Barcelona, where floor tiles are art

What Barcelona old flats hide behind doors: when a mosaic tile becomes art.

Barcelona is renowned for art and beautiful buildings among many other things. But what is still a little treasure to discover are the old features on old properties. Many people have not discovered yet the beauty and heritage that mosaic tiles represent. Those tiles can be found all over Spain, but Barcelona’s modernism took them to a different level. Every single tile is part of a bigger picture, a part of a mosaic. Every single tile is a piece of art on its own.

When a mosaic tile becomes art.

Photo made by American – Brazilian artist Lucas Pereira @illuminatingems showing bohemian lawyer Hugo Navarrete’s passion for old tiles.

A picture is worth a thousand words, says the English proverb. And indeed, the photo shows the drawings of the tile, as a part of a mosaic, and in the rear part is written Barcelona.

Preserving old features on properties, not only adds character and personality to the dwelling but also keeps the essence and identity of the place. The challenge of restoring something old features and bringing them back to their best seems not always appealing to developers and buyers when planning renovation works.

The easiest, and cheapest option too, is stripping old the flat and starting all over again, rather than restoring it.

As a result, skips full of mosaic tiles mixed with rubble are often found in the streets of Barcelona.

Not only tiles can be found, old wooden doors, wooden windows, old marble, are other features that could be integrated and restored.

However, restoring is not the only solution, finding different uses for what they were originally designed for, or simply turning them on decoration, collection pieces, or art on its own; is another way of saving that valuable heritage.

And there is where property, history, heritage, art, restoration, recycling, architecture, and ecology meet, all in one, to turn out -what for many is considered waste and rubble- into identity, design, art, style and heritage, and legacy for future generations.

“A man on a mission to preserve Barcelona’s decorative floor tiles” is a press article published by The Guardian, and combines art, property, heritage, collection, and restoration of Barcelona’s 19th century flat floor tiles.

Also, you can find some references in this other article: “Hydraulic tiles, once a staple of Modernist architecture, are having a comeback” written by Catalonian news.

Spain Visa to Live the Mediterranean Life

Ever thought of the Spain visa? Well, if you ever considered living the Mediterranean lifestyle, Spain might just be the place for you. One of the ways to explore it is with a non-lucrative visa from Spain

The reality is that the pandemic reset priorities for people. For instance, the very nature of work changed. Many people and companies shifted to remote working. As people began to explore working remotely, suddenly, the world opened.

Countries worldwide realized that digital nomads could be lucrative assets for their economies. Greece became one of the first countries in Europe to offer a visa for digital nomads. However, a Spain visa is also a distinct possibility for those able to sustain themselves.

Why a Spain Visa?

Spain is a beautiful Mediterranean country. It’s got an easy lifestyle, fantastic food, wine, shorelines, and people. So, applying for the Spanish non-lucrative temporary residency visa may be an excellent alternative for you to explore the world.

This type of Spain Visa is available to EU citizens or those without an EU nationality that have enough economic means to support themselves while living in Spain and do not engage in any work or professional activities.

The one-year non-lucrative temporary residence visa requires applicants to show they have at least €27,793 worth of funds available. And if you renew your Spain visa to have two more years of residency, applicants must show twice the amount: €55,586. Read more about it in our news update about the non-lucrative visa.

Resources for Making Spain Home

Should you want to move beyond the Spanish visa and make it a permanent place to live, it’s important to understand legal issues and real estate. Many expats decide to make Spain their second home. So, please take a look at these resources:

© 2022 Hugo Navarrete. All Rights Reserved.

Spanish Properties for Sale Doing Well

If you’re looking at Spanish properties for sale, now’s the time to buy. In short, the Spanish real estate market is doing well and expanding. As a result, our team wants to give you the latest news and insights about the current market. If you’re going to purchase a property in Spain, now’s the time to look at properties. Take a look at our latest news update.

As mentioned, the real estate market in Spain is doing really well based on Spanish land registry reporting. Existing homes make up for the bulk of the sales in Spanish properties. In short, they totaled 12.5% on Q2-21 to 124,722 units, and new home sales came in 11.6% higher at 29,433 units for the third quarter this year alone!

