If you have made one of the best decisions of your life and are ready to pack your bags and start moving to Valencia to enjoy 300 days of sunshine in a year, it’s better to be prepared and get some practical tips to make things time and cost effective.
Best Time For Moving to Valencia?
Generally, you can do things the easiest or the hardest way, and it´s exactly the same with apartment hunting. Timing is not the only factor which affects the process, but there are some times of the year when it´s better to know what’s going on in Valencia.
August. Basically – Valencia is pretty dead and boiling hot too! Valencians tend to leave the city for a month and spend their holidays in their summer houses. Some of the homeowners won’t be available as they might be chilling somewhere near the beach or in the mountains.
September. Valencia is one of the Europe´s top destinations for Erasmus and other exchange programme students, it hosts around 4,000 foreign students every year. Most of them arrive at the beginning of the term and despite the fact that the majority rent rooms in shared accommodation, there are exceptions who decide to search for apartments too.
Las Fallas – while the temporary rentals go up during the most important celebrations in Valencia from the 1st to the 19th of March, you wouldn´t want to get here and find yourself with no accommodation with crazy parties going on everywhere in the streets. As there is no escape from Las Fallas, it makes more sense to simply enjoy them instead of going against the flow by desperately trying to find your new home in Valencia.
Another of celebration is around Christmas and New Year which is widely known as a quiet period for doing business, but not everyone is aware that in Spain this period is more extended then in other parts of the world – Los Reyes on the 6th of January is one of the most important days of this time of year and people avoid working hard as it´s still seen as the holiday period.
Easter week is also something you would probably like to check out before coming – they still have some strong catholic traditions in Valencia which means that there are uncountable Easter processions and other religious activities throughout the week.
How to choose the best area for you in Valencia?
There is no doubt that Valencia is a wonderful city to live in! It´s safe, cosy, very light, easy to move around and above all – it has some of the best weather in the world! Not only does Valencia have some nice neighbourhoods to live in, but the whole city is great – it just depends on what you are looking for. El Carmen (the old city) is absolutely beautiful and logically you pay for that if you decide to move there. It´s not always the most practical decision though – almost all the protests (you might be surprised how politically active people are!), processions and celebrations (again, you might be surprised!) take place in the centre, it´s better not to have a car – a bike, scooter or your own feet is probably a better choice. When renting an apartment, check the nearest grocery store because unlike in the rest of Valencia there are only a few proper ones in the heart of the city. Another area to mention is Rusafa – a very attractive area, and currently one of the top neighbourhoods to go out and enjoy the multicultural environment with lots of pubs, restaurants and a very active cultural agenda.
Much cheaper in comparison to the previous two, but still very nice area is Benimaclet – you can get a feeling of living in a village thanks to the narrow streets, little squares and small churches. The community there is mostly young, alternative people who are proud of their Valencian roots and culture (which is why you will hear the Valencian language more than average in Valencia), they are socially and culturally proactive, and they even have their own cultural agenda on the Internet). Quite similar to Benimaclet is El Cabañal, lying next to the beach – it’s hard to describe in a few words, but it´s probably the most alternative neighbourhood that´s got great potential in the near future. The only way to experience this is by living there and discovering it slowly – meeting the local community, discovering hidden, semi-legal places, joining social movements (for example, one of their protests against some local politicians and their actions is a series about zombies “Cabañal Z” etc.
It´s very handy to live around Blasco Ibañez Avenue – it´s near the universities, which is the reason why students tend to live there and have converted the area into a very affordable and lively place to live in.
Well, the last thing to mention – if you work from home and are looking for peace, and would love to live in one of the most gorgeous areas at the beach – Port Saplaya (it should be called the ¨little Venice¨) could be the right place for you. You should own your own transport – it´s only 4 km from Valencia but getting to the city by public transport could spoil the fun of living there.
Also, before moving in I would recommend checking a few things beforehand. For example, ask if there are schools around – imagine if hundreds of kids started shouting in the playground under your window, it could be quite a disturbing experience. Ask about the local markets (in most of the neighbourhoods they have them once a week) and the location of Las Fallas – just to be prepared if suddenly the parking lot is turned into a dancefloor for a week during March and you are left with two options – either to join the party or to stay awake in your bed trying to get to sleep till 4am.
