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!
#1 HOW LONG HAS THE FLAT BEEN AVAILABLE?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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!
Till next time, PEACE OUT, SuiteLifers!
Dragosh (El Dragon)