Media Reports Regarding Spanish Properties

As you’ll read in our detailed news update regarding Spanish properties, several reasons exist for the rise. First, after lockouts and spending so much time indoors during the pandemic, many people dream about living in a bigger house with more amenities like gardens or patios.

The reality is that a lot of pent-up energy and demand exists. As governments move toward living with the virus, a shift is happening with the public. In short, they want to move on with their lives. And those who want to live in Spain started to buy the opportunities available.

Second, those who kept their jobs despite the pandemic increased their personal savings. As a result, they can now afford pricier housing they perhaps couldn’t do before the pandemic started. Another reason includes that people feel better prepared because there’s less debt on credit cards.

Barcelona Tips for Buying Property

So, don’t miss taking a look at the Spanish properties news update. And if you happen to be an expat looking to purchase property in Barcelona, take a look at Barcelona real estate tips.

© 2022 Hugo Navarrete. All Rights Reserved.

What are the financial requirements for Spain’s non-lucrative visa (NLV)?

Are you thinking about applying for the Spanish non-lucrative temporary residency visa?

This Spanish visa is available to non-EU citizens who have the economic means to support themselves while living in Spain without engaging in any work or professional activity.

Applicants for the one-year non-lucrative temporary residency visa now need to show they have available funds worth at least about €27,793. And if you’re applying to renew your non-lucrative visa so you have 2 more years of residency, you’ll need to show you can draw on twice that amount.

That’s because from January 1, 2022, there were increases in the *IPREM, the index used as a reference to establish that non-lucrative visa applicants have the financial means to support themselves without working, and the monthly rate has risen to €579.02.

If you’re applying for an NLV to live a year in Spain, you’ll have to demonstrate funds equivalent to at least 400% of that monthly amount, which works out to €2,316.08 a month, or €27,792.96 over a full year. That’s about €678 higher than the yearly rate in 2021 rate and €1,977 more than in 2020.

For each additional family member, non-lucrative visa applicants must demonstrate funds of a further €6,948,24 (100% of the IPREM) for the year.

The non-lucrative residency has been one of the most popular options for people from all over the world wishing to taste the Spanish lifestyle.

The non-refundable application fee for the NLV has also increased. Check with your local Spanish consulate for details . New rates applicable in January 2022 and published in Los Angeles are available here and those for London here.

You should also check with your local consulate for information on the requirements for an NLV but in case it’s helpful, here is a document published by the Consulate General of Spain in London for those in its jurisdiction. (The English version starts on page 4,)

Meanwhile, there’s good news for you if you’re a digital nomad and want to live and work in Spain! Stay tuned for more news of a new Spanish visa expected to become available later in 2022.

Such a visa is among provisions in draft laws to attract start-ups that were approved by the Spanish government in December. As at January 2022, they were awaiting debate in the Spanish parliament.

* IPREM (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples)

Spanish property sales pick up pace

Wondering what’s happening with the real estate market in Spain? Read on to learn about the latest trends in residential property sales in Spain.

Strong growth in house sales in Spain

On average, 1,675 homes were sold each day in Spain between July and September.

At a total of 154,155, the number of residential property sales registered in the third quarter of 2021 was not only 12.4% above the previous quarter, it was the highest total for any quarter in the last 13 years. Furthermore, it brought the total number of homes sold in Spain in the 12 months to September to 534,386 – the highest such total seen since 2008.

Existing homes accounted for the bulk (81%) of sales registered in the third quarter with a total up 12.5% on Q2-21 to 124,722. And sales of new homes, accounting for the remaining 29,433 sales, came in 11.6% higher. These are among the figures in the latest data from the Spanish Land Registry (Registradores de España). 

It’s no surprise, then, that Spanish property solicitors are being kept busy. But what’s causing this increase in property sales in Spain? 

