Tatiana, a lawyer from Moscow, and her husband found a property for sale in Estepona, Spain, on the Costa del Sol. In an interview with Tranio.com, Tatiana discussed the various criteria for choosing a holiday home for a family with small children, Spanish personality traits, strategies for getting a Golden Visa residence permit, and why it is better to hurry if you have found an interesting option in Spain.
— Tatiana, did you consider other countries before choosing Spain?
— We considered France and Spain: we had been to both countries on holidays or visited our friends who had already bought properties there. We chose Spain eventually, as the Spanish view of life is closer to us, and the local properties are more affordable.
— What Spanish regions did you consider? Why was it Estepona that attracted you?
— In Spain, we were choosing between property for sale in Barcelona and in the province of Málaga. We had to dismiss Barcelona, as it is a big and noisy city, while we have two children, with whom we would like to be able to come to a quieter and safer place. Our friends have a flat in a district of Barcelona which is considered to be upscale, but due to an incident with migrants, they don´t feel comfortable there.
However, Málaga, and Estepona in particular, are more expensive and tranquil. In addition, Gibraltar and the ocean are only one hour away from there by car.
Estepona itself is a nice town with a huge sandy beach. It is not exclusively a resort, however, since it does not die out in winter.
— Why did you decide to buy a flat, rather than rent different properties on holidays?
— We wanted to achieve several goals by buying a property. The foremost goal was to obtain a European residence permit and, in doing so, safeguard our family against the economic instability in our home country. The second one was to realise the opportunity of spending all of our children’s school holidays, as well as our own summer holidays, in Spain.
Search criteria: a beachfront location and high liquidity
— How did you search for property? Did you contact Tranio.com right away?
— No, initially. We contacted a Spanish realtor which our friends, who already had a flat in Spain, recommended us. The realtor disappointed us: he showed us a flat in the same complex where we later bought a property, but he offered it for a price twice as high as we paid in the end. Besides, the flat he showed us was worse: it was located on the first floor, where the humidity was high, as there was a swimming pool nearby.
As a result, the help came through Facebook. It turned out that my university friend knew George Kachmazov, the founder of Tranio.com. She recommended your website to us. Then, Leila, a manager at one of Tranio.com's partner agencies in Spain, found a suitable option for us:
— What other criteria did you take into account when choosing your future flat?
— Firstly, we were looking for a newly built property. Our friends had a bad experience of buying a home in the Spanish existing property market: they had problems with connecting to electricity. The thing was that each residential property had to be assigned to a certain class of energy efficiency, for which reason they had to change the wiring and obtain a new energy efficiency certificate, which was not easy. We wanted to avoid similar problems. In addition, a new property means that you have an opportunity to design and furnish your flat as you like. Moreover, it is just nice when you are the first owner.
Safety was also important, as we had little children. Therefore, we chose a complex with secured premises and now I can safely let my
— And was it important for you to have an access to the beach?
— Yes, the property being located at the beachfront was also crucial. I planned that we would go to the beach every day, taking our baby carriage, airbed and other stuff along. Going there by car every time would have been inconvenient: driving and searching for a parking space would have taken 30 minutes at least.
— Was property liquidity important?
— Of course, we were looking for a property with a value growth potential that we could sell easily if needed. In Marbella and on the
— So, you bought a bank property?
— Unfortunately, when we arrived in Spain, there were no bank properties left. When Tranio.com’s partner sent me the property description, she warned me right away that it was an excellent bank offer and the buyers will definitely "jump at" the flat. That was exactly what happened: someone bought it no more than a week later. We came to the viewings after a month and chose a flat with similar characteristics, but we bought it from the resellers, with a margin. However, it was value for money, given that the price included two parking spaces and a storeroom located in the back of the complex.
Of course, it was a pity to find out that our neighbours had bought their properties from the bank at a price that was lower than the market one. However, we quickly realised that, most often, it was the Spanish who kept a very close eye on when the bank would start the sale, while our Russian neighbours, who came in time for the sale, got the unpopular properties on the first floor.
— How is it that a new residential complex came under bank ownership?
— The investors who had put their money into building our complex had overrated their strength: they began to spend too much on the project. This is why the complex had a large developed area, quality repairs had been made in our flat and it had expensive home appliances. However, the investors went bankrupt eventually, and it was the bank who had to finish the development.
Transaction a l’espagnole
— Tell about the transaction itself: did everything go smoothly?
— Upon the recommendation of Tranio.com's partner, we contacted a Spanish bank where we had a very positive customer experience.
However, the Spanish lawyers who were in charge of the transaction and whom my colleagues had recommended to me disappointed me a little. For instance, they missed some details at the time of billing, did not
— So, the formal procedures were quite a burden to you?
— No. being a lawyer, I found it interesting to go through all the procedures by myself: to go to the notary, tax administration, and the registration chamber. I was surprised to discover that the Spanish tax administration had
I got an equally warm reception when I came to register. As I could not speak Spanish, a municipal service employee filled out the form for me; on top of that — can you imagine –she gave me a ticket to the zoo for registering? I can hardly think of such a situation at the Russian public services offices, which I often visit on business. You can forgive the Spanish their tardiness for their amiability and readiness to help.
The Golden Visa
— I know that you plan to buy another property in Spain.
— Yes, we plan on buying a second residential property to get
We could get residence permits without participating in the programme, but in this case we would become Spanish tax residents, and this is of no advantage to us.
— No plans on settling down in Spain yet?
— I like everything about Spain, aside from one thing: I cannot earn there as much as I do in Moscow. To get a comparable income, I need to make myself familiar with Spanish and validate my law degree, and this is both costly and