Congrats! You’re making the move over to Spain!
Now it’s time to look for an apartment. Where do you start? And what exactly should you be looking for? Before you stress, here is a quick guide to get you started to make sure you find the best possible home for your new adventure in España.
Where to Look
The most popular site to search for apartments, Idealista has listings from inmobiliarias (real estate agencies), or particulares (private owners). You can fill in the requirements like maximum price, number of bedrooms, and even extras like a terrace or balcony space. What is also nice is the map function. You can look at apartments based on where they are on the map, so if you have a specific neighborhood in mind, go straight to the map option and view apartments from there. Or draw your own area of interest and see what's available! Other sites do have the map function as well, but I find the one on Idealista the most user friendly.
Fotocasa has more real estate listings than private owners. If you would rather go through a real estate agency, then this is a good place to look. Quick note: Most agencies charge a month’s rent as commission. Typically, when you find an apartment with them expect to pay up to three month’s rent up front (commission, deposit, and first month).
This website is for you if you are planning to live with a roommate and want to look for a room to rent rather than a whole apartment, head on over to Easy Piso. Create a profile and check out the profiles of other people who are either on the apartment hunt or have a room available.
Want More? How about: What to expect and avoid when renting in abroad!
What to Look For
When looking for a home it can be very specific to the individual. However, there are some essentials that you definitely want in a short term rental in Spain:
Finding an apartment with central heating can be a bit tricky, but it’s definitely worth keeping your eyes peeled for this. Electric heat can get very expensive very quickly, and Spanish winters can be pretty cold, especially as most buildings aren’t well insulated because the bigger concern is keeping the heat out than the cold for those intense summer months. So if there is central heating, all the better!
Most apartments, if not all, come with washing machines (no clothes dryers though!) While laundromats are becoming more popular than they used to be, it can still be hard to find one depending on the size of the town you are living in, so make sure there is one of these in the apartment.
The majority of short term rental apartments in Spain come fully furnished and equipped. When you see the apartment, make sure you ask if all of the appliances are fully functioning. Check out the state of the pots and pans. If they are in rough shape talk to the owner or agent about whose responsibility it is to buy replacements. Take inventory of what's been left to you, and keep a record to avoid problems getting your deposit returned to you when you leave the flat.
When it comes to internet, in some small towns around Spain and in the older buildings, some apartments may not yet have all of the wires necessary for internet. Check in with the owner and make sure that they know you will want to install wi-fi, which means that an internet company may come in to install some wires. Some landlords will want to be there when that happens, so giving them a heads up is always a good idea.
Whatever Brings You Joy
As noted before, deciding what kind of apartment you want to live in is very subjective.
Before you start on your hunt think of a list of things that you absolutely cannot live without and other things you’re willing to compromise on.
For example, if you are a baker, make sure you put down oven on your list (they’re pretty uncommon in smaller towns). Or maybe you love to take baths and need a bathtub. I personally am a tropical girl and I need as much natural light as possible. Either way, take the time to think about the things that bring you joy in your home and jot them all down to help guide your hunt.
Otherwise, I will leave you with one final tip: Do not sign or pay anything until you have seen the apartment in person!
There are many people who are so anxious to find a place that they make a commitment before seeing the apartment for themselves.
Videos and photos can be deceiving. It is always better to wait until you go in person. Trust me, as someone who has done this four different times in four different towns and cities of Spain, I understand how stressful apartment hunting can be. But I also have seen plenty of apartments that look beautiful in pictures and are falling apart in real life. Wait until you get here and you can be sure you have found the right place to call home for however long you are here.
Want more? How about: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE renting a flat in Spain
Nina Lee shares stories about living, loving and traveling with intention on her blog NinasSweetAdventures.com. She is based in Cordoba with her Spanish partner and writes about all aspects of the rich Spanish culture and navigating dating abroad. You can also find her at HolaTeacherSpain.com, a blog for newbie teachers and language assistants to help them navigate their time in ESL classrooms abroad.