Apartment hunting is rarely an enjoyable experience. Between the emotional labor, the shifty communications, and deciphering rental ads, finding a new apartment becomes a full-time job.
When it comes to Barcelona, finding a great apartment takes extra effort. As a sought-after European capital, with residents coming from far and wide, the local housing market is quite competitive.
But fret not, armed with the right approach and looking in all the right places, your ideal apartment in Barcelona will be within reach. Even better, viewing and renting it can be a painless experience.
From Ciutat Vella to l’Eixample, we’re tapping into four techniques that will bump the gems to the front — and scoot you closer to your next home that much faster.
The old adage still rings true: it’s about location, location, and location. The best location to stay in Barcelona as a visitor is not the same as a resident. And your preferences and lifestyle needs will differ somewhat from your fellow city-dwellers.
Given the scale and spread of the city, new residents to Barcelona typically will plot where their week will take them (workplace or not, favorite neighborhoods to hang out, core transit lines, etc.) and search for apartments based on proximity.
Luckily, Barcelona’s neighborhoods still form their own enclaves. That means you can just head out on foot to the local market, trusted restaurants, and even green spaces.
The days of classified ads and bulletin board apartment rental listings are fading. These are quickly being replaced by a plethora of online real estate marketplaces.
The Catalonian capital is no different! Sites like Pisos, Fotocasa and even Facebook Marketplace offer platforms to find an apartment for rent in Barcelona.
However, credibility on listing sites really comes down to the individual posters, and so much of the filtering is left to the apartment hunters themselves.
Some prefer to go with sublets instead of renting directly from the owner. Furnished apartments for rent in Barcelona are another popular option for the ease of moving into a home that’s equipped and ready to go.
Not only do you need to spend your first few weeks in the city running around to find furniture, but often a local team is there to welcome you and provide customer service beyond the typical landlord-tenant relationship.
It goes without saying to always read before putting pen to paper, especially if you’re not fluent in Spanish or Catalan.
It pays to have a trusted friend or professional review all the terms of your lease so that you know what you have the right to — and what you are liable for as a renter.
All tenants in Barcelona pay a rental deposit before move-in. The property owner will transfer to Incasol to hold until move-out.
Also if renting through a real estate agent, inquire about their agency fees. These can sometimes come out to 10% of the contract price!
Theoretical questions like adding on a roommate, bringing in a pet, and the landlord’s policies around subletting and moving out early are good to know about if your situation changes after you’ve signed along the dotted line.
Though not as important as considering heating costs in other parts of Spain, you may also ask to see the homeowner’s energy efficiency certificate (Certificado de eficiencia energetica). This will help you to understand how much you can expect to pay for electricity throughout the year.
If there’s any doubt about the person or agency renting out the apartment, you can also request a “nota simple” from the Registro de la Propiedad to prove ownership.
You will also want to request a Certificate of Occupancy (Cédula de habitabilidad) from the property owner, which is issued by the local council.
You can then use this certificate should you need to open up accounts with the water, gas, and electricity providers yourself.
Depending on where you are relocating from, don’t overlook some essential amenities when starting your apartment search in Barcelona.
You shouldn’t expect an abundance of amenities, such as air conditioning, balconies with a view, or in-unit laundry. For higher-level units, you may also insist on having an elevator. In spite of how charming some Barcelona apartment staircases may look, you will want an elevator if you live on a higher floor.
Some Barcelona apartments offer in-building storage, which can come in handy for suitcases, seasonal decorations, sports equipment, and other bulky belongings.
Cyclists should inquire about ground floor secured parking options like an inside courtyard or inside a common hallway.
If you’re particular about quiet time at home, you’ll also want to investigate noise levels, whether coming from the street below or from neighbors.
In Barcelona life starts. and most importantly ends, at very different hours compared to the rest of Western Europe.
This one is a little trickier but you can start by asking the landlord and the current tenants what their experiences are like.
Visiting the apartment at two different times of day will give you an impression of not only noise levels but also how sunlight changes throughout the day.