How Not Using a Currency Transfer Company Can Be Losing You Money!

I am continually surprised how many people, moving to Spain, tell me they haven’t even considered using the services offered by a currency transfer company.

It seems to me that too many people believe that their UK bank will give them the best available exchange rate.

Will they?

I don’t know for certain, but I seriously doubt it.

  • If your bank offers you the best exchange rate, what charges are incurred?
  • If your bank advertises a “no charge on foreign currency transfers” service, what exchange rates do they offer?

It is vital that you ask these questions before deciding whose services to use.

The fact is, people are often so busy trying to save pennies (or centimos 😉 ) on smaller transactions that they are losing pounds (or euros) on others. This is particularly true when buying property.

I really feel that anyone planning to move to Spain or buy property in Spain should get a quote from at least one Currency Transfer Company.

Are you planning to buy a property in Spain?

Are you planning to move to Spain?

Do you live in Spain and regularly transfer funds from your UK account?

Do you live in Spain and use a UK bank card for purchases or to withdraw cash?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may get a shock when you realise how much money you have “given away”.

Don’t dwell on the past, take action now and improve your future.


The following infographic demonstrates how interest rate changes can affect relative costs between Sterling and Euros when living in Spain or buying property in Spain. The rates used in this example are quite different, but it will serve to highlight my point.

In future monthly posts, we will publish current comparative prices, based on actually daily rates.

For this example, we are showing you the comparative cost of items in Spain, when the UK exchange rate changes from 1.1€ to 1.4€ to the pound …

currency transfer infographic


A currency transfer company can save you a lot of money. They watch the rates and can guide you as to when is the best time to transfer funds.

If you’d like details of companies we recommend, simply Contact Us


Insurance in Spain

How to save money on insurance in Spain …

Choosing the best insurance in Spain for you and your family is not always as easy as in your home country. Most companies and websites only offer their own insurance policies. Insurance brokers are not a common as in other countries. This can make searching for insurance in Spain quite a tedious task.

Here’s a solution …

Following months of research we are happy to let you know of a reputable, independent insurance broker who offers all kinds of insurance policies for health cover, home and contents, vehicles, pets and much more, with policies from over twenty different insurance companies.

As an independent broker, they do the work for you, searching for the best policy for your insurance in Spain, whatever type it may be and for the policy that best suits your needs.

Let’s look at the different types of insurance and the next step to receiving a no obligation quote from our broker …

Who should take out Health Insurance in Spain?

Anybody who has not been a resident in Spain since 2012 and is not contributing to the Spanish social security system, either as an employee on a Spanish contract (receiving a nomina) or a self employed worker (autonomo).

(*Please note this does not include pensioners who have reciprocal agreements within member states!)

Most expats take out private medical insurance in Spain, not just for medical care, but also for ambulance and dental services. If you are not covered by the spanish social security healthcare system, it would be wise to take insurance sooner rather than later, so that you do not risk being uninsurable for medical problems which arise over the course of time and to avoid any unexpected and expensive medical bills.

For a no obligation health insurance quote, please send us the following information: (for each person to be insured):

Name, date of birth, place of residence,  contact email 

Upon receipt of this information, the insurance brokers will contact you with your no obligation quotes.

insurance in spainWhat should be covered by Car Insurance?

Basic car insurance coverage should include compulsory civil liability and third party insurance, plus other responsibilities derived from the vehicle catching fire or any damage that occurs. As in other countries, you also have the options of Fully Comprehensive (todo riesgo), Third party (teceros) with options that include windscreen damage (lunas), fire (incendio) and breakdown asisstance (asistencia en viaje).

Each company offers packages to suit all vehicle types. Remebber to ask about the excess on any insurance claims (franquicia).

To request a no obligation vehicle insurance quote please send us the following information:

Your full name, date of birth, make and model of vehicle, registrations number, address,  contact email 


Upon receipt of this information, the insurance brokers will contact you to request further details of your requirements.

DSC_1362Who should take out Home Insurance in Spain?

