Area Information

Why Southern Spain is a Great Place to Live

Southern Spain boasts a number of hugely popular coastal areas on the Costa Almeria, Costa Tropical, Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz. These areas enjoy more than three hundred sunny days a year. The average annual temperatures are over 16°C (61°F). Andalusia is home to the cultural phenomena of flamenco, bullfighting and wonderful food.

Although the coastal areas of Southern Spain are probably the most popular, there are many not so known areas, located a short distance from this famous coastline that offers houses for sale at much more affordable prices. This area offers sun worshippers a wide variety from apartments to penthouses, rustic country houses to luxury villas, modern townhouses and exquisite cave houses for every taste and budget

The province of Almeria is becoming more and more popular due to its rugged landscape, stunning natural beauty and more affordable coastal and inland property. The most popular towns and villages include, Mojacar Playa, Vera Playa, Los Gallardos, Arboleas and Albox.

It has become a very sought after area due to its comprehensive infrastructure of leisure facilities, fast rail link to the rest of Spain, 11 golf courses that appeal to all levels of golfers. For families with children, there are many attractions including Hollywood theme parks, water parks, activity excursions, public parks and wonderful beaches. 

Costa Almeria boasts 200 kilometres of relatively unspoilt, natural coastline. Its crystal clear waters and numerous nature reserves make this area extremely popular with water enthusiasts and scuba divers. The towns and villages that line this coast line are a mixture of well known tourist destinations and more exclusive hideaways.

It’s naturally dry and often barren landscape has made it home to many a spaghetti western. Almeria claims to be home to the most hours of sunshine and the lowest amount of rainfall in Europe.

The South Coast of Spain is home to five international airports: Malaga, Almeria, Alicante, Murcia and Gibraltar, each offering regular flights to all countries in Europe and the rest of the world.

If you are thinking of relocating to the south of Spain we can help with in every aspect of your relocation needs. From the initial introduction to the area, the property purchase, full after sale support and introduction to the local community. Check out our services to find out more about what we can do for you.

Explore Cities

There is a wide variety of locations within the Spanish Costa de Almeria. From Mojacar to Vera Playa, Garrucha and Los Gallordos to name a few. Click here for all the locations.

More Information

Indalo is human figure which served as a lucky talisman, and which conferred health and love to the owner of the figure.

Its origin goes back to prehistoric time, as Indalos have found at the cave “Cueva de los Letreros” on the hill of Maimun, Velez Blanco. The figure has the shape of a little man holding an arch. If we take into account that the paintings in that cave are all from Neolithic times, we should agree that the Indalo is also from prehistoric times. The primitive residence of the province adopted the indalo, so that as time passed, it become the symbol of this Area.

During those ancient times, the fisherman in the province used to have the symbol on their houses facades before going into the sea, in order to be protected against storms and to get plenty of fish. A theory about its origin, which is supported by some archaeologists, is that it was a prehistoric “Iberian” leader, and that he used to hold the rainbow between his open arms presumably this was the symbol on the union between man and the natural elements.

Why Buy in Spain?

Spain has a great variety of landscapes, from mountains and lakes in the north to sandy beaches, olive groves and vineyards in the south. The drive from Burgos in the north-west to Malaga in the south-east takes you through so many different panoramas; you could be forgiven for thinking you are driving through several different countries.

For years the south-eastern Mediterranean coast has been one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations and is the place of choice for most British second homes. However, in recent years the north-west (Galicia) with its craggy shores on the Atlantic is attracting a large amount of attention amongst buyers looking for more rural retreats away from the tourist hubs of the Costas – at more sensible prices.

Spain has many charming and captivating religious festivals, pilgrimages, carnivals and fairs such as ‘El dia de los muertos’ and the running of the bulls. You will find yourself a part of these festivals as you are carried along by the warmth and enthusiasm of the cheering crowds – sometimes literally!

Only in the last two or three decades, and since Spain’s entry into the European Union, have things really begun to move ahead and to modernise. For those who live in the countryside however, life remains quite traditional and unchanged, blissfully so to visitors who look back to a more intimate and unspoilt village life that is long past in most countries.

People are also attracted by the relaxed and slower way of life in Spain and the culinary delights like paella and tortillas are legendary… and affordable. Overall, there are loads of reasons that Spain is the number one destination for Britons buying abroad.

Getting Started – is it possible for you to buy in Spain?

Buying a property and living in Spain is straightforward if you are a national from another EEC (European Economic Community) country. If however, your nationality falls outside the Euro zone you may be able to buy a property but there might be time restrictions as to how long you can stay in the country. Furthermore, there are certain guidelines as to work permits for non EEC nationals. You can find out information pertinent to you by accessing the Spanish Embassy website or through a variety of internet websites. There are also specialist emigration organisations that will often do a free consultation letting you know your options.

Finance – how much does it cost to buy a property in Spain?

In Spain purchase costs could be 10%+ over and above the purchase price and when considering the dramatic changes in currency exchange rates, this percentage could climb much higher. So, if your property price is £100,000 it could cost £110,000 (or more) by the time you complete and take possession of the property. It’s important from the start that you clearly understand how much a property will cost you as this will determine what price range you can look at.

While researching the Internet, attending property trade shows and emailing estate agents, start to investigate what is included in the property price versus what gets added on. In Spain the purchase price includes the estate agency fee (usually 5%, but nowadays maybe 3%). For all property and land, 8% of the purchase price is paid as a transfer tax that goes to the Spanish Treasury. In addition, there are notary fees and a land/property registration fee, which varies according to the purchase price of the property. Also consider solicitors and mortgage fees. Solicitors usually charge 1% of the purchase price + VAT at 18%.

