A foolproof method to find a good gestor

In this foolproof method to find a good gestor I will address a topic that keeps many a mover-to-be awake at night. If bureaucracy is hard to grasp in one’s own country, it is only worse when one’s moving abroad, to a completely unknown set of rules and documents.

How can I find a good gestor? Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

To help with that, it is good to employ a gestor, which is a specialist in Spanish accounting and documentation. A good professional can be of great help; on the other hand, a bad one can make a complete mess of your documents, making life in Spain a bureaucratic nightmare, and even entailing high costs ahead. I did have problems with the first gestor I hired, and I wrote about it in the spoiler alert; since then, I’ve been thinking how could I have done it better. Here are my conclusions.

First and foremost, competence is the key word here, and that is what you are trying to verify from a distance. How? Following this method, which I believe will substantially increase your odds of finding a good gestor:

Choose your location before looking for a gestor

Location matters, and you should preferably choose a professional that is either in the same city or at least close to the city where you are planning to move to. That is because you may need to meet in person to go through some documents, files and forms and doing it on-line is more complicated, tiring and time consuming than in person. You may have several doubts or options, and going through them by e-mail or even zoom just makes it harder.

If you don’t speak Spanish, location matters even more, because the gestor can go with you on the day of the appointments (to the police and to the Ayuntamiento, the institutions that will actually do the procedures the gestor is helping you ask for) and be your translator and guide. I’ve seen people on the police with a gestor at hand; I, that hired one that lived in another part of Spain, felt like an orphan. ☹

Facebook communities can help find a good gestor

Join communities of expats in the area / city you chose. Even if you don’t like Facebook, while moving to Spain these communities can be of great help, so join at least temporarily. Check if someone has already asked for gestores there. Odds are they did it, so you can get some names and contacts there. Start building a list. If nobody asked, ask yourself.

Don’t trust too much the positive reviews – you may be reading the gestor himself or his friends – nor the negative ones – maybe it was a bad costumer, that wasn’t doing his part, who knows. Of course, if there are many bad reviews, don’t bother talking with this gestor.

Beware of communities that belong to gestores and that aren’t upfront about it. They will simply not accept comments from other gestores or comments with bad reviews, so you don’t have a full picture. If you notice there is only one gestor answering questions, it is probably his/her community.

List as many gestor names as you can

Ten names would probably be enough. It may be hard to get this many names, so get as many as you can.

Check each gestor’s page on Facebook

Some of the gestores in your list may have no FB page, which is acceptable. Some may have a picture of themselves with their kids or pets, or drinking with friends, or on the beach – very bad sign. It would be cool for a blog about moving to Spain and living in the Costa del Sol (er… my about picture is on the beach), but not for a gestor. Professionalism matters, and a person can have different Facebook pages for personal and professional lives. Ignoring this can be a sign that they don’t care much about their work.

Write a standard e-mail and send it to the gestores in your list

You can assume that a gestor that deals with documents for foreigners understands English, so you can write in English if you prefer. If English is not your first language, you may find Facebook communities of expats from your country / in your language; this can be helpful, but I’d advise against choosing a gestor just because you share a nationality; there is more to competence than just coincidence. 😊

Be concise in your text but add all the relevant information. If you have two nationalities and one of them is from an EU country, mention only this one. You should mention how many people are moving; their nationalities; if there are minors, mention their age; what country are you coming from; when you intend to come; what services related to the bureaucracy in Spain you need from the gestor – will you need him/her for a NIE or will you do it own your own (because it is easy), or you’ll do it before moving? Maybe you want help with Padrón, TIE / greencard?

If you intend to become autonomo, mention it as well; if you gonna need private healthcare insurance, mention it. Ask as well for pricing and any other information you want to clarify. Make sure you write your full name on the closing – you’ll see why. Spend some time elaborating this e-mail, and state your questions as clearly as you can (but let’s keep it small, ok? Let’s say, no more than 5 questions on this initial contact, to avoid overwhelming the poor gestor). This e-mail will be the key to finding a good professional.

Conceal that this is a standard e-mail that you are sending to many people; send it to each gestor in separate and address each of them by their names. It gives you more credibility as a serious prospective client.

The moment of truth: their replies

A well written e-mail can tell a lot about the author. In this case, it is not so much about grammar or correct spelling, after all, English is likely not their first language – as long as they can communicate clearly with you, that’s good enough. But if you are communicating in their first language, well, quality starts there.

You are looking for clues about quality at what they do – competence – which, in this case, involves attention. So, this check is all about the amount of attention they display.

  • If they misspell your names, that is a very bad sign – they can do the same on one (or some, or all) of the many forms they’ll fill for you if they become your gestor;
  • If they ignored any of your questions, it is a bad sign too – if they are not giving you full answers now, that they should be trying to impress a prospective client, imagine after! Of course, there may be questions they are unable to answer at this moment, but they should at least address the question and point to you why they can’t answer now.
  • If their reply is vague, or if they try to evade your questions by saying that they have done this or that a million times, that’s a major red flag. That’s the typical answer of someone that doesn’t know what they are talking about and is trying to fake it.  
  • If they send you just a standard reply, that is also bad – total lack of attention. Maybe they have an autoreply because they are on vacation and the firm is too small, or even a one-person business; in this case, you can choose to cut them some slack and try again later, but hopefully you will have better answers than that.
  • If they take too long to respond, they are out. If you didn’t ask a million questions, 2 business days should be sufficient for a good answer; after all, it is their work, they should be doing it. It’s true that in Spain everything work-related goes a bit slowly but keep an eye on their answering times; a competent professional should be concerned with it.

But if they spell the names correctly, take your information in consideration, address all your questions properly, answer clearly and in a relatively short time, I believe you have found yourself a good gestor, that is willing to help and that will make your life a lot easier. That is not so much to ask, is it? If you didn’t get any good answer (ouch!), try again a bit latter with other names.

Sleeping after finding the gestor of their dreams. Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.

I used this method a long time ago, not to get a gestor, but to find a good real state person back in Brazil. It worked tremendously well. Why didn’t I do the same for gestores? I ask myself the same question. I guess with so much going on in preparation for the move, I oversaw this important step, but you can (avenge me and) do better.

Price matters, sure, but usually gestores don’t charge all that much for this initial documentation, and it is anyway a very small cost compared to the rest of the move. And it is very important. Pick the gestor that answered you the best (as long as it was an excellent answer) and then you can sleep so much better.

Next: What is a NIE, step-by-step guide to get it and documents for the NIE

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