Questions NOT to ask when on a flat visit in Barcelona

Questions NOT to ask when on a flat visit in Barcelona – don’t get deceived!

What is good señoras and señores? Are you looking for a flat to rent in Barcelona? We strongly suggest you to do your homework first and take a look at this blog about questions NOT to ask when on a flat visit in Barcelona, because, you know, real estate agents are sales people after all, and if you ask the wrong questions you might not get a straight answer. Accordingly, we’ve put together a list below with those questions NOT to ask when on a flat visit in Barcelona, so take a look and see what you should (or in this case shouldn’t) ask while searching for that perfect flat! :P

 

#1 HOW LONG HAS THE FLAT BEEN AVAILABLE?

Questions NOT to ask on a flat visit in Barcelona

Some of the most seemingly benign and logistical questions can be the worst to ask. “How long has this property been on the market” might seem like a perfectly good question but in reality you’re probably never going to get a straight answer. If an agent were to admit that a flat has been on the market for months and months, you would probably start to wonder, “Gee, how come?”, and the flat wouldn’t be as attractive to you. So normally agents will say it’s been on the market a lot less time than in reality. They’re trying to sell you on the place, so saying that it’s been around forever and no one will rent it is quite counter productive for them. Remember, whether you like a flat or not should not be based on the popularity of it but rather whether you actually like it or not.

 

#2 ARE THERE OTHER PEOPLE INTERESTED IN THIS FLAT?

Questions NOT to ask on a flat visit in Barcelona

Don’t you even think about asking this one! Just like question #1, the agent will probably never be honest with you by revealing the actual demand in the flat or how many people are interested in it. Think about it,  you see a flat, ask this question and the agent says “no, nobody is interested in taking this flat, I can’t seem to rent it for the life of me”. You would probably be instantly dissuaded. Now if the agent says “OMG, we’ve had 3 other visits today, one couple sending me documentation this evening, so you better be really quick if you don’t want to lose it” that would instill a sense of urgency in you. If you actually liked the flat, you might take the leap and reserve it more quickly if you know it ‘might’ disappear at any time. As you can see there is a lot of incentive in the agent misrepresenting the interest in a flat, so just don’t ask, you’ll never know if you’re getting a straight answer.

 

#3 CAN I MOVE IN WITH MY PET?

Questions NOT to ask on a flat visit in Barcelona

Mentioning you have a pet is often a deal killer for many property owners. Knowing that your little fur ball will be running around the apartment, possibly defecating all over it, and likely barking or making noises that disturb the neighbours (not to mention the extra wear and tear on the apartment itself) is not something that makes it easy to get accepted as a tenant. So, we suggest you don’t mention your pet at all! If you find a place you like, before making any type of reserve payment, ask to see a copy of the contract, and if it doesn’t mention pets, then sign and move in with your pet! If you constantly mention your pet you’ll see doors closing very quickly. If you’re one of those people that just HAS to know that the owner is ok with your pup, then ask on the phone before making appointments if each flat will allow pets or not so you don’t waste your (and the agent’s) time.

 

#4 HOW ARE THE NEIGHBOURS?

Questions NOT to ask on a flat visit in Barcelona

You might think that an agent knows everything there is to know about the flat you’re seeing but that’s not usually the case. They have knowledge of the product but more in terms of it’s features and selling points. They usually have no idea who, or how well behaved, the neighbours are. After all, the agent maybe runs in and out a few times a day doing visits, but as they don’t live there, they usually have no idea who the neighbours are. This, then, is another question not to ask because either they will say “the neighbours are great!”, or they will tell you they have no idea.

 

#5 CAN YOU TAKE OUT ALL THE FURNITURE?

Questions NOT to ask on a flat visit in Barcelona

OK folks, there tend to be two types of rental flats; furnished and unfurnished. There is a huge difference! You wouldn’t believe how many people come to a visit for a fully furnished flat and then ask “can the owner take out all the furniture?” Usually, the answer is no. Not every person has the space to empty their whole apartment and store all their furniture. So, if you’re looking for a furnished flat only look at those options and vice versa. If you love a flat you see online and want to know if it’s possible to rent without furniture just call the agent and ask before setting up the visit. That way you avoid wasting your time.

