It’s a tricky time to be flathunting in Barcelona. Demand is high and prices have gone up, but it is still possible to get a good deal if you know where to look and what to look for.
Do you want to rent a room, or an apartment? If you’ve just arrived in Barcelona, renting a bedroom in a shared apartment is a good way to get to know an area of the city before you commit to signing your own lease. There are other benefits of renting a bedroom too – the initial costs are much lower, as you don’t have to buy furniture or kit out a kitchen. It’s also a great way to make some friends – you’ll get to know your flatmates, and your flatmates’ friends, so your social circle will expand. However, if you’ve been in Barcelona for a while and are planning to stay, renting your own apartment is a good move to make. You’ll be more independent, you’ll get to make your own decisions about your living situation and if you do want to find a flatmate, you get to choose who you live with.
Once you know what you’re looking for, the next step is deciding which neighbourhood you’d like to live in. Check out this post, a guide to the different areas of Barcelona, to get an idea of where you might like, then go check it out in person. You’ll get the vibe of a barrio by having a wander around at different times – Friday evenings, Sunday afternoons. Moving flat is a pain so it’s worth putting in the research and making sure it’s a neighbourhood you’re comfortable in before you commit to an apartment.
You’ve decided what you want, you’ve picked your dream neighbourhood – it’s time to get hunting. Fotocasa, Idealista, Yaencontre and Habitaclia are the most popular websites for looking for apartments. There are also lots of Facebook groups – Barcelona Apartments, Bedrooms and Apartments in Barcelona, Rooms to Rent Barcelona, Roommate and Flat Search Barcelona – the list is endless. It’s also a good idea to join groups like Barcelona Expats and Barcelona TEFL Teachers’ Association, as people are often advertising rooms for rent.
Sadly there are people out there just waiting to rip off househunters. When renting an apartment or room, don’t wire money abroad, and never hand money over before you’ve seen the property. If you’re renting an apartment, make sure you have a contract and if your Spanish isn’t that strong yet, get someone to check it over for you. Go with your instincts – if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.
Be ready to move fast. Flats go fast because demand is so high, which means you’ll need to make snap decisions. It’s a good idea to go to viewings with your paperwork with you – payslips, ID and bank details, ready to go. If you’re going to see a room, be friendly and enthusiastic if you like it – you want to make a good impression on your potential flatmates! But at the same time, remember that you can be selective as well. It’s good to be curious – asking questions about people’s schedules, what they like to do on weekends, if overnight guests are allowed, etc will give you an idea of whether or not you’ll be compatible with them.
It can be a time-consuming process, but your dream Barcelona home is out there if you put in the work. Happy house hunting!