Buy an apartment in Alicante, of course!

Alicante has always been a city with a lot of charm for its inhabitants and those that have been seduced for its strong points, such as the Mediterranean or its cultural offer. Maybe the size of the city or the location have helped Alicante to win positions in the ranking of cities to live where you don’t have to pay excessively expensive prices. In addition, both the capital and the small towns have several constructions with new flats that can be adapted to the majority of pockets and investors.

A city, but not a big city. Having 330.000 inhabitants, Alicante has the perfect size to offer a range of innovative and quality services, and at the same time be able to access to them easily and fast. Simultaneously, in its neighbourhoods live people native of Alicante and new neighbours, young families and students. An increase of population has made possible a urban growth and nowadays, there are some available flats for those interested in buying them. The historical centre, Saint Joan (calm and close to the city centre), the expansion district and the Albufereta are some examples of the different environments, adapted to the visitors and to those willing to live in Alicante.

A sunny and accessible capital. In general, the flats and houses in Alicante have an affordable price, even more than other cities in the Valencian Community. And, instead, Alicante has one of Valencian attractions: the sun. Alicante can brag of having good weather during all year with an average temperature of 18º and with a winter less cold than in other regions of Spain.

A charming city. The beach is one of the main attractions for those that decide to buy a flat and live in Alicante. Farther than a nice bath and walk, the beach can be the perfect place to do some sport. In addition, the city has a harbour that promotes sailing as one of the sports – paired with golf – more associated to Alicante. A permanent and complete cultural offer with a great catalogue of activities waiting for those who want to live in Alicante, including gastronomy: fish, seafood and good products, everything combined in the same city.

Who is in charge of the maintenance of a house: the owner or the person who rents it?

If this is our first time leasing a flat to somebody or renting one for you to live, it can come to our minds more than one question. Surely, one of them will be who must take responsibility for the maintenance of the place, the owner or the tenant. The Urban Lettings Law (LAU – Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos – in Spanish), that is the legal document that establishes the rules in the renting sector in Spain, gives us the answer to this question. In this post we will give you a summary of the tenant’s responsibilities and the owner’s regarding the maintenance of the rented place.

As a general rule, the LAU establishes that the owner must guarantee that the flat meets the habitability requirements, except when such conditions have been lost by the acts of the tenant. In addition, according to the law, the tenant is responsible for everything that gets broken due to the ordinary wear of the flat or the people that lives in it. And so on, the owner will accept responsibility for all the necessary repairs so that the place is habitable, except when the tenant is responsible of the damage. Consequently, the tenant must maintain the house or flat in the same conditions of use and conservation.

As in any rules or laws, it is when you have to put it into action that some difficult situations can appear between the tenant and the owner. And in more than 1 occasion the final decision has been taken in court. Even though that, common sense, good practices and established habits make that in most of the cases, both parts agree about who must be responsible in each case. And so then, while elements like water pipes or wiring will be the owners responsibility, tenants must paint the walls and repaint them before leaving the place, they will also have to assume the small repairs such as blinds, doors or kitchen furniture. In addition, they will have to assume the maintenance and repairs of electrical appliance, the water heater and the heating, just like the breakdown of the bathroom and the waste pipe.

Be that as it may, at the end of the letting, the tenant should return the apartment in the same conditions as it was received.

Tips to refurbish your place cheaply

You have been thinking about refurbishing the bathroom or the kitchen –or both- for some months now. Maybe you have an old apartment with some flaws and you want to sell it or rent it, or maybe it’s been a while since you think about changing the doors but never comes the moment to do it. Whatever the case, refurbishing doesn’t mean expensive or tiresome. You will have to do an important expense, yes, but you can also accomplish it in a more economical way. In this entrance we want to give you some tips to make the refurbishment of your house or flat cheaper.

The first advice to make your remodelling cheaper and easier is to plan it ahead in the best possible way. It seems obvious but it is not. We need to think about what is urgent, what parts of our house are we going to refurbish now and what others in the future. Or depending on the budget, if we sign onto a big refurbishment – recommended if we can afford it – or choose to do small or partial changes. An essential element of the planning is the budget. We need to know for sure how much money are we going to spend and it is recommended to ask and compare conscientiously 3 different budgets for every service we need, taking into account that not always the cheaper is the best.