Legalities – should you use a lawyer in Spain?

Based on news stories about property buyers in Spain having their property demolished, I think it’s safe to say that buyers now realise that it’s not only imperative to get a solicitor, but it’s absolutely necessary to get a good solicitor.

Stating that, I suggest that you contact a solicitor before setting off to view properties in Spain otherwise if you do decide to buy you will be rushed for time and may be pushed into using a solicitor who may not act in your best interests. In the UK there are many legal firms that specialise in Spanish Law and house purchase. They can act as an intermediary between you and a local solicitor.

Another vital factor is that you need to find a solicitor who is independent from the estate agent, developer or company showing you the properties, so that you know the solicitor is working for you and not the property professional. Some solicitors may draw up a contract of sale which is in favour of the estate agent (or end seller), and the reason behind this is quite disingenuous. By safeguarding the agent the solicitors will be assured of retaining their valuable business. Compare your one transaction to the many the solicitor stands to gain from the agent or developer and you will understand the clear conflict of interest here.

Make sure that you have done your homework and that you are using a reliable and trustworthy solicitor. This may include asking for personal referrals – and these must not include your developer or agent – or using specialised Spanish websites. If the solicitor does not fully comprehend English or you have any reservations at all – move on and find someone else. You may find an English speaking solicitor in Spain is neither English nor Spanish, they might be German or Dutch for example, but they will be competent to deal with your purchase. Solicitors must be registered to practise in Spain and are usually found in the popular coastal areas or larger towns.

Your solicitor will review the sale agreement, verify titles, and carry out other checks to ensure that you’re protected. They, or a notary, may be responsible for paying any taxes and registering the property with the land registry if this is required. Charges vary for legal and notary services but can cost around 1% to 2% of the sale value of the property. In Spain the cost is determined by the government.

You need to bear in mind that the legal system in Spain may not work in your favour if trouble strikes, so it is of paramount importance that you hire qualified people who can ensure that you do not have to take legal action. Don’t put yourself in the position of needing legal redress. You may have the law on your side but the legal system abroad can keep you tied up for years and cost a fortune. Make sure you – and your solicitor – get it right from the start and the purchase will move forward easily, most purchases in Spain do, you only hear about those that don’t.


  • Abogado – Lawyer
  • Act de notoriedad – Legal act or document
  • Acta notarial – Notary’s certificate (debts)
  • Actos jurídicos documentados – Title registry
  • Agrupación de Fincas – Group of country properties
  • Aseroria – Accountant
  • Alta catastral – Land registry inscription
  • API (Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria – Official estate agent
  • Arrendamiento de obra – Building contract
  • Asiento de presentación – Provisional property inscription at the land registry


  • Banco – Bank
  • Cuenta de Banco – Bank account
  • Tarjeta de Banco – Bank card
  • Boletin de enganche – Supply report. It contains information on how much power and water a property is allowed.


  • Cargas – Land charges registered against the property
  • Cancelacion – Cancellation
  • Cédula de habitabilidad – Habitation certificate
  • Certificado registral – Certificate showing debts attached to a property
  • Certificación – Certification
  • Certificado final de obra – Building completion certificate
  • Código civil – Civil Rights
  • Comisión de urbanismo – Building/Planning commission
  • Comunidad de propietarios – Community of owners
  • Condición resolutoria – Condition to concel a contract
  • Contrato de opción – Optional contract, with the right to buy a property, mostly by paying 10% deposit
  • Contracto privado de compraventa – Private purchase contract
  • Copropietarios – Co-owner , when several persons own a property together
  • Cuerpo cierto – Non variable condition. A condition that cannot be changed
  • Cuota – Instalment, changes


  • Declaración de obra nueva – New build certificate
  • Demarcación de Costas – Coastal
  • Derecho de retención – Deposit that you pay to the internal revenue office if you are not resident in Spain
  • Deracho de superficie – Land management rights
  • Deracho de tanteo/retracto – Purchasing Rights enables you to reserve an object to them later buy it or not
  • Deposito – Deposit


  • Edificabildad Máxima – Construction limits
  • Embargo – Repossessions
  • Escritura – Deeds
  • Escritura publico de compraventa – Public sales deeds


  • Finca – Country property
  • Finca registrada – Registered country property


  • Gestoria – Specialists used to obtain official authorisations, permits & licences


  • Hacienda publica – Internal Revenue
  • Hipoteca – Mortgage


  • IBI (Impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles) – Real Estate Tax (Rates)
  • Impuesto de actos jurídicos documentados – Documented legal acts tax, that is to be paid to lawyers
  • Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales – Property Transfer Tax currently 8% levied at all re-sale property
  • Impuesto sobre el incremento del valor de los terrenos – Tax on increase of land value
  • Impuesto sobre el patrimonio – Wealth tax
  • Impuesto sobre sucesiones y donaciones – Succession and gift tax
  • Impuesto municipales – Local tax
  • Información urbanística cédula – Urban planning department
  • Institución de heredero – Appoint an inheritor
  • IRPF – Income tax
  • IVA – Value added tax (VAT) currently 10% levied at new property not yet registed


  • Ley de arrendamientos urbanos – Local rental laws / Tenancies Act
  • Ley de la propiedad horizontal – Horizontal property tax
  • Ley del suelo – Floor area regulations
  • Libre de cargas – Debt free
  • Licencia de obras – Building Licence (building permission)
  • Licencia de primera ocupación – First occupation licence


  • NIE (número personal de identificación de Extranjeros – Foreigners personal identification Number
  • NIF (número de identificación fiscal – Fiscal identity Number
  • Nota simple – Information document on a property and its owner
  • Nota simple informativa – Land registry certifícate – local searches
  • Notario – Official authorised to certify contracts