Viewing apartments in Valencia
Let´s say you have chosen your dream neighbourhood, so the next step is to make appointments to view apartments. From my experience I can say that there is really no point in arranging too much before coming to Valencia, realistically looking at it it’s simply not going work. People prefer answering phone calls and WhatsApp messages (almost everyone in Valencia uses this application) rather than emails. If you know someone in Valencia, it’s probably a good idea to search for the adverts you are interested in and to ask that person to arrange the appointments beforehand, so right after your arrival you could start visiting some already – you know, time is money.
Also, Valencia is a perfect place to learn Spanish for a very simple reason – almost no one speaks English. You might be lucky and meet some English speaking landlords or real estate agents, but the likelihood is pretty low. So, proper preparation for the move should include learning some Spanish to be able to get by.
Another smart thing to do before moving to Valencia is to prepare your own checklist otherwise it’s easy to forget some important things. Some people running away from cold and rainy weather might think that they will never face winter again once they move to Valencia. It’s partly true as the weather here is fantastic, the lowest temperature at night can drop to 0 degrees minimum, which is nothing except when there is no heating system at home. And it’s something to be aware of – older buildings have thin walls, bad isolation and NO heating system. So the decision is yours – either to find an apartment with a proper heating system, or to buy your own heater (electricity bills could cost you a fortune if you decide to use an electrical one, therefore quite a lot of households use butane heaters), or just wrap yourself in blankets and pretend to be a penguin for a couple of months.
Another practical tip is to avoid renting an apartment on the ground or the first floor, as the possibility of sharing your sweet home with some cockroaches is quite high. It could be a seasonal thing but still… it´s not a bad idea to search for apartments a bit higher from the ground!
Are you willing to say “yes” to your future home in Valencia?
If the moment has come, here are some tips on what formalities to expect when moving to Valencia.
It´s good to know that normally real estate agencies charge 1 monthly fee for their services, and it’s true that the majority of the market is controlled by real estate agencies. It’s not a bad idea to try to avoid them by intentionally searching apartments rented directly by their landlords and landladies. When searching for an apartment, it’s a good idea to use filters and look for private only (in Spanish – solo particulares). Otherwise, be mentally and financially prepared to pay a sum of these three components – a month’s rent, the fee to the real estate agent, and the deposit.
The deposit (In Spanish – la fianza) is a legal requirement and is normally a month of your rent paid upfront. Sometimes owners ask for more, but it’s better to try to negotiate and avoid paying more than necessary, and here is why. According to the law the deposit should be returned within a month after ending the contract when all the bills are cleared. Owners don’t always act in good faith and there are situations when they make up various excuses to not return your money – like making you responsible for breaking some things, or saying that the apartment is not clean enough and that the money will be used for a cleaning service, or any other excuse really. But I’ll better leave this for another post as at the moment we are focusing on moving in.
Next, if you need to register your residency with the town hall (in Spanish – empadronamiento), mention it to the landlord before signing the agreement. It´s not uncommon here to avoid paying tax for their income, so they might object to official formalities. It is not legal of course but I would say it’s less of a headache if you succeed, to prevent some possible conflicts. It would be rude to ask about the landlord’s tax intention, so I would suggest another way round by simply suggesting to pay rent by bank transfer (it´s also advisable to do so to have a better control of things). If the answer to your proposal is cash only, there is a high possibility that I’ve just described your case.
The last tip before signing anything would be to make sure the agreement´s terms & conditions are fare and legal. You shouldn´t rely on real estate agents or private landlords solely – if your Spanish is not good enough to handle legal documents and if you have such possibility, it´s wise to ask someone you trust to explain the agreement for you and to double check the terms & conditions. It may be obvious, but nevertheless an important reminder – don´t forget to keep one of the signed copies for yourself.
Does all that sound a lot to do? Don’t worry and keep positive – after all the struggle caused by the apartment hunt including the doubts about which neighbourhood would fit your lifestyle and cover your needs best, searching for the right apartment, overcoming language and cultural barriers, checking the pros and cons of the ones you like, negotiating and signing the agreement, you will finally find your new home in Valencia where you can start living happily ever after.
Well, I hope you have found my suggestions on how to rent an apartment in Valencia useful! I encourage you to comment, share your experience and add some more tips on this topic. Also, if you would like me to write more tips on other issues that matter to you, I would be happy to hear more of your ideas!
Category: Valencia tips