If there is no possibility to do a big refurbishment there are some alternatives that can be useful to change the air to your place without having construction workers at home. We are talking about options like vinyl facings in walls and floors or painting on tiles or anti-humidity for the bathrooms. If you have damaged pipes, before they blow out the walls to change them, a good option is to repair them with resin, cleaner and more effective than breaking walls. In the case of the doors, we can think about varnishing them again. A more economical option than changing them.

A very effective way to have a cheaper refurbishment is to buy the materials that our suppliers need directly: tiles, paint, kitchen furniture… We can visit demolition warehouses or contact with different building companies that sometimes sell the materials they haven’t used in their constructions with really interesting discounts.

6 natural elements to use in the office

Spain is one of the European countries where workers spend more hours at work. Unlike other members of the EU, the workday lasts 8 hours. This means that we spend a third part of the day at work. Since when we arrive at home we would like to feel like, well, home, there are a lot of companies that added to their offices some materials, most of them natural, that make workers feel comfortably, getting a better working environment and indirectly, increasing productivity. In this article we would like to talk about 6 of these natural elements that can help your office to be a place that, apart from working, everyone can work better.

Wood is one of the natural materials that can be incorporated to the office design. In walls, furniture of accessories, the wood acts like a thermal and electric insulation. The combination of different colours, textures and styles brings warmth to the workplace. A comfortable environment that is also favoured by cork, king of insulations and that can also be used as a decorative and useful element in the walls.

We need to add to this list of natural elements the metal, if we want to have a urban and actual decoration in our office. In shelves and decorative objects such as lamps we can use steal, copper and iron. In addition, metal combines perfectly with glass and useful applications can be found to separate different environments without using visual barriers. Marble is a natural stone that, even if it is normally used in housing, for some time now, it has started to be introduced in the office world, beyond the most noble spaces such as meeting rooms, and getting into walls and floors.

Finally, and in a decorative level, we can take into account the artisan elements or the ones with natural fabric. We mean materials like wicker, straw or bamboo, for example that we can add in trays, curtains or even chairs. We can’t forget about plants, that are probably the natural element most consolidated in offices. Everyone knows their ability to absorb the electromagnetic waves of the office devices, but plants and the other elements in this article will help to maintain us connected with nature while working and it will contribute to our physical and psychological well-being.

I’m buying an apartment: new or second hand?

The Spanish government information regarding 2018 highlights 2 important things: firstly, the houses and apartments sales are rising; secondly, 9 out of 10 apartments that are sold are second-hand houses. Despite of that fact, in the past few months there have been some new-build projects. That is why, if you are thinking about buying an apartment you could be doubting between a second-hand or a new one. In this post we want to give you some elements to help you decide.

The acquisition of a place to live is the most important investment of our lives. So that, the price can be one of the most decisive element that might help us decide if we want a second-hand or a new flat. The second-hand apartments have a lower square metre price than the new ones. In addition, the taxation system also favours the second-hand flats because the VAT is higher in the new houses, which is a 10% (the official protection housing has only a 4% of VAT). Referring to the second-hand apartments, the Spanish tax on capital transfers tend to be lower on these types of flats. You should also know that when talking about granting a credit to buy the apartment, being new or second-hand is not something that could be considered to grant it.

However, the price is not the only thing to take into account when deciding. A new flat – with no imperfections – is ready for you to move in. We don’t have to think about adding more expenses like we have to do in a second-hand apartment where we are going to need a budget to refurbish and update it. And just one more fact related to economic issues: new apartments are built with innovative and more efficient materials so the annual energetic expenses should be less than in the second-hand buildings.

The price of the flat – second-hand or new – will be determined by its location, size and distribution. Location: second-hand apartments are normally far from the centric part of the city, but can have communal areas to compensate that. Size: the second-hand apartments can be bigger with wider rooms. Distribution: the new houses can have modern solutions to optimize the available space.

Do you want to sell your house? We tell you some tips to have in mind

If you are looking to sell your house in this post, we would like to help you do it with some aspects to take into account. The first thing you need to know is that won’t be a fast and easy process. And it is actually understandable: if we take into account that buying a house or apartment is in most cases, the biggest investment of our lives, it is clear that finding a buyer for our place won’t happen overnight.

If you think you don’t have enough time or knowledge to dedicate to this matter, a good option is to hire a real state agency. They will charge you more or less the 5% of the price the house is sold for and apart from selling the house, they will also manage the paperwork for the transaction. If you want to do it by you own, you will have to take it seriously. Write a good description of the house, highlighting those characteristics you think can drag attention. We recommend you explain the elements that have been remodelled and when that happened.