 

#6 CAN I MOVE IN IN 3/4/5/WHATEVER MONTHS?

Questions NOT to ask on a flat visit in Barcelona

Keep in mind that most owners will not wait more than about 2-3 weeks for you to move in to the flat (read: starting paying rent) from the time you make a reserve payment. What that means is you shouldn’t start your search much more than 4 weeks before the date of entry. If you do so you will be utterly wasting your time. “But I like to get a good jump on all my plans” you might tell me. Yes, we understand. People like to plan ahead and be prepared. However, that does not work in BCN. The flats you see AVAILABLE NOW are just that, available to move into now. So if you start to early you’ll waste time on flats where they won’t accept you. With that said, the worst you can do is see a flat and on the visit ask “can I move in in 2,3,4,5, etc… months?” The agent will tell you no, and probably want to kill you for wasting his or her time.

 

#7 ALTHOUGH IT’S A LONG TERM RENTAL, CAN I HAVE THIS FLAT FOR SHORT TERM?

Questions NOT to ask on a flat visit in Barcelona

Most rental flats you see on portals and websites are for long term contracts. Long term in Barcelona is generally 1 year plus. If you are looking for less time than that, especially if it’s a stay of 1-4 months, we highly suggest you mention this on the phone before the visit. Every day we have people responding to ads asking if it’s available for a few months when the owner wants only 1 year plus contracts. So the worst thing you can do, is setup a visit and ask “can I rent it for 2 months?”, because most likely they are looking for long term tenants and most likely you will end up wasting everyone’s time. So, with that said, if you’re looking to stay somewhere for less than a year, make it clear to the agent while on the phone and before doing the actual visit.

 

 

In conclusion, our advice is that you should read the ad carefully and thoroughly before scheduling your visit. Naturally, if you have any inquiries, it’s the best to ask all the questions and things that you are confused about on the phone or by email. If you have any comments or suggestion on other questions not to ask on a flat visit let us know!  :D

Till next time, PEACE OUT, SuiteLifers!

 

Muchisimas gracias,

Dragosh (El Dragon)

 

Moving to Barcelona

Moving to Barcelona : Let’s Go Over What you Need to Do

When it comes to moving to Barcelona, it can be complicated and you might not know where to start. But no worries I can help you, let’s take it step by step and you’ll see that relocating here is not that hard! You’ve actually made the right choice coming into our beautiful city, so congrats on that and let’s get started!

Moving to Barcelona

Find a flat

First of all when moving to Barcelona… of course you have to find a flat and that’s not always an easy task! You can for sure check our flats on our site or get in touch with us any time at all! Or take a peruse through our free ebook on flat hunting tips in BCN. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on our website, just drop us a line at info@suitelife.com.

Moving to Barcelona

Spanish NIE

The most annoying step when you are moving to Barcelona ! The NIE means Número de Identificación de Extranjero, it’s a foreigner identification number that you need to have if you’re staying more than 3 months in Spain and which is mandatory for certain transactions. It’s actually a little bit complicated so we have already made a detailed guide of how to get the NIE, check it out on our blog.

Transports

Of course when moving to Barcelona you’ll need to find a means of transport. If you’re bringing your car with you, then you’ll need to register it on this website, and to find parkings ! Check also our blog to find free parking in Barcelona. The easiest way to move through the city is not car, but metro or train ! Check out this website to find out more about transports in Barcelona, they explain really well how it all works. You can also check the official website of TMB (transports metropolitans de Barcelona) if you are searching for specific info about the metro. You can also use bikes with bicing, you have to sign up on the website, they’re gonna send you your card in the following 10 days, and then you just have to use your card to have a bike. It’s really cheap and really cool on sunny days !

Moving to Barcelona

Find a job, a school, and healthcare

Next step when moving to Barcelona, is of course to find a job and a school ! To find a job (and some other various things such as flats or services) you can check loquo website ! It can be really helpful ! As for schools, you might want to check this website or our blog who list the best international schools in Barcelona ! And of course if you wanna take a few spanish classes to fit into the spanish life, check out this website !

Moving to Barcelona

And finally, last but not least ! What’s about healthcare ? Well you have to check the official website of Catalonia to find out everything you need to know about it !