If you are renting a property in Spain, you may want to consider taking out a home content insurance policy (contenido). Many owners who rent out their property will insure only the building itself and their own contents such as furniture, fixtures and fittings. In the event of a fire or theft, you may well discover that your own belongings are not covered.

If you are a property owner in Spain, you should consider both building and contents insurance (contenido y continente). As in other countries, the value you place on the building and its contents will influence the price of the policy.

To request a no obligation home insurance quote please send us the following information:

Your full name, property address, contact email 


Upon receipt of this information, the insurance brokers will contact you to request further details of your requirements.

We do not want to dwell on this point but we would like to stress the importance of having the correct type of insurance in Spain to suit your own personal situation. It costs nothing to request a no obligation quote and it could save you a lot of money in the long run.

For any further assistance and quotes for different types of insurance in Spain, please complete this form and a broker will contact you:

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Buying Property in Spain: Do your Research!

Are you thinking about buying property in Spain?

a to z spain

The British Embassy website offers information and advice to allow you to safely buy property in Spain. We recommend you take time to read through all the information provided on the website about buying property in Spain and then seek independent advice. The more research you carry out, the more likely you are to find an ideal property and enjoy your life in Spain.

The dedicated “buying property in Spain” pages cover topics such as :

  1. General advice
  2. Purchasers checklist
  3. Bank guarantees
  4. Coastal properties
  5. Timeshare property
  6. Mortgages
  7. Equity release schemes
  8. Taxes and other costs applicable to property purchases in Spain
  9. Additional costs
  10. Further information
  11. Letting a property in Spain

The Embassy’s sound advice is as follows…

“If you are considering buying a property in Spain you will need to bear in mind that the legal system and steps to follow are different from those you may have experienced in the UK. It is important to note that while many British nationals enjoy life in Spain, a large number who have bought properties in Spain over recent years now face serious problems with their homes. This guide is intended to help you obtain the information you need to make a full and considered decision about your property purchase in Spain.”

For more details, visit their website HERE .

Read our Buying Property in Spain page HERE.

Time spent on extra research must only be seen as an investment in your future happiness when buying property in Spain!

If you are considering moving to the Malaga / Costa del Sol area, do not hesitate to contact us for further assistance.  We look forward to helping you make the most of living in Spain!

REMEMBER to read our NIE & Residency Application guide … Only €4.99  … CLICK HERE !

By Lisa Sadleir


Buying a home in Spain and Can’t Find What you Want?

In our “Property” category, you can read about some of the difficulties we encountered whilst trying to find our new family home in our chosen area in Spain. In this article you can read about another interesting option when buying property in Spain …

John Wolfendale from Eco Vida International gives us some great tips and ideas how to make our homes more environmentally friendly and more economical to manage and  maintain.

His reply to the question “Are you Buying a home in Spain and Can’t Find What you Want?”,  is as follows:

 … “buy a home in the right place and convert it!”

“There is an abundance of  cheap property in Spain at the moment. And as someone said to me the other day there are plenty of people out there who want to take their money out of the bank and put it somewhere safe!

Spain is a beautiful country. In my opinion it has everything:  a sunny climate, beautiful beaches and mountains, great food, a fascinating history and culture, lovely friendly people with a great attitude towards family life and having fun.

There are also some beautiful country villas for sale with extraordinary views and cosy looking interiors.

The problem often is with the quality of build such as damp, thin walls with no sound or thermal insulation and so on. Or the problem could be with the layout. I’ve recently come across a swimming pool in the shade “because there was nowhere else to put it” and a multimillion pound villa without even a dining room.

However converting a property is easier than you think. You can take advantage of the low prices to be found, buy a property in your ideal location, and still have exactly what you want.

How to make it comfortable without burning money or fossil fuels

Many people thinking of buying in Spain don’t realize its cold in the winter especially inland. The worst cases are those country houses with cathedral like entrance hallways. And it’s easy to underestimate just how hot it can be in July August.

Converting you home into a comfortable energy efficient one could involve the following steps:

Insulate it: this can be exterior or interior depending on the budget and circumstances.