Media reports say experts tend to agree that three main factors are at play. The first is that after the lockdowns and spending so much time at home, many residents in Spain dream of living in a bigger, better home, ideally with a patio or garden. Secondly, many of those who kept their jobs despite the pandemic were able to save money during the lockdowns and other restrictions and can now afford a big purchase. And the third factor? Interest rates remain low. In terms of foreigners – who once more account for over one in ten house purchases in Spain – the lifting of pandemic restrictions on movement is a key factor.

Average house prices in Spain rose again in the 3rd quarter of 2021

At €1,843, the average price per square metre of housing in Spain between July and September this year was 2% above that for the previous quarter. And the average of €1,789 for the 12 months to the end of September 2021, was marginally (1.1%) above that for the same period the previous year, the land registry data also shows. 

The highest average prices per square metre in the latest quarter were in the Basque Country (€2,900), Madrid (€2,888), the Balearic Islands (€2,862) and Catalonia (€2,275), while the lowest were recorded in Extremadura (€749) and Castilla La Mancha (€843), the registry said in a November press release.

Germans are now buying more housing in Spain than the Brits

For the first time since the land registry started publishing statistics on foreigners buying property in Spain in 2006, the British do not lead the list. In what many believe is largely due to Brexit, the Brits rank 2nd and the Germans now rank 1st. Of the 16,100 property purchases by foreigners in Spain between July and September – a total 18% higher than that of Q2 – Germans accounted for 10.4%, the British 9.9%, French 7.8%, Moroccans 6.5%, Belgians 5.6% and Romanians 5.3%.

Where are foreigners buying property in Spain?

Of all the property purchases by foreigners in the third quarter, the Balearic Islands were the most popular, claiming a 34.3% share, followed by the Canary Islands (23.6%), the Valencian Community (19.7%), Murcia (17.4%), Andalusia (11.4%) and Catalonia (11%). 


Spanish Land Registry press release, November, 2021
Spanish Land Registry report for third quarter 2021
Spanish TV channel report

Number of house sales registered in the third quarter of 2021 (Spanish Land Registry)

Quarterly change in the number of residential property sales in Spain (Spanish Land Registry)

Average prices per square metre of housing in Spain Number of house sales registered in the third quarter of 2021 (Spanish Land Registry)

Source of graphics:

Spanish Land Registry report, 3Q21

Barcelona Real Estate: 20 Tips for Buying

Spanish property sales picked up! As a traveler, perhaps you’ve visited the beautiful city of Barcelona. As a result, you love its world-class museums, restaurants, and easy lifestyle. So, you decide to purchase Barcelona real estate, as Clive and Karen did. That’s awesome, but as a foreigner, you need to keep in mind—buyer beware. In other words, it’s your responsibility to hire a knowledgeable advocate to look after your rights.

Foreigners Decide to Purchase a Holiday Flat in Barcelona

Before we get to the 20 tips you need to keep in mind for Barcelona real estate, we’ll share a bit about a couple’s story. Clive and Karen, like many others, decided to purchase real estate. And as is good practice, they chose an agent that spoke English. In this case, it was Casa Mona.

Since Karen and Clive weren’t fluent in the language and the legal intricacies of purchasing Barcelona real estate, they wisely retained a lawyer. What they discovered was that the process was much more complicated than they expected. For instance, they had to sign a power-of-attorney (POA) to ensure proper and robust representation.

As people who need a lawyer understand, it’s always best to have recommendations. It’s stressful enough to consider a Barcelona real estate purchase. But add to that, getting the right lawyer, it could get challenging. Still, Clive and Karen were fortunate enough to hire an English-fluent, albeit bohemian, lawyer. He turned out to be a fierce advocate for them.

Purchasing Barcelona Real Estate Comes with Inevitable Challenges

For Karen and Clive, buying property in real estate came with challenges. Fortunately, they had their lawyer, to whom they had given power of attorney, to represent them when they weren’t in Spain. Ultimately, the POA became essential because the papers for the flat weren’t correct. Also, they needed a surveyor to work with them to help sort issues regarding the apartment.

