In 2019, we followed our dream and bought a house in the sun to use in the winter months. We never expected to buy such a large property. We have always lived in modest properties and small spaces due to the fact that, in Vancouver, real estate is very expensive.
We bought Villa El Gavilan after much research and soul searching. We looked on site and online for over a year. We also rented a house for two winters before buying to make sure that coming back here every year was what we really wanted.
We bought this house because we love the Nerja/Frigiliana area and this house really offered all of the amenities we were looking for such as view, pool, southwest exposure, little renovation required, furnished and potential rental revenues during the summer months when we are back in Canada.
Don’t be fooled. Real estate in the south of Spain is not cheap. The nice houses are expensive but way more economical than in large cities like Vancouver.
There are costs related to buying a property as well. You need to add about 10% on average to the purchase price. The advertised prices are also somewhat unreliable. You need to do your homework and own comparison. The real estate agents here are not registered and the regulations are limited so, it is buyer beware. A lawyer to help and do the proper title search is an absolute must here in Spain.
In the Nerja area, you will pay on average anywhere between 200,000€ for a condo to 1,000,000€ for a large property with a pool and a view like ours. Prices will vary depending of location of course, land dimensions and quality of the building.
Electricity and water costs are way higher than in Canada. Our costs are also much higher than most people because we have in-floor heating, a pool and a very large garden which consumes 1000 liters a day most days.
We also need gardeners because the garden is full and large and it was simply not possible to maintain it on our own.
Here is a list of our average costs to maintain our house in Euros € and Canadian dollars $:
|Electricity||230€ or 400$/month|
|Water||200€ or 312$/month|
|Gardeners||240€ or 375$/month|
|Property tax||1800€ or 2800$/year|
|Garbage||30€/quarter or 46$|
|Internet TV and Wifi||30€/month 46$|
|House insurance||616€/year or 960$|
|Total approximately||910€ per month or $1400 per month|
Now, like with any house but especially a big one like this, you will always have extra maintenance to do. So you need to budget for upkeep and unexpected repairs. For a smaller house or apartment, the costs would be significantly lower.
You can also rent a house or apartment. In the winter months, you would expect to pay anywhere between 600€ for a small apartment to 3000€ per month for a house and may need to pay extra for heating.
In a future blogpost, I will talk about renting your property on the Costa Del Sol in the lucrative summer months. In our case, all of the costs outlined above are covered by the rental income our house generates in a normal year.
Good luck with your research and planning. Coming to Spain in the winter months is a wonderful project, one we will never regret!
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Thanks again for sharing your experiences in the Costa Del Sol. I always have valuable take-aways from all your posts. I shared your blog with a friend, as you always provide a balanced account of your experiences.
Given your extended stay due to COVID19, how are you managing healthcare insurance and how much is this expense for the two of you.
We were supposed to visit the region a year ago to begin our on-the-ground due diligence as a retirement option, but COVID got in the way of our plans. We are hopeful to get over in September.
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Thank you so much Robert for reading the blog, your kind words and your question. It makes my experience worth sharing even more knowing that it helps people understand what it is like here. Regarding the insurance, if you want to spend more than 3 months in Spain, you will have to apply for the Visa and one of the requirements is to obtain annual private health insurance which provide coverage similar to the Public Plan. We are covered by Sanitas, 12 months a year, at the cost of about $4000 per year for both my husband and I. Terry is 62 and I am 57. There are slightly more economical plans but you pay for what you get. The health care system here is really good and highly rated in the world. There is always a doctor who speaks english on duty. After much research, we decided to go with Sanitas. I will write a blog on this subject soon as I get a lot of questions on this subject and will provide our Sanitas contact person who speaks english. Good luck in your planning and keep safe biking 🚴🏻♂️!!
Thanks so much for you prompt reply. Terry and yourself are very close to our age, we’re 64 and 62 respectively And we have a little 8lb Morkie (Yorky and Maltese cross) named: Sophie (nicknamed – Scooter), who travels with us everywhere. We have a second home in Mesa Arizona so she’s very used to air travel. A picture below is of her in her travel bag, ready to get onboard. Maybe one day we can introduce our pup to Amy Lou.
My wife, Deborah, asks if your insurance also covers dental?
And I have a follow-on question. How is you healthcare covered in Canada when you return from an extended stay in Spain, for example if you’re outside Canada for more than 212 days in a 12 month period. As a resident of Alberta (I believe it’s the same for BC), do you lose your Canadian healthcare coverage if you’re outside the country for more than 212 days (7 months)?
I ask this question above because if we decide to move to Spain, we would first sell our home in Mesa AZ, and use these proceeds to acquire a home that qualifies us for their Golden Visa residency program (actually we’re thinking of a home in the 600,000 to 800,000 Euro range). My wife worked for years as the senior interior designed for a high end home builder in Calgary and we are leaning towards an off plan, or a newly completed home. So we would keep our home in Canada until our house is ready to be lived in. During this time of transition we may find ourselves living in Spain for more than 212 days and wonder about healthcare coverage when we return to Canada.
Finally, we know the names of your husband Terry and your little fur baby Amy Lou, but we don’t know your name. If you don’t mind, are you willing to share your name, so I can speak to and thank you by name?
PS: I just read your post about taxes. Great timing as was next on my list of research. Thanks so much. Do you know if Spain allows for income splitting like we have in Canada? Regarding the Wealth Tax, our situation is heavily waited to my corporate Defined Benefit Pension, CPP, OAS that are all exempt if I read you properly, and the rest is a combination of real estate (initially in Spain and Canada), RRSP’s and personal investments that will be over the 700,000 Euros exemption, but not enough to be exposed to the significant Wealth Tax treatment you described. Thanks again for this post.
Hi Robert, my name is Odette Morin. I will reply to you privately by email. Thanks for your health insurance questions. They will help me write a meaningful blog about the subject.