The process to finding a rental flat, especially located in a large city such as Madrid or Barcelona, requires a prior planning phase, an effective use of research channels and making the most of every visit. Once the flat is found, knowing and addressing the contract, which will mark the basic conditions of the stay in the flat during the agreed period.
This search process -divided into three sections in this article- has undergone an important transformation in recent years: according to the Forcadell Residential Market Report of H1 2018, "the digitization of the sector has boosted the rental market by facilitating the visibility of flats, causing a greater concentration of supply and notably streamlining the process of commercialization.”
We highlight 8 tips to take into account in the search process to rent a flat:
Before looking for a flat:
1. Plan a budget
Housing is the main expense for most families. For this reason it is important to account for the economic obligations that the rent of the flat will involve, therefore it is basic to have a budget ready. These expenses include the first rental invoice, the deposit, the Transfer Tax (ITP) and the agency fees, among other additional expenses such as furnishing the flat or hiring insurance. According to Alex Vazquez, director of the Rental Managment department of Forcadell, taking as an example a €1.000/month flat, the amount to pay at the moment of signing the rental contract will be about €4.632.
The accepted ratio by most owners is that the amount of the rent should not exceed 40% tenant’s net income. In case you want to live with more than one person, you should have in mind each and every tenant’s income. If the amount of the rent exceeds 40% of the tenant’s income, a letter of endorsement or bank guarantee can be presented in certain cases.
2. Having all the required documents ready
Before starting to visit flats it is important to have all the needed documents and that of a possible guarantor ready so as not to delay the reservation of the property in case it fits with the needs and expectations. There are many times that a potential tenant loses a flat because another has advanced in the delivery of documentation.
Search channels and visit
3. Create alerts
It is advisable to create alerts in the main real estate portals in order to receive a notification every time that a flat that fits your demanded profile enters the portal. It is also advisable to search directly on the real estate websites and provide contact information so that they can proactively notify the interested party when they enter a flat of your interest and thus be the first to visit it.
4. The visit, with no rush
When visiting the flat, it is advisable to go with enough time to study the area and see which public transport lines are nearby, outpatient clinics, pharmacies, schools, banks, supermarkets, etc. “ Renting an apartment is a very important decision ” explains Alex Vàzquez, and for that reason, we always recommend to dedicate time to the visit, not to go in haste".
5. Check out the details
It is advisable visit during the day, when there is natural light and to look carefully at the communal areas of the property: cleanliness, painting, mailboxes, elevator, lighting, entrance door, lobby, and so on. From their state you can extract some first impressions of the type of vicinity that is living in the community of owners. A careful observation of the flat can also help us draw some conclusions from the owner, paying special attention to the state of:
• The water, gas and electricity supplies
• The bathrooms and bedrooms: the faucets, edges of the bathtub, the wc tank, the blinds or shutters, doors and windows, closing of built-in closets, sockets, trimmings and floorings.
• In the kitchen: household appliances, oven, stove and exhaust hood.
• If the flat is furnished, pay attention to the state of each piece of furniture
If it is considered necessary, before making the decision, it is recommended to make a second visit to the flat, to make sure it meets the expectations and it in the right condition. Also to note the necessary measurements and additional characteristics.
The flat visit is the perfect time to ask the real estate agent if the community of owners is managed by a Property Manager or directly by one of the owners, positively assessing that it is being managed by a professional.
Once found the flat
Once the flat that meets the needs and expectations of the tenant is found, it is time to make the reservation. It is advisable not to give any economic amount as a reservation if you have not previously sent the rental conditions in writing: surface, duration of the contract, mandatory period, breakdown of the rent, type of rental update, with the community expenses (IBI) included, bonds, fees, if any deficiency has been agreed, etc.
At the time of paying the reservation fee and prior to signing the rental contract it is important to be informed of the status of the supplies: if they are discharged or if you have to start contacting the supplying companies.
8. The contract in detail
The current rental contracts have to be adjusted to Law 29/1994. It is advisable to ask the real estate agent for a draft of the contract to be able to read it carefully and, in case there questions are you need to address, consult them with the agency or with third parties. "If we have previously confirmed that we agree with all the content of the contract," Alex Vàzquez explains, "on the day of the contract signing, we can pay attention to other important matters as: where are the password codes, to which suppliers I have to call, with whom I have to contact for certain incidentals, etc. "
Keep in mind that the rental contract can not include any clause that goes against the law or that could be considered abusive. If you have any doubt, it is advisable to go to an expert before signing.