 

Well guys, I hope my blog was helpful. If you feel like we’ve forgotten some info about moving to Barcelona, tell us ! We will be glad to help you !

Mathilde

English Speaking Locksmiths in Barcelona

English speaking locksmiths in Barcelona – quick, reliable, emergency 24h service

Good day Señoras & Señores! Let me tell you a story. A very unpleasant story that happened to our beloved boss Benny alomost 10 years ago. In a nuthsell, he got locked out his flat at 3am in the morning and the next day he had to fly to Canada. Wanna know what he did? He called an English speaking locksmith in Barcelona who charged him 300 bucks, as he called him for an emergency. Now everyone would like to avoid that situation, right? That’s why we’ve put together a list of the English speaking locksmiths in Barcelona that could help you out of a bind. So save these contacts in the memory of your phone NOW!

 

1. CERRAJERIA BCN

English speaking locksmiths Barcelona

  • CONTACT NUMBERS: + 34 93 752 54 10 / + 34 659 536 536
  • WEBSITE: http://www.cerrajeriabcn.es/en/
  • EMAIL: info@cerrajeriabcn.es
  • DESCRIPTION: With a call centre open 24/7 that can assist you in English, Cerrajeria BCN operates throughout all Barcelona and also in the cities located in close proximity (Terrassa, Badalona, Barbera, Sitges, Castelldefells, Cornellá, etc.). With proficiency in emergencies, residential or commercial locksmith services and also high security systems, they will make sure you get in asap.

 

2. OPENDOOR LOCKSMITH

English speaking Locksmiths Barcelona

  • CONTACT NUMBER: +34 658 668 478
  • WEBSITE: http://www.opendoors24h.com/english/
  • EMAIL: mail.opendoorv@gmail.com
  • DESCRIPTION: Targeted specifically at tourists, Opendoor Locksmith provide a reliable and fast service, not charging a preferential fee for foreigners (like other locksmiths in the city). They can be employed both from inside Barcelona and from the cities around, such as El Baix Llobregat, Garraf, Maresme, etc. In addition to opening closed doors, Opendoor Locksmith sells locks, safes, domestic rolling shutters, bars, security blinds, and anti-shatter glass for businesses.

 

3. CERRAJEROS BARCELONA EAC

English speaking locksmiths Barcelona

  • CONTACT DETAILS: +34 670 774 733
  • DESCRIPTION: Cerrajeros Barcelona EAC is another locksmith company operating 24/7 as well as during holidays (and for the love of God, Spaniards do have loads!), with professional English speaking workers that open people’s door locks in the city centre and nearby. Besides from opening property doors and changing locks, they also do lock repairs and even car doors. They offer people discounts on each operation, so make sure you don’t forget to ask for yours!

Tips

We wouldn’t be anywhere without our dear SuiteLifers and we’d like you to always keep safe, so that’s why our friends from Cerrajeria BCN have provided us with a guide on how to make burglars’ attempts harder. Here are their pieces of advice:

  1. Do not let anyone into your house that you don’t know. If they claim to be a service worker of some sort, make sure to ask for the proper identification prior to you letting them in!
  2. Make sure to always lock all your doors and windows!
  3. Install dead bolt locks on all of the external doors!
  4. Always change all the locks when you first move in!
  5. Never give your keys to any service workers, gardeners, cleaning crews or anyone else not you do not know well!
  6. Never have an ID tag with personal information and home address attached to your keys!
  7. Install keyed window locks and locks on your garage!
  8. Make sure to have the outside of your home well lighted as a deterrent!
  9. What should you do when you are away!
  10. Always leave your outside lights on, so that it appears as though someone is at home!
  11. Ask some you know and trust to check up on your home periodically!
  12. Have your mail held at the post office while you are away or have you know and trust pick up your mail every day or every other day!
  13. Make sure all windows and doors are shut and locked. Don’t forget about your garage door and shed!
  14. Tell neighbors and the security patrol in your neighborhood (if you have one) that you will be out of town and for them to keep a look out for any unusual behavior!

Till next time, stay safe SuiteLifers!

Muchisimas gracias,

Dragosh (El Dragon)

 

International schools in Barcelona

Hello, SuiteLife gang.

