Where to live in Spain

If you are considering whether or not you want to live in Spain, it is probably a good idea to first get a longterm rental so that you can experience living in Spain without making a full commitment. For long-term rentals, you usually need a deposit the equivalent of one or two month’s rent, and letters from an employer or bank showing proof of your ability to pay.

If you use an agent, their commission is normally one month’s rent. Except in Madrid, rents for a two-bedroom apartment in a city can be 350 euro to 600 euro per month, while a three-bedroom house can be around 1200 euro per month. But, like along Portugal’s Algarve, many rental properties on the Costas serve as vacation rentals rather than catering to people seeking a long-term stay. That said, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to get a long-term winter rental.

Away from the popular Costas, English isn’t as widely spoken as you might expect. Realtors will happily give you listings, but with rock-solid local interest, they can afford to ignore the language skills needed to attract
international clients wanting to live in Spain. Further complicating matters, most people in Catalonia use Catalan rather than standard Spanish. Signs don’t point to la playa (the beach). Here it’s la platja. Coffee with milk isn’t café con leche, it’s café amb llet. And a street isn’t a calle–it’s a carrer. The same applies to the Basque country on Spain’s northern Atlantic coast where many people speak Basque.

To get the most out of Spain, you’ll probably need to make some changes to your lifestyle. Outside of the big cities, shops close for threehour afternoon siestas, and restaurants rarely cater for early eaters. In fact,
Spaniards don’t usually have lunch until 2 p.m. or dinner before 9.30 p.m. Household goods are duty free if you’re moving to Spain to live permanently, but if it’s a second residence, non-EU citizens are subject to a 12% duty on the value of the goods.

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