A guide to the biggest mistakes when moving to Spain, and some tips on how to avoid them.
Luckily, Madrid is considered to be one of the most affordable metropolitan cities to live in. Whether you’re looking to live on a student’s budget or something a little more upscale, there are plenty of options and price points available.
If you decide to share a flat, your monthly rent may be as low as €290 per month. You can comfortably live in your own place for €1100 – 1500 but there are luxury options available as well for around €2000 - 4000.
Despite the low prices, finding an apartment can still be a nightmare. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what to expect when renting a home in Madrid. This guide will walk you through everything you need to get started.
Because Madrid is a major metropolitan city, there are a lot of varied housing options available. The buildings are slightly older, and apartments are more common, but studios, one to four bedroom apartments and even houses are all options for your move to Madrid. Because it’s home to four universities, there are also plenty of students looking for flatshares or roommates.
There are many options available when finding a neighborhood to settle in, and as a European city Madrid as a whole is extremely walkable. Its subway system also affords a level of accessibility that rivals any other major metropolitan area. Whether you’re looking for cheap student housing, a hipster haven or something more luxe, Madrid’s varied neighborhoods have a lot to offer.
- Malasaña - just north of the city center, Malasaña is a hub of creativity. It’s often compared to Camden Town in London or the East Village in New York City. Because this is a very desirable neighborhood with a lot to offer, expect rental prices to be slightly higher here.
- Chueca - known for its LGBT population, Chueca is a great central neighborhood to check out in Madrid. It’s just north of the old city and has a laid back vibe.
- Salamanca - if you want to live in the poshest part of Madrid, this is the neighborhood for you. Salamanca is home to the best restaurants, expensive stores and brand name shops, as well as lounge bars that line the streets. This neighborhood is considerably more expensive than any other in Madrid, but the rentals are gorgeous and the neighborhood is a lot of fun.
- Moncloa - a traditional neighborhood close to Madrid’s universities, Moncloa is often considered to be the best value neighborhood in the city. Many students live here because the apartments are affordable yet comfortable, and there are lots of parks to wander through or study in.
There are a number of online sites that can aid in your search for an apartment or flat in Madrid. These websites are a good place to start because they have a large database of options, lots of pictures and powerful search functionality, meaning you can filter by neighborhood, type of home and even whether or not the unit has a pool. Anyone can upload to these sites, however, so be sure to be on the lookout for scams. It’s helpful to have rudimentary Spanish skills to read through some of the details.
- Fotocasa - this is one of the better online search options available. They have lots of different listings and great search options.
- Idealista - this site is also well-stocked with rental options and even allows you to browse in English.
- SpotAHome - if you’re staying in Madrid for a shorter term, this site is a great option. They allow you to search for rentals based on how long you’ll be staying while also letting you dictate your price range. Many of the rentals on this site are furnished.
- FriendlyRentals - whether you’re looking for luxury or just simple comfort, this site has something for you. Search by the level of luxe you’re looking for and find your dream rental from there.
Whether it’s to save some money or to get to know a local or two, flatshares are a good option for any foreigner looking to move to Madrid. Having a roommate means you the split the cost of rent, utilities and more but also guarantees you’ll know someone in your new city. If you think a roommate is the best option for your move to Madrid, there are plenty of online resources available to help you find the perfect fit.
- PisoCompartido - Piso Compartido literally means “shared flat” in Spanish, and that’s exactly what this site does best! You can select what gender flatmate you’re looking for, smoking/non-smoking, pets and more. You can even browse the site in english.
- Erasmusu - this site has extensive profiles written on every potential roommate, including pictures, what they expect from a roommate and more. Erasmusu focuses on student housing, so if you aren’t studying you cannot post a profile. You can, however, find an apartment using one of the sites above and suggest to split the accommodation with one of the renters on their site!
- MetroRoommates - while this site is a little older, it also offers a lot of search functionality. You can be extremely specific with what you’re looking for in an apartment and a roommate on this site, which is extremely helpful when you know what you’re looking for.
- Stukers - this site is really intuitive and easy to use. You can search by apartments or by roommates - a truly unique feature that lets you search for others who are looking for a flat as well. Their site also features a variety of “success stories” highlighting the triumphs of others who used their site and were happy with their results.
- Craigslist - a tried and true favorite, there are thousands of people all over the world who use Craigslist to find roommates. It’s even an option in Madrid, but beware of scammers and always look out for your own safety.
When dealing with a landlord directly, there are a few things you should know about Spain. In Madrid there are laws that must be followed in every lease negotiation. The standard lease is for one year, with the opportunity to renew or leave after that period. Additionally, the size of your security deposit is mandated by law.
Legally, your security deposit for an apartment in Madrid is one month’s rent if the unit is unfurnished, or two month’s rent if the unit is furnished. These numbers are just a minimum, however. Some landlords may ask to increase the security deposit and although it’s in their right to do so, it’s also within your rights to negotiate.
It’s also becoming increasingly common in Madrid for landlords to ask for “bank guarantees” or “aval bancario.” This means that you have to submit the security deposit to a specific bank account that the landlord has the right to access should anything happen. If your lease requires a bank guarantee, consider using Wise to get the real exchange rate and cut out expensive international bank transfer fees.
Good luck with your move to Madrid!
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