  • Obligación personal – Obligation to pay tax as a resident
  • Obra nueva – New build
  • Oferta vinculante – Bank document specifying mortgage conditions
  • Ocupación Máxima – Maximum occupancy


  • Parcela – Plot
  • Permiso de obra menor – Minor builing permission
  • Plan parcial – Urbanisation plan
  • Pago en efectivo – Cash payment
  • Planta – Floor or level
  • Plusvalia – Municipal tax for increase value on land a property sits on
  • Poder – Authorisation / Power of Attorney
  • Prestamo / con techo – Loan / with variable interest rates minimuma & maximums
  • Posesión – Possession
  • Prestamo hipotecario – Mortgage loan
  • Precio de venta – Sales price
  • Procurador – Barrister
  • Promotor – Promoter
  • Propiedad – Property
  • Propietario – Owner


  • Recepción definitiva – Construction completion
  • Registro de la propiedad – Land register
  • Representante fiscal – Foreigners official tax representative
  • Residencia – Residency permit – required for foreigners livig in Spain for more than 180 days per year


  • Representante fiscal – Fiscal representative
  • S.A. (Sociedad Anónima) – Association / Incorporation
  • Saneamiento – Reconstruction
  • Seguro multirriesgo hogar – Home insurance
  • Seguro de amortizacion de prestamos – Loan repayments insurance
  • Segregación de fincas – Country property positioning
  • Señal – Deposit or down payment
  • Separación a linderos – Distance between plots
  • Servidumbre de tránsito – Accessibility
  • Solar – Building Plot
  • Subasta – Auction
  • Suelo no urbanizable – Non buildable floor
  • Suelo Rústico – Non permanente floor
  • Suelo urbanizable – Building land or plot
  • Suelo urbano – Urban area


  • Tarjeta de residencia – Residence card
  • Tasa de cambio – Exchange rate
  • Tasa – Fee
  • Titulo de propiedad – Title deeds stating the ownership of a property – date of sale etc
  • Tipo de interes – Rate of interest
  • Toma de posesión – Taking possesion
  • Tasadores – Assessor required by the bank before granting a mortgage
  • Tasación – Independent valuaton of a property
  • Traspaco – Transfer


  • Urbanización privada – Private Urbanisation
  • Uso de oficinas – Office use
  • Usucapión – When you get a plot for a time period awarded by the courts
  • Usufructo – Rights of use
  • UTM – Plot number at the land register


  • Valor catastral – Land registry value for tax purposes
  • Valor comprobado por la administración – Amount checked ny Internal Revenue
  • Valor real – Real estate value


  • Zona de servidumbre de protección – Accessibility protected area


  • British · Alicante. 965 216 022. More info
  • British · Malaga. 952 352 300. More info
  • Irish · Malaga. 952 475 108. More info

British Embassy

  • Madrid. 913 190 200. More info
  • Passports. 807 429 026. More info

In Case of Emergency

  • Emergencies (Police, Fire Brigade, & Civil Protection). 122
  • Guardia Civil. 062
  • Local Police. 092
  • National Police. 091
  • Fire. 080
  • Ambulance. 061
  • Coast Guard. 900 202 202

Local Police

  • Albox. 950 121 080
  • Carbonares. 950 136 136
  • Cuevas del Almonzora. 950 456 489
  • Garrucha. 950 460 012
  • Mojacar. 950 472 000
  • Vera. 950 390 010


  • Huercal-Overa La Inmaculada. 950 029 000
  • Almeria, Torrecardenas. 950 016 000
  • Almeria, Virgen del Mar. 950 217 240


  • Sevillana Endesa. 902 509 509
  • Sevillana Endesa – Breakdown. 902 516 516


  • Galasa. 950 391 200
  • Gestagua (Albox) 950 120 649


  • Repsol (Leaks) 901 121 212

Calle Rosario 1
04800 Albox
Phone: 950 120 908

Plaza de España 1
04628 Antas
Phone: 950 619 015

Plaza de España 1
04660 Arboleas
Phone: 950 449 430

Plaza de la Constitución 1
04288 Bedar
Phone: 950 469 277

Plaza de la Constitución 1
04610 Cuevas Del Almanzora
Phone: 950 456 488

Plaza Malecón 1
04630 Garrucha
Phone: 950 460 058

Avda/ Guillermo Reina 7
04600 Huercal Overa
Phone: 950 134 900

Calle Major 65
04280 Los Gallardos
Phone: 950 469 000

Plaza de la Constitución 1
04271 Lubrin
Phone: 950 477 001

Plaza del Ayuntamiento 1
04638 Mojácar
Phone: 950 615 009

Plaza Constitución 1
04003 San Juan
Phone: 950 210 000

Plaza de la Constitución 1
04270 Sorbas
Phone: 950 364 701

Paseo de la Rambla 44
04639 Turre
Phone: 950 479 011

Plaza Mayor 1
04620 Vera
Phone: 950 393 016

Calle Mesón s/n
04650 Zurgena
Phone: 950 449 006

Spain Approves Immigration Residency Visa for 500,000€ Property Investment.

Investors spending a minimum 500,000€ on residential real estate or a portfolio of properties making up this limit will gain a residence visa often referred to as the “Spanish Golden Visa” or “Spanish Entrepreneur Visa”.

The visa is one of the most affordable and flexible in Europe. There is no minimum stay requirement in Spain and the visa can be renewed up to five years. Holders of the Spanish golden visa are free to travel throughout the Schengen visa countries in Europe.

