We have been asked to provide more information about what utilities are common when you buy Valencia Property and what the costs are typically of those utilities. Typically you will buy a house or apartment in Valencia which is supplied with water, electricity and perhaps gas. You may also include in the list of utilities internet, telephone and even home security so in this post we are going to look at those costs too because even if they are not supplied you may want to know more about the costs involved in those. Equally we also look into the change of ownership and the council taxes. In other words, yes, this will be a boring but necessary post.
In this article we will also look at the process of getting those utilities into your name and paying them through your bank account, remember you should have a Spanish bank account as we detailed in this post.
The Process of Getting Things Changed Over
When you sign for your property in the notary the owner brings along the latest electrcity, gas and water bills. You take these and change them over into your name and bank account. This is normally done by your lawyer (Or lawyer's secretary) or your agent. Sometimes the selling agent will do it for you too to make sure everything is changed over for their client. Expect to be asked for your bank details and NIE number in order to be able to change things over for you. A few days after the phone call to change things over you are likely to receive a new contract through the post with a prepaid envelope for you to sign the contract and return it to the supplier.
We use a service from a company called Papernest to change over the electric and gas when required as they will also search out the best deal for you and if wanted change to a different supplier with a better deal. This is quite important at the moment as electricity prices especially have risen so much this year. Unfortunately Papernest cannot deal with water companies, more about that later.
No doubt about it, electricity will be your biggest cost base. The price of electric has risen substantially this year as it has everywhere. For a typical apartment the electricity bill will be around 70 Euros per month usually billed bi-monthly although we have seen people being presented with bills up to 150 Euros per month and even more this year when the prices rose.
Obviously this can be reduced by installing solar panels on houses as there are grants and tax relief available for solar installation. It's a bit more difficult in apartments of course. The main companies are Iberdrola, Endesa, Hola Luz and Total Energies but there are plenty of start ups offering Green Electric and mixed supply. Many of these companies also offer gas supply and you usually get a discount of 5-10% when signing up to both electricity and gas from the same supplier.
One thing to note is that they often tempt you with offers for your first year and then jack up the price so always remember to check your supply costs after a year and compare the market, simples!
Another consideration is the power potential you contract. Standard bills have 3.3kw contracted but this will certainly mean that when you turn everything on the electricity trips and you have to go to the electric box and flick the switch back up. These days a more rational minimum contract will be for 5.8kw allowing you to use a lot of white goods at the same time. Remember, anything that heats up water such as a kettle or in Spain, washing machines that only have a cold water supply, or heats food such as a toaster or oven uses a large amount of electricity and using them at the same time will often trip the supply.
As in the case of electricity, gas is usually supplied by similar companies with Iberdrola and Endesa being the market leaders. Gas prices have not risen as much as electricity this year but prices are still going up. We also have to consider that many apartments and houses in villages and towns still use the famous orange gas bottles (Or the newer aluminium ones) Town gas is what you get a bill for whereas Bottled Gas you pay by the bottle with bottles now costing around 18 Euros per bottle for the standard sized ones.
A typical gas bill may be around 20-50 Euros per month depending what you use it for. More if it is used for hot water for example. In my house we only use gas for cooking (the hot water comes from solar) and the bill is around 32 Euros every two months, most of which is the standing charges for having the supply.
One thing you need to be careful with is the months you have no usage! You will still have had usage but either the gas company hasn't read your meter or you haven't supplied them with a reading on their app. In these cases it may be that you have three or four really low bills followed by a huge bill with the accumulated usage tallied up!
Water is surprisingly affordable in Spain, not a country famous for having an excess of rainfall. Typically bills will be around 20-40 Euros per month. The price includes taxes for drainage and treatment of waste water. Water is the difficult one to get changed over often as there are a multitude of companies and each and every village or town may even have its own supplier based in a small office in the countryside or in a back street of a village and it only opens on a Friday morning between 10 and 11 for new contracts (Yes, I am looking at you Pedralba)
You usually have to take along a copy of your purchase deed, your ID card and bank details to change over to your name and oftentimes in the towns and villages you will have received two shares in the local company on buying your house. Without those shares you cannot get a supply. Once you get it then you will find that the prices are still very cheap. At times you may need to get two contracts and supplies as there will be drinkable water and agricultural water (The very cheap stuff) that is used for gardens, filling pools etc...
Before we move onto optional costs which you will need to set up through your bank account let's look at something that should happen automatically but often doesn't, your council taxes, recycling and waste disposal. Many places have just one bill for all of these services and they are included in your council tax. Others have a council tax bill and a waste management and recycling bill seperately. It doesn't really make much of a difference in totals when added together.
When you buy your property the notary informs the property registry of the sale and in theory the following year the council tax bill will come to your address in your name. It is not direct debitted until you actually go to the council and take that step, usually on receiving the first year's bill. Therefore if you are not going to be at the house, the case of people who buy to rent out or as a holiday home, then it is worth being proactive and going to your local council offices with a copy of the full deeds once you have them and informing them you want the bill direct debitted into your account. Why would you do this? Because if you don't pay your council tax bill on time you get charged 20% extra for late payment.