Last week we talked about the best International Day Care Centers In Barcelona where your toddlers can be trained to be multilingual. On a similar note, I decided to write a post on the best International Schools in Barcelona for those of you whose children are all grown up now.

You’ll be surprised at the number of International schools Barcelona has to offer and their variety. But, of course, I want only the best for my SuiteLife peeps, therefore in this post I will list only the finer ones.

The Benjamin Franklin International School

International schools in Barcelona

Truly International is what this school is aiming for. With a mix of approximately 1/3 American, 1/3 Spanish and 1/3 Foreign students, be sure that your child will have a lot of cultural exchange and appreciation (a bit too much maybe). There are 608 students enrolled in Benjamin Franklin International School as of 2015 forming a global community consisting of 48 nationalities.

The school opened doors in Barcelona in 1986 and while relatively new it came along with the new standards, new requirements and new passion the modern education system expects. So don’t be thrown off by the fact that the school has been running only for three decades, the teaching staff is fully motivated and driven by the common goal to mend your kids into future individuals seeking excellence in their lives.
Benjamin Franklin International School teaches students mainly in English. However, Spanish and Catalan are introduced later in the curriculum to ensure the pupils achieve good command in the two languages. If languages turn out to be your child’s strong suit they can also choose optional French to add to their program.

International schools in Barcelona

 

The school adopts an American standard of teaching with a typical American curriculum and lesson delivery. Your kids can benefit from Benjamin Franklin International School by receiving three different academic diplomas: the American High School Diploma, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, and the Spanish Bachillerato Certificate. Consequently meaning that they will immensely boost their future prospects for getting into a high quality university.

These are the tuition fees for the different divisions for 2015/2016:

  • Early Childhood ( Nursery & Pre-K ) – 8,985 €
  • Kindergarten* – 8,985 €
  • Elementary School ( Grades 1 – 5 ) – 11,220 €
  • Middle School ( Grades 6 – 8 ) – 11,525 €
  • High School ( Grades 9 – 12 ) – 13,750 €

 

I know, I know it is pricey. What you need to take into consideration, however, is that this is one of the finest International Schools in Barcelona with one of the highest educational quality standard. If you live in Barcelona and find these fees affordable, be sure that you will be making an excellent investment in your childrens’ future.
The school provides all the necessary services to ensure the safety and well-being of your child. Transportation is provided picking up and dropping off students in 10 areas in Barcelona. The cafeteria always prepares fresh and healthy meals for its students. And the nurse’s room is always prepared and available to anyone at all times.

English School Barcelona

International schools in Barcelona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A personal touch. With one class per year group and a maximum of 18 students in a class English School Barcelona’s teachers have a very personal approach to their students. Catering to every student’s individual problems or queries this system assures that every child is dealt with care and they achieve an extremely high academic level. Dedicating time and attention to every student individually is one of the things that sets this school apart from the other International schools in Barcelona.

The school was opened in 1957 and operates effectively and successfully until present day. The school always aspires to follow the newest trends in education and their years of experience allows them to be extremely good at it.

English School Barcelona strongly believes in the idea to teach their students to be multilingual. Lessons are taught in English, Catalan and Spanish evenly. No one language is favored over the other. This ensures that by the time their students graduate they will be completely fluent and speak freely in all three languages. When the child reaches secondary school they will start learning French as part of their program. This allows them to take the International Baccalaureate (IB) or its Spanish/French equivalent – the Batxibac.

Again the huge presence of an International community can teach pupils cultural appreciation and tolerance for their peers of different backgrounds, religion and ethnicity. There is no better way than to learn these things from first-hand experience.
The school offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities. From sport activities including tennis, basketball, skating and yoga; going through music orientated activities such as ballet and drum lessons and ending with the creatively intellectual activities like robotics, chess and arts & crafts.

Kensington School

International schools in Barcelona

 

 

A piece of Britain in Barcelona. Opened in 1966 Kensington is the oldest British curriculum school in Barcelona teaching their subjects in accordance with the National Curriculum for England and Wales. Similarly to English School Barcelona, Kensington relies on a relatively small student body in order to offer a better quality education.