In short, the couple realized that it was vital to dot the I’s and cross the t’s. Moreover, it’s essential to have a lawyer who pays attention to the tiny details. And in the couple’s case, their attorney focused keenly on the details. Unfortunately, those who thought things could just happen were surprised by a fierce advocate representing his clients in every way.

20 Tips for Barcelona Real Estate & Properties in Spain

Again, foreign investors, such as an American buying property in Barcelona, quickly discover that real estate is complicated. It’s a fool’s errand for someone to think they could represent themselves. So, what follows are 20 tips any foreign buyer must keep in mind. It’s vital for Barcelona real estate, but also properties in Spain.

The Property Itself

When you look to buy Barcelona real estate or property in Spain, do the following with your lawyer or solicitor:

  1. A buyer should be aware of who’s the seller and who will receive the funds. In other words, ensure that the real estate owner is, in fact, the owner.  
  2. It’s also essential to know the legitimacy of the agency. In short, make sure the agent is an actual representative. Moreover, any down payments must happen to the right person, so check credentials.
  3. Make sure you know the charges on the Barcelona real estate or Spanish property. Meaning, know what they mean and if they can get cleared. Further, make sure charges and debts don’t have a higher value than the selling price. Otherwise, the equity is negative.
  4. Find out about the Cedula de habitabilidad, or habitation certificate. Without that certificate, you can’t rent or live in the property you plan to purchase.
  5. Also, get the Certificado energetico, energy certificate. Remember, it’s about the energy efficiency of the dwelling. And you don’t want to end up with massive energy bills.

More to Know About Your Barcelona Real Estate

  1. Further, you must know the state of the building. So, you need to see the inspección técnica de edificios (ITE). In short, it speaks to the building inspection. Also, it shows major information about the state of the building, capital expenses, and possible issues.
  2. And, when you purchase Barcelona real estate, you need to check the community meetings minutes. Also, you want to talk with the administrator to find out relevant information. For instance, you need to know if the group is solvent, what problems exist, projects, litigation against third parties, etc. 
  3. Of course, you want to go to the real estate property and check it. Ideally, it should get inspected by a surveyor. Doing so will tell you about the state of the building. For example, the community works, cleaning, cracks in the structure, etc.
  4. When you purchase Barcelona real estate, check that the size is correct. Ideally, Catastro and the land registry should have the same size. But, it’s not always the case. And in that case, it needs to get checked and updated. 
  5. Also, you have to make sure the property isn’t under a planning project that involves changes to it. Remember, the devil’s in the details. So, you want to get as much detail as possible.

Continuing Your Due Diligence

  1. Of course, you want to ensure no administrative irregularities exist. For example, illegal works. These things could affect the property and, therefore, the buyer.
  2. Also, you want to know the referencia catastral inserted in the land registry is the correct one. Further, you don’t want typing mistakes or errors.
  3. Moreover, make sure the address is current and correct. Yes, it could have changed at some point. And, if it did, it needs to get updated.
  4. And, you also want to verify that all bills and supplies are paid.
  5. Further, you need to know that the council taxes are paid up to date. 

Final Things to Keep in Mind for Barcelona Real Estate or Property in Spain

  1. What’s more, you want to ensure the community of owners’ fees are up to date.
  2. Also, you need to know if the sellers are Spanish nonresidents taxes exist. For instance, a compulsory withholding of 3% of the selling price exists. For Barcelone real estate, it’s called the Plusvalía municipal tax idem.
  3. Furthermore, be aware of a restriction of 2 years for the sellers after receiving the ownership from an inheritance.
  4. Ensure that third parties, spouses, or people with rights of use, sign and agree on the sale.
  5. Finally, check if there are tenants, squatters, etc. occupying the property. And know what their legal rights are to the property.

Again, these tips serve to give you information for Barcelona real estate or Spanish property sales. However, you must hire a solicitor or lawyer for buying real estate. Simply, too many details and legal issues could hinder your enjoyment even purchase of the property.

© 2021 Hugo Navarrete. All Rights Reserved.

