Footprints of My Life.

Mission Madness – New Book Release!

We have lived in Spain for more than three years and moved hassle-free to new locations four times on a modest budget.  Buying a used car recently added more joy to our experience and for us, Spain is a well-functioning society full of dedicated and service-minded individuals.

Reading different ex-pat forums is very useful when you move to a new country and I am spending some time every day there to check out the latest advice and news. Spain is often criticized for its bureaucracy and the Mañana mentality. In the beginning, the many stories about terrible landlords and neighbors, unfriendly and frustrating bureaucratic processes, and unreliable and cheating craftsmen made me worried. Would I be able to navigate safely here?

My husband arrived first only knowing a few Spanish words and fixed what was needed on his own. NIE number, tax residency, social security, and Spanish driving license. The only problem he got was a kind but unfocused lawyer he hired to prepare the papers for my residency application. It was a nail-biting and challenging experience that had to be solved very fast, but we managed by making the right decisions and I wrote a little about it here.

It was natural for me to take over the communication with Spanish authorities since I knew a little Spanish when I arrived and my experience so far is very good. And that also goes for landlords, internet and telephone companies, and all other services. We are using online banking since traditional Spanish banks are more expensive than we are used to, and we always do good research.

So far, we have lived in La Herradura (on the coast of Granada), in El Hierro (the smallest of the Canary Islands), in Icod de Los Vinos, and then in Buenavista del Norte (both in North Tenerife). The latter was the most expensive flat we have rented: a newly furnished three-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment with a private roof terrace and fast fiber internet for a price of 480 Euros including water and community fees, close to grocery stores, restaurants, beaches, and public transport on a one-year renewable contract. All our landlords have been attentive and very helpful and I guess the secret is to avoid the tourist ghettos and holiday urbanization. We also avoid real-estate agents who ask a month’s rent for their services. Responsible landlords and rental agencies follow the new rental law that gives great protection to the tenants and they are the kind of persons to deal with.

We have managed fine without a car. Spain has a modern public transport system that has served us well. But we have just found a great furnished flat in an area with unreliable public transport on Costa Blanca and our brave intent of not having a car has come to an end.

Used cars are relatively expensive in Spain. People are normally keeping their cars for a long time and the second-hand market is a bit limited. The cheapest way is to buy directly from the owner, but of course, it is the riskiest. It also involves a lot of paperwork so the safest is to find a good and professional dealer.

Car dealers in typical tourist zones tend to be a little expensive so my husband started to look for dealers that mostly serve Spanish customers. He was lucky to find one he liked in an industrial area in Alicante only 45km from us, Carrera Sport Car, that advertised a 2007 Hyundai Accent that had gone 71,000 km with one owner and one year warranty.

The sunny weather in southern Spain makes cars last long and this one will be able to serve our needs for many years. My husband was very firm in not buying a new car. A little scratch and patina is only good, and if you get one more while parked on a narrow Spanish street, it’s nothing to worry about 🙂

© Photos by Eldar Einarson

We arrived to buy the car as agreed, but the car dealer was not there. The shop was closed and it was very silent.
But there was a sign saying: “We will be back in 30 minutes”.
Waiting for something good is never in vain.
Here he is, Señor Antonio of Carrera Sport Car, a little sorry for the delay, but he had a good reason.
He was alone in the shop and had to go a little far to buy an interior roof lamp. With this done, the car is ready to go.
All paperwork is included in the price. We just had to bring authenticated copies of my husband’s NIE number and passport, sign, and pay. The car is ready to use; the contract is the preliminary registration certificate. Antonio also helped us to get good and reasonable insurance.
The transfer of ownership took about four weeks and the registration certificate arrived by courier. Thanks, Antonio, for a very nice car with a good price and a kind, hassle-free and professional transaction.

Here is a link to more info about buying a car in Spain.

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