You’ve decided that you are moving to Valencia. And you want to understand just what is going to make that move successful. Easy and successful will be even better.
So, you’re refreshing your memories of high school Spanish or you’re diving into DuoLingo. And there are plenty of blogs and Facebook groups about living in Spain and the Spanish immigration process.
It’s going to be great -- eventually.
Now, imagine your first day, week, and month here. Half the signs are in Valenciano. Just where do you go to register for the padrón or get your identity card? Of course, you’ve been through the visa application process so you’ve already had a sample of how muddy a Spanish paper chase can be. Which bank will be easy to work with? Finding a rental home in Valencia isn’t nearly as easy as it is in the States. Oh, and unless you’re very experienced, it’s hard to imagine the people around you are actually speaking the same language you studied back in high school.
Why Can’t This Be Easier?
If you’re like us, it won’t take too long before one of you asks, “Why can’t this be easier?” as you’re faced with yet one more incomprehensible task that did not require conscious effort back in the States.
Here’s where our friends Linda Svilāne and Jānis Melderis come into the picture.
Linda and Jānis started Moving to Valencia in 2016 to help you negotiate the maze that settling in Valencia can sometimes be. While they won’t be around when you can’t figure out where to buy organic peanut butter, they will be there for you when it comes to house hunting or negotiating the Spanish bureaucracy.
From our own first-hand experience, we can comfortably say that their business is all about friendly relocation services and never, never, ever disappointing a client.
How Moving to Valencia Worked for Us and Can Work for You
We spoke very little Spanish before our move. And we didn’t know anything about the step-by-step process of registering at the various government offices. But our biggest challenge was housing.
Finding a Place to Live
The process of getting settled in Valencia presented us with a unique challenge. We needed to find a landlord who didn’t mind that were bringing five pets with us from the U.S.
That houseful of pets was the main reason we made an advance trip from Oregon just to meet with a few Valencia relocation agents we’d found on the internet. Only after we met Linda from Moving to Valencia, did we feel confident enough to move forward with our visa application. She never once told us it would be easy but she did say it would be possible.
We thought moving with pets might be a deal breaker, but for Linda and Jānis, it was business as usual. Nearly 80 percent of their clients have at least one pet. One recent family only had one dog, a St. Bernard, but with five children their house hunt was a challenge too. No matter what your particular circumstances are, the Moving to Valencia team will understand; they treat everyone’s relocation as a custom job.
We Saved Money on Spanish Health Insurance
It seems that most people are as confused when it comes to buying Spanish health insurance as we were. We spent about three months trying to research the options on our own but it was intimidating.
Another Moving to Valencia service we found invaluable was that through their community network, Linda and Jānis have identified an insurance broker who works hard to find the best insurance coverage for people like us. We saved enough on health insurance in the first year to offset the entire Moving to Valencia fee. Today, there’s a group health insurance plan available for clients of Moving to Valencia.
And the Spanish Paper Chase Was Easy
In addition to the lease negotiation and landlord meeting, our package included registration at the town hall with our lease, establishing a bank account, and getting our NIE registration.
Another thing we were surely grateful for was the personal shopping Linda did. We arrived to our new life in Valencia at 1 a.m. and found litter boxes, cat litter and new bed sheets waiting for us.
UPDATE: It seems like we had only been here a few months before it was time to begin the visa renewal process. And one year in we still don’t speak enough Spanish to handle the kind of questions that pop up during the document reviews with government officials. Fortunately, we knew where to turn. Thanks to Moving to Valencia we’ve been approved with residency for another two years.
Can Moving to Valencia Help You?
Most clients of Moving to Valencia are English speaking or have English as a second language.
- About 70 percent are American,
- 28 percent are Australian, British or Canadian,
- less than 2 percent are European citizens.
Most are families and professionals working remotely or people taking a sabbatical year. There are plenty of retirees too.
Moving to Valencia is not a resource for you if you aren’t planning to stay for at least one year.
Renting or Buying?
