House Hunting International

Michael and I sat at an outdoor table, a large bottle of cold water shared between us, discussing our Options.

Option 1: Gran Via

  • Pros: Newly renovated apartment with open floor plan, great neighborhood, very nice landlords.
  • Cons: Third floor walk-up (i.e. no elevator), no terrace, no air conditioning.

Option 2: Arrancapins

  • Pros: Newly renovated apartment with open floor plan, terrace, elevator, air-conditioning.
  • Cons: When we walk out our door, we could be in Astoria, Queens. Or any other city block of apartments built in the 1960s.

“Oh my gosh. We’re in our own episode of House Hunters International!” I said. Except that, on the show, we see the househunters choosing between three options. We weren’t so lucky. Michael and I had looked at more than a dozen places at this point but rejected most of them the moment we walked in. Too outdated. Odd layout. Busy street.

But today? After the first place we saw, I thought: We found it!

Then we saw the second place.

And now had to decide between the two.

Within a few hours, I very reluctantly let go of my dream to have a terrace and we chose Option 1. Then I visited a friend. “If you don’t have air conditioning, you’re going to have to keep the windows open all the time. Did they have screens? (No.) And how loud is the street at night? Because you’ll have those windows open all night. . . (Uh. . . I have no idea).”

And let’s be honest: I tried to convince myself that walking up to the third floor multiple times per day would be good for our health. But to do that on a 90 degree day and walk into a place where, to cool myself off, my only options were to stand in front of a fan or stick my head in the freezer? Eh. Maybe not. . .

They say real estate is all about location, location, location. But in southern Spain, for two people who will be working from home, it’s also about air conditioning.

Then I recalled the advice from a woman I’d met the previous week whose real estate agent said, “The biggest park in the city is only 2 blocks away. You don’t need a terrace.” And then COVID hit.

“Get a terrace,” she said. “Don’t give in on that.”

So Option 2 it was.

And then we spent a couple nights in a neighborhood that has buildings from the 1890s, not the 1960s. And we decided we wanted it all: air-conditioning, a terrace, a charming neighborhood. But was it worth the wait? How many more apartments would we have to see? Would it take us months?

Having slept in 18 different beds in the last six months, I wanted this search to be over. “Do you really like this place or are you just saying you do because you want to stop looking?” Michael would ask.

And so it is that we’ve been in Valencia for just 3 weeks but it feels like we’ve been hunting for an apartment for months. At dinner with friends who, in fact, spent 3 months trying to find their place, we were told, “It’s worth the wait. Hold out until you get what you want.”

So we rejected Option 1. We rejected Option 2. And the next day we began again. . .

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Dom Bonavolonta says:

    Love this, keep writing

    HEADS UP! My email has changed as of 12/30/19. My new account is:


  2. Lisa says:

    We will be heading over after Christmas. We have a few neighborhoods that we want to check out, but I’m wondering how to take our time to find the right place for us, but also within the 30 day window to get our TIE. Any great neighborhoods with newly renovated open floor plan apartments? We’d love any tips you can offer. Thanks!

    1. We ended up in Canovas/Gran Via. We saw some in Rusafa and Arrancapins with open floor plans as well. Idealista is the place to look, but not all the listings on there are actually available—! You can also hire a service to help you with this. If you have any other questions, do be in touch

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