When it comes to buying a home here on the sought-after expat destination of the Costa del Sol – or indeed anywhere in Spain – your first reaction will undoubtedly be elation. After all, you’ve acquired a property that, apart from the bricks and mortar, represents the culmination of several months, or even years, of research and perseverance…
As soon as you’ve literally got your house in order, it’s time to metaphorically do the same and do a bit of administration. In recognition of this, we’ve compiled a checklist of 5 things you must do once you’ve secured your dream home, so that you can start to live the lifestyle you always promised yourself:
If you’re not yet a proficient Spanish-speaker, this first is a tongue-twister of monstruous proportions. What it means is registration with the local town hall – or ayuntamiento – so you have the right to vote and avail of various other public services. Think of the resulting padrón document as a foundation for the following, for example…
2. Health centre and hospital care
The same as in many other countries, the public versus private healthcare debate divides people here in Spain and you will find advocates of both camps providing convincing arguments for using one over the other…
But if you decide to go down the public route, it’s really very simple. Once you’ve got your town hall registration papers, we advise that you go to your nearest health centre, where – upon presenting your padrón – you will be assigned a family doctor.
Private health, by nature, comes at an additional – and often substantial – monthly cost, depending on age, medical history and the insurer you take your policy out with. Be advised that the pricing structure can be a little convoluted, with plans based on co-payments and extras you can tack on to the policy… and dentistry is not included, which may be different from your home country!
Both Hacienda and Agencia Tributaria are names given to the Spanish Taxation Department, with which you must register and also lodge your annual tax declaration by the end of May each year. If you work in Spain, either as an employee or self-employed, you will pay your taxes through Hacienda.
If the whole debacle seems too overwhelming and you have some cash to spare, it is possible to hire a financial advisor – or gestor financiero – to take care of all taxation matters on your behalf.
This may sound obvious, but you will have to open a bank account in Spain. Again, this is something that may be a little daunting if you’re Spanish isn’t brilliant, but (unlike a large number of civil servants) the good news is that you are likely to find speakers of various European languages working in banks on the Costa del Sol.
Even if you are buying a second residence or holiday home, it is a good idea to maintain a bank account in order to avoid any currency exchange fees and, of course, to facilitate the payment of any bills, rates and monthly maintenance costs your property will incur.
Putting bills in your name should be relatively easy. Usually it’s just a case of phoning the electricity and water supplier and, together with the latest utility bills from the previous owners, your ID documents and some information from the property’s title deeds (to prove you are the homeowner), you should get it set up in no time.
If your home is a new build, there are some different steps you need to take – for example, obtaining a First Occupation Licence and an energy connection certificate – but the majority of people get this sorted pretty early on and it’s quite a streamlined process.
**Remember, the VIVA Customer Services Team are always on hand and happy to answer any question related to your move! firstname.lastname@example.org**
If you liked our brief guide to what steps you need to take post-purchase, why not let us know? Or if you’ve had a different experience and have some advice for buyers, leave us a comment in the section below…