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PROPERTY

Property in Spain: Why choose Valencia?

The region of Valencia is one of the most popular destinations for foreigners to settle in Spain, with towns all along the Costa Blanca in the south to the Costa Azahar in the north having communities of Brits, Dutch, Germans and Scandinavians.

Property in Spain: Why choose Valencia?
Photo: zx6r92/Depositphotos

More and more people are also choosing to live in the buzz of Spain’s third city, Valencia. But what is it about the coastal city that is proving so attractive?

Real estate agent Graham Hunt, who has been selling Valencian properties to expats for decades, shared with The Local some of the typical, and not-so-typical, reasons given by his clients for choosing to base themselves in and around the city.

Lifestyle Design

At times people decide that they need a change in their life. They do their research and decide that the combination of a thriving and good looking city, an excellent climate and the outdoor lifestyle is something that attracts them. They add to this a relatively stable country with a respectful attitude to all people regardless of age, race, interests and sexuality and Valencia looks good to them. In many cases our clients can work from anywhere so they choose the place that most suits them for their non-work time, the place they can do the most in and get the most out of whilst being well connected, virtually and physically to the rest of the World and Valencia comes out on top.

Politics


US President Donald Trump was a popular figure in Valencia's Las Fallas festival. Photo: AFP

Who has got it worse, the British or the Americans? Personally being British I would say the Brits have it worse, just like a dog Brexit is not just a crappy Xmas present, it’s for life. At least Trump has a limit of eight years or impeachment, assassination, death by bad health or whatever else comes first.

The recent flood of clients escaping Trump or Brexit is never ending.

Increasingly people are citing a need to escape the politics of their own country in their decision to move to Spain.

READ MORE: 


Photo: Depositphotos

Health

The Valencia region is said to have one of the healthiest climates in the World. A lot of clients come here for health reasons, from arthritis relief, to Seasonal Affective Disorder, to depression to asthma, the climate, light and warmth of Valencia has a positive effect on people who choose to come here to better their health.

Whether it’s for the beautiful landscapes of the interior of Valencia or the lovely sandy beaches and sea views of the coast, Valencia seems to make people feel better.

“Americans and Their Gun Obsession”

Recently we have had a lot of American clients for whom the dangers of the USA have become too much. For one client the Parkland school shooting in Florida was too close to home and the fact that their children were being asked to have a bullet proof vest and backpack as part of their uniform was the final straw. For another the constant stories of mass shootings in random places but especially one very near to their home a few hours after they had been at the Mall where it took place hit home hard. The question they always ask first is how safe is Valencia? Luckily we can give the answer that it is a very safe place.

“The Cold and the Darkness”

Vienna is beautiful, it’s one of my favourite places I have visited along with Prague, the weather in the summer is lovely but the winters can be awful. A client last week arrived from Vienna where there was a grey drizzle and 5 degrees to 28 degrees in Valencia at the end of October, this meant pavement cafes, sunshine and warmth. It cannot be overestimated the difference that makes. But there was one other thing that attracted him, the apartment he bought was double the size and half the price of something in Vienna.

“Beautiful Countryside Within 30 Minutes From the Centre of the City”

“I need fast broadband fibre, a countryside setting that’s pretty quiet, easy access to an airport and the city, let’s say half an hour max”. This was the spec from a client and the property we found them in Naquera suited them down to the ground as it ticked every box.

“A City Moving in the Right Direction”


Photo: Depositphotos
 

The client was looking for a forward thinking, left-wing city with ecological ambitions and solidarity. They were attracted to Valencia by the opening up of so many new bike lanes, the progressive relegation of the importance of the car, great public transport options, an open attitude to refugees and plenty of projects that showed solidarity with others. They wanted a city that reflected themselves. They found it in Valencia.

“Interesting Young People”

Our client could easily retire early but wanted to do things, start more businesses and meet others like him. He didn’t want to be in a place where the average age was “waiting to be picked by the grim reaper” but did want to be on the Mediterranean coast and enjoy beach life. Valencia as a real city ticked the boxes. Plenty of young people around looking to get opportunities and wanting to help others.