After five years those who have invested in Spanish property (and immediate family members) may apply for permanent residency although that will require a minimum residence period of 183 days. Citizenship and a Spanish passport can be applied for after a period of permanent residence in Spain. This then grants the right to live and work anywhere in Europe as a European citizen.

The key points of the Spanish residency visa are:

  • Minimum investment of 500,000 Euros
  • Investment cannot be mortgage funded
  • Spouse and dependent children included in the visa
  • No minimum stay period
  • Renewable up to five years
  • Travel throughout the EU Schengen visa zone

Schengen Agreement. Is an intergovernmental agreement on the relaxation of border controls between participating European countries, first signed in Schengen, Luxembourg, in June 1985 by France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. A revised version of the agreement was incorporated into the European Union in 1999 and widened to include non-EU members of a similar Nordic union.

Applicants must be able to prove source of funds, have no criminal record and must never have been refused entry previously to a European country. They will also need to demonstrate private medical insurance and sufficient funds to support living in Spain. However as there is no minimum stay requirement, actual residence is not necessary.

Property investors will be able to own and run a business in Spain but are not free to work until permanent residency is granted.

The usufruct is the right of enjoyment, enabling a holder to derive profit or benefit from a property that either is titled to another person or which is held in common ownership, with the obligation to keep it and care for it as if it was their own. You can sell the “bare property” and keep the usufruct for yourself, and therefore the full property would only go to the purchaser once you die.

The value of this life-long usufruct is 70% of the house value when you are under 20 years old and looses 1% of the house value per year from the time you reach 20 years of age, with a minimum value of 10% of the price of the property. The best way to calculate the value of the usufruct is as follows:

Usufruct = 89 – your age (maximum value of the life-long usufruct is 70% and the minimum value is 10%)

Example 1:
Value of a life-long usufruct with a beneficial owner (usufructuary) of 32 on a property valued at €150,000

U = 89-32 = 57%

€150,000 x 57% = €85,500

Example 2:
Value of a life-long usufruct with a beneficial owner (usufructuary) of 82 on a property valued at €150,000 

U = 89-82 = 7%

€150,000 x 10% (minimum limit of the usufruct value) = €15,000

Example 3:
Value of a life-long usufruct with a beneficial owner (usufructuary) of 18 years on a property valued at €150,000

U = 89-18 = 71%

€150,000 x 70% (maximum limit of the usufruct value) = €105,000

Example 4:
If two people hold the usufruct on a property, the value will be calculated on the age of the youngest. In this example with a married couple of 70 and 73 who give their children the property valued at €150,000 and keeping the life-long usufruct until the last survivor.

U = 89 – 70 (age of the youngest spouse) = 19%

€150,000 x 19% = €28,500

Bare Ownership (Nuda Propiedad)
The value of the bare ownership (ownership of the property without the usufruct) will be the difference between the total value of the property and the value of the usufruct. FO (full ownership) = BO (bare ownership) + U (usufruct). BO (bare ownership) = FO (full ownership) – U (usufruct).

Example 1:
BO = €150,000 – €85,500 = €64,500

Example 2:
BO = €150,000 – €15,000 = €135,000

Example 3:
BO = €150,000 – €105,000 = €45,000

Example 4:
BO = €150,000 – €28,500 = €121,500

What is the Hague Conference on Private and International Law?

The Hague Conference is a global organisation created to bring together the different legal systems that exist in each member country with a view to simplifying legal activities which involve the jurisdiction of two or more countries.

The conference held its first meeting in 1893 and it became a permanent inter-governmental organisation in 1955, upon entry into force of its Statute.

Legal Activities can be personal and family or commercial in nature. Member states adopt special rules known as “private international law” rules.

The Hague Conference is often referred to in its French translation which is “La Conférence de La Haye de droit international privé” or abbreviated to “La Conférence de La Haye” or “HCCH.”

What are Hague Conventions?

When members of The Hague Conference meet they come together to negotiate and agree on rules being put in place that ensure all members act in a certain way when dealing with a specific issue. This agreement is called a Convention and all members that adopt a convention agree to follow the rules and requirements of that specific Convention. Thus making legal activities in that particular area more standardised from one member country to another.

Not all members of the Hague Conference automatically adopt every Convention.

Conventions are regularly reviewed to ensure they are still achieving what was intended.

Who are the members of the Hague Conference?

As at October 2014 there were 77 members of the Hague Conference most of which are listed on the following page – Countries which recognise an Apostille Certificate – The countries listed on this page are only those that have specifically adopted the Convention relating to Legalisation of documents by Apostille so some member countries are missing.

Which Convention created a need for Apostille Certificates? Convention 12 entered into force in January 1965, the full title of the Convention is – Convention abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents.

The purpose of this convention is to remove the need for diplomatic or consular legalisation of foreign public documents. In place of the then complex and drawn out legalisation process was to be a simple certificate issued to a specific format. This certificate being the Apostille Certificate which once attached to a document would remove the need for any further authentication or legalisation of the document when presented in another member country.

How does this affect document legalisation for non member countries?

The Apostille process has improved document legalisation for many non-member countries as they will often accept a foreign document once it has been issued with an Apostille Certificate and then legalised at the Consular section of their own embassy in the foreign document’s country of origin.

This is not always the case, please visit this website for advice.

How do I get an Apostille Certificate for my documents?

Although the Apostille Certificate has greatly simplified the legalisation process the actual procedure of obtaining an Apostille does vary from one document to another. Please visit the following page for further guidance on obtaining an Apostille Certificate – Apostille Service.

What is an Apostille Certificate?

An Apostille Certificate is an official certificate issued to documents so they will be recognised in member states without further Legalisation.

