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Barcelona apartment search tips
Useful tips and things to consider when looking for apartments or rooms in Barcelona. From noise to traffic to location to shower pressure - there are many things to check. Click here to see websites where you can find rental accommodation in Barcelona
Check the bedroom location. Many residents of Barcelona prefer an interior bedroom. An interior bedroom means that room windows open out to an inner courtyard or an air shaft. This limits noise, and is considered to be cooler in summer and warmer in winter, which is a big benefit in older flats in Barcelona if you don't have heating or air-conditioning. An exterior bedroom with sunlight streaming in from main roads like Gran Via or Av Diagonal can seem lovely, but might be much hotter and a lot noiser!
Check if there is extra rush hour traffic and try and avoid bedrooms that face main artery roads. The lorries and scooters are very noisy! Also check for night buses and if there is a traffic light outside your bedroom which means trucks, buses and scooters will be stopping and starting all night.
Noise from collection of street rubbish containers
Some of the BCNeta trucks empty the rubbish containers at 2 or 3am in the morning and the hydraulics would wake the dead. Our advice is to check if there are any containers directly outside your bedroom and perhaps ask what time they are emptied. You might also want to make sure you are not next to a fire station.
Difficult to avoid. Most Spanish apartments have supporting columns, not supporting walls, so the walls are as thin as airline ham. So you will probably be hearing from your neighbours whether you like it or not.
All new flats in Barcelona have heating and many have built in air-conditioning. Most older flats have neither and are not very well insulated either, so you might turning blue in the months from December to May. A good tip is too look outside on the balconies of an old apartment block. If they are many orange gas tanks then the chances are that the flat might be very cold! Try and find flats with sunlight in the morning or afternoon that can help heat you the rooms. Gas heaters are very effective, but be very careful of old gas heaters and don't leave them on at night without suitable ventilation.
Noise and smells from shops under your apartment
If there are empty shops directly your apartment, then think twice. In a month the empty shop might be a fish shop, or a bar! If it is a very big empty shop, then the chances are also good for a big restaurant or a supermarket. Even if there are small shops or bars, you might want pay the location a visit at the weekend in the evening to see what the noise levels are then. Particulary in the gothic areas of Barcelona and Gracia, where the streets are narrow and sound echoes down the streets. It can easily sound as if 20 drunken party-goers are drinking songs at the foot of your bed!
Unsafe areas of Barcelona
Use your common sense. Almost all areas of Barcelona are extremely safe by international standards, but there are exceptions. Parts of the Raval can be a bit dodgy in the early hours of the morning. Go with your gut feeling and if you are in doubt, go back at night with a friend at see if the neighbourhood feels threatening. And have a look around you. If the area looks clean and nice, then it probably is clean and nice!
Attics are fantastic, especially if you have a view of the gentle slopes behind Barcelona, which play host to the most amazing sunsets. But attic flats can get very hot in the summer, just so you know. New residents coming from cooler climates imagine themselves sitting on a roof terrace sipping martinis and reading a good book but the reality is that it is too hot to do that and hardly anyone actually does it.
Check to see if there are metros or buses and night buses near you. Visit our Barcelona transport guide for information about buses and metros in Barcelona.
Water and shower pressure
If you like a nice shower on a Sunday morning after a long night, check the water pressure before you sign the contract
What condition are the white goods like fridge, dishwasher, dryer and washing machine. Your contract might state that you will have to replace anything that breaks, so make sure it is working well, before you move in.
Does it look safe?
Ask if possible to see old heating and electrical bills. Electrical heating in the winter can be very expensive.
Cable and Satellite TV.
TV, Cable TV. Ask what kind of antenna installations there are on the roof and what is allowed.
Fibre optical cables for Internet
Ask or check if the building is or will be cabled for high speed fibre optical internet connections. You can check this online too.
Accommodation scams and frauds
Don't be fooled. The only rule to remember is "If it's too good to be true, then it's too good to be true." Most people get fooled in apartment scams because they are too eager to hand over cash to be sure of getting a amazing deal. If it sounds amazing it might not be true, so be extra careful and don't be blinded by the thought of a great deal! Read our article about apartments scams in Barcelona
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