The beginning of the journey to finding a new home in Spain begins with researching location guides from your armchair. But your property search becomes exciting when instead of just looking at the pictures on a website, you go and experience a place for yourself. And it’s not just a good excuse for an extra holiday, there are plenty of practical reasons you should go and do a real life visit to your dream location:
1. Reason one: to get the lay of the land
To give yourself time to absorb what your life might be like when you make that life-changing decision to buy a property in Spain, you need to visit potential buying locations and see what they’re like to walk around on your own two feet.
You’ll get an idea of the proportions of the town that you’ll be spending time in. You can find out, for example, how long it takes to walk to the shops or how far it is to your nearest beach. You can figure out if you need to bring a car or if you can manage without one.
2. Reason two: to get to know the people
The community that you are going to be either living or staying in will be shaped by the people who make up the town. It’s important to find out what language they speak (many areas of Spain are at least bilingual), how the local Town Hall looks after the public spaces, and what leisure activities are available.
Also, people can share their experiences with you. You’ll get the inside scoop from people on the ground. Seasoned expats can help you better understand the differences between living in Spain and holidaying there.
3. Reason three: to have a look at the services
Whether you’ll be needing state health care, enrolling your children in a local school, or you simply want to ensure you can find a decent hairdresser and an English-speaking bank teller, getting an idea of what’s on offer in different pockets of the region you are interested in will help you narrow down your search to one or more specific areas.
If you need to know about state healthcare or education, visit the Town Hall in the municipality. They can give you information on all the facilities available in the area and help you apply for school places.
4. Reason four: to get to know your agent
Something that comes up in our podcast series time and time again is how important our interviewees felt it was to establish rapport with their estate agent. Despite the advantages of the internet age, meeting an agent in person can help you get a gut feeling and build a relationship of trust. You can ask questions directly and they will have an opportunity to better understand your preferences.
5. Reason five: to get to know the properties
Obviously, this is the most important reason to go on a viewing trip. But only once you’ve got to know a few towns and villages and formed an image of what kind of life you would have in them, will you know what kind of property you’ll need. Once you’re happy with a location, you’ll be able to compare and contrast the different properties you might get within your budget and check out a range of different property styles and positions to find out what really suits you.
So whether you’re going for a short research trip, an extended vacation or even if you plan to rent initially, it’s a great idea to physically view several properties before you commit to anything. That way you’re more likely to hit the ground running and will be able to enjoy your new life as soon as possible.
Explore more areas of Spain with our Guides to living in Spain.