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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have searched the forum regarding removal and removal companies to Spain but almost all information was for removals from the UK or other European countries (you lucky people!)

I wonder if any of you moving from the US took furniture/belongings with you? Since driving a van ourselves from the States would not be an option, I have no doubt that it will be very expensive. But replacing the stuff in Spain is not cheap either. Though Ikea is not our style, I went on its website just to see what the cost would be.

Ikea:
  • Bedroom: bed frame and mattresses would cost about $500 per set so for 2 rooms, it is easily $1000 euros, plus linen, lighting, decors, etc.
  • Living room: Easily 1000 euros for just the sofa/sectional seating, plus coffee table, lighting, etc.
  • Storage units/book cases: a few hundred euros each for a large set
  • Plus Kitchen, bath, etc.

Al in all, it could be 4000-5000 euros or more to furnish a two bed room. So if the removal cost is around that range, then maybe moving the stuff is not a bad option. But having no idea what the removal cost is, I am afraid that it could be a lot more.

So my questions are:
1. If you moved your furniture and belongings with you from the US, what was the cost (for what size) and how long did it take?
2. Is there a good company that you can IM me?
3. How did you navigate the customs so you did not end paying taxes on your furniture/belongings?
3. Advice for or against taking our stuff with us?

Thank you in advance!

P.S.: We intend to rent first but need to know what to do with our stuff to plan accordingly. We don't want to pay for storage to then learn that we don't need it.
 

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...you should do a Google search for 'freight forwarders'. Very often you can get an idea of shipping costs by filling in a questionnaire.....later you can get an agent to come to your home and give a more accurate quote.
 
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Thank you for that link.:clap2:

Now that I have residency the clock is ticking & I have until May to import my household belongings from California to Asturias so as to not pay import taxes.
 

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Thank you for that link.:clap2:

Now that I have residency the clock is ticking & I have until May to import my household belongings from California to Asturias so as to not pay import taxes.

I wish I had known about that. How long is it from when you get residency?



Regarding furnishing a home, depending on where you are you can definitely get better quality and cheaper goods from a proper furniture store. My husband and I have avoided Ikea like the plague.

Remember not to bring electric appliances/lighting because of the voltage and plug issues.
 

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We shipped from South Korea to Spain, it should have taken 3 months it took 5! Ended up going via the UK! Sea shipments usually take 2 to 3 months. It cost us around $3500 and that was doing it on the cheap! (hence the 5months I am guessing!). & we didn't ship large pieces of furniture etc. I think in total we shipped around 5 cbm.
Customs was dealt with by the agent / shipping company. Other than needing to pay an extra £35 to have our shipment xrayed , I had nothing else to sort out. We paid the Korean shipping company for a door to door service and that's what we got, eventually! Everything arrived in good shape.
Having lived without IKEA for 15 years I love the place (or at least the novelty)! I know its not everyone's cup of tea but it is definitely cheapish & cheerful. As we are probably not in Spain for keeps having almost disposable furniture is convenient!
There must be loads of International shipping companies in the States that ship overseas incl Spain. I have a lot of American friends who move around the World sea shipping their belongings with them.
Like I said ours is probably a temporary stay & we tend to travel light for that reason. We rented a furnished apartment here in Spain & then asked the landlord to remove the items we didn't like and we replaced them with brand new items from Ikea.
If your are coming to live in Spain 'forever' and you have a house full of furniture etc you would rather not live without then shipping would be the way to go? I can't imagine it being anymore expensive than furnishing an empty apt. with new items bought here in Spain. Just bare in mind how long a sea shipment takes. Either that or pay for storage in the US and rent a fully furnished apt here until you get sorted & ship later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all who have replied.

I have heard that it takes months for things shipped by sea to arrive. $3500 euros from South Korea to Spain is not bad at all. We do have time so it is nice to know that we can get a cheaper option if we are willing to wait. We won't need our stuff right away as we will take 2 months somewhere else in Europe (Italy probably) so when we leave the US around May we won't become tax residents in Spain (Husband is itchy to get out). And then we will rent for a while first. What we need to decide is whether it is worth it to store our furniture and belongings until we need so ship them. I don't mind Ikea for cleaning stuff but its furniture is so college-ish (is it a word?)

Yes, no electronic stuff and appliances except for our laptops with converter. I can't imagine that people actually lug their washer and dryer with them but I am sure that has happened.

Mysticsmick, is it 12 months since one is granted residency that he/she can ship belongings without paying imported taxes? Is there also a limit in terms of amount (say your stuff should not be worth more than x euros)?
 
G

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I wish I had known about that. How long is it from when you get residency?
I was told one year from the time residency is issued. Then, after a couple of months when I did get my residency card I noted on the card that residency began the day I entered all the needed paperwork. So, I am using that date rather than the date I physically received the residency card. I'm just trying to be cautious so as not to incur import duties.
 

