House Hunting Headache in Madrid

View from our bedroom window: Lots of Parks, Plazas, and a Palace!

As soon as we landed in Spain we couldn’t wait to start looking for a place to live.  After simply taking over a previous teacher’s residence in Japan we decided this time it would be fun to look for our own place.  We were able to research all the different barrios of Madrid and view lots of apartments for rent on the internet before we landed so we felt like it would be pretty easy to find a place once we got there.  We would even have people helping us with scheduling and looking at potential places.  We weren’t entirely sure if we wanted to live downtown or near the school but we knew we’d be happy either way.  We were very flexible and therefore thought we’d have lots of options.

Shopping galore on Grand Via in Madrid

We were warned it would be HOT and we’d be doing LOTS of walking so we were ready for that. What we were not prepared for was the fact that 90% of the Spaniards are on vacation for the whole month of August, thus making it very difficult to look at rental properties.  Every day we would make a list of 15-20 potential places to look at and end up only being able to view only 3 or 4.  We also weren’t aware that they doctored their photos to make their places look a whole lot nicer than they actually are.  Needless to say, after 4 days of searching and mostly seeing less than desirable options, we were very frustrated.  The one place we were interested in, no one could get ahold of the owners since they were in Mexico.  We decided to rent a serviced apartment for a week so we could continue our search.  We then realized it would be at least another week before people would return from vacation AND that we had to find a place sooner rather than later (since we had to register our permanent address within a month of landing in Spain).  We went into panic mode and started looking at ANYTHING that was available for viewing.

Luckily, we ran across a place that we liked.  We initally hesitated because it was smaller than we wanted (1 bdrm vs 2 bdrm), but everything else about it was great.  We figured we should try to reach the owner since that seemed to be the biggest hurdle.  After finally finding someone that could get us the owner’s contact number, we learned they were on vacation too; however, they were answering their phones and email and one of the owners even spoke English (a British woman who married a Spaniard).  This was a BIG positive.  She was extremely pleasant to deal with and very willing to work with us.  She still keeps in contact and has even added additional items to the apartment for us.

Our Complete Functional Kitchen 🙂

The rent was a bit more than some of the other places we were looking at, BUT we didn’t have to pay an agency fee (equal to one month’s rent) and they only wanted 1 month deposit (rather than 3 or 4).  The apartment is on the 26th floor so it has incredible views of the city.  It was totally remodeled last year.  The price also includes a great 24 hour gym, internet, TV, and a community room we can reserve for parties.  It’s close to a couple big parks, the new river walk, lots of shopping, and even downtown.  We really like the neighborhood and it’s very convenient for Robert to get to work.   Another great thing about our new place is that (unlike Japan) we actually have a real kitchen so we can cook! 🙂  We had to wait a week to move in but that was ok.  Once Robert started working, I continued to look at a few other places (just for the heck of it), but I never found anything that I liked better.

I’m not sure if we’ll stay here the whole time we are in Spain or if we’ll eventually look for another place but for right now it’s great.  I know one thing, I’ll never get tired of the views.

Here are a couple more views of the city:

View of the Northwest part of the city from the Gym

View of the Southern Part of the City from the Community Room

One of the many beautiful sunsets from our dining room. 🙂