Are you thinking about moving to Spain? The weather, the food, the culture – it's all great! But it's not all sunshine and Sevillanas in Spain, and there are some things you should consider before making the big move. Here are a few pros and cons of moving to Spain from the UK so you can decide if it's the best choice for you.
Spain is an amazing place with a delightful climate year-round. You can expect mild winters, hot summers, and pleasant springs and autumns. Even in January, you can expect average highs of 50°F (10°C) in the northern parts of the country (and even higher temps in southern locations). In summer, average highs are usually around 80°F (27°C), but there's plenty of sunshine all year round. While Spain's weather is typically sunny, it does rain a fair amount during the Spring and Autumn. It won't be a significant issue, but don't expect sun every day!
The Cost of Living
You can easily save several thousand pounds each year by making the move. Compared with prices in London, Madrid has become a bargain: basic groceries cost around $600 per month compared with approximately $1,300 in the UK capital; rents are cheaper as well (around $850 for a one-bedroom apartment in central Madrid versus more than $2,000 for the same property in London). A haircut will set you back about €10 (£8) compared with £20 (nearly €25) in London.
The average cost of property in the UK is around eight times the average salary, while it's closer to three times in Spain. This affordability can be attributed to the Spanish government's social housing policy. Foreigners looking for an investment property can find low-priced properties but need to be prepared to wait several years before reaping the rewards of their purchase. .
The country's perception of bureaucracy and red tape is higher than any other European country. The main areas that can be difficult are planning, building control, and taxation, but there are people who will help you overcome these problems. For example, the Junta de Andalucía offers an online form for obtaining building permits, and many towns now have a mayor's office where residents can address local concerns. In terms of taxation – don't worry too much; you will find many gestors who work hard to ensure compliance among small business owners. Nevertheless, even if your business falls into one of those categories that must pay taxes quarterly or annually, a gestor can manage the process for you.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle of living in a country where you don't speak the language is getting by on a day-to-day basis. You will have to rely on others much more than you would like, especially when it comes to dealing with the town hall or a bank. Also, being forced into social situations takes a bit of getting used to for expats who do not speak Spanish.
Adapting to a different lifestyle
Adapting to the lifestyle in a foreign country can have its difficulties. Some significant problems with adapting to a new lifestyle in Spain include culture shock, being uncomfortable with the language, having problems adjusting to different work ethics, and not liking the job market.
Getting used to Spanish weather is another obstacle for some moving from the UK, many of whom aren't prepared for such extreme heat in the summer months and prefer to spend July or August visiting family back home.
If you're planning on living abroad, be sure you know what you are getting yourself into before it's too late. Consider your family's needs before jumping into a situation that might not be as pleasant as imagined. However, most expats are delighted they made the move and would not want to return to the UK.