Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to Buy Property in Spain

Property For Sale in Spain

Our last Best Places to Live visit was to Spain and it raised quite a stir! Perhaps it's the time of year but many people are interested in Spain and almost all of them want to know how to buy property in Spain. You may be looking at cheap property in Spain, a retirement home or even a rental property in Spain. Regardless of the type of properties in Spain you are considering the buying process is pretty much the same.

First you need a - Nota simple informativa
This is a document you get from the Registro de la Propiedad - Property Registry. Basically it's like doing a title search. This document will tell you about the property and if it has any financial encumbrances - mortgages or loans against it. It's also your way of making sure the title and description of the property is exactly what the seller has told you. Next comes -

Sometimes this is referred to as a 'Buy-Sell Agreement'. The public deed for purchase cannot be prepared until this contract of sorts is made between you and the seller. It's a pretty simple document which outlines what may seem like the obvious - the buyer wishes to buy and the seller wishes to sell at a specified price and also with any conditions both have agreed to. Once you've settled these matters you may need to arrange -

A Spanish Mortgage
You will need to visit a bank in Spain and get a list of all the things they require. Allow some time to prepare - it's not a simple matter of dropping into the bank and walking out an hour later. Banks in Spain have quite a lengthy list of things you need to do and provide. Be prepared to pay some fees too - you will need to pay to have your property appraised and by law in Spain the appraiser has to be a licensed architect. Now, the title and registry is clean and clear; you have an agreement; the property has been appraised and your mortgage money is ready to go, you are ready to -

At this stage the title to your property Spain is ready to be transferred and certified by a notary. The property is now yours but your not quite done yet! There are a few more items to take care of. You will need to pay Transfer Taxes and make sure the seller pays the local taxes, known as 'plusvalia'. You need to have the deed with you for both of these. Finally as a safety precaution just to make certain you are protected and your deed is valid it's a good idea to register your title at the local registry office.

Because Spain is so popular a discussion we will continue to cover some other things to help if you're considering a Move to Spain. OR as it's commonly called - Removals to Spain - Funny term, huh?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Move to Denmark!

In 16th spot on our Best Places to Live list is Denmark.

Moving to Denmark

When planning a move to Denmark to work or maybe even to retire there are different things you need to consider. First are the practical aspects of making such a move like applying for a work permit and residency.

There are different rules for residency and work permits which are dependant on your current citizenship. Basically these fall into four groups:
- Nordic citizens
- EU citizens
- Citizens from the new EU countries
- And, non-EU citizens

Apartments in Denmark

Apartments in Denmark can be quite cheap. Most have modern and easy to use kitchen facilities. If you are looking for a cheap place to live in Denmark than apartments are an ideal place to get started. The most popular Denmark apartments are found in these areas:
  • Aalborg.
  • Odense.
  • Vejle.
  • Copenhagen
  • Arhus.
  • Herning
Fully serviced apartments in Denmark are your best option for keeping your cost of living low without sacrificing modern amenities.

One of the nicest places to live is in a water front apartment. These are located in the center of the city where you can enjoy all of the attractions Denmark has to offer including the Tree Top Wall and the Valley of the Giants. One of the main attractions of living in a water front apartment is the you can hire a bike or even walk to the beaches. Cheap car hire Denmark is also a benefit of living in this area. Dinning is also a wonderful in this part of Denmark.

Bornholm Denmark

One spot in denmark many people are not as aware of is the island community of Bornholm. It is located 40 km south of the most southern tip of Sweden but is still a part of Denmark. The island of Bornholm is one of the visible rocks in the world.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The World's Best Places to Live

I've spent the last couple of months summarizing International Living's Quality of Life Index 2010: The World's Best Places to Live. Now a few of my subscribers and friends have asked me where they could get the complete index - well here it is!  Just click on this image of the magazine cover (below) and it will take you directly to International Living where you can subscribe and get the special report. Oh, and they send you lots of other cool reports too. So, if you are interested in living or moving or even just travelling aboard I'm sure you will find IL as interesting and informative as I do!

 <= Just click Here!

See my 'Update on International Living Magazine' post on April 1st for more info - oh and no it's not an April Fools joke!

Canada - the Best Place on Earth?

