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Buying Property in Ibiza. Article 3

This article of Buying Property in Ibiza takes a look at local taxes, covering bills from abroad, how to deal with an emergency and communications (TV, Broadband etc)

So you have just walked out of the Notaries office and you are the proud owner of your new home. No doubt the first thing you will do is have a long liquid lunch and dream about the future, thinking that buying a property in Ibiza is a cinch.

However, before you get carried away there are a few more things that you need to consider to make sure that your home ownership runs as smoothly as possible.

Bank Accounts and Bill Paying.
It is almost essential to have a bank account in Spain from which you can pay bills by direct debit – the system is almost identical to the UK. You can run these accounts over the Internet. You can very easily send cash from your UK bank which obviates the need to carry large sums in cash and the exchange rate you will get is better than that for cash. Many UK banks have subsidiaries in Spain and can assist you with the account opening process.

Local Taxes.
The Ayuntamiento (local town council) levies taxes based on the size and value of your home. These taxes cover, very loosely, similar services to those covered by Council Tax in the UK. Spain is a bureaucratic country and as such when you have any official contact with the council you may be asked for proof that are up to date with these taxes. You can, and should, pay these taxes by direct debit to make sure there are no lapses.

Postal System.
The postal system in Spain differs from the UK in that your post will not normally be delivered to your door, but to your post box in the communal area in apartments, or to a post office box in your nearest Correos. In rural areas post is delivered to a ‘Buzon'. These boxes are located in various places including bars etc. Costs vary as does the quality of the postal service.

Unless you are a permanent resident in Spain, my recommendation would be to use e-mail/ e-billing as far as possible and have any paper bills sent to your UK address – at least you are not then confronted by a pile of paper when you arrive, or worse still risk have missing bills/ statements which you later need for tax returns etc.

Help at Hand / Emergency Back-Up.
Since buying our house in Ibiza the one thing for which we have been really grateful is having good friends and reliable tradespeople on the island to whom we can turn if we have any problems. It is really tough trying to sort out a leak, or a defective air-con unit, from over 1,200 miles away, with a contractor you have never met! This situation is even more difficult in the middle of summer. So if you haven't already got a list, then speak to someone you trust who already has a home and ask them who they use!

Housekeeper Option.
The single best thing we have done, and which we always advise buyers to consider, is to find a ‘housekeeper' who is resident on the Island permanently and to whom you can turn to help deal with these issues. You will need to pay this person a weekly or monthly retainer. This payment will normally also cover cleaning/ minor redecoration etc.

It is up to you how much or how little you want you done but it is great to know that when you're not there someone is making sure everything is OK and that if there is a problem you don't need to jump on a plane or spend hours on the phone resolving issues. For those with really deep pockets and large houses, these housekeepers can often ‘live-in' which has the added benefit of increased security. If you don't know anyone who can help you might want to refer to one of the property advisers in Ibiza – if you do this I suggest that you speak to more than one and meet with possible candidates.

Phone, Broadband and TV Services.
Phone/ broadband and TV signal varies across Ibiza, albeit that it has improved hugely over recent years. Before you commit to satellite TV, or phone/ broadband, you should check with your neighbours about signal strength. I find the 3G signal is pretty good in most places and I carry a pay-as-you-go 3G Mi-Fi device to which I can connect several mobiles/ laptops. Unlike the UK the free Wi-Fi coverage in towns is pretty good. Most of Ibiza Town, La Marina, Botafoch, and Talamanca are covered by a free service provided by the Ajuntamiento and many restaurants and bars have free Wi-Fi.

Spanish TV is pretty poor so for most UK buyers, UK Satellite TV will be the most popular choice – but much will depend on how much time you intend to spend in Ibiza and whether you can justify the cost.

Author Phil Dibbs is the man who walks his talk, having purchased his own property on Ibiza. His company, Hawkmoor Associates Ltd, is available to assist in an advisory capacity on property purchases in Ibiza.

Photo: Tamas Kooning Lansbergen

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