Typically the Apostille Certificate is issued by the state from which the document originates although in some cases another state can issue the Apostille. Once a document has had an Apostille Certificate attached to it confirming the authenticity of signatures and seals it can be presented to any country which recognises the Apostille. The authority receiving the document should then accept the seals or signatures as true and valid without requesting further evidence or proof.

Apostille Certificates issued in the UK will be accepted in the following countries without further legalisation – Apostille Countries. Even countries not listed may still accept the Apostille but in some cases will require further legalisation as detailed on the following page – Embassy Legalisation.

The Apostille Certificate follows a prescribed format and must include the following information:

  1. Country of issue
  2. Who has signed the document
  3. The capacity in which the person signed the document
  4. Details of any seal on the document
  5. Place of issue
  6. Date of issue
  7. Issuing authority
  8. Apostille Certificate number
  9. Stamp of issuing authority
  10. Signature of representative of issuing authority

Anyone who either owns or is planning to buy property in Spain needs to know about the Catastral value of the property (or Cadastre to use the French term). Unlike the Land Registry, which records legal ownership and with which it is often confused, the Catastral is not a legal record of ownership, but is an estimate of the capital value of the property, which is used as a base figure for a number of property taxes. The easiest way to find the Catastral Value of a property is to check the amount listed on the IBI (local property tax) invoice or to visit the Catastral office in the town hall. However, note that the value should only be given to someone who can show a registered interest in the ownership of the property or their representative, which can make comparison with your neighbour’s difficult.

The value is drawn up by independent government employees using strict and complex valuation guidelines to ensure consistency. Initially, they depend upon a description of the property and its use, which is obtained by observation, licence applications and increasingly, studies of aerial photos. As the Catastral description lists the best estimates of the site’s registered boundaries, obtained from historical records, title deeds, agricultural plotsa, planning applications and any other source where change has been detected, it can be one of the more reliable sources of information and help to settle boundary disputes and the like. However, it is by no means infallible as it will not catch all extensions and changes, ranging from integral garages to bedrooms, structural problems, and the many other alterations that can be made to a property and that affect its value.

The gross external floor area is used, (Construido-Built) with allowance for open-sided covered areas being calculated at 50% and areas under 1.5m high being ignored. This can differ substantially from the “Util-Usable” or net internal floor area, which is an internal measurement, used in construction and excludes external walls and certain other items.

Since the details used in the “Nota Simple” and the Catastral are obtained in different ways, it is not unusual for variations between these property descriptions to occur. The most frequent problem found here is that the Land Registry is compiled at the point of construction and it is a legal nicety that the sizes recorded are given by ‘declaration’ and are not guaranteed or checked by the Registrar or Notary or other independent body. Also, changes to the property thereafter are often not noted, which can also affect the Catastral records where there can also be discrepancies due to human error or failure to update information.

After the size and nature of the property are determined, a rate per square metre is applied to it. This rate is an estimate of the sale value of the property, calculated from actual registered sales and other property information. Naturally, this information has to be reviewed every few years in order to keep the comparative values of neighbouring properties relatively accurate. This is done on a municipality by municipality basis, so that all neighbouring properties are valued in a similar way. Unfortunately, this can mean that values of a few years ago can become the basis for a Catastral value that may not bear any real relationship to the current value of the land and property.

However, the main concern should not be the individual Catastral value, but its relationship to those of its neighbours. This is where consistency is essential so that everybody is treated in the same way. Equally, the level of value is really of little importance as it is the multiplier that is applied, by politicians and tax authorities, that decides how much actual monetary value it has. The Catastral value is used for calculating capital gain on a property when it is sold and also for the amount of IBI or local property tax that an owner has to pay each year.

It is possible to appeal the Catastral value of a property, but only at the time of revaluation. The timescale is short and the methodology is complex, so that unless there are gross errors it can often just add more expense without an effective result.

When purchasing a property it is important to have sight of both the Land Registry and the Catastral records to ensure that any errors are noted and corrected. If this is not done, it can be that the buyer will be responsible for obtaining licenses and/or paying fines for unauthorised works or even for changing the property back to its former legal state. Differences in these records to the actual building are often a means of identifying potential problems of ownership and/or legality. With this knowledge the potential buyer can then instruct his or her lawyer to ensure that corrections are made prior to purchase and at the cost of the seller.

It’s hard to believe, but there is skiing in southern Spain, The natural park of the Sierra Nevada and its mountains expend over the provinces of Granada and Almeria and skiing resort itself is purpose built just for skiing. The resort itself comprises of hotels, and apartments at the base of the first series of lifts.

The resort is not traditionally Spanish nor does appear to resemble an Alpine resort. It is what it is and if you are looking for skiing in southern Spain this is the place. The feel of the place is friendly and welcoming with good food, bars, quaint shops and elegant hotels climbing the mountain side.

It’s Europe’s most southern ski resort, where the ski season generally runs from November to April. If unfortunately on your visit it does not snow (don’t panic) Sierra Nevada has one Europe’s most advanced snowmaking machines for this very reason. On a clear day you can see the peaks from the coast of Africa, and vice versa while you are skiing down the mountains.

Sierra Nevada is also very popular with climbers and hikers. Several mountain specialized companies offer guided tours through the natural park and up to the peaks of the beautiful mountains. Apart from skiers and snowboardersat the resort, the park and mountains are popular with hikers, climbers and birdwatchers

Almeria offers ten challenging golf courses, nine of them are 18 hole, and one 9 hole. Some of these golf course are inspired by the famous golf courses in Arazona and California, which are Desert Springs and Valle del Este. Almeria is split into two main golfing areas Close to Almeria City, Almeria International airport and the tourist resorts of Aguadulce, you will find 4 golf courses, La Envia, Playa Serena Golf, Alboran Golf and Almerimar.