Images are the best way to attract attention when publishing and advert. Spend some time getting the house ready to take the pictures. The decorations must be minimal and depersonalized. Take out the excess of family photos from the living room, the magnets from the fridge and any other elements that make the potential buyers think this is someone else’s home and not theirs. Choose the perfect lighting moment to take the pictures and if needed, use artificial light to make it warmer. You can also ask for help and hire a professional photographer. You need to know that, between two equal houses, the potential buyer will go for the one that seems visually better.

What price do I put to my place? Have a look at the prices and kind of apartments or houses of your local zone. Depending on the local prices and if you are in a hurry, you can put the house at the same level of the market prices or under that price. If you post it in an online portal, put it just lower of the filter prices in order to make it appear in a wider search. Everyone negotiates, that is why you will have to put a price you are willing to reduce. And now, you can publish the advert and wait for the people interested in your house. Because the people visiting must find the place tidy and clean on the outside and the inside if you are selling it with furniture and they want to open a few doors. Avoid the presence of your pets and make sure the house smells good. We hope these advices will be helpful to sell your house!

6 keys to digitise your office

The offices’ digitalisation is an unstoppable process. The newly created firms regardless of their size, don’t have to think about filing cabinets or tons of paper to print documents, neither about the expenses of trips to be at work meetings. This companies are born as digitalised. It is a little bit more complicated for the other ones, but most of them are following the steps to be in sync with the digital era, and they want to do it even more when they see the numbers of the expenses analysis. In this post we will disclose 6 keys to achieve the digitalisation in your office.

In case you still have some doubts about the advantages that digitalisation can mean to your office or company, you should know that if you venture yourselves in this process, you will need less physical space to keep documents, you will have access to all data from any place, the communication between members of the teamwork will be faster, you will make the bureaucratic procedures lighter and the meeting expenses will be lower. On the other hand, you will need new technologies knowledge and have the appropriate investment.

And so on, the six keys to transform your office in a digital one are:

  1. Less paper. In a digitalised office there is no need to print documents or emails. That is why you need to be clear about what needs to be printed and have good computers to visualise documents, share and keep them properly in security servers if needed. You have to define a good strategy for this.
  2. Internal communications. Digital channels of communication are a step forward from emails and are chatroom apps that allow you to exchange files with your team or other groups. In addition, there also exists tools to improve the organization at work and where the team components can have a clear vision of the project.
  3. Communications with clients. We can say goodbye to a lot of meetings with clients, providers or other departments that are in the other part of the world, thanks to tools like Hangouts or Skype.
  4. Web and Social Media. Either we are on the social world or we don’t exist. We have to invest in a proper website adjusted to the company needs and in a social media strategy. Both will contribute to our visibility and are the perfect way to make contact with possible new clients.
  5. Online management. You can have in mind all the paperwork that can be done with the digital certificate and all the administration departments. Apart from evaluating the possibility to do it with external and internal communication processes.
  6. It is essential to establish control points to evaluate the effectivity of the measures taken and be able to change them if needed.

Changing to a digital office is reachable for everyone and the results are undeniable: more efficiency on the processes, less consumption of raw materials, less generation of waste, more efficiency in the documental management, better optimization of the space and less money expenses.

How can I deduce part of my rent?

The deduction of your daily home in Spain – either a rented apartment or a property one – has changed radically in the past 5 years. And this change has been worst when deducing a property or a rented place. Despite of this fact and taking into account that autonomies have a percentage of these deductions, nowadays you can have access to some advantages if you have a rented flat or house. While if you have a property apartment or house, you definitely have no deductions for places bought from 2013.

The Spanish government only covers deduction for rented flats in contracts signed before 2015. If this is your case, you will be able to have a 10,05% deduction of the total amount of money you spent in a year on the rent of your flat, with a maximum of 9.040€ and as long as your tax base doesn’t exceed 24.107,20€ per year.

We already told you that the autonomous communities have a say on the rent deduction issue. Well, in Catalonia you can deduct 10% of the money you spent on your rent in a year, up to 300€ per taxpayer and 600€ per flat or house. To have access to this deduction you need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Meet at least one of this requirements:
    • Be up to 32 years’ old
    • Have been unemployed a minimum of 183 days during the year
    • Having a disability equal or above 65%
    • Being a widow/er and older than 65
  2. A tax base up to 20.000€ if you are doing your annual tax return individually and 30.000€ if you are doing it with someone else.
  3. A minimum percentage of the income destined to the rent.