Make it airtight: change the windows and doors so they have a good seal and also improve insulation, aesthetics, and security at the same time.

Under floor heating and cooling: all the surfaces, the walls the floors and the furniture get to your desired temperature and give a radiant heat which is far more comfortable than simply heating the air. It’s like being warmed by the sun. You can pad about barefoot even in winter.

Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Exchanger: Extract dirty wet air from the kitchen and bathroom and exchange it with fresh filtered air from outside. In the winter the cold fresh air from outside exchanges heat with the dirty air you are expelling. It works to over 95% efficiency. It’s healthy too. In the summer it works the other way around keeping you cool.

Use a heat pump: Now you’ve reduced your energy requirement a heat pump can do the job keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer at a fraction of the cost and without burning fossil fuels.

Shading and terracing: We’re all in Spain to live the outside life. Terracing can combine with shading to keep the sun of the house for greater comfort and also to create areas for relaxing, cooking, eating, or playing.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find one company that could take care of everything from design to implementation?”

For more information, contact John on +34 606380244  or  Use our Contact Form by Clicking Here!

If you own a property in Spain you should be paying tax here

Please be advised that the Spanish tax authorities are catching up with  foreign property owners in Spain who are not making any kind of tax declaration in Spain.

You are considered a tax resident in Spain if you complete your annual tax returns (Dec Renta) in Spain. If you submit your tax returns in another country, you are considered a non resident, in Spain, for tax purposes and consequently you should be submitting a non resident tax return (modelo 210) at the end of each calendar year.

For an explanation of the non resident tax please read the article here.

If you are unsure whether you should be a tax resident in Spain, see the article  here.

For further advice and information regarding your own personal situation, please contact  CCB Spain: Here.

Househunting In Spain (Part 3)

And so the househunting in Spain saga continues …. At the end of our post, the ongoing story of our attempt at buying property in Spain, and explaining the changes in mortgage tax relief that are due to come into effect, from January 2011 in Spain, we had sent an email to the estate agent to ask his advice on our proposed offer on a house that we had seen and very much liked. The news was not good. He said that the sellers would not accept such a low offer and advised us of a minimum price that he believed he could negotiate for us.

And so the game began … How do you know if the estate agent is playing games? How do we really know that the sellers would refuse a low offer? Did he make the offer or was he simply trying to get a better price from us? On one hand, you want to secure the best price possible within your budget. On the other hand, I do also believe that you can lose a good property if you barter too much over the price.

After a few days of deliberation and many more property viewings, we decided to put in an offer which was higher than the original suggestion but still below the “advised” minimum offer price. We decided that if the offer was accepted then we would go ahead and if it was rejected then we would continue with our long term rental and keep looking. The pressure would be off, as we would have missed the final date for the tax relief .

One phone call later and a slight increase on our behalf, after a final push by the agent,  (still below the minimum I must add!) and the offer was put forward. Within twenty four hours, the offer was accepted and it was full steam ahead.

Now the race against time is on. Next, we go to the bank to talk about mortgages in Spain ….

Househunting in Spain (Part 2)

As we said in our last post, we are considering buying a house in Spain and are trying not to rush into things. However, there are many factors influencing our decisions. One of those is the fact that  2010 marks the end of automatic entitlement to tax relief on property purchases, (la desgravacion fiscal por compra de vivienda), in Spain.

From January 1st 2011, anyone with a declared annual income (renta annual) in excess of twenty four thousand euros, will no longer qualify for automatic mortgage tax relief.

In a nutshell , this basically means that:

–          anyone with a declared annul income over 24.107€, that purchases a property in spain after 31.12.10 will no longer be entitled to the tax relief previously offered in relation to the interest on mortgage payments.

