Barcelona embodies architecture, art and design as can be evidenced in its buildings and city layout. From the romantic structures in the Barrio Gotico, to the beauty of Gaudi’s modern works, it is easy to understand why so many foreigners choose to make this city home.
Like the rest of the world, the bottom has dropped out of the Spanish real estate market. There are far more sellers than buyers and the bubble burst long enough ago that the effect has trickled down to the renter as well. How long this relief for home-buyers and renters will last is anyone’s guess, but with the current mood, it looks like it will be around for at least the next twelve months.
This is good news for buyers, although it may be more difficult to obtain a Spanish mortgage (even with permanent resident status) as banks and other lending institutions are becoming more cautious and reluctant to lend. It´s also great news for renters as leases in Barcelona tend to be long – between 2 and 5 years – and the rental price is able to be locked in to guard against future booms.
The best way to organize your accommodation in Spain is to first stay in a hotel for a few days, to become oriented and a bit spoiled, if you can afford it. After this, try to find a good serviced apartment or short-term lease. This will give you a fully furnished home to use as a base while you become better acquainted with your environment, settle the kids into school and firm up your opinions of Barcelonan suburbs. After that, a long-term lease is your best option, unless you are very keen to buy (and right now, anyone who has the available funds to buy a home would be well-served to do so).
Finding a good home in Barcelona is relatively simple as long as you either have a good working knowledge of Spanish and/or Catalan or a great international abogado. An abogado is basically a lawyer, but for expats they are a little like Robin to your Batman. They will be able to help you with anything involving bureaucracy (getting your NIE and residency, translating your needs to real estate agents, reading contracts and leases and the like). Although it is not compulsory to have an abogado for most processes in Spain, it is in your best interests to find one as you are first figuring things out. Consider the financial investment in an abogado as money well-spent, as they can guide you through the processes with relative ease, and save you months of frustration and misunderstandings.
Listed below is the webpage from the US Consulate which provides extensive information for various English-speaking lawyers in Barcelona, as well as a few additional websites for finding English-speaking lawyers: