We have been travelling for 6 months so far and have visited some truly amazing places. From New York, to Mexico, Rio to Rome, we have loved every moment. However we now need some time to earn some money for the next adventure and since we don’t want to return home, we have chosen to move to Madrid! The hard part was working out how to find an apartment in Madrid, without actually being in Madrid. We wanted to avoid staying in expensive hotels while we looked.
Here is a short guide on our experience about how to find an apartment in Madrid!
Why move to Madrid?
First of all, lets explain why we have chosen to move to Madrid. There is a whole world out there, but here are our reasons why Madrid was our first choice:
Its in Europe
As we are a UK couple, and still technically in the EU (just). Living and working somewhere else in the EU is a lot easier than going to work in the US or Australia where you have to consider visas. This was definitely a big factor when deciding where to live.
We could have stayed in Central America but wages and job opportunities would have been lower and there would have been visas to consider.
It’s also a very short and cheap flight back to the UK meaning we can have friends and family come and visit us!
If you are from outside the EU, it is still perfectly possible to come and live in Madrid, you would just have to go through the visa process.
Madrid is very Gay Friendly
Maybe ‘gay friendly’ as a term is an understatement. Being gay in Madrid feels normalised, respected and more than just tolerated.
There is a huge gay neighbourhood, but the signs of acceptance are far wider than this neighbourhood alone (Chueca). Between Sol and Lavapies you will still find traffic lights where the red and green people are a couple of men or women holding hands. We love these thoughtful touches.
We have also found lots of signs around the city that say ‘Madrid doesn’t care who you love, but Madrid loves you’.
Naturally this makes our quality of life as a gay couple much better. We feel like we can walk around holding hands without people noticing. Such a seemingly small thing makes a huge difference to us. We have never seen so many gay couples walking around holding hands, its empowering to see!
Being such a gay friendly city means lots of bars and nightlife options for us! It is also hosts one of the biggest prides in the world!
What is Madrid like as a City?
Its not what we would have expected before doing our research!
When we think of a city, we think tall grey buildings. Madrid could not be further from that. Everywhere you walk the buildings are beautiful, there are plazas to sit and enjoy food and lots of places to explore.
We particularly love Retiro Park. It is a huge park in the centre of the city, perfect for picnics and topping up your tan!
Some may say its unbearably hot in Summer, but we found Manchester unbearably wet most of the year (we still love Manchester though!)
We are self-admitted sunseekers and have always said we wanted to live somewhere warm and sunny. Madrid easily ticks that box for us!
Even though you are in a city, there are plenty of pools for when the weather is hot. Our favourite is Lago Piscina and you can be there in 20 minutes from the city centre.
It’s the Capital City
This is significant for us because we love the city life. Being a capital city means it offers excellent nightlife, dining, shopping and activities. You simply can’t get bored!
On the practical side of things, it also means that there would be more work opportunities here than if we had chosen a smaller town.
How to move to Madrid and find an apartment?
For us, we needed medium term accommodation (30 days+) organised in advance. We did not want to arrive and have to spend a fortune in a hotel while looking for an apartment. Similarly, we didn’t want to have to wait till we arrived and use an estate agent whose fees are treble what we were used to in the UK. We wanted an easy and safe option.
Then we came across Spotahome.
Who are Spotahome?
Spotahome are an online agency who list properties across cities in Spain, UK, Germany and Italy to name a few.
They have been running for 4 years and have grown quickly (and for good reason!)
What is special about Spotahome?
What we found special and fundamentally important about Spotahome was that they check the properties themselves.
All photos and descriptions are written by Spotahome and not by the Landlord. This means you get honest reviews pointing out the downsides and the positives of each apartment. You can also rest assured that the pictures have not been doctored (something we have fallen foul to before).
They also take a video of the apartment and go around opening all the drawers, doors and windows. This is really thorough such that you have effectivly seen the apartment without having to go.
Given that we had to book an apartment in Madrid without being in Madrid, this was perfect for us.
Was booking with Spotahome simple?
Yes. This was extremely easy.
You search online. View all the photos and then request to book.
The property is blocked for 24 hours while Spotahome contacts the landlord and you wait for confirmation.
For security, the first rental payment is made through Spotahome 48 hours after you move in. This gives you the chance to say if the property was not as advertised.
Spotahome charges a small fee for there services but this is much less than we have found at estate agents. This made using Spotahome the cheaper and safer option for us.
All being well, you move in and arrange a deposit and contract with your Landlord.
Easy as that!
Did it live up to expectations?
Our apartment was exactly as described and exactly as in the photos. One of the points made on their website is that everything is intended to be transparent, this was definitely the case.
The whole process was very easy, there was plenty of straightforward email communication along the way and we moved in hassle free.
Other things to bear in mind…
The only additional thing to bear in mind is Landlord policies and fees. These are individual to each property.
For some they may want to see documentation such as work contracts and payslips. Some charge for bills and some include them in the price.
The apartment we booked included bills and didn’t require us to show any documentation. However since we are self employed we might have struggled if they required work contracts. Just make sure you read the listing in full to make sure you get accepted when you request.
We hope you find this advice useful. We are always looking for easy ways to do things and this was definitely the easiest option for us! Next on our list is to find some work in Madrid while we continue to write new content and develop The Globetrotter Guys.
If you are planning on visiting any major cities across Spain, UK, Italy or Germany for more than 30 days we highly recommend checking out Spotahome!
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