From the Author
Moving to or buying a property in a different country is very similar to getting married or having a baby.
You plan, research, prepare and embark on your new venture feeling proud of having done everything in your power to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible.
What you can't possibly do is realise the adjustments, sense of overwhelm and frustration that come with all of the above. And when you come face to face with the reality of the situation it is often accompanied by phrases such as OH MY GOD and LIFE WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN...
The key is in the invisible print, impossible to know beforehand and equally as impossible to fully grasp... the emotional consequences, the re-adjustments, changes of attitude and more.
The reasons for moving to Spain are many and varied, as are the reasons for buying a holiday home. Spain has long been a popular holiday destination with its convenient location within Europe and cheap airfares, particularly with the advent of low cost airlines. When compared to the relative doom and gloom of countries such as England with its bad weather, rat-race lifestyle, loss of community feeling it's easy to understand why so many people have considered moving to or have already moved to Spain.
Ironically, it is often the very things that make Spain such a great place to live that make you want to run screaming back to the relative normality of where you came from. The relaxed attitude, lack of urgency and the endless fiestas are fantastic once you become one of the natives, but they are also the very things that drive you to the brink of insanity when you are first entering the no-mans land of the newly arrived expat.
The biggest problem lies in the assumptions we make, not substantiated by anything other than our previous experiences in a different country, with a different culture. If I had a euro for every time I said, or heard other expats say (or rant) - "Surely they must have...?", "How they can they not...?", "How can they run a business like that...?" - I would be very rich indeed.
If you expect everything to work in the same way as it did at home, you will be severely disappointed! You have to accept that you are in a different country, with different methods. If you set your expectations to what you are used to, you will increase your frustration.
Be prepared for things to move more slowly and realise that you are not going to change the culture and you must either adapt or go crazy.
This book is not meant as a tourist guide of where to visit, how to get there etc. There is a wealth of information available on those subjects as well as the mechanics of buying a property. What is missing, is the vital information of the day to day realities of living in Spain and dealing with the Spanish way of life. If you remove those rose tinted spectacles, you will be better prepared and the transition to resident expat or property owner will be a much smoother path!
It is also important to note that while this book is based on real-life experiences, Spain is a vast country with marked regional differences. Not all expats will experience the same problems or face the same situations.
Spain is a beautiful country, with great people. But please, take my advice and ASSUME NOTHING!
From the Inside Flap
While there is a massive influx of foreigners relocating to or investing in Spain each year, there are also thousands leaving Spain - giving up on their dream, poorer, disillusioned and defeated.
Spain still continues to rank as the most popular expat destination with hundreds of thousands living in Spain or owning property there. The sunshine, the lifestyle, its got to be better than where you are right now - hasn't it? Not necessarily. Thousands of expats have found out the hard way that moving to Spain or buying a property there can become a financial headache filled with struggle and heartache.
There are ways to avoid the problems that most expats are faced with, but which are impossible to know about beforehand. Hindsight is wonderful.
Most books on Spain talk about where to go, what to see and where to stay. They also talk about how fantastic the culture, the food and the lifestyle is. What they don't tell you is the price you have to pay for leaving your comfort zone - what you know and are familiar with.
"Culture Shock" is not just a short-term condition, some people never recover and find themselves giving it all up to go back home.
The Spain Survival Guide highlights some of the most important topics related to moving to or relocating to Spain, outlining the "hidden problems" faced by most expats.