7 Tips for Choosing an Apartment Abroad in Barcelona
From the many award-winning beaches to the exquisite art and culture, there are many reasons to consider making Barcelona your new home. Whether you’re staying for a few weeks or a few years, you’ll need to find housing. These tips will help you find the best apartments in the city.
- Understand the Property Laws
Unlike the United States, which typically favors the landlord of a property, Barcelona’s laws are in favor of tenants These regulations make it hard for landlords to unjustly evict tenants, although the red tape can make them hard for the layman to understand. In addition to making it harder to evict tenants, Spain introduced laws in 2013 that allows for rolling contracts. These contracts make it easier for tenants to rent an apartment for only a few months at a time or to leave a lease early as long as he or she provides a notice of one or two months.
- Use a Listing Service or Estate Agent
The easiest way to find a place to live in an unfamiliar area is to hire someone to help you do it. If you have the extra money, you can hire an estate agent to help you find places, process applications, and talk with landlords. If your goal is to save money, you can search online. Whether you are seeking apartments in the beach of Barcelona or looking to live inside the city, plenty of online listings are available to help you see what’s for rent and how much you can expect to pay. Lugaris.com is an especially popular website for beach rentals.
- Create a Budget
The cost of rent will depend on whether you intend to find roommates or live alone as well as which neighborhoods you are interested in. If you plan to live with other people, expect to spend about $410 USD per month on rent. A one-bedroom apartment starts at about $800 USD per month. If you want a bedroom with two or three bedrooms, expect to pay at least $1,050 USD per month.
Neighborhoods like El Born and Barri Gotic are quite popular and therefore more expensive while those like l’Eixample and Sagrada Familia are more affordable and just as interesting. Regardless of the neighborhood, expect to pay at least two months’ rent as a deposit when you move in.
Like the United States, utilities are not included in the rent in Barcelona most of the time. A two-bedroom apartment’s utilities typically cost about $117 USD per month, although this will vary depending on the size of the apartment. Long-term rentals must be energy-efficient, and you can ask to see the certificate before signing a lease. Don’t forget to consider local taxes or the cost of garbage pickup, which vary depending on the neighborhood. You’ll also need to remember to factor in costs for the internet, mobile phone service, cable, groceries, and other monthly necessities, which will vary depending on your preferences and needs.
- Plan Your Activities
Because Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations for tourists traveling around the world, it offers plenty of things to do when you are not taking advantage of the pristine beaches. Many tourists choose to visit the local museums, music festivals and castles in the area. Barcelona is diverse enough that there is truly a fun experience or three for almost everyone from Spanish cooking classes and helicopter tours to full moon parties and professional photo shoots – chances are good that you can do it in Barcelona.
- Think About Your Furniture Options
Like most places in the world, some landlords furnish their properties and others don’t. If you insist on a furnished apartment, you’ll likely need to choose a short-term lease since these are more likely to include furniture. Long-term leases are less likely to include furniture. No matter which you choose, keep in mind that “furnished” could mean including the appliances and a sofa to being completely outfitted in every room. You’ll want to double-check what your lease includes before you sign it. Keep in mind that you’ll probably pay more for a place that is fully furnished.
- Look Into Public Transportation
The best way to see Barcelona, or to live there for a time, does not need to include a car. The Metro system is easy to decipher and use as it features several color-coded routes that cover the city. For those who are intent on seeing some of Barcelona’s major tourist attractions, or for those coming in and out of the Barcelona-El Prat Airport, the Metro makes perfect sense. In addition to the Metro, there are also city bus routes and taxis that are easily accessible.
Some tourists assume that renting a car to use while in Barcelona is the best option; however, the narrow streets and traffic jams may make driving a bit more dicey than some are used to. Perhaps it is best to leave the stress behind and truly enjoy Barcelona on foot or by using public transportation.
- Plan Your Weekend Adventures
While there is plenty to see and do in Barcelona, plan to take some weekend adventures and see some of the amazing sights just a few hours from the city. It may mean renting a car, but a trip to the Pyrenees mountains or the Priorat and Cava wine regions can help make memories that are truly unforgettable. And don’t forget to stop along the way to experience the unique Medieval villages that dot the path to and from Barcelona. While you are planning, make sure that your fantastic beach experiences do not stop at the city limits. Just a few hours by train and you will arrive at the well-known Bogatell beach that is close to Poblenou. Other nearby and highly-recommended beaches include Montgat and Castelldefels.
Regardless of where you decide to live in Barcelona, be sure to save up some money first. While the idea if packing up and moving without much to your name sounds romantic and adventurous, it can be dangerous. In addition to saving a deposit, rent, and utility money, be sure to create an emergency fund as well. You can never be too prepared.