About 50 percent of their clients are renters. Most want a furnished flat and are willing to pay an average of €1,500 a month for a nice place in a desirable part of town.
Linda and Jānis ask that you have a monthly housing budget of at least €800. After scores of clients, they’ve found that’s about as low as you’ll want to go to find a small but decent flat.
You might want to familiarize yourself with the cost of housing in order to be realistic in your expectations. One of the better sources is Idealista.com.
This means the other 50 percent of Moving to Valencia clients are interested in purchasing property. Helping these clients has become a big part of the firm’s business in the last year.
Moving to Valencia is Growing (Slowly)
Jānis and Linda have chosen to manage their company’s growth to ensure they maintain an exceptionally high quality service. In the past few months they’ve added a third member to the team. Linda’s sister Zanda is still learning the ropes. We were impressed when we overheard Linda’s sisterly admonishment, “It’s not impossible, we just do it.”
Which, if you ask us, is a good indication of why they have so many happy clients.
About Linda and Jānis
Linda and Jānis know a thing or two about creating happy customers. Natives of Latvia, they moved to Valencia in December 2007. They both spoke Latvian, Russian, and English but neither knew any Spanish. In fact, Linda shyly admits that when she first arrived, she thought Olé was the Spanish word for hello. (The word for hello is hola, close but not quite).
When they arrived, there was no one to hold their hands. Professionals in Latvia (Linda was an attorney and Jānis was in Customer Service) they both took whatever work came their way. Slinging burgers at McDonald’s or the night shift in a farton factory. Meanwhile, they focused their intellectual energy into learning Spanish through self-study and the Official School for Languages.
It's not impossible, we just do it!
When friends from Latvia wanted to find a new life in Spain, naturally they reached out to Linda and Jānis for their advice and assistance, which they offered freely. At the time, they didn’t appreciate that they were polishing the skills that would be the foundation of a great business model. In fact, they tried and failed at several different business ideas in the classic fail until you succeed model of entrepreneurial business creation.
That was until 2016 when they realized:
- moving to a foreign county is hard,
- people need help,
- treating each client like a friend, and,
- enjoying each relationship…
can be (and is) a successful business model.
Almost three years later Moving to Valencia is nearly always booked up to 8-12 weeks in advance with the busiest months being January, June, July, and September. They aren’t tempted to cut corners or squeeze in just one more client. Today, it‘s still important that:
- the home search process is never rushed,
- interactions stay personal and warm, and
- sufficient time is allotted for every client.
They know there are going to be unexpected situations – there always are – and they build in the extra time for this.
How to Contact Moving to Valencia
If you are interested in hiring the services of Moving to Valencia, contact them through their website. The “Request a Quote” form will guide you through the process. The more in depth you can be with your expectations and accurate with your dates, the more helpful the team can be for you.
- Property Finder (Buying)
- Assistance on Home Search (Renting)
- Applying for Utilities
- Applying for NIE number
- Applying for Residency
- School Location and Enrollment
- Registering with the Town Hall
- Valencia Orientation Tour
- Health Insurance
- Opening a Bank Account
- Support after moving in
A new service is in the works: Assistance with residency visa application.
Please Note: This Post is Not Sponsored
We don't have sponsored content here on GentleCycle because we aim to keep our content honest. We’ve paid the full price for the services we received from Moving to Valencia and we reviewed Moving to Valencia because we enjoyed our experiences with them and we want to help Linda and Jānis succeed.
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Susan Carey retired in 2017 after a long business career most recently in animal welfare leadership. She writes about her experiences as a recent retiree living in Spain. Susan lives in Valencia, Spain with her husband, Jamie, and the senior pets they brought with them from the United States.
Jamie Wyant is a retired American living in Spain. After a multifaceted career ranging from ecosystem science to digital marketing, he moved to Valencia in 2017 with his wife, Susan, and their senior pets. He writes about the joys and tribulations of living overseas. Jamie also manages the technical aspects of GentleCycle.net