“Education in Life”

“I want my kids to be more open, bilingual and to know more about other cultures.” We often hear this as a part of the attraction of bringing kids to Spain but with this client it was front and centre. The most important part of their move was to make sure the kids grew up with a different attitude to what they were seeing in their home country where things were becoming a bit toxic (You might be able to guess where that was)

“Two Season Tickets”


Mestalla stadium in Valencia. Photo: AFP
 

As a reason for moving to Valencia the fact that there are two first division football teams at the moment, Valencia and Levante, means that they get to see good quality football every week because one week Valencia are at home and the next Levante. And they paid just over €500 for those two seasons tickets.

“Rip Off Britain”

A UK client was so tired of high prices to do almost anything that the last straw was when they got a quote of 1800 for fixing a boiler that was supposedly under guarantee, “Ah yes but that particular part and the labour are extra!” The main reason they saw Valencia as a good place to come to was that there are so many free or really cheap options of things to do even on the few days when we see rain and that the day to day costs of living are extremely manageable.

“My wife and kids could no longer walk the streets safely”

Walking down the streets feeling safe is an underrated superpower that Valencia has. When Cairo becomes too scary for your family then maybe it’s time to move on. Feeling like a prisoner in your own home is not a good look.

“Retirement in Geneva is not an option”

When you have lived the last thirty years of your life working with the United Nations in Geneva and it comes to that time when you are thinking of retirement you start looking at options. Buying a five bedroomed house in La Eliana with pool, large gardens, huge living room, lower ongoing costs and excellent communications beats a one bedroom apartment in Geneva for the same price or more. When your whole family can visit you and you still have space to spare then it’s a bit of a no brainer. La Eliana is a wonderful option being just twenty minutes from the city and airport and having plenty of excellent restaurants and cafes to enjoy.

Graham Hunt is a real estate agent and relocation expert based in Valencia. Originally from just outside Liverpool he came to Spain as a student and never left. Read more at his blog or follow him on Twitter.

If you want him to show you around some properties in Valencia, drop him a line.

And if you live in Valencia, tell us why you chose it in the comment section below.

READ ALSO:  How not to buy a house in Spain: The top five pitfalls to avoid

 

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RENTING IN SPAIN

How to rent a property in Spain without a job contract

When looking to rent in Spain, property owners and estate agents often ask for a 'nómina' and work contract - something that can prove tricky if you're self-employed or not working. Here's how to prove your solvency and secure the rental.

How to rent a property in Spain without a job contract

If you’re looking for a house or apartment to rent in Spain, there can be a multitude of different factors to consider.

The price, the size, the location, the neighbourhood, which floor the flat is, on and whether there’s a lift, whether it’s interior or exterior, how many apartments there are per floor, whether to go private or through an estate agents and, of course, the search itself.

When you’re going on visits, you’ll have to contend not only with owner or agent trying to ‘sell you’ the place, but also explaining the terms and conditions (often referred to as las condiciones or requisitos para entrar).

In Spain, the process can be a little complicated. Often landlords ask for two months deposit upfront, and those that go through an intermediary estate agent tend to ask for two months, plus an extra month (plus VAT, or IVA as it is in Spain) that goes to the agent! It certainly adds up. 

Not only that, but very often in Spain you are expected to prove you will be able to pay your rent every month. And it’s not as simple as you might think. 

Most estate agents or landlords think hat the best way to ascertain this is by you providing proof of an employment contract (contrato laboral) and recent payslips (la nómina) that demonstrate you are paid the same amount every month, and that it’s enough to cover the rent and other expenses.

Here’s where things can start to get tricky for self-employed people (known as autónomos in Spain), who number more than 3 million in Spain.

Regardless of whether your monthly autónomo earnings are high pretty much every month, regardless of how consistent they may be, or even if you have regular clients, the irregular and insecure nature of Spain’s work market have ensured that landlords and realtors take a rigid attitude towards the rules.

