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 Alan Gandy

Why you should consider renting long-term

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Ever since we moved out to Lanzarote back in 2006 we’ve rented property rather than buy. Two places in Lanzarote, and one here on the mainland. At the moment we still can’t find any good reason to buy.

What's not to love?

What’s not to love?

We nearly bought twice on the island, but for different reasons in both instances we decided not to complete. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and unusually, it has worked in our favour this time. It wouldn’t have been the best thing for us. The very fact that we are now here in Almeria being all the evidence needed. Buying would have tied us to Lanzarote. Of course, at the time we considered it, this wouldn’t have been a problem. We love the island and still do, but there came a point – mostly down to me rather than Elle – where we needed to consider a bigger pond. I’d been working in the Middle East and had also had my little adventure walking all of the Canary Islands. The island became very, very small to me. I wanted to travel more. So much easier to do being on mainland Europe. Travel off the island is especially difficult (and expensive) with our extensive collection of hounds.

Had we bought a property we’d have been far more tied than we were, possibly even stuck. On top of that, had we bought at the time we were considering it in Lanzarote we would have definitely lost money as the market has turned out.

We will buy somewhere – eventually. But as yet it just hasn’t felt right for us.

Here are just a few reasons renting works for us;

  • Flexibility: We can easily get to try different areas in Spain (our business is not tied geographically to any specific city or region). Whilst we’re happy in Almeria right now, there are other areas that appeal and we may try before buying.
  • Flexibility: Whilst we can not imagine ever moving back to the UK, who knows what might happen should some family crisis arise? Actually they have a couple of times, but – thankfully – they weren’t enough to force our hand.
  • Flexibility: We’ve been able to try different lifestyles having moved from a tourist resort to our current place out in the countryside. Each has their merits. Each has positives and negatives you can only be sure of having lived there. It doesn’t matter how well you know an area from visits or holidays. You might think you know it all – you really don’t
  • Cost: We’re very fortunate that our rental costs are very reasonable. So much so, that when we decided to move we actually signed a six month rental contract only having seen the place on the Internet. It could have been a disaster, but the worst that could happen is we’d have had to find somewhere else and pay two rents, or put up with six months in somewhere we weren’t keen on. In reality, we absolutely love the place; it’s perfect for us right now.
  • Buying: Personally we don’t subscribe to the ‘market has bottomed out, best buy now’ rumours. In our view it’s going to be many years before the property market here recovers. Plenty of time to make sure we find what’s right for us before we commit.

This all works for us. Though, to be fair and balanced, we have heard a few horror stories of bad landlords and agents from fellow ‘renters’. I guess we’ve just been lucky.

In all honesty I can’t think of a good reason to buy right now. Unless you’re the ‘Englishman’s home is his castle type’, I’d suggest you give long-term rentals some consideration.

If you are someone who feels the need to buy right of the bat, do remember that you never really know a place until you’ve lived there – think seriously about renting for six or twelve months before you commit to a lifetime.

Our other piece of advice for buyers which, however obvious, often gets overlooked, get yourself a good lawyer! In a country where planning approvals are regularly given and rescinded depending on which political party is running the town hall, and where agents feel the need to include the phrase ‘fully legal’ on property descriptions it is foolish not to engage proper legal advice.

Caveat Emptor!

About your questions…

Sorry – but we do not offer relocation advice on an individual basis through Spain Buddy. There are a number of relocation experts who are better placed to advise you on your new life in sunny Spain.

6 Responses to Why you should consider renting long-term

  1. Steve Simons March 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Ahhhhh…….the wisdom in these words! There are always scare stories from both sides of this debate but I absolutely agree with you Alan and I think that a surprising number of expats have increasingly begun to share the same opinion. I’ve lost count of the number of people I know who want to sell their Spanish property, not to go home, but to stay here and rent. Indeed, even my parents, who retired to Spain, have discussed it!!

  2. Alan Gandy
    Alan Gandy March 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    It works for us. If not forever, at least for the foreseeable future.

  3. Peter Davies April 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    We run two businesses here in Murcia a very successful “British business directory for Spain” and a long term property rentals company. We started the latter to service business clients who were moving to Spain and needed advice about all things business related, which we gave as part of our business directory service.

    Regarding accommodation we always tried to get our clients to rent first, mainly to make sure they were in the right area for their business and God, for most of them was that the right decision! That was the reason we then started “Property Rentals in Spain” to service these business clients. I speak to at least half a dozen people every week who wished they had not rushed into buying property here so quickly. Do the sensible thing rent first or at least try a rent to buy service and make sure you make the right decision regarding your home in Spain.

  4. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper April 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks Peter. By all means drop us a line via the Contact Page to discuss some advertising opportunities for your business too.

  5. john b April 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Good information. Personally I think prices are going south for a considerable amount of time yet,and are not going to increase either, judge the employment prospects and wages on offer generally through Europe. Most people do not have the spare cash any more. Let it be known that you have an interest in buying, people falling over themselves at offerings

    Even though I live in Thailand I would like to get back to somewhere nearer my roots. I have recently travelled extensively through Spain and Canaries (can speak Spanish too) but the atmosphere I think has changed in Spain, not as welcoming for sure.

    It is cheap living here. Far cheaper than Spain, but for sure medical care is one thing I have to consider eventually, crippling expensive here, but India not far off and is superb for doctors etc.

    Make-your-mind-up-time rapidly approaching, renting the way to go though

  6. Neil Thomas April 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Perhaps Spanish mortgage laws deserve a mention here too? Last time I heard, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Spain one of the few countries where if you default on a mortgage, not only can the house be repossessed, but you remain liable for the full unpaid amount of the mortgage whatever the bank can recover from selling the property.

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