If you are thinking about living, retiring or buying a second home in Marbella but you are not sure if it really will be as dreamy as it seems, our list of 5 pros and cons of living in Marbella will help you with your decision.
Pros of Living in Marbella
In our opinion, it is better than being a tourist. You will get to know the area, find out which places the locals go to, make friends and build your new life. This life will be very different from what you are used to in Britain or other Northern European countries.
If anything it is less grey and cold. Life will be slower, more pleasant, relaxing and is focused on spending quality time with your family and friends.
1. Andalusians are among the nicest people in the world
You live outside your home. Everyone goes out to the gym, bars, walks, etc..
Your local doctor will become your friend, the cashier at the supermarket will ask about your family, the postman will greet you with a smile.
Most people we have met were friendly and helpful. Especially the city council employees who get a bad reputation but in general are really nice if you are too. They will make an effort to speak slowly and explain things if you show that you embrace their culture and language.
2. Accept the slower pace of living in Marbella and you will fit right in
The majority of people who decide to move to Marbella and the surrounding areas are looking to slow down and enjoy life. It does take some adjustment, but once you do the rewards far outshine the negatives. You will enjoy talking to the people in the post office, bank or fruit store whilst you want in line. Instead of driving everywhere you will want to walk to the local shop. You will get to appreciate having Sunday’s off as the family is number one in Spain and this is the day they get to spend it all together.
3. Amazing weather and the best climate in Spain
The obvious pro of living in Marbella is the weather.
It has over 320 days of sunshine per year and the sea keeps temperatures tolerable through the year making it one of the best climates in Spain.
4. The family-friendly culture is perfect for expat families
The Spaniard’s life revolves around their family and friends. You will see large extended families spending time together on the beaches, in the countryside and parks. People enjoy travelling throughout the country appreciating their beautiful country. School holidays are longer in the summer and winter to allow family time.
5. A strong expat community
There are many expat groups that make settling in Marbella so much easier.
There is a strong support community among expats with many active groups on social media you can look up, join and meet up. You will be among people who have been where you are now, can offer advice and support.
Cons of Living in Marbella
Whilst the thought of living in Marbella sounds amazing, there are also cons you should consider when making your decision. It is very different from being on holiday. The quality of life is excellent, but it can be expensive. In the summer you will have thousands of tourists on the road and in winter you may also find it quiet, although that can be an advantage too.
1. Marbella can be crowded in Summer
Similar to other places in the world, coastal cities and towns like Marbella can get extremely busy in the summer months, hitting its peak from June – September. During this time it is a good idea to go on holiday elsewhere but it is also a great income opportunity if you to rent out your property.
2. It can be a challenge to integrate into the Spanish culture
With so many expats around, it is difficult to find an authentic and local experience.
To overcome this, talk Spanish as often as possible and join local organisations to meet locals. On the other side, it is quite often a plus to have expats around you for help and support if times get tough and you are feeling homesick.
3. Slow service as part of the Spanish way of life
Patience is key here. One of the reasons many expats move to Spain is to slow down and this means embracing slower service than you are most likely used to. Everything seems to take ages, especially when it comes to doing business.
Shops open at 10:00 am, close at 14:00 for siesta (lunch and a nap) and reopen again at 17:00. Oh and pretty much everything is closed on Sundays. It can be frustrating but you will soon get used to it.
4. If you are a business owner, the family-friendly culture can be a challenge
You will find that many Spaniards accumulate their paid leave days in August and most businesses even close for the entire month. That is a big chunk out of your income if you are running a small business here and it may be difficult to adjust to.
5. The cost of buying property in Marbella
Compared to the UK the costs involved in buying property in Marbella is expensive. For example, an estate agent takes on average 5% commission compared to 1.5% in the UK. Stamp duty here is 7% and in the UK it is only due on properties over a certain price and then only about around 2%.You will also need to pay Capital Gains Tax if you are selling a property here even if that property was your first residence, unlike the UK.
If you have any questions or doubts about moving to Spain, we would be delighted to answer them. We focus on the buyer’s needs when searching for that dream property in the sun. Whether you are looking to buy a villa, apartment or townhouse in Marbella, let us know your exact requirements and we will do the searching for you and be by your side every step of the way.