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Last Updated on 06/07/2023 by STEPHANE
How to find the best places to retire to Spain?
Our definitive guide to find the perfect property matching your expectations
In this article, we give you the best tips on how to find the perfect place to retire to Spain. If you want to read further on the subject, it came from our detailed series:
Our ultimate 2022 guide to buying your property in Spain and more specifically the third article The best searching tips for buying your Spanish property.
Living in Spain is quite easy if you are resident of any EU country. If not, there are other possibilities, visit as a tourist or even get a permanent visa with a Golden Visa. Read our article for more on the: The Golden Visa in Spain. Let’s have a look at how you should search for your ideal property to retire in Spain.
5 easy steps to start your home search for retiring in Spain
Step 1 (optional) Hire a local property hunter from our network to save money and time and make the process smooth.
Step 2 Hire a local Spanish property lawyer speaking your language from our network.
Step 3 Define your budget: How much personal funds do you have available? Should be at least 45% of the property value, ideally 70%. If you need a mortgage, have a quick look at our paper: our ultimate guide to your Spanish mortgage.
Step 4 Define the property use: Second home, first home, home to retire or investment property. Here it is a home to enjoy your pension but don’t forget it could change in the future. If it will change, your set of criteria for the ideal property will change as well (see step 5)
Step 5 List your criteria for your ideal property: create a list of the best location criteria: What is the perfect location for your Spanish property? After that, create a list of your ideal property criteria. In order to assist you, we gave you hints for those two lists in the next two sections.
At the end of our article, you will find our easy to use downloadable form allowing you to rank different properties.
Retiring in Spain means more pleasure, take the time for yourself. Chill out… Doing nothing… As you will notice, most of our top location criteria will have this meaning.
The top 16 location criteria for your new home to retire to Spain
- A secure Neighbourhood
- Close to family members
- A lively neighbourhood 12 months per year, yes, you don’t want to live in a dead village 10 months or 12 months per year.
- Is the weather as you want when you will go (winter months?)? Check our monthly weather statistics for the top 20 Spanish cities
- Shops are close and less than 10 minutes on foot
- Are green areas around? Yes, you can relax full time now!
- What about the public transport network? Is it close to where you live? Is it developed as you would like it?
- Are you living close to the beach? At least within 20 minutes of public transport
- Proximity to excellent Hospital & care facilities. We hope that you are in good shape and can enjoy Spain to retire. But yes, we all get old and need more assistance while getting older.
- Is the cost of life of the city fitting with your desires and your wallet?
- Recreational and social activities around?
- Are restaurants close to your home? Now, you have the time to enjoy those pleasures.
- If you play golf, are golf courses within 20 minutes by car? Enjoy the good years while you are healthy and fit.
- Are the taxes not too high in your neighbourhood? This is important as you will rely on your savings from now. Even as a foreigner, usually you pay the taxes on your “income” where you live more than 180 days per year. Always better to check that upfront.
- Most of the time you want to relax with your family, so recreational and family activities should be available in the region.
- Consider renting first (with purchase option)? You don’t have to buy “day 1”
You will need to adjust this list with your location criteria for your ideal home to retire to Spain. Have a look at our downloadable pdf available at the end of this section for an exhaustive list of criteria and our ranking system for your future Spanish home.
The top 19 property criteria for your home to retire to Spain
- Your personal feeling. It is time to think about yourself, isn’t it?
- Security: fence and/or entrance gate, advanced technologies, fire alarm
- Outdoor Spaces: Garden, Terrace,… You are spending more time at home, so, get it as you want it! Enjoy the nice weather 320 days per year.
- Swimming pool (size,…) Sport, social life and good eating habits are the best way to keep good health.
- Size of the property corresponding to your taste. You got it, not too small, not too big. You could have a lot of family visits, an extra bedroom could be useful.
- Natural light
- Are the size of the sleeping rooms as you want?
- Is the quality of construction correct? How old is the property?
- Is the property price aggressive vs the market? Real estate agents in Spain love foreigners… That’s why a property hunter will get you better prices. It’s your first home, so yes, you should get it as you want but as it is your first home, you could need to sell it soon, don’t overpay!
- Is the layout of the property sound? Natural light correct?
- Is the size of the kitchen as you want?
- Air conditioning? Could seem normal, but it is not always the case
- Buying within a community? Check how are community spaces fitted? Concierge, pool, garden, terrace, dog park, picnic area, children area, Fitness space, indoor workspace,…
- Garage or parking space large enough
- Eco friendly? Insulation, Solar panels, Water
- Yearly maintenance costs, property average maintenance time /week
- Yearly taxes
- Yearly community costs
- May I rent the property short term? Is it legal? Why not get some extra funds during summer months? Pay attention, if you love your quiet life, this could be a bad idea.
If you plan to buy a new build property, we wrote this specific list that will guide you to your ideal new build first home in Spain. Don’t forget to add those criteria to your personal list.
The top 9 property criteria for your ideal new build Spanish home
- Reputation of the builder. Have you checked other projects realized by the same builder?
- Design & standard set of specifications
- Possibility to personalize to my taste
- Bank warranty
- Advanced technologies, fire alarm, security
- Delivery date
- Payment schedule
- Detailed plans for the property
- Community spaces finishes
Read more on that subject: What are the advantages of buying a new build property in Spain?
Download our exclusive PDF form and compare
your best places to retire to Spain
Download our form, print it as many times as needed: one per property, one per partner.
Fill the forms:
How to fill this table? How to compare different homes to retire to Spain?
1. List criteria for the ideal Spanish holiday home with all the persons involved
2. Give a WEIGHT for each criterion between 1 and 10. (10= important, 1= not important)
3. Print a list for each person involved in the project
4. Visit the potential properties and each person involved give RATINGS between 1 and 10 for all the criteria. (10= criteria met perfectly, 1 = bad)
5. Compare the total scores for each property, rank them and compare them with the results of other persons involved in the project.
Note that criteria WEIGHTS (1) are the same for all the properties while Criteria RATINGS (2) are specific for each property.
If you want to read more on how to use this ranking system, please go to section 9 of our detailed article
How much does it cost to buy a property in Spain?
Depending on the fact that you are buying a resale or a new build, the cost will be different but a good rule of thumb is 14%. Read more on that in our detailed article: The cost of buying a Spanish property.
How much does it cost to own a property in Spain?
A good estimate is 0.7% as we wrote in our detailed article: The cost of owning a Spanish property.
How do our partners help you with those first steps?
- We have a local mortgage broker dedicated to getting mortgages for foreigners. Ask for a free mortgage quote.
- Our property hunters are there to assist you to find the perfect property more on that in the 3rd article: “How should you search for your dream property?”
With our team of more than +100 local real estate partners, HowtobuyinSpain helps foreigners to buy real estate in Spain.
The experts from our network are active in all the fields you need:
- Property finders
- Money Transfer
- Holiday rental management
- Insure your Spanish property
- Property survey
Would you like to read further?
Last year we wrote detailed property buyers guides custom made for any nationality. Here are our FREE pdf property buyers’ guides written for all the foreign nationalities looking to buy in Spain: Click on your country flag, you will find your pdf report at the end of each article.