Best Sites for Finding an Apartment in Spain
As stated in the last post about renting an apartment in Spain, searching for a flat can be a trying and frustrating process, especially in a non-native language! However, the virtual search before really delving into the house-hunt is crucial and so helpful in terms of getting to know the market, learning vocabulary, and preparing yourself for the in-person part. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a short-list of the must-know websites to get you started!!
Top Five Sites*
Pisocompartido: Perhaps this is getting less common these days with the prevalence of Facebook, but it has served me well each time I’ve looked for a shared apartment. You make a profile in which you indicate what you are looking for and people often reach out to you! I still did a lot of searching on my own and went to check out places I had personally selected but I actually ended up living with roommates who had reached out to me on both occasions I found a flat through pisocompartido. I really appreciated the two-way street this site offers.
“Pisos en ____” Facebook Group: You’re sure to find a number of these groups if you’re in a decent-sized city and the people who advertise their apartments are usually other young people looking for flatmates. (Don’t know about you, but I personally prefer to meet the people I’d potentially live with, not the landlord, when touring a place.) This is a good option as you can easily stay up-to-date as to which announcements are the most recent (and often tell which have already been scooped up). As with option #1, this option gives you a higher likelihood of knowing something more about the people who you might live with before you even agree to tour the place.
Idealista: This is one of my favorite sites when house-hunting but beware of two important things—this is a more ‘official’ search engine meaning that it costs money for the renters to advertise and tends to be used more by real estate agencies than individuals. Likewise, because advertisers have to pay once they take down the ad, some people will just leave their announcement up indefinitely (meaning that the place is not actually available!). Be conscientious about the date the apartment was listed as well as if it is through an agency or not (agencies or inmobiliarios, will likely charge you a month’s rent for their assistance). Definitely be sure to call, not write, when you are interested in one of the listings―especially agencies never seem to respond to messages!
Fotocasa: I haven’t personally used this site as much as idealista, but it is essentially the same idea and therefore you can find many of the same places advertised (although there’s an occasional diamond-in-the-ruff that only goes up in one place). All of the same fore-warnings above apply.
Milanuncios: Literally translated to “Thousand Ads,” the name is quite accurate—this is the catch-all advertising site of Spain. It’s free for anyone to put up an ad and so you will find everything from apartments for rent to cars for sale to second-hand baby strollers and clothes. It feels less formal to me so I haven’t used it personally when looking for an apartment but it’s definitely a good search engine to be aware of!
Some Important Side-Notes
it While it may be tempting to find and agree to rent a place before you move to Spain, I REALLY recommend you wait until you can meet the person (or agency), see the place in person, and sign an official contract. Although I know a few people who have had success taking care of everything in advance, more often than not it’s hard to tell if the person you are speaking with is legitimate and if the flat is really in good conditions and worth your money (assuming it exists).
While you’re still in your home country, you can certainly start browsing the above websites―even just for the fun and excitement―but I wouldn’t bother starting to contact anyone until you arrive (or just a few days before). Simply put: it’s not necessary, especially because sometimes the places that you see online this week will no longer be available next week). No matter what you choose to do, be very leery about transferring money and do not share your bank details! Unfortunately, there are people who will take advantage of your position as a foreigner who may not understand the process well.
If you do some researching ahead of time, I personally believe you will have no problem finding the right place for you within a week. I’ve personally never spent more than three days touring places, typically moving in within one-to-three days after that. The process moves quickly and so it’s just not worth the risk of agreeing to rent a flat from abroad. Besides, with these websites at your fingertips, you’re now prepared to do it as a local!
Have you used any of the above sites? Be sure to share your experiences and/or opinions in the comments to help each other out!
*This evaluation is based solely on my experiences in Granada. Please give us a shout-out if other sites are better in your area!