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Ironically we did ship our Korean electrical items to Spain, they use the same type of electrical sockets. No one does floor steam cleaners better! Believe me after 15 years in rented, fully furnished apartments in Korea Ikea is a breath of fresh air! College-ish? I like it! Makes me feel young! lol
 

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We shipped the m-i-l' s stuff from FL to Spain. It was about a full truck load 25'x7'6"x10' much of it boxed (they packed) and a large number of paintings (largest 72"x54") a couple of large pieces of furniture (armario converted to a china cabinet 84"x27"x48" and an arcon 60"x24"x34") about 140 item all told. Including their packing and storing it for 10 months while we were getting moved ourselves (completing house purchase, remodelling, etc.) for US$ 3500.

We used Bekins.

We had some furniture of our own that we brought from UK but got new beds from Ikea and they are excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We shipped the m-i-l' s stuff from FL to Spain. It was about a full truck load 25'x7'6"x10' much of it boxed (they packed) and a large number of paintings (largest 72"x54") a couple of large pieces of furniture (armario converted to a china cabinet 84"x27"x48" and an arcon 60"x24"x34") about 140 item all told. Including their packing and storing it for 10 months while we were getting moved ourselves (completing house purchase, remodelling, etc.) for US$ 3500.

We used Bekins.

We had some furniture of our own that we brought from UK but got new beds from Ikea and they are excellent.
Baldilocks, your information is most helpful. Thank you!

I saw that the service included packing. Did it also include loading and then unloading once delivered?

Did you have to receive your shipment at the port and manage it locally; or was it door-to-door?
 

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Baldilocks, your information is most helpful. Thank you!

I saw that the service included packing. Did it also include loading and then unloading once delivered?

Did you have to receive your shipment at the port and manage it locally; or was it door-to-door?
Door-to-door and we are over 300 km from Cádiz, the port of unloading and it was unloaded from the container it had been loaded into. We were left to unpack it all at our leisure and they didn't want the packing materials (large cardboard boxes, wooden crates on paintings and glass). Got some very useful materials out of the crates (!) and we were able to supply others who were moving away with boxes for packing plus all those pieces of wrapping paper (we've still got two boxes (each 42"x24"x24") full of the stuff. Breakages - nil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Door-to-door and we are over 300 km from Cádiz, the port of unloading and it was unloaded from the container it had been loaded into. We were left to unpack it all at our leisure and they didn't want the packing materials (large cardboard boxes, wooden crates on paintings and glass). Got some very useful materials out of the crates (!) and we were able to supply others who were moving away with boxes for packing plus all those pieces of wrapping paper (we've still got two boxes (each 42"x24"x24") full of the stuff. Breakages - nil.
Thanks for getting back to me. Was this move recent? I got two quotes so far and they are much more expensive and for less capacity than what you were able to get. I am waiting for a quote from Bekins, the same company that you used.

For those in the US who are interested, I used the link on this forum to request quotes for removal from Maryland to Barcelona. Got two quotes so far (another company contacted me but wanted to do an onsite survey):

1. All State Van Lines: door-to--door, container 20x8x8 for almost $6,000 (roughly $6/cf)

2. Prisma Cargo Solutions: door-to-door, 200 cf, $2,500 (more than $12/cf). They did not contact me for the items on the list. They just based this on the "two bedroom house" information I provided on the form. The cost per cf will go down some if they add more capacity as certain overhead cost is already accounted for.

I think it makes financial sense for us to ship our stuff over as even with the highest quote we got so far at $6,000, it is still cheaper than replacing the equivalent of our stuff.

Of course cost is only one factor (yep, I do care about reputation and service). More research on my end as whom to use.
 

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Thanks for getting back to me. Was this move recent? I got two quotes so far and they are much more expensive and for less capacity than what you were able to get. I am waiting for a quote from Bekins, the same company that you used.

For those in the US who are interested, I used the link on this forum to request quotes for removal from Maryland to Barcelona. Got two quotes so far (another company contacted me but wanted to do an onsite survey):

1. All State Van Lines: door-to--door, container 20x8x8 for almost $6,000 (roughly $6/cf)

2. Prisma Cargo Solutions: door-to-door, 200 cf, $2,500 (more than $12/cf). They did not contact me for the items on the list. They just based this on the "two bedroom house" information I provided on the form. The cost per cf will go down some if they add more capacity as certain overhead cost is already accounted for.

I think it makes financial sense for us to ship our stuff over as even with the highest quote we got so far at $6,000, it is still cheaper than replacing the equivalent of our stuff.

Of course cost is only one factor (yep, I do care about reputation and service). More research on my end as whom to use.
Bekins sent their guy round and he costed based on what was to go, to where and the fact that it would first go into storage. The stuff was packed, loaded and put into storage in November 2007, then delivered in the 3rd week of November 2008 to our house in Spain. Excellent service but ours was with the South Florida Branch, if you are up north you will get a different branch but I would expect the Company attitude and culture to be similar.
 

