What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?
Important factors to keep in mind are proximity to work, schools, public transportation and your budget. During the home-search process, we recommend that you stay in a service apartment, as opposed to a hotel. The quality of service apartments in Spain has increased over the years. Although this type of accommodation affords a greater degree of freedom than a hotel (especially if you have young children), it is best that you view this type of accommodation as a provisional solution before you move into a more permanent residence.
What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?
Many expats with families choose a residence near the international schools, in areas such as Sarria, Pedralbes, Esplugues de Llobregat, Sant Just Desvern or Sant Cugat del Valles.
Many other expats live in areas such as l'Eixample, Vila Olimpica or Diagonal Mar. For those who seek more ambience, and don't mind a small apartment in an old area, El Born, Barri Gotic or Gracia may be to their liking. Overall, housing in Barcelona is very expensive.
Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?
The majority of expats tends to rent property and would only contemplate buying if they decide to remain permanently in Spain. The majority of property is unfurnished. It is also important to note that many properties are equipped with kitchen cabinets, oven, cooking top/extractor fan. Don't be surprised if you encounter a property without lighting fixtures/bulbs, curtain rails, etc. Generally speaking, you should be prepared to furnish appliances (refrigerator, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc.), although more properties are now being provided with these items.
Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?
If you go through a real estate agency you need to budget for three months' rent at the time of signing the contract. This consists of the following:
- One month “fianza;” this is (usually) a refundable deposit that will be returned minus any outstanding bills/damages when you leave the property. If you take furnished accommodation they may charge a two-month fianza.
- Estate agent commissions are normally equivalent to one month's rent (or 10 per cent of the first year's rent in some cases).
- You will need to pay one month's rent in advance.
Note: some landlords will require a bank guarantee ("aval bancaria") for up to six months or one year.
Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?
Utilities are generally not included in the price of the rent; however, this will depend on the arrangements made with the landlord.
Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?
Barcelona and the surrounding towns are generally quite safe, with the exception of a few areas.
I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?
The electrical current in Spain is 220 volts and 50 cycles; sockets are two-pinned, type C.
Transformers and adaptors can be used in some cases; however, caution must be used when determining which items can be used with adaptors and transformers.
Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?
Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures and curtain fixtures are generally not supplied; however, sometimes these items can be purchased from the previous tenant. You will most likely need to bring or buy wall lights/ceiling lamps. You can bring your own lamps and use adaptors to change the appliance plug to fit a European outlet; however, keep in mind that European 220-volt bulbs must be used. Bayonet light bulbs are not easily available in Spain so you must bring a supply of bulbs with you if your lamp fixture takes only bayonet bulbs. TVs, VCRs and DVD players from North America can be used if they are multi-system but American NTSC systems will not work. The TV system in Spain is PAL.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.