Do you want to move to Barcelona? Great choice! It is a wonderful city in so many ways, but when you start looking for a room or an apartment you might come across some troubles. How to avoid them?
Alexander Pope said “Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed”; on that note we want to share some useful things about housing in Barcelona:
Any room for rent in Barcelona is usually seen by dozens of people in a matter of hours, and you will probably find yourself taking part in a real “casting” with people waiting for their turn at the door. The time of appointments is almost always the same everyone. If you find a place that fits your needs don’t spend too much time deciding! In a couple of hours it might be taken by another person.
2.NO to real estate agencies… YES to Goguin!
Real estate agents are speculators par excellence, who are only interested in getting a commission. While Facebook is one of the most used tools to find a room in Barcelona, there are many scammers lurking out there. Rely on a trusted site or company to avoid scams and agency fees. For instance, Goguin puts you in touch with real people who are relocating from Barcelona and offer their flats or rooms to the next tenant, all for free, no hidden costs. Don’t believe too much in “special offers” and avoid payments in cash that don’t offer you a receipt. Be careful and keep your eyes open, in such a big city scams are everywhere!
3.The Rocky Horror “Pisos” Show
Barcelona is famous in Spain for its number of horrors regarding rental options. Don’t get discouraged if you encounter tiny closet-sized rooms with sky high prices or half-destroyed apartments in a middle of nowhere. As it goes: “Give a square meter to a Spanish man and he will rent it anyway”.
Just to be prepared for what you might find, here are some common horrors in Spanish flats:
a) Expect windowless rooms and apartments without kitchens. Not a big problem for those who love to party and are OK with fast food and kebab
b) You may see many rooms that, while having a window, are not very bright because the windows are facing the stairwell. Get a good lamp to substitute the daylight, it will help. Kind of.
c) Most of the apartments, especially in the city center, are located in old and beautiful buildings, but often got problems with water supply, electricity, gas, etc. If there is only one good advice we can give you, don´t expect things to work in Spain. Make sure that everything functions well before you sign the contract or start moving!
4.Your wallet won’t be happy
Housing in Barcelona are fairly expensive, the price for rooms ranges between € 300 and € 500, and for flats between € 650 and € 2000, depending on the size, but the main factor is the area it’s located in. Consider that, no matter where you choose to live, the city is well connected and has many underground and bus lines, not to mention the possibility of cycling everywhere. Living next to the beach or right in the city center is attractive only for a short stay, trust us. If you want to stay longer than a week, go for a bit more quiet residential areas like Eixample.
5.Street name, number and … door?
When you call for an appointment to see a room don’t forget to ask for the address (“dirección”) consisting of the street name and number and, most importantly, the door indication. Because in Spain tenants´ names are not written on the doorbell, but rather the floor count and apartment number, something like 5D or 1-4. If you ask for the landlord´s last name some people might find it very weird. Don´t do that.
When you read an announcement, check if the rental price includes the apartment utility costs (gas, electricity, water), which in Spanish are called “gastos”. The average monthly cost for a room is between € 30 and € 40, so if they ask you more than € 60, it might be a rip off. So keep your eyes open!
After that, we can only wish you mucha suerte – good luck. Start your search on Goguin to avoid scammers and troubles, and start your exciting Spanish journey!