If you are moving to Barcelona from the UK and you insist on your child to be taught British style, then Kensington would be the perfect school. The school incorporates A-level studies and examination via Edexcel in London and all other examination and accreditation any British university might require for future studies. A common practice after graduating from Kensington school is students moving to Britain to pursue their higher education in one of the best universities on the island.

International schools in Barcelona

 

The majority of lessons are presented in English, apart from the Spanish and French language classes. Once again your kids are exposed to a variety of languages helping them develop amazing communicational skills.

After school activities at Kensingon school include sport activities such as basketball, football and table tennis. Other extra-curriculars include chess and choir singing.
Kensington also organizes summer camps at the end of each academic year both for Junior and Senior schools and ski trips to Espot Esqui every February for Senior students only.

Oak House School

International schools in Barcelona

 

 

Modern meets tradition. The first thing that will strike you about Oak House school is the modern facilities and technology this institution incorporates in their students’ education. The school opened its doors to students in 1968 and during the course of its management it successfully foresaw the importance of new technology which it effectively adopted as part of the learning process.

From the start of Primary until the end of the division pupils are taught their classes in English. At the start of Secondary school a trilingual study scheme is introduced adding Catalan and Spanish to the curriculum which are exploited quite vigorously. Additionally students can also pick a fourth foreign language, German or French, to go along with their studies.

Following the British educational system pupil are prepared for Cambridge IGCSE exams in subjects including:

  • English Literature
  • Maths
  • Business Studies
  • Sociology
  • Combined Science
  • Environmental Management
  • History
  • ICT
  • Drama
  • Art

International schools in Barcelona

On and off-site services include transportation, dining services and medical care.The school buses commute on three different routes covering the entire city of Barcelona. The buses are scheduled to leave at 4:45pm after extra-curriculum activities the students might be involved in.

The food preparation is covered by chef D. Juan Ramos who prepares different menus including: normal, vegetarian and menus for students who suffer from celiac disease. The food is healthy and nutritious to make sure the students are part of a healthy diet.

Oak House has a qualified on-site nurse and if any emergency or special medical attention is required the schools insurance covers such medical care at the Quirón Clinic in Barcelona.

There you have it gang, the best International schools in Barcelona. I hope this blog was informative for you, if not enough you can always go on to the schools websites for more information. Tell us in the comment section which school you like the most and sounds best suited for your child’s needs.

Time for your well-deserved weekly joke:

Two boys were arguing when the teacher entered the room.
The teacher says, “Why are you arguing?”
One boy answers, “We found a ten dollar bill and decided to give it to whoever tells the biggest lie.”
“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” said the teacher, “When I was your age I didn’t even know what a lie was.”
The boys gave the ten dollars to the teacher.

 

Sincerely,

Chris

 

International Day Care Centers in Barcelona

International Day Care Centers in Barcelona

International day care centers in Barcelona

Hi SuiteLifers,
Are you moving to Barcelona with your children? Are you already in Barcelona and you want your kids to be bilingual? Excellent. Have you considered an International day care center in Barcelona? Well, my people, you should. Let me tell you why and which are the best day care centers you can choose from.

A child’s ability to learn multiple languages at a very young age is simply amazing. Young kids’ brain capacities are completely fresh and able to take in a lot of information and therefore, language comprehension is so much easier for them. They are like sponges! We of course want to nurture our little guys and gals because knowing multiple languages is an incredibly useful trait for them in terms of communication and enriching their career prospects. I’ve decided to make sure you have a choice between the best International day care centers in Barcelona.

Noah’s Ark International Day Care Center

International day care centers in Barcelona

This day care center is all about diversity. Noah’s Ark welcomes all children from different cultures and backgrounds. Which means that alongside your toddler’s studies your child will learn to interact with other children, teaching it to appreciate and understand the importance of equality in the long-run. The center is concentrated in teaching children English while teaching Spanish is also present in the child’s curriculum in a lighter manner.

Noah’s Ark is one of the  successful International day care centers in Barcelona. Its success and fine reputation is strongly connected with the parents relationship the center aims to maintain. You as a parent will be highly involved in the center’s activities and frequent feedback from you is used to help improve their services in order to suit your child’s needs. This day care center’s love for children is strong and because of that they provide constant monitoring of the children’s progress and well-being.

