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Buying Property in Spain

6. Getting to grips with the language.

You may feel it's completely unnecessary to master any Spanish if you're buying a property in one of the popular ex-pat areas such as Benidorm, Torremolinos or Torrevieja.

You could just join the many thousands of foreign residents who get by with little more than "una copa mas de vino tinto por favor" - and that's after they've lived here for 30 years!

Well, it's true - you can manage to live in Spain without speaking a word of the language. But my advice to you is to at least learn the basics because you'll find the whole experience of living in Spain so much more rewarding - also, some mastery of the language could save you a lot of time, money and frustration.

You don't have to be fluent - even if your language skills are more of the effluent variety, you'll still find a little goes a long way. In my experience, the Spanish are endlessly patient with foreigners who are prepared to have a bash at communicating in the local language (even if the results are fairly horrendous!).

We English, of course, are notoriously bad about making any effort to speak any language other than our own. But nothing is guaranteed to make you more unpopular with the locals than speaking very loudly in English to some poor Spaniard who can't understand a word you're saying. I've never understood why we Brits assume sheer volume will act as an aid to comprehension!

The Dutch, Germans and Scandinavians put us to shame and generally converse quite competently in Spanish and several other languages.

So don't let the side down - take some lessons, carry your phrase book around with you and be seen to be at least trying to communicate in the language of the country which you've decided to make home. The Spanish really will appreciate your efforts and will generally bend over backwards to be helpful to you.

On a purely practical note, if you can deal directly with Spanish workmen, the town hall and the Spanish phone company Telefonica you'll be able to get things done more quickly and cost-effectively than if you have to use an interpreter.

Remember that in many areas of Spain the main Castellano language is not the first language at all. Catalan is the first language of the Costa Brava and the wider province of Catalunya and a very similar variation, Valenciano, is spoken throughout the Valencian community which incorporates the Costa Blanca.

In Andalucia, they speak quite a different dialect which can be hard to understand for students of pure Spanish (as they have a habit of dropping the last letter off the end of every word!).

Few foreigners manage to master these local languages but if you can speak a little Castellano, it will make a big difference even in those areas where it's not the first language.

Of course the older you are, generally speaking, the more difficult it is to learn a new skill. But I've witnessed many elderly pensioners getting on famously with their Spanish neighbours, relying on just a few Spanish words and much gesticulating and back-slapping.

I'll be talking more on the topic of retiring in Spain next.

7. Retiring in Spain.

Content for these pages is © Ann Knight, all rights reserved.

Related Links

Andalucia Real Estate - Property for sale in Andalucia.

Buying a property in Spain - Ann's own site promting her book.

Properties In Europe - European property portal with a searchable database of properties to buy and rent in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. Includes for French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese properties.

Book your holiday:

Hotels in Spain

Car Hire in Spain

Organised Tours in Spain

Buying property in Spain

Choosing the right location

Buying as an investment

Must I use an agent?

Must I use a lawyer?

Buying "off-plan"

The importance of learning Spanish

Retiring in Spain

Buying with a community

Costs of buying

And finally ....

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