Moving to Barcelona – Renting

When moving to Barcelona you basically have two options in my opinion.

  1. Do everything yourself
  2. Hire someone who will do it for you

Obviously the second option is much better if you don’t speak the language and have no idea how the system in Spain and/or Barcelona works.

If you still want to do everything yourself because maybe you want to safe some money, then here are the two main websites you should look at for finding a new place:

Both websites are really good, but I think you will find more quality on Fotocasa. On Idealista you will find the same property multiple times just illegally copied by some agencies. But you will still find something. We used both websites to get an overview and if you hire someone, that person will also use those pages.

Because we picked the second option I will go more into detail with that, but you can use all the information gathered when you are on your own as well.

There are several people offering the service of finding you a place, but we used Georgia from MovingToBarcelona.

She is offering that service now for a really long time and actually knows what she is doing.

Her conditions are the following, since she is offering multiple services:

€450 for the search process, €450 for the viewing day (which also includes the reservation process), and €100 for your contract. Therefore, in total the fee would be €1,000.

And here is how it works:
  1. Two weeks before you would like to have viewings, you tell her what you are looking for. Try to be as accurate as possible. We even send her links of properties we liked.
  2. After that she will send you a list of several properties of your interest and you need to tell her what you like and what not and if you want to see something.
  3. Then this procedure will be repeated until you have a good list together, I would say around 10 properties.
  4. She then will contact all listings and try to arrange the viewings
  5. After that she will send you a list of the viewings and a Google map with all properties pinned.
  6. On the viewing day she will come with you to all the viewings and ask all the questions needed.
  7. After the viewing you will discuss with her about what you think and maybe come to a decision. She really knows what to ask so you can concentrate on just having a look around.
  8. If you decide to rent a property, she will contact the agency/landlord to arrange the renting of the property.
  9. She will also arrange a possible deposit you need to make in order to secure the property, so that no one else has the chance to rent it. That’s normally typical if you use an agency. It’s basically the agency fee, which is normally one month rent or 10% of the annual rental cost.
  10. After that she will hopefully come back with the contract, which she will explain to you and also question everything that should not be in the contract or thinks is not good.
  11. After all parties are fine with the contract, you basically have to pay the rental deposit, which will be maximum 3 month because that is the maximum by law. You also will need to pay the normal rent before you move in.
  12. She will then come with you to sign the contract and probably also discuss the utilities you need to change.
  13. She will try to gather all readings for example and also try to change the names of the contracts for you.
  14. After that her job is basically done and you can move in.

Okay, that sounds pretty easy but there are many things to look out for and also some random stuff that can happen.

Here is a list of everything I can think of that might be interesting to know in advance:
  • Finding a place can be really quick in Barcelona, the market is moving fast. It is possible to move into the place in like a week if you are lucky.
  • Looking for places far in advance is not helpful, they will be mostly gone
  • The rental prices in Barcelona and around the city are not cheap, but you will see the prices on the websites anyway.
  • Most places won’t have all kitchen appliances like a fridge, so be aware that you might have to buy at least some of those.
  • Some Spanish landlords don’t seem to care how the place actually looks like on a viewing. It can be everything from like a green pool and old broken furniture to a really clean and renovated place.
  • Pictures on the internet are not always how the places look like
  • If the place is offered by an agency, you will have to pay a fee which is normally one month rent or 10% of the annual rent.
  • Rental deposit is up to 3 month rent, which by law is the maximum
  • Some landlords still don’t care and want more, we saw places where they wanted 4 month or even 6 month, which you should not pay.
  • The minimum term by law is one year, so if you find a clause in the contract saying you have to pay a penalty if you leave after one year, it is illegal.
  • Some landlords only want to rent furnished but you might find that the furniture will be really bad and old. But they don’t care.
  • Some landlords also don’t want to fix anything you think should be fixed like a broken railing or a missing shower curtain even if it would flood the whole wooden! flooring in the bathroom. Yes we have seen a bathroom with an open shower and wooden flooring. And that place was recently refurbished.
  • Sometimes landlords want a special insurance in case you don’t pay rent. In that case you better already have your NIE, since it takes some time and the credit check needs the NIE. Also the landlords should pay for the insurance not you.
  • For renting a place you normally need your passport or ID and a bank account to quickly send the deposit. A Revolut or Transferwise does it, you don’t need to have the Spanish bank account ready for it. You also should be able to provide a work contract or some sort of proof that you are able to pay the rent.
  • If you don’t speak Spanish, the viewing might get tricky if you don’t have someone to help you

I think that are mostly the things we came across.

If you have any questions, just drop a comment.

All other articles about moving to Barcelona are here.

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