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Member of the Federation of British Estate Agents in Spain

     Goulbourn Associates
     Edf Iris, Avda Gamonal
     Benalmadena Costa
     Malaga, 29630

Welcome to Goulbourn Associates - with more than 16 years experience of the property market on
the Costa del Sol you can be assured of a personal, professional yet friendly service at all times.

General Business Information

Types of business
As in the U.K. there are different methods of purchasing a business, ie:

a). FREEHOLD - Identical to the U.K., Where the purchaser buys the premises where the business is located.

b) TRASPASSO - Until recently this was the most prevalent type of lease, usually for an indefinite period. It normally consists of a perpetual rental contract and the owner of the TRASPASO has the right to sell on the lease to a third party. The purchase price would normally include the fixtures, fittings and goodwill. The law governing this type of lease has changed and as a consequence TRASPASOS are becoming a thing of the past.

c). FINITE LEASES - Similar to the U.K. Much more common in Spain now. Leases can be for any length of time i.e. 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 years etc. With or without a renewal clause.

d). RENTAL CONTRACT - Very occasionally available. A financial bond is normally required, which may or may not be refundable. Monthly rent pro rata is normally higher than other types of lease.

You will require an account here to transfer funds from abroad for the purchase of your business. Banking in Spain is more relaxed than the U.K. so please allow plenty of time for the transfer to take place. Most banks here on the Costa del Sol have staff who speak English, but we have found Sol Bank in Arroyo de la Miel to be particularly helpful and all the staff speak English.

Getting started
Once you have purchased your business, you will need to do lots of things. Apart from the main issue of taking over and running your new business, there are quite a few administrative tasks that are necessary. If you wish we can handle all of these for you while you get on with the serious business at hand. From our experience you will need:

I). N.I.E. NUMBER. This is your personal identity number. It involves a quick trip to the police station, with a photograph and takes about 4 weeks to come through. If you are intent on opening a business here, we would advise you to apply for this immediately as there is little you can do business wise without this number.

Ii). OPENING LICENCE. As mentioned earlier, this Licence is granted by the Town Hall, and every business is required to have one. If the business you intend to purchase has a fairly new Opening Licence then it is a fairly straight forward matter of applying for a change of name. If however no opening licence exists or it is old then the application is more complicated, probably involving an architect to draw up plans etc. This can be quite expensive and time consuming, so it is important to know the state of the Opening Licence for the business you intend to purchase.

III) RESIDENCE PERMIT - You will need this if you intend to work and live in Spain. Once you are in possession of your N.I.E. number and have made all the necessary other registrations, you can then apply for your residencia.

IV) FISCAL REGISTRATION - Your N.I.E. Number is used to track your financial activities. You will need it to register in the tax system. You also need an ACTIVITY LICENCE, which relates to the type of business you intend to operate. I.V.A. (the Spanish equivalent of V.A.T.), unlike the U.K., is administered by the tax office.

V). SOCIAL SECURITY – You must register in the Social Security System. If you are running your own business, you will be registered as self employed (Autonomo). Once you are registered in the system we can also register you for national health care. This would normally cover the entire family.(for family registration you will need your marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates).

VI). "FOOD LICENCE" - Whether your business serves only drinks or food and drinks you will need to take a simple hygiene examination to obtain your "Food Handlers Licence".

VII). ACCOUNTS - Our associates, Christian Mata will be pleased to administer your accounts.

VIII). SUPPLIERS - Initially for the new business owner there is a language barrier. We can ease this problem for you if you wish by meeting with your suppliers and arranging orders, negotiating introductory discounts and generally taking the stress out of the first few weeks. We also provide a help line service if you are really stuck. This service includes dealing with the electricity, gas, phone and water companies if necessary.

IX). PUBLICITY & MARKETING - We have in house facilities for providing graphic design, printing, promotional items and colour copying should you require it.

X). ACCOMMODATION - We are normally able to find temporary accommodation at reasonable prices (not tourist rates). This is obviously more difficult in high season.

XI). SCHOOLING - We can make the necessary arrangements on your behalf should you require it. ( provides information on schools in the area).

XII). ALTERATIONS - If your business is not exactly the way you want it, we can introduce you to tradesmen who are known to us as providing good quality services at keen prices.

XIII). With regard to those hundred and one other things that are sure to crop up when starting a new business venture, we are only a phone call away. Our helpline is open during our normal office hours. If you are one of our valued clients, feel free to use it when ever you need to.

The above services vary from client to client, and therefore the cost to each individual varies, but in broad terms to cover the necessary paperwork, licence applications and permits would cost in the region of £2,000. Should you decide to purchase a business through us, we will give you an estimate BEFORE contracts are signed.

We would advise purchasers of new businesses to initially rent accommodation. If you are intent on buying something have a good look round and make sure it is in the right area for you.

Rented accommodation is quite reasonably priced compared to the U.K., but long term lettings can be difficult to find between May and September.

The standard of education in Spain is excellent. There are 2 options open:-

I) To attend a Spanish school where the standard Spanish curriculum is taught. This will give your children an excellent opportunity to pick up on the Spanish way of life very quickly.

II) Private Schools - There are a number of private international schools here on the coast where the syllabus follows the English school curriculum, to GCSE and A LEVEL examinations. These are all fee paying.

We can discuss these options with you personally while you are here.

Health Care
The National Health Service in Spain is excellent. As a self employed person, your social security payment entitles you to full and comprehensive state health care. Registration is quick and simple once you are in the social security system. There are, alternatively, a number of private care options which we can recommend.

Cars and Driving
When you become a Spanish resident, it is illegal for you to drive anything but a Spanish registered vehicle. It is possible to transfer foreign plated vehicles onto Spanish registration plates, but only if the vehicle is left hand drive. If you intend to live and work here we strongly recommend you purchase a Spanish plated vehicle as soon as possible.

There are now few restrictions on what you are able to bring into Spain. There are several local companies who are known to us, who specialise in moves from the U.K. to Spain. Should you require any assistance please let us know.

Unlike our competitors we do not offer projections on profitability on a broad brush basis. We consider this a recipe for disaster. Every business is different and should be treated as such. If you find a business that is of particular interest, we can offer advice on running costs and profitability etc.

Capital requirements
In addition to the funds required for the purchase of your business, you should consider the following as an absolute minimum requirement.

I). £2,000 for legal fees & licences.

ii). For the business, 2 months rent as deposit + 1 month's rent in advance.

iii). For private accommodation, 2 month rent as deposit + 1 month rent in advance.

iv). Stock, say £750.

v). Additionally, we would advise you to have enough surplus capital for 6 months in order to give you time to get your business going.

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