An American Buying Property in Barcelona

As many people know, buying property is always a good idea if it’s financially possible. If you happen to purchase real estate, the chances are that it’ll appreciate. And for ex-pats or foreign investors who love the idea of property abroad, Spain is an excellent choice. As we know, the pandemic and Brexit caused lots of fluctuation in real estate.

Specifically, many British invested heavily in Spain. And sure, Brits still make up the largest group of purchasers in Spanish real estate (9.5%). In 2009, Brits made up almost 1/3 of all foreign investment in buying property in Spain. However, times changed, and the pandemic and Brexit certainly changed things. In 2021, the investment in Spain by Brits in real estate dropped by 2.6%. And that represents a historic drop of British people purchasing real estate in Spain.

Americans Invest Overseas

According to recent reporting, the British still make up the most significant portion of property investors in Spain. And that’s followed by the Germans, Moroccans, French, and Romanians. However, Americans too love Spain, and they especially love Barcelona. 10.21% of foreign investors into buying property purchase in Catalonia. And as we know, Barcelona is the great city in that region.

Perhaps more Americans wish to follow the steps of Jo Lynn. She’s an American who purchased a property in the city of Barcelona. As many Americans discover when they buy property overseas, it’s essential to retain a lawyer. It’s one thing to purchase property in the United States. But it’s quite another in a foreign country. Obviously, laws differ for buying real estate. Moreover, customs and cultural differences exist, and a lot of it could be downright confusing.

An American Decides to Purchase Real Estate in Barcelona

Fortunately, when Jo Lynn decided to buy property in Barcelona, she knew she needed an attorney. Often, especially for Americans with different customs and ideas, getting referrals makes the most sense. For Jo Lynn, her son and daughter-in-law referred a talented lawyer who also helped in the purchase of their apartment.

As Jo Lynn explained, “I was advised by my son and his wife that dealing with Spanish law and with real estate agencies could be extremely complicated and at times risky, especially since at that time my Spanish was not adequate to deal with the bureaucracy.”

Moreover, many Americans simply have a tough time understanding European bureaucracy. And learning it on the fly as you look at buying property in Spain’s the wrong time to try to understand it. Therefore, it’s essential—especially as an American—to hire expert counsel.

Spanish Real Estate Law

We have to remember that Spain has existed many more centuries than the United States. As a result, it’s got real estate laws on the books that date centuries. Jo Lynn confided that “Spanish law is arcane and not all sellers or realtors are trustworthy. The property purchase entails unexpected costs and potential pitfalls.

There’s a maze of paperwork when buying property in Spain, and even in a modern city like Barcelona. Also, Jo Lynn mentioned the series of meetings, payment terms, and requirements. Further, she confided she couldn’t have possibly managed it by herself. And she felt much more comfortable working with a highly recommended attorney.

In short, what you think or your experience in buying property in your country is not what happens in a foreign country. From an American perspective, buying property, even in the United States, is fraught with challenges. As a result, it’s essential for Americans—and foreign investors in general—to have a fearless advocate when buying property abroad.

Learn more about some of the challenges of buying property in Barcelona and also Spanish property sales.

© 2021 Hugo Navarrete. All Rights Reserved.

Real Estate: Obtaining Help as a Foreign Investor

When people decide to purchase real estate in a foreign country, they have different reasons for doing it. For instance, they want to live in a new place to experience the culture. Or, people who buy property may wish to purchase property as an investment. Still, others may want to buy it because they feel connected to an ancestral country.

Several reasons make it essential for foreigners to find a qualified lawyer and advocate. For example, depending on your place of taxation, you may discover taxation issues both in your home country and in the location where you purchase real estate. You may also not fully understand local customs or laws.

Unfortunately, unscrupulous realtors or sellers may also look to fleece foreigners from more money. Whatever the reason, foreign buyers should get assistance from a local lawyer. Also, a lawyer helps investors understand the legal ownership of the real estate. And they also research if the property is free from any liens or debts.

Buying Real Estate Property in Barcelona

Hans and Trine decided to purchase property in Barcelona in 2011. They bought their apartment through the Danish-based firm, CasaMona. As a result of the fact that the realtor understood they were foreigners, they received a high-quality recommendation for a fierce advocate and trusted lawyer. Moreover, the couple didn’t speak Spanish or Catalan and needed to ensure they had someone representing their interests.