Parents are presented with two evaluation reports a year providing feedback on the level of performance of their child. While these evaluation reports are officially done only twice a year, parents have the freedom to check on their child’s well-being regularly or as much as they need to.

International day care centers in Barcelona

Noah’s Ark is big on physical activities too. Once a week they provide optional swimming lessons for the kids to teach them how to be aware and feel safe outside and inside of the water. In accordance wit this, the center has an enormous garden with lots of green areas, sandboxes, swings and slides to ensure the children are active and entertained. Classes are divided by the age of the children. Below, you can see the children – teacher ratio in the different age groups:

  • Baby group (4 to 12 months) 6 babies 3:1 ratio
  • Yellow Class (12 to 18 months) 12 toddlers 6:1 ratio
  • Green Class (18 to 26 months) 14 toddlers 7:1 ratio
  • Orange Class (26 to 30 months) 16 children 8:1 ratio
  • Blue Class (30 to 36 months) 18 children 9:1 ratio

If you are interested in this day care center and need more information, go to Noah’s Ark website and study them in depth.

 

Kinder Barcelona

International day care centers in Barcelona

An excellent activity based International day care center in Barcelona. Your child will associate this center with fun and excitement. Literally, guys, don’t be surprised when you wake up in the morning and your child is already waiting for you fully dressed at the front door.

Kinder Barcelona offers several language courses you can choose from. Kinder is aware that families have different needs for the language their child should study. No matter if you are temporarily in Barcelona, you plan to move to another country or you have specific higher education aspirations for your child to pursue when it grows up, Kinder has you covered with their selection of language classes. The teachers, either native and bilingual, show excellent professionalism combined with charm and positive personalities to provide your child with the best learning experience ever. Catalan, German and English are the three morning courses you can choose from. Once you have made your decision you can also choose whether to combine the morning class with the afternoon Spanish class if you wish to train your child to be multilingual.

Kinder Barcelona believes that the best way to teach your children languages is through fun activities. Apart from the academic type morning classes, the rest of your child’s day will be filled with activities involving dancing, singing, painting and drawing and lots of playing.

The center organizes various outings around the Pobleneu area, park visits and holiday camps for the little tykes. For more information and upcoming events you should check the Kinder Barcelona website.

International day care centers in Barcelona

 

Once again this day care center has a deep connection with the children’s parents. Organising numerous activities for parents to enjoy with their children, and for parents alone, Kinder makes sure you are present in your child’s upbringing and growth as much as possible. Such activities include dance classes for the moms (sorry dudes), classes on how to improve your story-telling to your children, toy making workshops and many more. Interested? Check all of Kinder’s family activities.

 

English Kinder Barcelona

International day care centers in Barcelona

Kinder English is another great International day care center in Barcelona. This center has been operating for more than 40 years and its still following the same passion for achieving excellence in nursery education as it had from the start. With years of experience and constant improvement you can be sure that your child will be in the best of hands. English Kinder specializes in teaching English, Catalan and Spanish to its children. The English studies are 90% and the Catalan and Spanish classes divide between themselves the remaining 10%. The center’s testimonial states that by the time the children finish their standard study program at English Kinder they will have very good command of the three languages. If parents wish to re-enroll their children for additional studies with English Kinder Barcelona, they will have the option to include the French language in their child’s curriculum.

Although fun activities have a strong presence in English Kinder’s education plan, the center can be considered to be more academically oriented. Alongside the language studies they offer numerous music lessons. Children can pick from different musical instruments they would like to practise, the piano and the violin being the most popular among them.

International day care centers in Barcelona

 

The center believes that high quality education should go hand-in-hand with good physical fitness. You can also pick what sport activity would best suit your child. Tennis, Judo, Yoga and Dancing are just some of the sport activities you can choose from.

If you are interested in this day care center, might as well hop on to the English Kinder Barcelona website.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it informative. If you have had any good day care center experiences before, we’d love to hear about them. Just scroll down a little bit more and post them in the comment section.

 

Ready for your weekly joke?

 

Little girl: “Why does your son say, ‘Cluck, cluck, cluck?’”

Mother: “Because he thinks he’s a chicken.”

Little girl: “Why don’t you tell him he’s not a chicken?”

Mother: “We need the eggs.”

 

Sincerely,

 

Chris

 

 

 

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