse than they would in the UK - this is both a factor of their Spanish skills restricting their employment choice but is also related to the general Spanish jobs market - in some respects it is a little like the UK 30+ years ago, lots of people poorly paid but comfortable that they are in their jobs for life so prepared to accept the low income.

If I could give you only one bit of advice it would be to work so hard on your Spanish that you think you couldn't do any more - and then double your efforts. If you are a typical Brit with almost zero language skills (including the lack of English grammar teaching that was very prevalent for a period in UK schools) then it can be quite difficult to learn, many people have to learn English properly (nouns, verbs, personal pronouns etc) before they can learn Spanish.

Don't take the above as being especially negative, its not meant to be, Spain is a great place to live whatever your choices of location. I seem to remember that the "living and Working in Spain" book was pretty useful when it comes to sorting out a lot of issues and would be worth its purchase price.

Good luck
Cape Blue, You are a star in terms of bringing my feet down to the ground a little, thanks.
We are aware there are always going to be pitfalls with anything that you try that is new or unknown, but this is a little more scary as we're talking another country :scared:
We have been considering the move abroad for a little over 4 years and had settled with the idea of Greece as we love the People, food and culture. When it came to thoughts of learning Greek however, we felt that this could be a major uphill struggle for us and felt it could be to our disadvantage
We hoped that Spain would be a little easier in terms of the numbers of brits already living there and the possibility of a slightly easier transition as a result. I do feel though, that we are in definite need of Spanish lessons and a good understanding of the language before embarking on the move over. We would also benefit from a few trips over to see how the job market is looking in different locations and to check accommodation out too? I have been a little naive in thinking it would be a 'walk in the park' and therefore appreciate your advice....thanks.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 1:39 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

I think you are right Dave, you will stand a much better chance of success if you invest the time in learning the language and making as many trips over as you can in the meantime, to find an area you would be happy to live in and research the jobs/accommodation situation there, before actually moving, and as your wife has wisely said, don't confine your visits just to the main holiday season as places can be very different in the winter.

Like you I once had a romantic notion that I'd like to go and live on a Greek island. I did actually learn Greek at school so know the alphabet and can pronounce words, but that wasn't the main obstacle for me. What cured me of that one was spending 2 weeks on a very small island in October when it was hit by a series of tremendous storms, nobody could get on or off the island for a week, the shops were running out of food, water supplies were running low as a lot of their supply came over by tanker, there wasn't a doctor based on the island and when an old Greek man had a heart attack they couldn't get one over to attend to him, a Scottish doctor who was there on holiday (without any equipment of course) was called out in the middle of the night to give what help she could. A lot of the islands in Greece are almost ghost places in winter as everyone goes back to their home villages outside of the tourist season. What a reality check that one was.

Being able to speak the language of the country you are living in really is a major key to making a go of it, I think. We debated the virtues of Portugal as well as Spain, but Portugese is a much, much harder language to master and that was a major factor in our eventual decision on Spain.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 1:52 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Wow!!! Thank you to Cape Blue, Mitzyboy, Keith, Lynn R, Dr Starsky, Kaylee, Sue G and Sue-Tom.......All of your advice is greatly appreciated.
Having a great understanding of the language and being able to speak it fluently, is the message I am hearing tenfold here. As neither me or my Wife have this ability, I guess we are on a back foot straight away/ Hearing what you all have to say about the job front is not helping me to keep my dinner down either!
I honestly felt that we would be able to come out to Spain with 5 or 6K and be able to rent for 6 months and eat adequately whilst looking for work? I knew that a job wouldn't necessarily be an easy order, but felt that with an open mind and a willingness to sweep toilets if it came to it, would be the attitude we needed to make a go of things? I am feeling from your mails, that we are being pretty naive here and should maybe go back to the drawing board to have a rethink?
I am pretty gutted that what I thought could be a dream within a couple of months, could now not become a reality for some years.
Could any of you point me in the right direction in terms of what you think would be the trade of choice for Spain? Are there specific trades that are lacking in Spain...People crying out for a particular skill? I know there will be limits to what I can learn here and financial constraints too, but this could be a starting point at least? Thanks for all of your help so far guys.....Cheers
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

I can honestly say that the only advertisement I have seen around my area for an English speaker is one for an English hairdresser for a salon in Torre del Mar. Maybe hairdressing/beauty therapy would be an area your wife could consider studying, but again it would take time and probably money to qualify.

Yes, I'm sure you could manage for six months on 5/6K if you found somewhere to rent. But it is hard to save that kind of money whilst you are working and paying your way in England, and what I think we are all saying is that we wouldn't want to encourage you to come over and lose all that if it didn't work out and you couldn't find steady work, if you can bear to put it off for a year or two whilst you learn some Spanish and new skills, it will be advantageous in the long term.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Hi BigDave

I'm also in my early 40's and I have to caution you that Spain can be a very tough place to live - if you have to make a living.

I'm seeing many people moving back - they move out saying they will do anything and will be happy to just survive but 2/3 years later that grind of scraping a living wear off and they go to England where good money can be made very easily.

Wages are very poor here. Don't get me wrong, I love it here but I think you should come out here and talk directly to people. Come out to an area full of Brits - Costa Del Sol and Costa Blanca - and go to some bars and get talking to people. It might save you from making a big mistake.

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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

I am finding it more expensive to live than I thought before moving. I had believed it would be about 6000 GBP a year but we are spending more like 10 - 12000. As long as we can survive for nearly three years we should be okay as our UK pensions kick in then but it is still worrying. You have to factor in those extras like the trips back to the UK.
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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 5:38 pm
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Smile Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

I think if you have been thinking about it for so long you have made your mind up you want to do it. If I was you I would enrol on a Spanish course in the UK save up a bit more money then go out for a couple of months in your chosen area, talk to locals (practising your Spanish) and fellow expats. It will give you an idea of what life is like there and you may discover a gap in the market for a business or get some contacts to help you get work, we went to Spain and met a British couple a couple of years ago who lived inland and spoke a reasonable amount of Spanish and he never had any problem finding work although he did say it is not necessarily what you know but who you know.
We find we learn more Spanish when we stay in the villages where they speak no English and you have to get by in fact when we go to the coast and all the waiters etc speak English to you we feel we are cheating.
After a bit of research I would go for it what have you got to lose if you don't try you will never know if it would of worked.
There are lots who don't succeed and there are lots that do, but I think those that do put in a lot of hard work probably more than they do in the UK.
Good Luck

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Old Nov 22nd 2006, 8:07 pm
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

Originally Posted by glynis
I am finding it more expensive to live than I thought before moving. I had believed it would be about 6000 GBP a year but we are spending more like 10 - 12000. As long as we can survive for nearly three years we should be okay as our UK pensions kick in then but it is still worrying. You have to factor in those extras like the trips back to the UK.
Crikey Spain is dead cheap if that's all it costs to live there.
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Old Nov 23rd 2006, 8:34 am
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Default Re: Thinking of a move to Spain?

My wife and I spend less than that living in the UK.
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