–          anyone who purchases a property in Spain, with a declared annual income equal or inferior to 17.724€ will be entitled to a total deduction of tax relief and in the following year, a total of 15% up to the amount 9.040€

–          anyone with a declared annual income between these two amounts, 17.724€ and 24.107€, will continue to enjoy mortgage tax relief calculated  in a regressive manner. ie. a calculated percentage of relief that diminishes once we reach a salary of  24.107€

Confused yet? Even having read this many times I still was …

So, if we consider that the current mortgage tax relief assumes an annual rebate of up to 1.350€ based on 15%, capped at 9.015€. This would mean that over a 40 year mortgage we would receive a tax rebate of over 50.000€. Now, that is a lot of money to miss out on!

Some autonomous regions, such as Navarra, are continuing to offer the rebate but can we rely on this happening?

Property experts continue to disagree on the immediate future of the Spanish property market. Will prices continue to fall or will they even out? The only fact they seem to agree on is that prices are unlikely to reach previous highs and are not likely to increase in the immediate future.

Mortgages are obviously much more affordable at the moment due to the fact that the eurobar is at around 1.5% compared to 5.38% in September 2008. However, what will happen in the coming months? Who knows and how much risk are we willing to take?  What may seem like an amazing deal today may become a noose around our neck in the future ….

Anyway, we have sent an email to the estate agent to ask his advice on our proposed offer before we actually make it. What will happen next? Who knows … we’ll keep you posted.

Househunting in Spain

Finally, it looks like we have a buyer for our house in France. They have paid the deposit, signed the pre sales contact (compromis de vente) and are measuring up for the work they plan to carry out. So, fingers crossed … it is looking good!  But please do not ask me how much money we have lost.

So, once again, we are in search of a new home.

Having considered the option of continuing with a long term rental , we have decided that we want to buy a house in Spain.  Despite the fact that there are very negative changes, for us, in the mortgage tax relief criteria “desgravacion fiscal vivienda” that will come into place in 2011 and our situation with Capital Gains Tax (plusvalia) to be paid if we do not reinvest in Spain before the end of the year, we are determined to do our research and not rush, nor be pushed, into anything that is not 100% what we want.

Having lived in the Mijas area for the past eighteen months and having spent a lot of time looking at all other areas along the Costa Del Sol, we have decided that this is where we want to be for now. I am not going to be unrealistic and say “forever” … I am a realist, after all!

We have carried out searches all over the internet, we check in all local publications, newspapers, free magazines, property brochures, in both Spanish and English and so have a pretty good idea of what we would like and how much we can “hope” to get it for.

As it is such a time consuming task, we have also enlisted the help of some local estate agents. This last decision however, is proving to be not so much of a time consuming, but time wasting measure … this comment is not directed at all estate agents, but  please can you tell me “how you expect to sell me a house when you do NOT listen to neither my requests nor past experiences?”

“Do you really think that telling me that “Entrerios”, which is an inland, relatively under developed rural area, approximately half an hour from the coast , is the new “Sotogrande”, which is a luxury harbor area, is really going to make me buy this house?” … Oh please!

To further rub salt into the wound, despite being told about our current situation, having made a big mistake buying a house in France, he kept telling us how he loved France and how much this area reminded him of France …  get me out of here!

Needless to say, our search continues, with other agents, and we have already found something rather exciting. We’ll keep you posted!

Long Term Rentals in Spain

Long term rentals in Spain are becoming an increasingly popular way to move here, without committing immediately to buying. Spain is a vast and varied country and even within established areas such as the Costa del Sol the variety of towns and villages is huge. In addition, there’s still uncertainty about the housing market, so many people are biding their time to see whether prices will drop any further before they buy.

Before moving to Spain, it makes sense to visit your chosen area and travel around as much as possible, getting a feel for the different areas and speaking to local residents about where they would suggest. Think carefully about your requirements in terms of amenities and then look where the nearest school is, how long it takes to get to key areas, how many shops and amenities there are and what the local doctor or hospital is like.

When you have got a good idea and a few preferred areas to start off your life in Spain, then speak to a long-term rental company to ask for a list of suitable properties which match your requirements. They could also suggest areas which you haven’t considered on the back of your requirements. A long-term rental will give you 6 months or more to try out the area and see how well it works for you and you could try a few areas in this way until you find the perfect place for you and your family.

If you would like  more information about where to rent, just contact us.

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