26 Jul, 2016 @ 15:16
2 mins read

Pick up the phone for a less stressful life in Spain

Leon Cohen e

WHEN I arrived in Spain more than 23 years ago, I had nobody I could call on to give me advice or help.

Leon-CohenIt was a matter of making decisions and hoping for the best. Sure, there were services available, however I preferred to follow my instinct using my vast experience attained over my many years of working and travelling the world.

Was it easy? Hell no, but it was exciting and very interesting.

Due to having done my due diligence, I began to speak and write in Spanish, understand the rules, culture and dominate the bureaucracy, so much so that I was constantly approached by other expats for help.

This was besides whatever it was that I was involved in at the time.

Remember, I came here from London, where I had been a successful fashion retailer/ wholesaler, nothing remotely related to what I was getting involved in here in Spain.

I had committed myself to refurbishing an abandoned finca, without water or electricity, for  resale. The resale didn’t happen, instead an agro-tourism business was created. This led to a totally new experience where every day I learned something new. Planning regulations, permissions, paperwork, building specifications, all types of bureaucracy, etc. You name it, I touched it. A great learning curve had been established .An inheritance that would be used constantly over the years and still to this day.

While the business was active I had constant contact with the locals, expats, holiday makers, farmers, distributors, suppliers of services, etc. allowing me to benefit from such a vast range of information, rules, laws, customs and norms.

I soon found myself assisting others, expats and locals alike. To a certain degree, I came to be accepted as a type of ‘guru’, someone with knowledge, a person of experience, one of trust, a kind of Mr. Fixit.

I found myself confronted with all sorts of peculiarities, from assisting the locals in understanding how to deal with their problems, to the expat who needed to obtain a building licence, local permissions, legalise their situation in Spain, obtain a Social Security card, pay their traffic fine, negotiate a property purchase, set up a Spanish business, deal with their tax declaration, find a suitable location for a wedding reception, well, the list is never ending…

So that’s why I now concentrate on being of help. I offer those who need to resolve matters and obtain a service of quality. It’s a professional, honest, transparent service from someone who has been there.

I have also taken on collaborators, all specialists in their field, professional, honest and able to look after the interests of the client.

Quality, service and loyalty before profit, that’s our motto and our reputation is based upon it.

How do I function? Very simple, I listen to all that have a genuine problem that they wish to solve. I offer an initial opinion and allow for the client to decide as to whether they wish to proceed. If the client wishes to and I am not able to deal with it directly, I submit it to one of my collaborators, the one most likely to satisfy 100% the needs of the client.

I guarantee their work and keep the client constantly aware of the process, hence keeping stress levels to a minimum.

Examples dealt with over the past 12 months; Tax returns; property conveyancing; planning permissions; property registration for tourism; NIE documents; Spanish driver’s licence applications; finding and negotiating a venue for an event, just to name a few…

Charges and likely costs are discussed at the outset and are assessed in accordance with the complexity of each case.

Leon Cohen (OP Columnist)

Leon Cohen has set up Facilitator Spain to help ease the pain for expats moving abroad. The former fashion/textile designer-cum-developer-cum-hotel owner offers Olive Press readers the best advice on relocating to sunny Spain.

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