Rent Property in Spain Before You Buy: Less Problems, More Money

Rent property Spain don't buy


I’ve never understood why so many new expats arrive in a Spanish city. town or village and immediately buy property in the form of a house or apartment. Not only are most of them ‘asking for trouble’ due to a host of factors involved in buying property in Spain, but renting an apartment or house in Spain instead of buying would be so much more enjoyable and far less of a risk.

If you are one of the tens of thousands of people planning to move to Spain each year, here are just a few reasons why you should rent property in Spain instead of buying. At least for the first year or two.

1. Is it the right location for you?

I’ve lost count of the number of expats I’ve met in Spain who have moved to one area of the country and then realized a few months later that there are other cities or towns in Spain they prefer. By that point, however, they’re often stuck with a house or apartment that they’ve bought, and thus moving becomes an impossibility until they’ve sold it.

Hold off buying property in Spain and rent instead for at least the first year. That way you  can get used to your new home, and figure out whether you actually like living there.

2. Renting property in Spain is cheaper

While property prices have certainly come down in Spain in the last four or five years, it’s still going to cost you a huge chunk of money to buy property in Spain. A couple of hundred thousand euros in many areas of the country, or more.

If you rent, on the other hand, you can live in most areas of Spain for only a few hundred euros a month — or less than 8,000 euros a year. With just 20,000 euros in your possession when you arrive, you could easily pay rent for an apartment or small house in many areas of Spain for at least two years.

That would give you plenty of time to find a job, get settled in, make friends, save money and then decide if you want to buy property in Spain or continue to rent.

3. Getting a mortgage in Spain can be difficult

In your home country of the UK, France, Germany, the US, China or anywhere else you might be from, getting a mortgage is probably easy. Particularly if you have a good job, a stable income and a history of paying back debts.

Getting a mortgage in Spain, on the other hand, can be incredibly difficult in the current financial crisis, as Spanish banks are much less likely to hand out mortgages to people who may not be a good risk.

If you have just arrived in the country regardless of your past financial history in your home country, you are not as good of a risk as a Spaniard with a stable job, or an expat who has lived in Spain for years, so finding a bank willing to lend to you may be difficult.

That’s why it’s often preferable to rent property in Spain for a couple of years instead of buying. Not only will it give you chance to save more money towards a down payment on a house or apartment, it will also give you a couple of years of a stable financial background in Spain. With Spanish banks, that’s vital.

4. If it breaks, your Spanish landlord fixes it

I’ve never bought a house or apartment in my life, in Spain or anywhere else, and have no plans to ever do so. One of the things I love about renting an apartment is, if the toilet stops flushing, the sink won’t drain, the washing machine stops working or there’s a leak in the roof, it’s not my responsibility to pay to get it fixed. My Spanish landlord does that.

Do you really want to move to Spain, buy an apartment or house and suddenly find yourself in a foreign country, and having to speak a foreign language, while needing a plumber at 2am because your bathroom has suddenly become a flood zone?

Because if you buy property in Spain, it will be entirely up to you, and at your expense, to get any maintenance issues fixed. And sometimes at great expense and incredible inconvenience.

5. Renting property in Spain buys a nicer apartment than you can afford

For many people considering buying property in Spain, when they look at the type of apartment or house they can afford to rent compared to the ones they can afford to buy, and the quality is often completely different.

For only 1,000 euros a month, you can rent an apartment next to the beach in many areas of Spain, but to buy that same property could very well be out of your price range.

All in all, renting property in Spain before you buy is often the smarter way to do things. Unless you have millions of euros to spare, and can gamble with it easily. As that doesn’t describe most of us – rent property in Spain before you buy — you honestly won’t regret it.