After our very long and intense search for a new place in Valencia, I’m happy to report that we found a really wonderful apartment to call home for the next year, maybe even more. The saying “all things happen for a good reason” certainly applies here. We missed out on several places that we thought would have been a good fit and were disappointed and or mad when they happened. Looking back, we realize that everything bad led us to this good one. Here are a few lessons learned along the way as well as pictures from our new home.
The Wish List for our new home in Valencia:
One of the things that attracted us to Valencia was the slightly bigger size. The public transport system was also a big draw. There are at least 5 metro lines as opposed to the single one in Seville. It would make getting around much easier.
- 2 bedrooms
- 2 baths
- Patio for the dogs
- Close to public transport (bus and metro)
- City center location
- Close to supermarket
- Nearby cafes
- Gym close by (that one was Federico’s. Definitely not mine ;-) )
- Gas stove top
- Max price of €700/month ($750)
Our search started while we were still living in Seville. We actually made two failed trips out here to secure a new apartment. The online search websites we used were:
Fotocasa (my favorite because it shows you the place on a map as well as available public transport)
Habitaclia (tends to have classier listings)
We turned down several apartments that we found mainly because there had little or no patio space for the dogs even when the owners allowed them. Some had Juliet balconies which was inadequate. Having to take them out several times a day was not an option. We had done that in Malta at one of the places we lived in and it was not fun. The bigger dog especially would go out like 7 times a day and you never knew if he really needed to pee or more than likely just wanted to be out (more often the case).
We were turned away from some places because pets were unwanted. It’s annoying finding out afterwards. Most of the listings would say “no pets” so we had assumed not saying that meant they were okay with them until we saw/liked the place and then found out.
Some places were a perfect fit and were priced right too. These ones went off the market so fast, it made our heads spin. I remember one that was an attic flat. It had 2 bedrooms and a small terrace that would have been perfect for the dogs. It was also right across from the supermarket and the area was nice. The pluses outweighed the negatives. They had over 37 showings that day according to the realtor. So many in fact that she just stayed there the whole day and it was just a revolving door . In the 10 minutes we were there, 2 other women came to see it. I liked it more than Federico because at the point, I was desperate and looking to settle for anything close to our original wish list. Thank goodness they didn’t choose us even though l was bitterly disappointed.
After checking out of our AirBnB with our wonderful hosts, we stayed at another place in the city for 5 days to be closer to the action. Driving out from that suburb in to town was just too stressful and took too long. There had been 2 flats that l liked from the very beginning. They were actually quite similar looking back. Federico ruled them out because they were out of our price range. We called on the first one, saw and liked it. The owner however turned out to be a real dick. He thought he was renting out Buckingham palace or something. He was so drunk with power that we decided to pull out, much to his surprise. It was so worth it :-) and l would have gladly stayed another month at a temporary rental.
We thought the same would happen with the second place. We liked it a lot from what we could see. We were however afraid the owner would be just as horrible which would explain why they were both still on the market during our 2 month search and both had dropped their prices. The first to €750 and the second to €790. We called one of the realtors with the listing and she refused to show it to us without a work contract which devastated us. I had the brilliant idea to call another one with the same listing. They agreed to show it to us that same evening. We saw it, we liked it and offered to pay more upfront in lieu of the “nomina” and “avalo bankario”. She called the owner who was extremely happy to hear that but was out of town till the Friday night. We arranged to sign the papers that same evening and moved in the next morning which was exactly when we had booked the AirBnB till.
What €790 gets you in Valencia and what we love:
- 3 bedroom
- 2 bath
- Almost 1700 square feet and over 500 square feet of patio space
- A parking spot (an additional €100-120 in the center)
- 2 large patios for the dogs
- Sun room
- Close to metro and bus stops
- Cafes nearby
- Mall within 10 minute walk
- 16 theater movie house that play some English movies within 5 minutes walk
- Supermarket 7 minute walk
- Overlooking the park and a little enclosed balcony from which to enjoy the view of the track and field stadium.
- Community pool and gym 3 minute walk (haven’t checked it out yet, but it is inexpensive to join according to the landlord.
- 15 minute walk to the old city
- The furniture. I suspect one of the reasons it stayed unrented was the antique furniture. This is what we absolutely loved. It’s obvious someone cared for this place a great deal and it was a home (the landlord’s parents till they passed)
- Close to everything. We’ve already had the dogs groomed (3 minute walk), had our teeth cleaned (2 minute walk), gone to the pharmacy (less than a minute walk) and had my nails done (4 minute walk). We’ve only driven the car twice in 3 weeks :-).
Our new home in Valencia and what we don’t love:
- I am not a big fan of the bathrooms, linear and the tile color leaves a lot to be desired. He doesn’t care. The shower is also super small, like for a kid or a skinny person ;-), so we use the one with the tub. It would have also been nice to have a master suite.
- The walls are thin, just like all over Spain and Malta. We have been lucky however that the noise has been minimal from the neighbor upstairs. The TV is loud in the evenings till he goes to bed, we only hear it for about 20 minutes since we spend most of the day on the other side of the flat. There are only 2 flats per floor too so that helps a lot.
- Electric stove top and water heater, not gas
- No wall heaters. We’ll have to wait and see how cold it gets in the winter. It couldn’t be colder than the house in Seville for sure, so I’m sure we’ll manage.
What we learned and advice for flat hunters:
- Don’t bother searching till you have boots on the ground.
- If one agency turns you down, try another one
- Offer up a few months rent at a time in lieu of a work contract or a guarantor
- Print out your bank statements to show. They love seeing things in black and white
- It’s more important to show how much your monthly income is than your savings
- Make sure that the realtor holds on to the deposit, not the landlord. Valencia is the first place we have seen where they actually do that. It’s impossible to get your deposit back from the landlord. You can of course rent directly from landlords (look for “particulars” advertisers) to save the one month fee…but… :-). The realtor also printed the lease in English for us so we could understand, but the legal one has to be in Spanish.
- Negotiate with the landlord. We could have easily knocked off €90 off the list price but got too excited which really ticks me off :-). I think we were just shell shocked and loved it too much to haggle.
- Join Facebook groups to get a glimpse of life in the city. By posing a question, I got good advice about neighborhoods and not to focus too much on being in the very center as everything is kind of close.
Despite the fact that we went over our budget, I am very pleased with where we ended up and l think it is worth the money. For sure we could have found something great for less, but we would have had to compromise on space for the dogs and shitty, boxed in streets that make me feel trapped. I had also been spoiled by the €600 we had been paying Seville that l was loath to increase the budget.. Well, he was :-). For us, this was worth all the frustration of the hunt. This is the closet that we’ve come to what we left behind in the States..so yeah..pretty happy!
What do you think of our new home in Valencia? How much space would €790 ($850) rent where you live? How hard is it to find good rentals?