North of Almeria City and close to the tourist resort of Mojacar, you will find 5 golf courses; Marina de la Torre, Playa Macenas, El Cortijo Grande, Desert Springs and Valle del Este Resort. A little further north at the beautiful tourist resort of San Juan de los Terreros you will find Aguilon Golf.

Almerimar Campo de Golf is located in Almerimar, El Ejido, Almeria. This golf course offers excellent sports facilities as well as apartment and hotels. Address: Avda. Julián Laguna, 1 Urb. Almerimar • 04711 Almería. Tel: (+34) 950 49 70 07 • Fax: (+34) 950 49 71 46

Alboran is located in the city of Almeria, with 66 strategically situated bunkers. Address: C/ de los Juegos de Barcelona s/n Urbanización El Toyo, 04131 El Retamar, ALMERÍA. Tel / Fax: (+34) 950 20 85 83

La Envia Golf in Vicar is located in an authentic scenic lookout to the sea in the midst of the Sierra de Vicar, with ita 18 holes curving through the valley with mountains to the East and West protecting it from the wind, creating optimum conditions for this sport. Tel: +34 950 55 96 56 – Fax: +34 950 55 96 42 More info

Playa Serena Club de Golf in Roquetas de Mar and rated as the flattest golf course in all of Spain. Its holes are easy to play with the main difficulty being the long holes and the design of greens. Address: Urb. Playa Serena, 04740 Roquetas de Mar, Almeria. Tel: (+34) 950 333 055 Fax: (+34) 950 333 055 More info

Desert Springs in Cueves del Almanzora. The first European golf course with an Arozona-desert style which offers a real challenge to any golfer. All in a very particular landscape of huge cactus, rocks and dry river beds. Address: C/ Baria, S/N 04616 Cuevas Del Almanzora, España Tel: (+34) 950 467 104 More info

Marina Golf in Mojacar is modern with 18 holes, par 71 plus par of pitch and putt with a singular and unique driver swing on the 4th hole. Address: Club Marina Golf Mojacar, Avda. del Mar 4, Marina de la Torre, Mojacar, 04368, Almeria. Telephone: (+34) 950 133 235 More info

CURRENTLY CLOSED | Cortijo Grande in Turre Address: Urbanización del Cortijo Grande, S/N, 04639 Turre, España Tel: (+34) 950 479 176

Valle del Este Golf Resort in Vera is an 18 hole golf course located in a high luxury complex with swimming pools, gym, restaurants, bars and sport fields. Address: Valle del Este, 04620, Vera, Almeria. Tel: (+34) 950 548 600

CURRENTLY CLOSED | Macenas Beach Golf Resort in Majacar The Playa Macenas Beach & Golf Resort. Address: Carretera Mojacar- Carboneras Km 15, Paraje Cortijo Blanco s/n 04638 – Mojacar, Almería, Spain. Tel: (+34) 950 548 240

Aguilon Golf in San Juan de los Terreros is a 18 hole course. Address: Urbanización Mundo Aguilon, s/n, 04648 Pilar de Jaravía, Pulpí, Almería, Spain. Tel: (+34) 950 109 518

Not many people know this outside of Almeria. but this province has been a favoured location for many Hollywood films most famously The Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns such as “The Good the Bad and the Ugly”, “Fist Full of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More”.

Sergio Leone discovered the area during the 60’s. Since then, this area is practically synonym for movies all over the world. It would be hard to find anyone who hasn’t seen and admired these settings in one film or another. Texas Hollywood is still the chosen spot for many filmmakers to film, TV, commercials, videos and much much more. Even if you’ve been to Arizona or Texas, you’ll barely be able to tell the difference. And you can find it all here, in Europe

The Film industry has been present here for many years now and a cottage industry of Theme Parks and Film location excursions have grown up around the films filmed here. For example; Theme Parks such as the Oasis formally know as Mini Hollywood wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for the likes of Sergio Leone choosing Almeria for its resemblance of Texas to do his filming.

It’s fair to say, If Clint Eastwood (a struggling TV star of Rawhide fame at the time) wouldn’t have become the international film star (that he later became) if he hadn’t’t chosen to come to Almeria to star in The Sergio Leone Spaghetti western films which were hugely received by critics and film fans alike on their release in the United States. The films today still retain a very strong cult following and are in my all time top ten of favourite movies.

Other films have also used the wonderful backdrop of the desert scenery such as “Cleopatra”, “Laurence of Arabia”, “Patton”, Never Say Never Again (James Bond), “Empire of the Sun” and more recently “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Arnold Schwarzenegger I believe also filmed “Conan the Barbarian” here.

The climate is the driest and the warmest in mainland Spain and the inland scenery can be quite spectacular when you first visit this rugged and beautiful part of inland Spain.

More films, or part of films that have been film here:

Shalako, Once upon a time in the west, the return to treasure island, king of kings, How I won the war, Doctor Zhivago, The Magnificent seven, Fort Bravo, El Cid, Cleopatra, Tubruk, 2001 a space odyssey, The valley of Gwangi, Zorro, The four feathers, Valentino, Mad Max III and Sexy Beast to mention but a few

What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), also known as an Energy Efficiency Certificate (EEC) or as they are properly called in Spanish, Certificado de Eficiencia Energética (CEE), are documents which will show how energy efficient your home is displayed as a rating from A to G. Much like the stickers you see on things such as fridge freezers, washing machines or air conditioning units, the energy Performance certificate in Spain gives the property a standard energy and carbon emission Performance grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’, where ‘A’ is the most efficient and ‘G’ is the least efficient.

