From SearchIberia.com

Society & Culture
Relocation to Spain
By Elizabeth Edmiston
May 4, 2007, 07:31

Before moving to Spain, we spent the best part of 2 years researching, planning and making several trips to help us make the right choices for our move.

Costa del Sol – too expensive for us! Almeria – too brown for my taste (OK we had come from one of the wettest, greenest parts of Scotland), Costa Blanca – it rained for the whole 9 days, which put us off a little. Finally, with our Scottish farmhouse “sold” and nowhere else to go, we booked flights to Murcia, on the grounds that it was between Almeria and the Costa del Sol. “So it should be somewhere between brown and green then.” Said my husband wisely.

In fact, he was right. We arrived in the coastal village of La Azohia, with 2 weeks in a rented apartment and all our wordly goods went into storage. Luck was on our side as we found a long term let very quickly. In fact so quickly that our 2 childern, then 3 and 5, started in the village school just 10 days after arriving in Spain!

Our original plan, like so many people, was to buy an old finca, work the land, keep livestock and live a peaceful life in the sun.

After months of trailing round derelict properties “just needing a bit of a fix up” (such as walls, a roof and all the basic amenities) with various estate agents, we were thoroughly fed up. And the idea began to take shape... we would buy land and self build, making sure that we got the house we wanted.

And so in November 2005 we finally bought our “parcela” of just over 5000 square metres (a little over an acre and a quarter in old money). It cost us around 100,000 euros, but was flat, already had all the necessary (but lapsed) permissions granted for a large house, and had electricity and water at the edge of the plot ready for connection. And the view over the lovely small town of Totana was perfect. Called “ La Huerta” and living up to the name, we fell in love with the greenery, the mountains of the Sierra Espuñas behind us, and even the statue of Jesus up at La Santa who looks down on us every day.

Our House!
Now, almost 18 months on, we nearly have a house! We finally got all the licences and permissions granted in December 2006. Our wonderful Spanish builder started work the same week, and he and his team have barely stopped for breath since. This summer we will move into our own 4 bed traditionally designed Spanish villa and at last we will have a home to call our own. Total cost to build was around 150,000 euros, including a massive underbuild for storage and future accommodation, such as games room for the boys. Try finding that perfect finca for 250,000 euros these days!!

I can´t say it was easy. We have had to move rentals villas 3 times in total, the boys had to change school once, and along the way we have acquired 4 dogs and a cat.

But I can thoroughly recommend making the move, just make sure that you use common sense and only work with people you can trust.

One of the best things I did was to take night classes in Spanish before we left the UK. I already spoke French, so it was a little easier for me to learn, but all the same it has helped me a great deal. Now I am almost fluent, but still get caught out by the accent in Murcia from time to time. Definitely not BBC Spanish!

But I have been able to deal with all our day to day processes, such as NIE, residencia, padron.... even talk my way out of a speeding ticket from the Guardia Civil!

Summer in Totana
Our children have been in school for over 2 years and made many friends. They are the only English boys in our Totana Town Judo club, but they love it and it doesn´t matter one bit. They have a wide circle of friends of all nationalities.

I go to an aerobics class in a farm shed – don´t ask – and a Spanish walking group once a week, and again, although it was difficult at first, we persevere and are welcomed. Away from the coast this area is truly Spanish, and we would now like to help you discover it too!

We founded a local company offering a property search service, area orientation tours, after sales care and services in English for ex-pats, such as home and motor insurance, BT call plans, translation services and more. Our aim is to help avoid all the problems that can make the leap from UK to Spain seem like an enormous task. In addition, we have found many builders, tradesmen, estate agents, gestors (to deal with the paperwork), lawyers etc that we know we can trust.

So stop dreaming about a new life in the sun, and take the first step to making it a reality.

Hasta Pronto!

Elizabeth can be contacted at Villa Finders Costa Cálida

© Copyright 2007 by SearchIberia.com & Elizabeth Edmiston