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When we moved our things from the US to the EU years ago, we brought a loveseat that, as it turned out, didn't fit through the door of our rented house.

If you bring American mattresses, you might have a hard time finding bedding for them in the future.

As others have said, don't ship electrical goods. And don't bring a car, because if it doesn't pass inspection you would probably have to send it back.
 

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Ive got to be honest, even coming from the UK we only bought a full Luton Van. One thing is that "normal" british furniture doesnt look right in a Spanish villa setting.

So we bought only what was important to us because we were able to buy whatever we wanted here.

I dont know what kind of furniture you are bringing, but just bear in mind that imho it has to be the right kind of stuff to look right in a Spanish villa. I had neighbours who had lovely big dark Dutch stlye furniture, and as lovely as it was, it just didnt fit in with the surroundings

Beds are easily purchased, although electrical items can be a little more pricy thatn the UK, dont know about US prices :)

As someone who spent their life in the shipping industry I could give you a lot of advice, but regrettably my experience is related to US/UK freight so I cant recommend any carriers. All I would say for sure is make sure that you take out full marine insurance with an independent company. Whatever you ship, its a long journey and much can happen. Even though they are allegedly inspected regularly, even a small hole in a container can spell disaster.

So my advice would be bring what is dear to you, but leave the rest. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When we moved our things from the US to the EU years ago, we brought a loveseat that, as it turned out, didn't fit through the door of our rented house.

If you bring American mattresses, you might have a hard time finding bedding for them in the future.

As others have said, don't ship electrical goods. And don't bring a car, because if it doesn't pass inspection you would probably have to send it back.
It seems everything in the US is super sized. Many streets in Europe are quite small and cannot accommodate a truck. So while we walked the potential neighborhoods, I made mental notes whether a trucks could come in. Otherwise, we will go broke just to have things manually hauled in from the main road. Bed frame, mattresses and linen have to come together as a unit or not at all as European size does not fit American frame (and vice versa). Good thing is a good mattress can last 10 years or so if we do bring them (with the frame).

Most of our things can be taken apart except the sofas. So thanks for the reminder about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One thing is that "normal" british furniture doesnt look right in a Spanish villa setting.
...
So my advice would be bring what is dear to you, but leave the rest. :D
Well, I did not think about "style" and how things fit so that was a good point. Our furniture is made of real wood and I am dreaded to think about replacing the real things with carboard like materials or paying an arm and a leg for the real things. Hopefully our neutral furniture will fit in.

Regarding "bring what is dear to you"; yes, I am taking the husband and child and will be fine leaving the rest :D
 

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Well, I did not think about "style" and how things fit so that was a good point. Our furniture is made of real wood and I am dreaded to think about replacing the real things with carboard like materials or paying an arm and a leg for the real things. Hopefully our neutral furniture will fit in.

Regarding "bring what is dear to you"; yes, I am taking the husband and child and will be fine leaving the rest :D
You should be aware on the subject of real wood furniture - there are woodworm (furniture beetles) and termites in Spain plus some wood boring beetles (SWMBO calls the cucarones) that are about the size of a hot country cockroach (body about 1½ -2" long and width about ½-¾" with wings folded, plus length of legs antennae etc) - yes, they fly and can hurt if they hit you in the face while going full pelt. Most stuff that is basically some form of particle board (chipboard or MDF) with a melamine facing doesn't seem to meet their taste specification, so it does have some advantages.

Ants can be a problem, so if you can sneak in some "Terra" (you aren't supposed to) it is similar to but much better (IMO) than the ECO Gel that you get here.

Personally, beds I wouldn't bother with. Apart from the size differences (are you going to ship new mattresses in a few years' time) because, unless you have them thoroughly fumigated, the menagerie of bugs and beasties (sorry but they are there!) will multiply rapidly in the warmer climate with consequent hazards to your well-being.
 

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It seems everything in the US is super sized. Many streets in Europe are quite small and cannot accommodate a truck. So while we walked the potential neighborhoods, I made mental notes whether a trucks could come in. Otherwise, we will go broke just to have things manually hauled in from the main road. Bed frame, mattresses and linen have to come together as a unit or not at all as European size does not fit American frame (and vice versa). Good thing is a good mattress can last 10 years or so if we do bring them (with the frame).

Most of our things can be taken apart except the sofas. So thanks for the reminder about that.
One way, they get over the problem of vehicle sizes if they have to deliver stuff like furniture that is in a big container is they bring it as close as is practicable and then trans-ship it to a smaller vehicle hired locally (at an extra cost to you) to get it closer to the house. If it is only a couple of larger items they may put it on a trolley and wheel it to the house.
 
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