Who Needs an Energy Performance Certificate in Spain?

After 1st June 2013 every domestic property for sale or long term rent needs to have an Energy Performance Certificate in Spain. This does not apply to properties that are currently rented out on a long term basis. These only require an Energy Performance Certificate when a new tenancy is agreed.

Are there any exceptions?

If you have a long term tenant in place you do not need an EPC in Spain. If your property was built after October 2007/8 you may find that you already have a Spanish EPC. To check this look on your plans to find the architect and contact them. Likewise if you only rent your property out on a short term basis such as holiday rentals you may not need an EPC in Spain. The Real Decreto states the following exception: Buildings or housing units in buildings used or intended to be used for either less than four months a year or for a limited time a year and with expected energy consumption of less than 25% of which would be of use throughout the year. So if a property (that has no certificate) has been rented for 4 months, it cannot be used again the same year.

Will I be able to rent or sell my house without an EPC in Spain?

No after 1st June 2013 you will be required by law to present your Energy Performance Certificate in Spain when your property is for sale or long term rent. When you sell your house the Notary will need the original EPC and when you rent your house in Spain the tenant will have to be given a copy of your Energy Performance Certificate in Spain.

When will this come into effect?

The law was formalized on the 5th April 2013 and will take effect on the 01 June 2013. You will be expected to comply as soon as possible after this date. This applies to properties currently offered for sale or new rentals and for properties new to the market. Whether your property is for sale or rent you will have to have a Spanish Energy Performance Certificate in place before your property can be advertised. This does not apply to current long term rentals. If you already have a long term tenant in your property then you do not need the EPC in Spain until you have a new tenancy.

Who can issue the Energy certificate in Spain?

Only certified and registered assessors are able to issue the Energy Performance Certificate in Spain. This includes architects, technical architects and some engineers.

Our Architect Antonio Martinez De La Casa who has authourity to issue the EPC in Spain.He is also Member of Madrid Architects Association(COAM),college Nº15158.

How can I get an EPC for my property?

You will need to contact a registered Architect/Assessor/Engineer who will be able to assist you in getting your Energy Performance Certificate in Spain. – please contact us.

Who has to pay for the energy certificate?

The owner of the property will have to pay for the Energy Certificate here in Spain.

What if I get a low rating on my EPC?

Along with your EPC in Spain, you will get a report giving advice about how to improve your properties energy rating. The report will recommend cost effective measures which could be undertaken to improve the energy rating of the property. It will also contain information about the rating that could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented.

Why have Energy Performance Certificates been introduced?

The EPC has its roots in the Kyoto Protocol which was a worldwide initiative started in 1997 to address the issue of Greenhouse gases. Since then the European Union have formulated the European Directive for the Energy Performance of Buildings, which applies to all member states with a clearly defined timetable of the measures we must introduce. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a certificate which demonstrates the energy rating of a building. It forms part of the ‘Energy Performance of Buildings Directive’ (EPBD).

How is the rating on my EPC in Spain worked out?

A Registered energy architect/engineer will visit your property and take measurements and recordings from things such as your air conditioning, your hot water system, type of windows fitted, type of insulation, type of construction etc. The readings taken will then be entered online into one of the Governments approved programmers which will generate the rating for your property giving its energy Performance and environmental impact. The programme used are the same for all properties so a potential buyer or tenant will be able see the projected energy costs for each property viewed. Your Energy Performance Certificate in Spain will be registered to the Catastro reference for your property.

Do I need an EPC if I only rent my property out for holiday lets?

Yes in general, you do still need an EPC in Spain even if you only rent your property out for holiday lets, although there are exceptions. Please see above, “Are there any exceptions?”

What if I rent my property out through an agent?

Either you or your agent will need to get a Spanish EPC for your property for long term rentals or sales. An agent will not be legally allowed to offer your property for long term rent or sale without a certificate.

Can I advertise my property without an Energy Certificate?

NO – as from 1st June 2013 you will need an EPC in Spain to be able to advertise your property for sale or rent.

How Long Does The EPC Last For in Spain?

The Energy Performance Certificate in Spain lasts for 10 years.

What if I make changes to my property in Spain?

You can have your property re-assessed at any time during the period your EPC in Spain is in date.

What if I have an existing tenant?

If you have an existing long term tenant you do not need an EPC in Spain. However when you issue a new tenancy agreement you need the EPC for the incoming tenant.

Can I get in Trouble If I do Not Get an EPC?

The government has said they will fine people that have a property for sale or rent that does not have an EPC. Fines of between 3,000€ and 600,000€ can be given to anybody who needs an EPC (CEE) who does not have one. This includes agents as well as private individuals.

The reasons for purchase

Before you to the step of physically coming to Spain, take the time to decide exactly what you’re looking for. This may sound obvious, but the reasons for your purchase will affect all the subsequent decisions that you have to make. Some clients buy property purely for investment; others want to relocate; some want a holiday home in the sun.

Example questions:

Will this be a holiday home for a few weeks a year, or will it be a main residence for spending all or part of the year?

A holiday home means you should think about property that is easily managed with good rental potential. Facilities nearby are essential in most cases for holiday lets.

A more permanent home requires greater thought should you plan to spend large parts of the year living there. You need to think about the infrastructure you would like to have around you, such as hospitals, schools, shopping, leisure activities, etc.

Is investment a primary or secondary concern?

Many people have bought Spanish property in recent years primarily as an investment, both in terms of rental income and capital gains. If you are buying as an investment then you have to focus on the type of property with the greatest potential in these terms. If you are buying primarily as property for living in and enjoying, then you will find you have a wider choice of properties.

What sized property do you actually need?