Canadian Life

I was recently at the gym climbing to nowhere and reading Canada's weekly news magazine, MacClean's featured special report, Canada vs The World - The Best Place on Earth. The report opened with the following tongue in cheek summary: wealthier than American's; longer life than Swedes; eat better than the French and love more than even the Italians!

Canada Business

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Qatar is the richest nation. The World Bank says Luxembourg is tops but neither say how that translates into lifestyle and  wealth among the citizens of the country. The UN has taken a different approach by creating a 'Human Development Index' which takes a broader look at well-being. So, when one looks at the net worth of households - a good indicator for Canadian Business - Canada get's top spot on the planet. And on the Human Development Index Canada placed 3rd well above their neighbours to the south, The United States which came in 15th on the index. All while the Americans carry almost twice as much personal debt as Canadians do. And when it comes to honesty in Canadian Business we get top marks again tied with Belgium by Transparency International for the countries least likely to have businesses which engage in payoffs.

Canada Health Insurance

When it comes to Canadian Health and these days the much talked about Canada Health Insurance life expectancy in Canada is now over 81 years which puts Canadians ahead of the Swedes, Norweigens and the Finnish. Another age related factor which tells us a lot about whether Canada Health Insurance, which is paid for through taxes rather than at the door, is how long a countries citizens enjoy a disease free quality of life - in Canada it's 73 years - fourth best in the world with Japan #1 at 76 years and the U.S. way down the list at 70 years of age. Not to mention our daily consumption of fruits and veggies is 3rd highest in the world just behind China and Australia.

Moving to Canada

That fact is many people want to make Canada their home for just as many reasons and Canada welcomes it's share with open arms with one of the highest immigration rates in the world. Canada also grants more new citizenships per capita than any other country.

Move to Canada

It's spring time in much of Canada and in our quest for the best and cheapest places to live it's time to revisit Canadian soil!

Canada Flowers

Many Americans think of Canada as the land of ice and snow - the 'Great White North' as Bob and Doug McKenzie popularized on SCTV's Second City McKenzie Brothers skit. But few know that there are places in Canada that rarely have snow and some even have Palm Trees! In fact Victoria in the Canadian Province of British Columbia typically sees spring arrive in February. Each spring the city and surrounding neighbourhoods do a 'flower census'. This year a record 21 billion blooms where counted in this provincial capital. Just to put that in perspective, Victoria could present every Canadian man, woman and child with a bouquet of more than 650 flowers! That's a lot of flowers and blooming in February - in Canada none the less!

Bruce Carter, CEO of Victoria's Chamber of Commerce quipped, "We're going to brag  to the rest of the country that Victoria is the Best Place to live!" An east coast Canadian politician (BTW the East Coast of Canada has had to endure one it's coldest, stormiest and snowiest winters in record) retorted, "Victoria doesn't have winter. They have spring, summer, summer and spring!"

And back to those Canada Flowers - well Victoria flowers really ! There is one community in Victoria which constantly likes to brag about it's top rank as the countries 'most blooming-est' community - the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay boasts 14 billion flower blossoms this spring, oh and it also holds title for the greatest number of Palm Trees in all of Canada!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cheapest Places to Live in Malta

Malta Right Now

Today we're turning our attention to another Tax Haven, Malta in our review of the Best Places to Live list presented by International Living in their 2010 Quality of Life Index.

If you know anything about International Living you know they lean towards countries which offer two things - a low cost of living and places where taxes are minimal if not avoidable altogether.

The Republic of Malta is made up of five islands in the Mediterranean - Malta, Gozo and Comino have small resident populations while Cominotto and Filfla are uninhabited but visited regularly by  boat day-trippers and seabirds. The Capital of Malta is Valletta. In their Annual Retirement Index International Living gives Malta top spot for the World's Best Climate. Malta is certainly not on most peoples radar and almost unheard of by Americans. It is anchored close to the centre of the Mediterranean Sea about sixty miles from the Sicily. There is a modern airport at Luqa, which is on the isle of  Malta and this connects it to a number of European countries. Rome is about an hours flight away while the next closest neighbours are  North Africa, at about 200 miles. Travel west, and you arrive in Tunisia; go south from Malta, and you reach Libya. In other words, despite the Republic of Malta's island status, you won't live here like a castaway.

