If you're not willing to spend a lot of money on an estate agent, you will have to get used to a housing market that relies a lot on local advertising.To get you started, here some tips for a successful housing search in Spain:
This method might seem a little strange to people who are used to housing markets that mainly rely on classifieds and professional agents. However, it can be quite effective in Spain.
Walk around the streets to see what is available in your desired neighborhood. Many empty apartments have an orange se aquila (for rent) sign outside or on the main building entrance. If a sign says "razón portería/portero", then you should enquire with the concierge/caretaker about the flat for rent. For large buildings, it might be worth talking to the concierge (portero or conserje); if you ask nicely, they might know if people are moving out and put you in contact with the owners. Check out the bulletin boards at the local language schools, universities and also posters in the street and lampposts.
This is a way of life in Spain and looking for a home is as good a time as any to begin. Given the lack of rented housing, a lot of the best places are not generally advertised, but are recommended by word of mouth because landlords prefer "known" tenants. Talk to friends, family members, classmates, work colleagues, etc. and let them know that you are looking for a place to live. The more people that know you are looking, the higher the chance you will be pointed in the right direction.
On the basis of quantity, classified advertisements offer the most housing possibilities. The bad news is that competition for these places is intense. Many advertisers fill up their schedule for showing the property early in the morning of publication.
Our advice is to start early and be persistent. If you can't reach someone in the morning, the next best times to call are around lunchtime (1:30-4:00pm) and after work (8-10pm). If you get an answering machine or voicemail, don't bother leaving a message as many people will not return calls. Lots of newspapers and local magazines have an inmobiliaria (property) section offering rentals. Segundamano (Mon-Fri) carries the most comprehensive listings of available rental properties. Many publications also offer the possibility of placing a wanted ad (demanda) for free. However, your time might be better spent elsewhere as it is highly unlikely you will be contacted by a landlord. These are useful when looking for roommates though.
As in most countries, the most common way to find somewhere to live is by using property websites.
If you are just looking for a room in a shared apartment (piso compartido), a popular and cost effective option for students and young professionals in Spain’s major cities, this is an ideal way as current tenants are usually the ones to post available rooms. There a numerous websites out there, but here are a few to get you started:
- HousingAnywhere - Aimed at international students and young professionals. They focus on Barcelona, Madrid and the other main cities in Spain. You can filter by property type, price and recently added listings. Safe payment though their own platform.
- Idealista - Available in a number of languages. Search by type of property in towns and cities across Spain.
- EasyPiso - Ideal for those looking for a room in a shared apartment; can search as an individual, a couple or if you are looking for move in with people you already know. Has rooms advertised across Spain.
- Spainhouses - Only suitable for those looking to rent a whole property. Can search by area and by property. Filters for number of bedrooms and minimum and maximum rental costs.