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I was born in Southern California, but grew up in the Spanish capital of Madrid from the age of seven. During my time in Spain and traveling back and forth to America, I have seen interest in the country increase and travel itineraries improve.
American and Northern European tourists and expats love the weather, the proximity to everything they need, and the lack of traffic and congestion. Marbella offers true quality of life, including amazing food, a laid back attitude, and amazing sports and leisure options that I think are hard to beat. People really know how to live and enjoy life in southern Spain.
Since I moved to Marbella in 2002, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of American vacationers and people who love it so much they choose to make it their permanent home. Although I wouldn’t say the American expat population on the Costa del Sol is large, it is becoming more and more visible.
Marbella appeared on Americans’ radar during Michelle Obama’s visit in 2010 and since then has become well known and popular with wealthy Americans wishing to travel to Europe. In my 20 years as a real estate agent in Marbella, I have noticed that in recent years upper class Americans have scouted the hotels and resorts of the Costa del Sol and discovered the gastronomy, the incredible lifestyle and climate it can offer.
Why I love living on the Costa del Sol
I have two teenagers studying locally and have to say I can’t think of a safer place in the world to raise children. There are lots of activities for kids to choose from, at all ages, and the culture is very family friendly, which really suits us.
Personally, I love golf and sports of all kinds and so this area is a paradise for me. There are over 70 golf courses on the Costa del Sol alone and one of my favorite activities when I’m not working is playing a round with my son and friends. I am also an avid cyclist, a sport which is very important here thanks to the pleasant year-round climate, beautiful countryside and great roads, and I really enjoy discovering new routes and exploring the region by bike.
Our family also likes to discover the unknown corners of Andalusia, the small villages known as “pueblos blancos” (white towns). We try to discover at least one every year and know we are very lucky to have so many amazing places on our doorstep.
For example, you can be in the historic city of Granada and visit the Alhambra in less than two hours, then go skiing in the nearby ski resort. Seville, Jerez and Ronda are easily accessible by car from the Costa del Sol and are full of history, culture and Andalusian charm. I really feel very lucky to call this place home.
What are the steps to follow if you are thinking of buying a property in Spain
If you think this might be the right place for you, or if you are helping a client who is considering moving overseas, the first step is to do your research. There are many forums and Facebook groups where expats from all over the world ask questions and learn about the practicalities of settling and living on the Costa del Sol.
There are also online resources, such as our Costa del Sol Region Guide Videos on YouTube and many companies have written articles specifically for Americans moving to Spain, to help you figure it all out.
The next step I would recommend is that you come here for a vacation. Make it an extended trip and try to explore and get a feel for lots of different places, as the variety in fairly small areas is amazing.
Take the time to travel, get to know the people, the regions, and the different aspects of culture and way of life that different regions have to offer. Spain is a country that can offer something for everyone.
From the northwestern part of Galicia to the northeastern part of Catalonia to the capital of Spain, Madrid, then to Andalusia without forgetting the east coast, the regions of Levante and Valencia — tThey are all totally different and many regions even have their own languages and identities and, of course, traditional foods.
The beautiful Spanish coastline is something really special, with around 8,000 kilometers of beaches. Then you also have the Balearic Islands as well as the Canary Islands, which are paradises on their own.
As you can see, the diversity is amazing, so if you’ve never been to Spain before, a holiday visiting the expat hotspots is definitely recommended.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a key area, contact a local real estate company and discuss your needs, preferences, concerns, and areas you really like. Then, upon arrival, the agent will show you areas they think will fit your initial “wish list” and may also offer suggestions for getting out of your initial area.
Talking to an expat who has relocated and understands your needs, and who speaks your language, certainly helps smooth out any bumps in the road.
As always when traveling to a foreign country, you need to be open-minded and accept the change in culture and differences. It’s sometimes called ‘culture shock’, but I don’t think it should be if you come with an open mind. It is also very important to speak with people who have already lived here for several years and who speak your language.
There are many expat clubs and societies where you can meet new people, learn new skills and have fun. These are open to visitors, so drop by one while you’re here and hear different perspectives and opinions, and start making friends.
You should also seek legal advice on visas and immigration requirements, as well as the legal process for buying property in Spain. There are many options available to you including the Tourist Visa, Retirement Visa, Work Visa, Self-Employment Visa and the Golden Visa which is available to those investing at least €500,000 in Spain.
Many of our clients take advantage of the very favorable conditions of The Golden Visa, as this investment includes the purchase of a property. However, this investment cannot be made via a mortgage, so you will have to pay €500,000 without taking out a mortgage to do so.
The good news is that property prices and the cost of living in southern Spain are considerably lower than in the US, so you should be pleasantly surprised at how much your budget has stretched. will extend. By using a forex broker, you can also save money when you transfer your funds into euros, so it’s another way to maximize your buying power when you come to buy.
Work as an agent abroad
Being a real estate agent abroad is really a great pleasure, and at the same time, a lot of responsibility on a daily basis. With the ever-changing market, we are responsible for being on top with every move.
For example, we constantly monitor what has sold recently; what has just arrived on the market; who lives in each neighborhood; why a certain ad sells quickly, while others take longer to sell; which businesses have opened or closed in certain areas, etc.
In addition, since all buyers do their “homework” by surfing the web before moving to the Costa del Sol, we must be constantly ahead of them so that any questions they may have do not catch us. guardian.”
With the competition we have, if we’re not ahead of the game, our clients will pick it up and likely move on to another agent who is.
Paul Brazell Acosta is a Spanish real estate expert, originally from America but raised in Spain. He currently lives in Marbella on the Spanish Costa del Sol, with his wife and two teenagers and is Director of Estate Agents at Cloud Nine Spain.