Finding your little piece of Spanish paradise is arguably one of the most important decisions you’ll make when you get here. It can also be a pretty big pain.
Apartment hunting isn’t usually considered fun. Throw in a different language in a different country with different customs and it’s, well, different. Luckily, you’re not the first guiri to make the move to sunny Spain, so save yourself the stress of making all the mistakes yourself and learn from some of ours before you.
For starters, here are my three commandments of piso hunting in Spain:
Thou shalt not pay a deposit on a place that you have not seen / smelt / been inside / met the roommates / met the landlord.
I get it. Finding a place to live in a foreign country can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t speak the language very well. But you know what could be more overwhelming? Getting to Spain and finding out you’ve committed to 9 months in a stinky, moldy, windowless dungeon, or that your retired-lawyer landlord has found a legal loophole allowing him to install surveillance cameras in the common areas (both true stories). I’m not a fan of rental agencies in general, but if you’re going to use one, wait until you get here and always see the flat first.
Thou shalt not commit to a residence that you absolutely would not live in if you were back home.
There’s compromise, and then there’s absolutely throwing your standards out the window. Compromise is fine and builds character, but don’t get desperate and sign off on a place that you absolutely wouldn’t give a second thought to back home. Moving abroad means a lot of adjustments, but when it comes to your living space it makes no sense to make yourself miserable.
If you know you’ll be stressed and depressed without a little sunlight, don’t sign off on the windowless interior room. If you love to cook, don’t go for the kitchen with no oven and a single burner. And I *really* think this should go without saying, but don’t agree to live with your 70-year-old landlord who smokes a pack a day.
Thou shalt not freak the fruck out.
You will find a flat. Everyone will find a flat. There is always a flat to be found.
Some cities are infamously more difficult to find a flat in (ahem, Madrid). Yes, it’s frustrating, but no, it’s not the end of the world. Rather than making locking yourself in your hostel and spending hour after hour refreshing fotocasa, remember that Spain is a country that runs on connections. Get out there, meet some people, make some friends and you’ll be surprised how often that’s all it takes to make everything else start to come together.
Like what you see?
The real consejos are in the links below. Read on and get ready to make yourself at home in sunny España 😊
Part 2: Home is Where the Heart Is You Don’t Hate Your Roommates ❤ (coming soon)
Las Palmas Language Assistants: Barrios of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Santa Cruz Language Assistants: Barrios in and around Santa Cruz de Tenerife & La Laguna (coming soon)
Madrid Language Assistants: Barrios of Madrid (coming soon)
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