This is especially true following the turbulent economic times of recent years as we’ve moved from global pandemic to war in Europe to spiralling inflationary pressures on the global economy.

Landlords want to be sure you can pay the rent. Therefore, they may favour a waiter with a nómina of €1,000 a month over an autónomo who can prove monthly earnings double that for the previous six months. Doesn’t seem fair, right? 

READ MORE: Why you should be raising your rates if you’re self-employed in Spain

Well, that’s often how it can be in Spain. Fortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, there are various ways you can convince potential landlords that you are financially solvent enough to rent their property, with or without a fixed contract

The law

Now, it is not unheard of – in Spain nor anywhere else in the world – for an estate agent or landlord to try and squeeze more money out of you, or to add on some extra charges. In most people’s experience, Spanish estate agents and landlords are no better or worse than anyone else, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

It has been known, however, for some in Spain to try and get an extra month’s deposit by telling potential tenants that they need a nómina by law in order to rent a property in Spain, and that they’re doing you a favour by allowing it.

Simply put, this is not true. According to Spanish law, more specifically, La Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos (Urban Renting Law), although many landlords require some form of financial insurance, there is absolutely nothing to say a nómina is necessary to rent a property in Spain. A deposit is legally required, but a nómina?

Helpful? Certainly. Legally necessary? Definitely not.

That said, if you explain to the property owner that you’re self-employed, some landlords maybe be willing to make other arrangements to ensure the rent.

Here are some options, and other bits of paperwork that could help:

Aval bancario: Like a bank guarantee, some landlords request tenants without nóminas or work contracts to set up an aval bancario.

You must pay in an agreed amount (often worth the value of two or three months of rent, sometimes more) into a bank account that you’re a customer with.

It’s money that you cannot touch for an agreed period of time and which you pay some interest on, and in the event that you do not pay your rent, the landlord will be able to access said funds.

This is not the cheapest way to rent a property, but it may be one of the more effective ways of convincing a landlord to accept you as a tenant.

If you pay your rent diligently every month and prove that you are reliable, after a year you should speak to your landlord to ask them them to cancel the aval in order to not continue paying interest on it and recover your stored money.

Anuncios de particulares: If you’re using the usual rental search engines like Idealista or Fotocasa, the vast majority of rental adverts are from estate agents (inmobiliarias) who ask for all the proper documentation, including contracts and pay slips, and often the extra month’s rent as a fee.

When you’re making your search, keen an eye out for anuncios particulares , which are private ads direct from landlords.

Sometimes if you deal directly with the owner themselves, they are less strict about rules with regards to nóminas and contracts. Maybe you’ll get really lucky and find a landlord that takes a liking to you and who only asks for one month’s deposit.

Seguro de impago de alquiler: A landlord may be more likely to rent to you even if you don’t have a nómina when they have seguro de impago de alquiler, non-payment rental insurance. It protects the landlord for the duration of the contract and covers the rent and any repairs or legal fees.

IRPF: IRPF is Spain’s personal income tax, and providing your most recent income tax return could help put your potential landlord at ease by proving that what you’ve earned over the last year could cover the cost of the rent.

Seguridad Social: Similarly, providing proof of your social security payment can help prove your financial solvency.

Bank statement: a simple bank statement to show account activity – and that you have enough to pay the rent and deposit, of course – might ease the mind of your landlord as it allows them to see your incomings and any debts you might have.

IVA: Showing your VAT (IVA in Spain) returns could be another tool that, when used in conjunction with other ways of proving your solvency, could convince a landlord to rent to an autónomo.

Pensioner documentation: If you’re retired and you’re looking to rent, any official documents which show how much pension money you receive every month, along with bank statement reflecting savings, should suffice to convince a landlord or estate agent that you’re solvent.

READ ALSO: Renting in Spain: Can my landlord put up my rent due to rising inflation?

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