When I started our apartment search I was full of hope and optimism. Multiple times a day I was checking idealista and fotocasa, and was emailing any of the listings that met our criteria: good area, furnished, decently priced, and in Chamberí. Every time I hit send I would daydream about our life in this new (unseen) apartment and would just wait impatiently for the landlord/real estate agent to get back to us.
I’d wait, and I’d wait, and then I’d wait some more. As the days went by my hope and optimism turned to anger (why wasn’t anyone contacting me?!) and finally to despair (we are never going to find an apartment and will be forced to be nomads until August!)
Finally, after four of the longest days of my life, I was finally able to arrange not one, but TWO viewings. It was amazing; I finally felt like I was winning the battle of Kate v. Apartments in Madrid.
Oh how naïve I was.
The first apartment we went to see, we didn’t actually get to see. There was a miscommunication and it was being painted so we arranged a time for us to come back a couple of days later.
A couple hours later we found ourselves at viewing #2 (successful viewing #1). While the flat wasn’t in Chamberi, it met all of our other criteria, and I was desperate to start seeing properties, so we went. The apartment was nice enough but much too far out of the city. Dave would have a significant commute to school, and I’d be stuck in an apartment with nothing around me – not the most ideal situation for either of us.
So our search continued.
Over the course of the weekend, we had a couple of viewing set up but for various reasons they all fell through at the absolute last minute (we’re talking so last minute that we were already on the property). I was beginning to lose my patience with the entire system – no responses, being stood up for viewings… We weren’t looking to rent a palace, we just needed somewhere with a bed, roof and indoor plumbing, why was this so hard!
To try and take my mind off things (and get me away from my computer where I was obsessively refreshing the web pages), we took a day trip to Toledo. As we were getting ready, the real estate agent who’d stood us up twice called and said we could come to see the apartment immediately. Although I was fed up, I had really liked the ad, so we hustled down, saw the place and then raced to the train station and off to Toledo.
The day trip to Toledo was exactly what I needed – a break from the internet! I came back refreshed, relaxed and ready to continue the battle of Kate v. Apartments in Madrid.
With this renewed sense of energy, I threw myself back into the apartment hunt (I was also motivated because our stay at our AirBnB was coming to an end and I didn’t want to spend too much time bouncing around from place to place). The day following our adventures in Toledo, we spent the entire afternoon walking around Madrid to see apartment after apartment. Some were good, and some were so, so bad, but overall it was a great experience. At the end of the night, we knew we’d found our apartment.
Of course, the apartment we liked the best (and met our criteria) was the first one we’d tried to see (and had two unsuccessful attempts at viewing). That very night we got in contact with the agent and put the wheels in motion. It would be another 10 days (and 3 more accommodations – 1 AirBnB, 1 hotel, and 1 hostal) before we actually signed the contract and were able to move in.
We’ve been living in our place for just three days, but we’re both already so pleased with our choice. While it’s not perfect (but what apartment is), but we’re close to everything we need to be: groceries, cervezerias, cafes, a metro station and so much more are all steps from the front door.
The apartment hunt tested my patience (and sanity). It’s not a task I particularly enjoyed doing in Canada, so adding the language barrier made it that much worse. I had to frequently remind myself that we were doing great and making progress even though it didn’t feel like it. Now looking back on it, I can appreciate the experience – it was hard, but I didn’t give up, and in the end, we found a place that was the best choice for both of us.
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