When moving to a new city, you need to get your bearings. Usually people stay in hostels until they eventually find an apartment they like. If you don’t have a friend already living there, go explore the city and talk to the locals (you may even see “For Rent” signs on balconies). You could even do a Free Walking Tour of the city and ask the guide all they know. You’ll discover that Madrid’s centre is rather compact, so you can walk around quite easily. Madrid’s centre offers rooms starting around the €300 mark in a shared house, usually requiring a month upfront and 1 months deposit. First thing to check off the list is a mobile telephone and €20 credit!
Here are a few recommended pages when searching:
1. Idealista – First sign up for a free account with them, (don’t worry you can delete it later!) They give you a lot of options to narrow down your search like amount of people you would like to share with, smokers or non-smokers, etc. There is also an option to receive notifications when prices go down and or new places, (which fit your criteria) are uploaded. When you save items as favourites, remember to also save a contact in your phone, just in case there is no answer so you know who is calling you back cos this is a numbers game.
2. Loquo – This is more of a classified website, so it’s great for finding second hand goodies. The room shares are organised by date and price so you may have to fine comb through to find what you’re looking for.
3. Easy Piso – Offering a great community Easy Piso shows you who is living in the shared apartments so you can get more of a feel for the place before enquiring. It also shows you who else is also looking at the same places.
4. Lingo Bongo – This is originally for teachers and schools looking for and offering work, but now it also has a classified section where you’ll find all kinds of things, from rooms to rent to guitar lessons. (If you’re an English teacher and want to send your CV to more or less every school in Madrid for €10 you’re also in the right place).
It’s important to find yourself in a good home community where you can cook together and have cleaning rotas, especially if the place is big. A lot of shared houses conduct interviews, which sound kind of intimidating but they serve its purpose, so just be honest. What you don’t want is to elaborate the truth so much that you get yourself in a place where you don’t feel comfortable.
Another option if you come to Madrid with a few people (or if you meet some cool people in the hostel and they are also searching), is to rent out a whole apartment for a group of you. Financially this can be a lot more tasking. You will normally be required to pay 2-3 months “fianza” (deposit in Spanish) and one month upfront. There are many apartments that will come without furniture, so this can add up. You also have to bear in mind that the rent of a whole place will normally be a minimum of 1 year so no short term rentals here!
If you don’t have a great command of Spanish you may want to send emails, but I’ve found that calling is definitely the most effective. Also, you should think about where you’re going to be working, the costs of travel, distances and time as they go hand in hand when looking for a place and job.