September 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm #192548
Apologies if this has already been covered, plus the difficulty of answering due to Brexit uncertianty!
I would really appreciate some initial thoughts and possible ways forward with professional advice.
We are a family of 5 (3 young kids) UK passport holders living in the UAE and are seriously looking at relocating to Spain as the next step.
We’re with an area in Costa Blanca and the private schools could work well with us.
I am trying to get my head around the best approach that has now been complicated by the uncertainty of Brexit.
It would be our intention to start a small owned property based business. Income would be suplemented by uk based investments. We have around 750keuro to invest in the properties.
Do we wait until the outcome of Brexit before purchasing even though were adamant to live in Spain?
I have been looking into the golden visa. Can this be applied for retrospectively if Brexit does not work out favourably?
Can I spread the required 500k investment overs more than one property? Plus take mortgages? Can we earn income from being employed (I think not)? Can we open our own small trading business in addition to the properties?
What is the situation with healthcare? If private – who are the best suppliers?
Can anyone help with professional tax advice to maximise retained income?
A huge ask for ask for a first post! We’re lost at the moment and don’t whether to just sit tight…
Thanks in advance for any help.
September 17, 2016 at 2:29 pm #192621
I am not a lawyer, nor a qualified expert in immigration, nor a financial clairvoyant but I have lived and worked in Spain over 30 years and have experienced the unpredictability of events – especially in the last decade.
My experience has taught me to trust no one. That doesn’t just mean second hand car dealers – it means banks, politicians, currencies and just about everything else. The reckless printing of money by all the central banks will sooner or later break out as a loss of confidence in paper money – and that means your €750k cash.
The wild swings of currency exchange rates mean that no currency can be promoted as a safe haven. Cash in a bank is also at risk from the Bail-in laws recently passed by the EU. Remember Cyprus! Remember Greece. The Euro may fail and I’m not joking. The safety of bricks and mortar has become a joke in Spain as some suggest the bulldozering of certain unsaleable property.
No one knows how the regulations for English coming to live in Spain will develop although plenty of bar room lawyers will have all the answers. I would offer two snippets of advice.
Firstly, park your money in precious metals or similar assets that will always hold value in the longer term, making sure that you can always access it. Precious metals are volatile in value but no more so than unpredictable currencies.
The second: come over here and rent a home until you are familiar with the local situation in all the ways that it may affect you. Rents are low by English standards and very low a little inland from the sea. That way you will have complete flexibility to decide how to go forward.
A small commercial break: I have a four bedroom three bathroom townhouse on the Northern Costa Blanca with lock up garage to rent long term (eg 3 years or more). €550 per month. If that fitted your needs, just let me know.
September 18, 2016 at 9:18 pm #192626
Paul, I am not a lawyer or an expert either but I think it would be sensible to err on the side of caution and expect hard Brexit – if it turns out to be Brexit lite then that will be a bonus but the mood music is not good so far.
In my opinion, hard Brexit will mean that British nationals will be treated in a similar way to US and Canadian citizens, therefore, the Golden Visa would be a very good option for you. There is also the non-lucrative visa option so it might be worth you checking out websites with information for non-EU nationals moving to Spain. This option would mean that you would have to invest your money in the UK (buy to let for example) and then prove that you have the means to support yourself in Spain. There are also investor visas that are worth considering and this would mean you could invest/run a business in Spain.
I agree with Pepsicola’s advice and would suggest you make the move to Spain sooner rather than later, park your money somewhere safe but rent a property in Spain for the time being. From the research we have done, you cannot retrospectively obtain a Golden Visa so I would keep this option on hold until we know what Brexit looks like. You can spread the €500,000 required to qualify for the Golden Visa over several properties as long as it does not include purchase costs. You are free to have mortgages but any mortgaged amount must be over and above the required investment of €500,000. I am not sure how you would stand re. state healthcare or running a business on the GV and in any case would recommend you seek professional advice.
If you move to Spain now and rent for a while, it will give you the opportunity to check out schools and decide exactly where you want to live so by the time you are ready to buy property, you will have the advantage of being familiar with the local area and services.
You could apply for Spanish residency immediately but I’m afraid a deadline may be imposed – David Davis has unhelpfully suggested that anyone who becomes resident in the UK after 2014 may not be eligible to stay post Brexit so you can expect the Spanish to reciprocate. On the other hand, he might be blowing hot air in which case, anyone resident in Spain pre-Brexit could be protected by ‘acquired rights’.
Before you leave the UAE, it would be worth running your ideas past a Spanish immigration lawyer who specialists in non-EU cases. It would also be worth consulting a tax expert because Spanish residency requires the declaration of worldwide income and assets for tax purposes.
Private healthcare in Spain is excellent and we pay €50.00 per month each for a first class service that includes everything except dental care and it beats anything on offer with the NHS. You should bear in mind that currently only people who pay into the social security system in Spain or are pensioners over 60 can use the Spanish national health service, everyone else must have private health insurance.
I wish you well and have no doubt that you will find a way of making your move to Spain work, with or without Brexit. You just need to keep your options open until we know where this debacle is going!
September 19, 2016 at 10:28 am #192628
Dear Pepsicola and JMG. Thanks you for valuable insights, its greatly appreciated. We’re looking forward to our journey and holding on our hats in the brexit wind! Hopefully we’ll end up with a sensible outcome.
March 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm #197110
Although renting could be a good route to follow until you are 100 pct sure of what you want to do, you should take into account that, as result of Brexit, property prices in Spain are increasing quickly, so you might find that if you wait, you might not be able to afford it.
So why not to go for a safer option of buying in one of the big cities like Madrid or Barcelona? These towns also benefit from international schools into which your kids might find easier to fit into.
Paul comments to the currency swings, etc apply to any country… you just need to look at the recent devaluation of the pound versus other currencies. The financial crisis is not unique to Spain so your money is at risk regardless to where you invest it. It is not uncommon for gold prices to drop by more than 20pct. Only as recent as Nov. 2106 the price of gold was $1,304/oz by December it was $1,133. If you look at long term the price in July 2012 was around $1,700/oz… so in my opinion gold is not such a safe bet.
In my opinion buying property in Spain is a capital growth investment, if you are not planning to be there for a few years, it might not be worth it.
March 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm #197447
Hi Paul, I lived in Abu Dhabi for 40 years so I know your situation. I lived in Estepona (Malaga Province) for the past 6 years. Inheritance tax is a major problem, but I learned just last week that Madrid does not have any inheritance tax. Of course I have not had this confirmed yet, but it goes to show what a hodge-potch? of laws make living here “interesting” to say the least!!
March 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm #197451
Thanks for the valuable feedback. We have decided to take a winter let in Javea and the kids are enrolled into Lady Elizabeth.
Hopefully over the next 8 months we’ll find a house we love and there will be a little more clarity around Brexit negotiations.
feeg – I hope you are enjoying Spain after 4 decades in Abu Dhabi…you must have seen an incredible change in the UAE.
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