In Spain, they learned that they had to acquire NIEs, establish bank accounts and obtain essential documentation before proceeding with the real estate purchase. They discovered that it was a time-consuming and exhausting process. Nevertheless, even if you don’t know what you need to do for documentation before you head to a realtor, a lawyer will help guide you in the process.

Securing a Lawyer Who Puts You at Ease

Buying real estate anywhere could induce high stress. Unfortunately, something will always go differently than you expected. However, a lawyer and advocate will ensure that when and if things go a bit sideways, that you won’t lose money in the process. Hans and Trine said of their lawyer, “When we met Hugo and got to know him through the purchase, we felt extremely comfortable and safe. Hugo would be doing everything which would be in our best interest.”

When people go through the exercise of purchasing property, it’s a memorable experience. And hopefully, it’s a positive experience where the stress of it gets alleviated with legal expertise. In this case, Trine and Hans are health professionals and used to being around people in need. However, the experience of purchasing real estate in Barcelona changed their viewpoint. This time around, they were the ones in need and needed someone to help them.

They shared, “Hugo’s attitude, values, responsiveness, ways of sharing humour, trustworthiness, being thorough on explaining details all made us very comfortable. He has taught us a lot about Barcelona and has been a translator to understand Spain’s political situation. We have felt extremely comfortable with his advice because Hugo has been very balanced to go for what is necessary and not for “what is nice to have.”

Foreign Investor Property Management and Administration

Fortunately for Trine and Hans, their lawyer made things as smooth as possible for them. However, once they purchased the apartment, they decided to hire their attorney to manage and administer the property. For them, it means attending the required meetings representing their interests in the apartment building, for instance.

Sometimes, buyers fall in love with a foreign country or city and want real estate. However, they don’t fully consider their lifestyle or whether they will need someone to administer it. In short, having a foreign property could involve many airplane trips. Therefore, buyers need to think through all aspects of real estate ownership. For example, owning an apartment in a building means attending meetings with other property owners about matters related to the building as a whole.

For Hans and Trine, the property management by their lawyer has included much more than the purchase. Aside from property owner meetings, their lawyer has contributed to solving legal questions related to the whole apartment community. He was also helpful in bringing them in touch with a carpenter and tax lawyer. In the process, their lawyer has contributed to the expansion of their network in Barcelona. Lastly, but not least, he has managed their testimonies related to their property regarding their children.

A Final Note for Real Estate Buyers

Overall, Hans and Trine are pleased about their purchase of an apartment in the glorious city of Barcelona. As the couple said, hiring a lawyer is essential. As foreign investors, the pair commented, “Even with knowledge of the Spanish language, we would highly recommend such assistance. The distance between Barcelona and Tromsø (in northern Norway) is 3289 km by plane! If acute issues come up, we have experienced it vital to being locally assisted on a legal basis.”

They continued, “The congruency in Hugo’s and our world- views, attitudes, values, and beliefs has only been a bonus and brought the relationship to a higher level. Hugo has become a true friend!” The trio have become such friends that the bohemian lawyer has a nickname for the Norwegian couple: Aurora & Borealis.

© 2021 Hugo Navarrete. All Rights Reserved.

Thomas and Danielle “going native” in Calpe, Spain

I am delighted to invite you to follow the blog blog.bouman.io. “Our adventures in Caspe”.
It is made by Thomas and Danielle, a young Dutch couple who bought a property in Caspe, Spain. I had the priviledge of being their lawyer / solicitor for the house purchase, www,hugolawyer.com; and witnessing the energy and enthusiasm both had for the project. It is a real and inspirational story, not only of people looking for a place in the sun, but also of people trying to make a living and positive impact in their new place, sustainable, eco-friendly. I am not sure if applies to “grand design” project in the terms of the size of the construction; but the fact that it is done by them, foreigners, with no previous experience, makes it a real challenge, and a real adventure.

Good luck, and the very best my friends.