Joined: 21 Jun 2006
|Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:45 pm Post subject: Advice And Warnings About Moving To Madrid
|Madrid, as I know, can be incredibly exciting. The nightlife can be wonderful, and as I have heard, there are some opportunities to teach English successfully there. Living in Madrid can be so life-enhancing, so terribly moreish, so addictive, even that we want to stay on. Madrid can be the love of your life, or if you do things wrongly, Madrid can be like a high- class *beep* who wants to take your money.
When I first came to Madrid, house prices and rents were just starting to go up. I saw the boom taking off and wondered how people could afford it. Rents are cheaper than they were before the crisis, but you will still have to look at your budget. People in Britain forget how seasonal these things can be. For instance, I arrived in late October, much too late and had to wait well over a month before finding accommodation. I spent weeks in this dismal, dreary, cheap little box of a hostel, it was freeing and I ended up with a bad cold. I got a job quickly, though. But it was so hard to find a place, and rooms tended to be snapped up as soon as they were advertised. I was staying in a traditional Spanish "hostal", NOT a backpacker hostel. It was like a very simple, cheap motel, with no kitchen. It was completely different from , say, "Cat's Hostel" (which has its own bar). The advantage-you DON'T share a room. The disadvantage-there is no kitchen, so eating out is more expensive.
When I found a flat, it was in a good area, and rent was cheap because I was in a very small room.
The second time I came to Madrid, the school phoned me in the U.K. and there was a flat waiting for me. No problem there. But I arrived in August! People in Anglo-Saxon countries tend not to realize how much Madrid follows the school calendar- Madrid partly closes down during part of July and all August, people flee the city . And so do the "seasonal" inhabitants. That includes the university students and people like you and me. August or early September is in fact the best time to come to Madrid. Before the others arrive. You can look in the "Segundamano" magazine, which has ads from people looking to flat share. You may also find hand written ads all over the city, on telephone boxes, and noticeboards with "se alquila". It is worthwhile looking at university noticeboards as well, or putting an ad there if you have rented your own place and suddenly want to share. One problem I found was that some ads in Segundamano were placed there by "inmobiliarias." These are letting agencies, and they make you pay high sums just to see a place. DON'T use them. If you come early, or wait until Christmas, you should find a place. Some students leave at Christmas, and there are empty rooms then. Term-time is much riskier.
Housing has been a millstone around Spain's neck for a long time. One problem is that Franco didn't believe in cheap rented accommodation for the working classes. He preferred overcrowding, or mortgages. People were encouraged to buy homes, even if the could not afford it, in the recent past. Then there was buy to let. One consequence of the economic crisis is that some of the Latin American immigrants have gone home-including friends of mine-because unemployment in Spain was too high. That may have eased the housing problem in Madrid somewhat but of course we can't be sure.
I will write about that soon.