Once you choose Valencia as your new home to make memories, many struggle in finding a property to rent long term. As the city is becoming more and more popular and the housing market is quick, prepare yourself. Especially if you’re a foreigner just moving to Valencia, you might be faced with some fear or simply not being replied. Finally we’re here to guide you through the process of finding you a place to feel at home under the Valencian sun! Read on for our 10 tips and tricks.
First things first. Decide how long you want to commit to a property before you start your search. Under 3 months is considered a short stay and best to book an Airbnb or similar. In this blog we zoom in on the long-term rentals, let’s say a year to start with.
- Plan enough time for your search
Make sure you plan enough time to find an apartment. You start searching and plan when you’re in Valencia? Book an Airbnb for at least two weeks to a month to give you the rest and peace to do a good search. You don’t want to be in a rush or say yes to an apartment only because your check-out date is fast approaching you.
- Check the area
Valencia has 19 districts and 88 neighbourhoods (called barrios). All have a different character so you will do well to read online about popular areas to live in. Make a shortlist of the districts that grabs your interest and check them out once in Valencia. Take into account that the most popular areas are also the ones that stretches your budget. So have a look around these areas to have the benefit of living close to them. In Valencia the areas Cabanyal, Ruzafa and El Carmen are most popular. Benimaclet is popular among students. Worth checking: Quatre Carreres (close to Ruzafa and the Turia park), and Camins al Grau, a kids friendly area with good public schools and located between the beach and the city.
- Make your non-negotiable top three
You will probably have a lot of wishes or demands. Minimum amount of bedrooms, distance to the sea, public transport facilities, an elevator, budget, the style of the house, furnished or unfurnished, parking space… well we can continue for a while. Count on the fact that it will be unlikely all your wishes will be accomplished. Make a list of the top three things you really (and we mean really) don’t want to compromise on. Your non-negotiable items. Focus on those and see the rest as a plus.
- Search on the right platforms
The online search can, and will probably, take you hours and hours. We share our favourites with you to see which suits you best. Are you looking for a furnished room for long term? Go to www.spotahome.com; a great and young platform specialized in finding furnished long term apartments and letting you reserve them right away without paying a visit. Once you’re looking for unfurnished homes the websites www.idealista.com and www.fotocasa.com are the most popular ones. www.kyero.com and www.pisos.com are good second choices. Also Facebook groups like ‘Expats in Valencia’ and ‘Valencia information exchange’ are places where apartments are advertised.
- Create alerts on platforms
You don’t want to miss out on your dream apartment because you found out it’s there one day after the advertisement is online. Create alerts, so automatically an email pops up once a property matches your criteria. And then, follow the next step!
- Pick up the phone
Our biggest tip: call the agency to see if the apartment is still available. Unfortunately a lot of what you see on the platforms (and by a lot, we mean a lot) have already some very happy tenants inside.
Many agents do not respond to emails. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, pick up the phone to find out and ask if they speak English (hablas Inglés?). Sending a Whatsapp message is a good alternative as well. If the agent doesn’t speak English, ask a friend, bartender or your Spanish teacher to make an appointment for you. Be flexible, try not to plan ahead, but visit the apartment the same day or next day maximum.
- Decide quickly
So you’ve planned your visit. That’s a great step. As we told you already, the rental market in Valencia is quick, very quick! Be prepared to decide if you want to rent the apartment on the spot or a few hours after. If the interest is high because of the price, area and/or style and the lack of apartments available in Valencia, the ship might have already set sail if you take too long to think about it.
- Reserve the apartment
Found your dream apartment? Ask how you can reserve it right away (make sure you sign a reservation contract) otherwise you might see the apartment being taken under your nose just a day before you’re supposed to sign the contract.
- Check the extra fees and paperwork
The Spanish and/or Valencian renting market might work different than you’re used to. To be informed well rather than being surprised once you’re about to close a deal take the following things into account;
– The deposit (in Spanish ‘la fianza’) is normally 1 month for an unfurnished flat and 2 months for a furnished flat. Make sure the deposit is stated correctly in your contract. You can try to negotiate it to one month.
– Are you visiting with an agency? It’s rather common to ask 1 month rent as a fee for their service. Top that fee up with a 21% VAT (IVA) and you’re good to go.
– If you’re a foreigner and don’t have a fixed job or a contract in Spain you might have some renting fears. Unfortunately it happens that you have to pay 3 months or even half a year in advance to give the owner more certainty that you’re able to pay the rent.
– Make sure you transfer the monthly rent with a bank transfer. If they ask you to pay in cash; high chances that your landlord avoids paying tax for their income.
It might be a hassle to convince the landlord you’re a good tenant. They may ask for you NIE (social number in Spain), job contract, bank statements and much more. Stay realistic and be clear about your personal situation.
- Count on disappointments
Sometimes a property looks awesome online and in reality, but you see it slipping through your fingers to another tenant or because the owners want you to pay several months in advance and you can’t afford that. Don’t bow out, keep on fighting, in the end it will make you enjoy the sun on your face on your lovely terrace even more!
Written by Silke Bongers, owner of Open Door Valencia, a real estate agency specialized in making your housing search hassle free for the international market. She offers several services to help you finding your dream house in the city that you’ll surely fall in love with; Valencia! Get in touch with Silke here