Long Term Lets in Javea, Moraira and Benitachell

VillaMia's essential info if you are thinking of moving to Jávea

Michelle Hughes, owner of VillaMia, took a risk and gave up a good job in Wales to move to Javea with her son. Eight years on and she has her own business but it is not as easy as some people expect so here are some helpful tips from the estate agent…


1 Learn the local language

Yes you can get by with little or no Spanish but it is important to try. There are various private and group classes available. If a group class, you will get to meet new people and once you have some understanding it will make everyday life easier when shopping, banking, asking for directions etc. Also worth contacting the Town Hall for information on the subsidised lessons. Some people find it easier than others and despite having done group classes, an intensive course and now one on one weekly classes I’m still trying. Thankfully, all other VillaMia staff are fluent in Spanish.

Once you know the language you can interact with the Spanish and a good starting place is Spanish bars.


2 Learn to love all forms of admin

Nothing is straight forward when it comes to paperwork here. It will probably take longer than you expect and best to be prepared with extra copies of everything. Most importantly you need a ton of patience – to keep yourself sane!

To rent we initially only need your passport and address but you may need an NIE (national identification number) once you move in to open a Spanish bank account to pay the utility bills. However, we can guide you on this and never be afraid to ask for help.

For entry into Spanish schools, again there is quite a bit of paperwork but we can put you in touch with people that can help with this and all other paperwork and translation. When you come over bring copies of paperwork such as birth certificates for the whole family, passport and marriage certificate if applicable.


3 Think carefully about what you will be doing for work

As a small coastal town, finding long-term work in Jávea can be a challenge especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Don’t expect to be able to come over and find work straight away, unemployment is also high in Spain. If you are planning on setting up your own business or buying an established one, make sure you speak to a professional about the legalities and taxes etc. Many people don’t realise if you are self-employed then you have to pay social security each month which doesn’t take into account your earnings. To be legal, there may be around 250 euros you pay out a month before you make a cent. Before you move out here work out an estimated budget you need to live on and check you can survive and have enough for at least a year. To find work you need to be proactive and make sure you don’t fall into holidaymode.

4 Accept that Spain is different

Accept that Spain – like any new country – has its own social norms and learn to adapt to them.

For example, if you're given an estimate for an appointment (say with a plumber coming to your home) – treat it exactly as that – which leaves you nicely surprised if they arrive on the dot which is very rarely the case. You have to get used to the manana attitude.


The driving is different so don’t expect them to use indicators but do expect them to cut you up on a roundabout and even just stop on a zebra crossing or a roundabout for a chat or to get out of the car. The driving legislation is different so take time to read up on this to avoid fines!


The Spanish do take siestas so don’t expect everything to be open in afternoons and if you live in a complex you may not be able to use the communal pool during that time.


The list is endless but another thing is traditions and culture. There will be fireworks, fiestas, bull running and health and safety isn’t like the UK.


July and August in Javea is also very busy and can get frustrating trying to park.


Remember you are not in the UK so take the bad with the good and embrace the Spanish lifestyle.


5 – Renting a property is a good start


If you are moving over for the first time it may be better to rent rather than buy. This gives you the chance to figure out whereabouts in Jávea you want to be living, (do you want to be within walking distance of the Arenal, for example?) and what kind of living space suits you most. There is plenty of opportunity to rent different kinds of properties here to allow you to get a feel for the area. There are also winter lets available so you can come over for a few months to check you are happy living in Spain.


6 – Try the local food


Jávea has plenty of expat supermarkets, particularly aimed at the British, but it is always worth trying out the local food. This doesn't mean that you have to spend a small fortune dining in local restaurants, either. Simply having a good mooch around markets and Spanish supermarkets as that will give you an idea of what's on offer. In restaurants there is often a menu del dia if you want a few courses or tapas are always a great alternative to try new things such as calamari.


7 – Don’t forget safety


Javea is generally a safe place and there are many women living here on their own when their husbands are working offshore. You still need to be aware and not leave valuables on display in a car and make sure your property is locked up when you are out or through the night. People are more relaxed and you will see children out late at night and going up and down the arenal on scooters and bikes. Children in pools or the sea have to be watched every second as well and many public pools don’t have lifeguards and many villas with private pools don’t have a security fence around the pool.


Think about health care as well and make sure you are covered if there is an accident as you may benefit from getting private health care. VillaMia can arrange quotes from Axa if you need an idea of costs.


Lastly, when using pedestrian crossings don’t assume all vehicles will stop.


8 – Enjoy it!


Javea is a beautiful town and there is so much to explore in the local area and further afield. There are various groups and clubs for a wide range of activities for all ages such as tennis and dance to drama and Zumba. The scenery is stunning and people are constantly moving over so there will be others in the same situation and moving to a new country and wanting to make friends.

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