Be realistic about the size of property you need. Don’t buy a property on the assumption that extended family will always be staying, as you may end up with something too big for you. It is advised you focus on your own requirements.

Choose your location

If you’re looking for investment property for example, it’s important to choose a property of the type and location that will give you a maximum return. As a general rule, properties by the coast or on a golf course attract higher rental incomes. If you plan to make a permanent move you may be more interested in properties in residential areas.

Decide your budget

Decide how much you want to spend and remember there are always associated costs when buying property in Spain. As a general rule allow 10-12% on top of your purchase price to cover various taxes’ and legal fees. You can get a mortgage in the UK or in Spain and for the latter it is normal for banks to advance a loan of up to 70% of the valuation of the property for a term up to 35 years depending upon age and affordability.

Do your research

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to buy and where, spend some time on detailed research. Our web site offers plenty of local information on various areas around the Almeria region. We are also happy to answer any in depth questions regarding the area, schools, clubs etc that will help with your research.

Visit in person

Never buy any property without making a personal visit. We will help you arrange inspections at a time that is good for you. We will provide you with all the information you require and can help organise flights and accommodation at competitive prices.

Find a lawyer

Spanish property law is complicated so make sure you have a good local lawyer to look after you interests. Lawyers here will usually charge you 1200€ – 1500€ or a % fee of the declared price of the property.

Appoint a lawyer here in Spain that is totally independent of both your agent and any builder involved. We therefore offer a list of respected lawyers in the area for you to choose one from if desired. Simple click this link for more information.

It is advisable for all non-resident property owners to appoint a Spanish based lawyer so they can take care of all the necessary legal matters throughout the purchase of your home as well as making sure all your taxes are paid each year, including payment of rates to the town hall and annual property tax.

Negotiate terms

Once you’ve chosen a suitable property, the price and conditions will need to be agreed. It is quite acceptable to make an offer subject to mortgage approval and, for properties that are still being built, you’ll want to agree a schedule of stage payments rather than pay the whole amount up front. If you haven’t already appointed a lawyer, you must do this now or run the risk of entering into an agreement that cannot be enforced under Spanish law.

Reservation Agreement

Normally any sale is initiated with a reservation agreement, which takes the property off the market and fixes the price. In most cases the deposit payable at this stage will be between 3.000 and 6.000 Euros. This can be paid in cash or by credit card. Avoid the temptation to pay by cheque as this can take up to 10 days to clear – ample opportunity for any other purchaser to step in with a cash deposit. After you have paid this reservation deposit your lawyer will start a search on the property. This is very important because this search will show whether there are any debt / mortgages or charges against the property (Mortgages and debts in Spain are attached to the property, not the person). This is confirmed in a document called a Nota Simple which also identifies the registered owner.

Private Contract

On average within 1 month a private contract is signed between you and the seller. The ‘Contrato Privado de Compraventa’ states the agreed price and what is to be included in the sale. At this stage it is normal to pay 10% to your lawyer (to pass on) or directly to the seller. The seller’s representatives and your lawyer get together to determine all outstanding debts and rates in order to arrange the payment of these according to the agreement. This could include outstanding property taxes, community fees, telephone, electricity and water bills. The purchasing costs will also be determined at this stage.

Final completion and registration of the title deed

This is the last phase of the purchase procedure and in the case of a resale property; the completion will take place 1-3 months after the reservation agreement. The title deed or ‘Escritura de compraventa’ will be signed in front of a notary and you pay the balance of the purchase price. If you buy the property with a mortgage, the bank representative will also be present. In the case of a new construction, it can take up to 18 months before completion and usually payments are made in stages of 3-4 months. The signed deed is lodged with the land registry and your lawyer will take care of the remaining formalities such as payment of the relevant transfer taxes. Then the important bit Enjoy your new home and Spanish life!

Property Tax

Firstly on new build properties for sale in the tax payable is different to a re-sale. For a new build property the IVA (VAT) is 10% which is payable instead of the property transfer tax which is charged when you buy a re-sale property and is currently 8% and for properties over 400.000€ 9%. There is also a first registration stamp duty tax when the property is bought from a builder / developer which is currently at 1.5% of the selling price.

Purchasing a New Build Property

When you find the right property for sale in Almeria and before you purchase a new property in Almeria or in Spain generally there are many considerations to take into account. Quite often a new build property seems to be a bargain when compared with a re-sale, but as any new owner will tell you there are quite a few items not supplied by the developer that are necessary, for example; light fittings.

Very often in the past the kitchen would not be supplied either but thankfully this is now not the norm due to fierce competition between developers wishing to attract an ever smaller pool of potential buyers looking to buy a property for sale in Almeria. In todays current market in most new build cases you will find that the builder will have a mortgage on the property for sale which can usually be transferred and which sometimes works out as a better mortgage deal than going direct yourself to the bank. Should you require a mortgage for the purchase of a property for sale in Almeria this is worth considering.

Dealing with Developers & Banks

We only collaborate with developers who have a proven track record in product quality and after sale service. The developers and banks we deal with are very specific about the property packages they offer. However it is wise to ask if something is not mentioned on their specifications so it can be included in the final negotiations before any contract signing or monies deposited on a new property.

Spanish Properties Bought Off Plan

In Almeria there are many opportunities to buy a Spanish villa or apartment for sale before they have been constructed, therefore it is a good idea to inform yourself fully on these deals as procedures do vary from builder to builder. For example it is usual practice to secure a property for sale in Almeria off plan with a deposit of between 10 to 40 % depending on the builder and in some cases paying in stages up to 80% before the completion of the property, the final payment being made when you sign at the notary office the Escritura and the deeds transferred into your name.

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