How much is council tax? Well that depends on many factors of course from location and size to historical significance, different councils and their previous mistakes and size of plot. A small apartment in Valencia city with a protected facade might be as little as 60 Euros per year. More typical is around 200-500 Euros per year in the city and around 200-400 Euros per year outside. Villas can be anything from 300-2000 per year depending on size, location and plot. An interesting factoid is that council tax in L'Eliana can be almost double that of Ribarroja for a similar property opposite because of mistakes made in the past by the council with Refuse Collection meaning there was a huge shortfall in funds so council tax was jacked up massively.
You can reduce these costs by installing solar panels for example. In my town you get a 50% reduction in council tax for 5 years when you install solar panels which in my case meant a saving of 1250 Euros over the five years along with the reduced electricity prices.
Sometimes you are offered the internet connection that is currently supplying the house as it is not connected to a fixed telephone line. Usually though it's a better option to look at the prices being offered by the various companies to give you broadband cable internet to your home. It's available just about everywhere. Movistar, Orange, O2, Vodafone, Pepephone, Jazztel and more will be able to supply you and in the towns and villages many have their own broadband service eg, Naquera Fibra. The prices are always similar but whenever you contract the service one of these companies will have a better offer on, we can never say which it will be at any moment. As they mostly use the same Fibre network it doesn't really matter which you choose but some connect you quicker than others.
Regarding cost, expect to pay 30-60 Euros per month with the lower end just offering your home internet connection with wifi and the upper end offers including one or two mobile telephones with 5g coverage and unlimited Gigas too for those of you who are sentient and sensible and don't believe that 5g is here to help Bill Gates' Mind Control Party.
A Fixed Telephone Line at Home?
Really? You want one of those things?
If you really insist then a fixed line number is included in the internet package usually it's just that most people these days don't have a line at home. The number often forwards to a mobile. Those people who do have a fixed line number find that it is only ever called by grandparents who still think calling a mobile will cost a fortune and telesales people annoying you with offers to change your service providers. The huge downside of this of course is that a fixed line telephone doesn't usually let you block those calls as well as a mobile does or warn you about potential scam calls like some phones do.
We often tell people that a home security or alarm system is not really needed here as there are so few robberies and especially in the case of apartments it's difficult to rob a place here. However some people coming from more dangerous places insist on having alarm systems installed (Yep, that's the USA I'm talking about which is probably more dangerous than the surrounding area of St Denis in Paris)
There are various companies available such as Securitas Direct and Prosegur and again prices are very similar ranging from 30 Euros per month up to 60 Euros for more high end alarm systems with greater protections included.
You can also buy and install your own alarm system with no ongoing costs and that is often enough to deter any wouldbe thieves, again it's not really a big issue but even the plaque or the sight of the alarm is usually enough unless you are really in the sticks where robbery would be very, very easy although still pretty uncommon.
Other Monthly Costs You May Have
When you look at lifestyle options then you might also be setting up some monthly costs. These days you may want to set up a streaming service for entertainment at home, Netflix costs 12.99 per month but there are usually offers in place. Your gym membership might be as little as 10 Euros a month in certain gyms but if you have a posher gym with pool and spa then expect to spend somewhere between 30-80 Euros per month. A monthly public transport ticket in the city costs 35-53 Euros depending on the zones. Leasing a car may cost around 250 Euros per month on a three year contract and if you have one then a garage space is required and that might be anything from 50 Euros a month up to 200 Euros on Calle Colón in the centre.
The day to day cost of living is lower in Valencia than the vast majority of European cities and certainly lower than in the other main cities in Spain, Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and San Sebastian. A single person can expect to be able to live on just over 650 Euros per month after rental costs are taken into account according to Numbeo and 600 Euros per month according to Housing Anywhere. We actually looked at the cost of living in Valencia in 2021 comparing it to other cities worldwide and found it to be comparartively inexpensive.
Property Of The Week
Not many full houses come up for sale in the Cabanyal by the beach in Valencia so when they do we sit up and take notice. And when the description is equally good...
"I spent most of my work day trying to get a cat out of the engine of my car. Surprising how long a cat can survive in an engine really, I spent nearly 48 hours pretending that the mewing sounds weren’t coming from my car. In the end it was the smell of burnt hair that forced me to take action.
I tell you all this by way of excuse for the pathetic nature of this description. Here it is, might as well get it done:-
An endangered species – a full 3 storey house in Cabanyal. We are constantly asked for properties similar to this, so many have already been snapped up and renovated for use as tourist or private residences.
This house has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a garage, a large terrace on the roof complete with pool/jacuzzi. The upper floor is currently fitted out as almost a separate studio apartment, but as a master bedroom with ensuite it would work really well. It is located only 2 minutes walk from the tram stop, and about 5 minutes to the beach.
That’s it. Had I not spent 3 hours on my hands and knees on the street trying to catch a glimpse of kitten (really a lot more boring and legal than it sounds), I would have written something amazing, and you would be chuckling admiringly by now, and thinking ‘How does he get away with it’, while reaching for that phone to contact us about this amazing place that you simply have to have having read my description.
Instead, you’ll have to settle for knowing that the entirely ungrateful spitting and hissing ball of oil-stained fur survived and has been returned to its natural habitat (the empty lot near the kids school). Still a great house though.
Random Images From This Week
If You Liked This...
Then it might be an idea to take a look at some of our previous posts. Plenty of great information and some not as boring as this one.