Maltese Currency & Cost of Living on Malta

The Euro has been adopted as the official currency of Malta. It is also known to be is one of the cheapest places to live in Europe. Groceries, clothing, furniture and utility services are all quite reasonably priced. Household help like maids and gardeners are also available at relatively low hourly rates. Tipping is generally expected in Malta if service is not included in the bill at the universal rate of 10-15% in restaurants and 10% to taxi drivers.

Malta's Specially Designated Developments (SDA's)

Some areas on the Maltese Islands have been set aside as Special Development Zones. Maltese legislation says foreigners can purchase only one island home. However, this law does not apply to Specially Designated Areas (SDAs). You can buy as many homes in SDA developments as you wish. SDA apartments are usually at luxury standard so although you won’t be competing with locals who live on modest wages you also won't find these the cheapest places to live. Opportunities currently exist in Midi-Malta’s Manoel Island / Tigne Point development, Portomaso, and Cottonera Waterfront.

Steeped in history and with the best climate in the world, the islands of Malta have even more to offer. Here you’ll find a low cost of living...affordable “houses of character” excellent health care system...and serious tax breaks.

Oops - being cheap on the proof read!

Oops! I have to apologize for yesterdays post on the Cheapest Places to Live in Liechtenstein. I was rushing to get out of here and didn't take the time to proof it.

Before we move on to a discussion of Malta I will clean that up - promise!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cheapest Places to Live in Liechtenstein

If you're looking to Liechtenstein as a place to live than you probably aren't too concerned about finding the cheapest places there. Well known for it's privacy laws the famous Liechtenstein Bank can certainly save one a great deal of money but only if you have a great deal of money to being with!

Liechtenstein was established in the Roman Empire in 1719 and became a sovereign state in 1806. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria. But the economic devastation caused by World War I forced Liechtenstein to conclude a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. Since World War Two Liechtenstein's low taxes have spurred outstanding economic growth.

Liechtenstein Business

Liechtenstein has the highest GDP per capita at $85,383 in this very small country which also has a population of just 35,000. But when it comes to  Liechtenstein Business there's no trouble finding highly skilled people among the 15 banks and more than 100 wealth management companies.

Liechtenstein Foundation

A popular strategy of the Liechtenstein Offshore community is to set up a Liechtenstein Foundation - by the way this has also become very popular and common in another well known offshore tax haven - Panama. The Liechtenstein foundation, also known as the Stiftung, is most frequently used by foreign investors. A Foundation is a hybrid-entity that includes many characteristics of both a company limited by guarantee and a trust. A foundation cannot be used to pursue commercial business so it is typically used for holding assets such as property, shares companies and other forms of investments. Foundations  traditionally have been used to hold and pass assets from one generation to another in complete confidentiality.

Travel to Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein has no airports due to the size of the country. However, you can fly into Z├╝rich which is only 115 km away. The Swiss Autobahn A13/E34 runs along the Rhine River which forms the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There are several places that cross the Rhine where you can enter into Liechtenstein. The two most common spots to cross are the bridge into Balzers and the bridge crossing to Vaduz. Driving in Liechtenstein is relatively safe. But be extra careful because the narrow and winding mountain roads can be quite dangerous plus there are police speed traps are everywhere.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cheapest Places Need Security Too!

OK, I know it's a cheesy headline but here's a cool suggestion. Unfortunately the 'bleeding' hearts in the world would never allow this. After all terrorists deserve to realize his life's dream too!

Suggestions for improved

Airport Security

from an engineer (ex-NASA project director):

Here's a solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the airports. Have a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you.

It would be a win-win for everyone.
There would be none of this crap about racial profiling and this method would eliminate a long waiting line, extra security measures and expensive trials.  Justice would be quick and swift.

Case Closed! 

Not sure about the 'ex-NASA project director' part but it's still a pretty good idea!

Back to the Cheapest Places to Live... soon!

I know I've been remiss for a few days and not blogged about the Cheapest Places to Live or any places to live for that matter. And to be perfectly honest I still haven't had time to do any additional research so I won't be blogging about that today either. I will however, share a nice letter which arrived in my e-mail box this morning.

Canada may not be the Cheapest Place to Live

But following the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics many people are commenting on what a nice place Canada is to visit. I'm sure many will also be trying to figure out a way to move to Canada too! One such person was Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor, for the NBC Nightly News. Not sure where he left this note but someone was kind enough to pass it along in the form of a viral e-mail.