In the case of a large family (3 or more children) they can deduct up to 600€ of the rent and have no need to meet any of the requirements written in condition number 1.

In almost all the other autonomous communities of Spain the numbers and percentages are similar to the Catalan ones, having some differences. The Basque Country is an exception though. The deduction in the Basque Country for rents is 20% up to 1.600€ and raises to 25% and 2.000€ for people under 30 years old.

Sustainable buildings, the future of architecture

The word “sustainable” is not new. We normally hear it associated with words like development or environment, but some years from now and more and more frequently, sustainability is connected to architecture. That is why in the near future of the buildings, they would be sustainable.

To this challenge, imposed somehow for European laws, have been ascribed different administrations driving measures and promoting some building projects that curiously wins the one spending less. The crazy and at any cost construction of the last years has led professionals to the detailed planning of the cities and where some variables such us orientation, ventilation, used materials or power consumption made it to the line with the square meters, distribution or spaciousness of the terraces.

But, what are the characteristics of a sustainable building? Nor is the point to build like our ancestors who had wood or wicker to make their houses, but to some extent the sustainable architecture looks for the use of local materials (like our ancestors did) and therefore, not contaminant ones, or to take advantage of resources like water. These are aspects left behind over a century and have been recovered nowadays. Let’s have a look at them:

  • A sustainable building must end up being energetically self-sufficient. Producing its own energy, for example through the sun or heat coming from soil, known as geothermic. The goal of a sustainable building is to have almost zero external energetic consumption. And this also means having less economical expenses.
  • A good orientation of the building is key to achieve sustainability because can benefit its natural ventilation.
  • The building and finishing materials (like paint) used in the sustainable building are as natural, environmentally friendly and recyclable or reusable as possible.
  • The derivatives of petroleum on the insulation are avoided because they prevent a good perspiration of the building.
  • A good management of water. This means that we need to have a good exploitation of rainwater and a good management of waste water.

In the end, a sustainable building is also more competitive in economic terms, because takes into account all the service life, from its construction to the end of its usage. To sum up, build, yes, but do it with the maximum respect for the environment and causing the minor energy consumption possible.

Slowliving, the “new” way of living

Would you be capable of telling us, how many times you check your phone? Or do you remember what you did before being permanently connected to social media? If the answer to the first question is “a lot or too many” and you can create a list of things longer than the Titanic for the second, you are probably a potential follower of the slowliving movement. This is not a philosophy of life itself, but what this movement, derivative from the slow food movement, suggests is to slow down the rhythm of our lives going back to our ancestors’ rhythm. Obviously, we are not talking about Cro-Magnon, but the life our great-grandparents in the pre-industrial era. Forget about doing 50.000 things on the same day or planning all the hours of your day as if you were a robot.

Live.

Unhurriedly.

It is not easy, but is possible. But, why? Well, because the slowmoving allows you to reconnect with yourself and think about what you are doing and make vital decisions to change. Nowadays, we do that for 10 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve. It is about live the present, but above all, be conscious of every moment and know how to value it. Let’s see some examples to achieve that goal:

  • Walk slowly. Hit the street 10 minutes before and it will be possible. While you walk, do it without your phone in your hands. Look at the streets, the trees or the people. Feel the air in your skin.
  • Focus on what you are doing in each moment. We need to unite our body and our mind. If you are working, you must think just about work and leave your worries from home behind until you get to your place. Your job will get better results and you will be better.
  • Have more contact with nature. Nature’s rhythm should be our guide. Learning how to grew some food can help us to be aware of the effort and dedication that needs each step of the process. A good motto would be: less Netflix and more bicycle.
  • Eat or drink local and ecologic things. This means that melon is supposed to be eaten in summer and oranges in winter. Nature offers us what our body needs in each moment.
  • Make your place a pleasant one. You need to have a place where you can sit, talk, connect with others or observe. We don’t need a huge house in the middle of the mountains to get this.

The consequences of doing some of this examples will be noticed soon. You will be able to identify the moments you really appreciate easily and will pay more attention to them. Those that already practice the slowliving guarantee that is a good recipe to be and feel better for yourself and for the ones around you.