Finding accommodation in Spain and in any new country can be daunting: It is one of the most important things you need to consider when you start your teaching with Meddeas. However, apartment haunting abroad it is not as stressful as you might at first think, and I speak from experience! Chances are, if you have been to university, you have already experienced the process of renting a house, dealing with landlords, and the like. Sure, the process might be slightly different in your new Spanish city, but the basics remain the same: find a place you like, find your flatmates, and pay! So, where do you start? Here are my tips for making the best and safest decisions when looking for your new home in Spain.
1. The First Step to Find Your Accommodation in Spain: Decide What You’re Looking for
Start thinking about what you want to get out of your accommodation in Spain. You will be in your flat in Spain for nearly a year, so it needs to be comfortable and practical for your own personal lifestyle. Here are some things to consider:
Location of Your Long-Term Apartment in Spain
Do you want to live in, close to, or away from the city centre? Perhaps you would prefer to live near to the school, so you can spend more time in bed in the morning! Easy access to the city centre and my school was a priority for me, so I managed to find a flat where I could walk to both places without issue. I am also situated close to the university, so I’ve been able to meet a lot of foreign and local like-minded students – bonus! Of course, we all have our own priorities choosing accommodation in Spain, so make a list of yours!
Get a clue! Print a map to get an idea of the city and the surrounding areas – find the spots that best suit your needs and start from there.
Flatmates (If You Finally Rent a Room in Spain, which is the Best Option with Your Grant)
To choose your accommodation in Spain, it might be helpful to ask yourself some questions: How many people do you want to live with? What kind of people do you want to live with? Personally, I didn’t want to live with any more than four people, so I took this into account when flat hunting. Also, as a non-Spanish speaker, I preferred to live with people who could speak at least some English; this was a preference that made me feel a lot more comfortable and more connected in a new and unfamiliar country. Unlike me, you may be drawn to the Spanish language and want to fully immerse yourself with Spanish flatmates: go for it!
2. Second Step: Search Far and Wide for Your Accommodation in Spain
Once you’ve thought about what you expect from your rent in Spain, start searching. Limiting yourself to one website and one apartment option will mean you miss some hidden gems. Make sure to look on various websites to see all that is on offer. I mainly used Piso Compartido and Idealista.
- On Piso Compartido you can search via two options: I’m looking for a room or I’m looking for a roommate.
- Idealista allows you to search for renting and sharing apartments with a unique and very useful tool. Once you have selected your province, you can then select an area within the province to narrow down your search, or to compare prices and location.
- I also found a number of Facebook pages with people looking for flatmates to share with in their city. This is actually how I found mine. Joining Facebook pages with Expats and Erasmus students is also a good way to find potential flatmates and make new friends too.
- Other websites you may want to check out are Milanuncios, Pisos, Vibbo, Aluni, or Easypiso
Another thing to note is you should start your search early. Searching for your accommodation Spain a few months before will help you to become familiar with what’s on the market in terms of style, size, and price, and what you prefer. I started looking at flats a week after I found out that I had my place on the programme. Because of this, I was able to fly out to my city to view some apartments prior to placing my deposit.
What if You Cannot Arrive in Spain with Enough Time Prior to the Start of the Programme?
If you are unable to fly to your city a month or so before you move to Spain, there are alternative options you could go for to find accommodation:
- Try to fly there a few days to a week before the induction meeting with some viewings already booked. You will also need an AirBnb or hostel to stay in during this time. This will give you enough time to make some viewings and hopefully have a place to move into after the induction meeting.
- The other option is to fly straight from your home to the induction meeting (Barcelona) and, afterwards, stay in an AirBnb or hostel in your city until you find an apartment. This time period may coincide with your teaching start date, but it is for sure the cheaper option.
This is possibly the most important bit of advice I can give you. First things first, do NOT put a deposit on an apartment unless you have viewed it first. No matter how good the flat looks in the photos on the website, in reality, there may be a number of problems with the apartment that, obviously, are not advertised. Reviews are also crucial when gathering a list of apartment options. Make sure you search the estate agent on Google or official estate agents listing site. If there are several bad reviews, it probably isn’t worth the risk!
Meddeas’ Recommendations for Finding Accommodation in Spain
Meddeas’ Language Assistants receive a Welcome document prior to the start of the programme. In this document, participants will find, among other topics, tips to rent a room in Spain. They clearly state to:
- Book temporary accommodation for the first days/week.
- Pre-select some suitable apartments/rooms for permanent accommodation before you travel, and arrange some visits in advanced.
- Visit those apartments and check other opportunities in the school are before starting at the school.
- It’s not a good idea to sign a permanent accommodation contract (or pay a deposit) before you personally check the apartment.
- Make a decision and, if possible, move to your permanent accommodation a few days after starting at school.
- In big cities, bear in mind accommodation in the centre is more expensive and difficult to get. It would be a better idea to find more affordable apartments in the outskirts and commute downtown. Public transportation in Spain works very well and it’s pretty cheap.
By Becky C., 2018/19