Here it is -

A note from Brian Williams:

After tonight's broadcast and after looting our hotel mini-bars, we're going to try to brave the blizzard and fly east to home and hearth, and to do laundry well into next week.  Before we leave this thoroughly polite country, the polite thing to do is leave behind a thank-you note.

Thank You Canada

For being such good hosts.

For your unfailing courtesy.

For your (mostly) beautiful weather.

For scheduling no more than 60 percent of your float plane departures at the exact moment when I was trying to say something on television.

For not seeming to mind the occasional (or constant) good-natured mimicry of your accents.
For your unique TV commercials -- for companies like Tim Hortons -- which made us laugh and cry.

For securing this massive event without choking security, and without publicly displaying a single automatic weapon.

For having the best garment design and logo-wear of the games -- you've made wearing your name a cool thing to do.

For the sportsmanship we saw most of your athletes display.

For not honking your horns. I didn't hear one car horn in 15 days -- which also means none of my fellow New Yorkers rented cars while visiting.

For making us aware of how many of you have been watching NBC all these years.

For having the good taste to have an anchorman named Brian Williams on your CTV network, who turns out to be such a nice guy.

For the body scans at the airport which make pat-downs and cavity searches unnecessary.

For designing those really cool LED Olympic rings in the harbour, which turned to gold when your athletes won one.

For always saying nice things about the United States...when you know we're listening.

For sharing Joannie Rochette with us.

For reminding some of us we used to be a more civil society.

Mostly, for welcoming the world with such ease and making lasting friends with all of us.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Places to Live in #13 Austria

Let's see if we can find anything about the Cheapest Places to Live in Austria, our 13th place Best Country to Live in as publish by International Living in the 2010 Quality of Life Index.

Austria Properties

Austria may be a cheaper option for those considering a move overseas. The price of properties in Austria are currently less than those found  in the U.K. Also, places to live in Austria are cheaper than in France and Switzerland, according to

Managing director and online property specialist, Simon Malster says,

"This was especially true in the case of Austrian ski properties. It is charming, very traditional and it is different from the ski resort areas in the other countries. We have a lot of clients who buy for the summer in Austria. We don't get in Switzerland or France."

Buying properties in Austria may also be good in terms of investment. The Channel 4 program, "A Place in the Sun",  recently voted Austria 16th in its top 20 places to make money.

Austria Hotels

Obviously your first exposure to living in Austria is Austrian Hotels. You're likely to stay in and experience quite a few Austria Hotels on your quest to find the cheapest place to live as you scour properties in Austria to find the best place for you. The hospitality, quality and cleanliness of Austria Hotels gives one a good insight into what living in Austria is like. Looking at the way one treats their guests gives great insight into the culture of a country. Just look at how many people are now interested in Vancouver Canada after experiencing the warm and hospitality during the winter Olympics. Here are a few Austria Hotels to consider:
Burgenland - Hotel Burgenland (4 Star)
Klagenford: Hotel Dermuth (4 Star); Hotel Rokohof (4 Star); Palais Porcia (4 Star)
Velden: Hotel Parks (4 Star); Seehotel Europa (4 Star)
Lower Austria
Baden (near Vienna): Hotel Schloss Weikersdorf (4 Star); Grand Hotel Sauerhof (4 Star)
Durenstein: Hotel Schloss Duernstein (5 Star)
Salzberg City: HOtel Bristol (5 Star); Hotel Goldener Hirsch (5 Star); Sheraton (5 Star)

Car Hire Austria

One key thing you will need to be aware of when you are searching Properties Austria is getting around. This is not a heavily populated country with mass transit everywhere so, car rental Austria will be very important. Take note if you are from the Americas that terminology can be a bit different in Europe. This is a good example - where an American would search 'Car Rental Austria' a European would make this inquiry instead, 'Car Hire Austria'. Language differences can be subtle form country to country but knowing how to ask a question in a way the local people are used to will always get you better and faster results.

As a quick recap - it's not easy finding information about the cheapest places to live in Austria so travelling to Austria and checking out Properties Austria first hand looks like the way to go. Don't forget to inquire about Austria Chalets. This is a very common way to live in Austria and Chalet Properties Austria are going to be quite common. Don't forget to plan ahead and look for 'Car Hire Austria' vs 'Car Rental Austria' - the former search term will get you better results. Also, shop around for Austria Hotels - there are many, many beautiful ones to make your visit to Austria memorable and informative.