Renting a Full-Time Apartment in Spain

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in Blog | 8 comments


The modern-day snowbird is someone like myself, a baby boomer, who may have a place they call home that is close to family, but enjoys a second or even a third home elsewhere. Typically, these snowbirds live in colder climates and go south to places like Florida, Arizona or New Mexico for the winter. I happen to wander, instead, across the pond to Spain, Italy or Portugal. Since the birth of my granddaughter, who is now four years old, I have curtailed to some degree my globetrotting lifestyle. No complaints here! However, during the last 10 years while  experimenting with various adventurous lifestyles, I have also loved knowing that I have the freedom to change the way that I live each year as circumstances or desire dictate. What a privilege! Recently, I’ve started to consider the possibility of renting an apartment in southern Spain on a year-round basis. This would be a new twist in my pursuit of creative living. Looking ahead at what the next few years of my life might entail, I plan to further explore this option in the spring when I once again find myself returning to Spain.

torre 2

I am not promoting Spain by any means. I have traveled and lived all over the world,  and I intend to continue to do so, but for some reason, Spain keeps drawing me back. Recently, I published an article about Spain on my monthly column as the Travel-Long-Term-Living-Abroad Expert for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women. The article is entitled — 10 Reasons to Live in Spain. It’s a light-hearted account of a few of the things that I find so wonderful about spending time in Spain. However, as I began to think about the enormous amount of time that I have lived in Spain over the course of the past 10 years, I started to also wonder about the possible advantages of simply keeping a year-round home there. Certainly it would be convenient. I wouldn’t have to hustle to find a place to hang my hat every time I was planning a return visit. I could leave a few things in my “home away from home” that would perhaps make life pleasant for me while I am there. I could immerse myself in a community with relative ease and continue to build relationships that were meaningful while living abroad. I could just close things up and go back home without much fuss as renting would involve a landlord who could check on the property from time to time while I was away.

But would it be economically feasible in the long run? And, am I ready to spend quite so much time in one place in order to make the expense worthwhile?

torre 3

Okay…. so that’s my initial reasoning behind the whole idea of renting a property year round. Here is what I am finding thus far from having made online contact with a couple of realtors in the area where I may be interested in living part-time.

1) If my taste in accommodations doesn’t exceed my pocketbook, and it won’t because I am a stickler for that, there are a number of studios or one-bedroom apartments that are very affordable.

2) Malaga is more expensive than some of the smaller towns on the coast.

3) There may be room for dickering.

Here are my requirements:

I want a place that is located right on the beach or within easy walking distance. I don’t want to live too far from Malaga, the capital of the region. I need easy access to public transportation as I won’t be owning a car. A studio or a one-bedroom apartment will be more than enough for my needs. I’d like a balcony or terrace so that I cab easily go outdoors to enjoy the wonderful weather.  I need indoor heating as I plan on being in Spain largely during off season and the nights can get chilly. I need a fully furnished apartment with a washer. I would insist on a dryer, too, but frankly, I have not found an apartment at this point that includes one. Actually, I believe that many if not most Spaniards forgo the use of a dryer, hanging their clothes, instead, on one of their terraces. I do not want to exceed 300 euros a month, preferably less. Three hundred euros is about $375 dollars a month. The monthly rent needs to include utilities. If the electric bill is excluded then I want that figured into the total cost so that I don’t ever have to mess with paying bills from the other side of the pond.

I am finding a number of properties that fit most of my requirements. That pleases me to no end. I think that the monthly rates on what I am looking for are extremely reasonable if not actually low compared to US properties of similar standing. What do you think?

After my trip, I will share the final outcome of my little research project. In fact, I plan to also reveal my bargaining tactics as I do have a few up my sleeve. However, I am encouraged by what I am finding thus far and want to spread the good news as usual. If you think that you can’t winter in sunny Spain, think again. It just may be worth considering.

Share This:


  1. Have you looked in Nerja? We were there for several weeks in an older apartment complex a few years ago. I think it may be what you’re looking for.

    Also, re a car, do you know about the “buy back” leases you can arrange on new French cars. A US company called AutoEurope has a website that details them. You have an inexpensive car for up to six months at a pretty affordable price.


    • Thank you, Libby,
      I know Nerja very well. It is a lovely little town. I happen to have a preference for Torre because it caters to Spaniards on holiday a bit more than expats and tourists, but they are both great coastal locations. I didn’t know about the car service, however. Thanks for passing on the information.

  2. Teresa,

    This is a very interesting idea. I am really looking forward to updates and progress reports. Thanks for leading the way and setting a great example. Regards, Laurie

    • Yes, Laurie,stay tuned. I’ll be returning to Spain in April and while I am there, I plan to meet with the realtor and do a little research. It’ll be fun!

  3. P.S. How do you plan to handle the 3 month stay limitation or would you apply for a long term visa? Thanks.

    • I would split my stay in some fashion. I have done that before, numerous times, as most countries only allow the 90 day stay on an American passport, except for Canada, England and Mexico to the best of my knowledge. I’ll keep everybody posted. I won’t be in Spain until April. Stay tuned….

  4. Teresa,
    First I want to say thank you for writing your two books. I read “Finding the Gypsy In Me” in December 2012, and got so excited about the concept of house sitting that I researched it for several weeks. I then presented the idea to my husband in early January. Well what do you know, we had our first house sit by mid January 2013 (see our website What a wonderful way to travel, meet new people, and have so many wonderful experiences!
    Have you considered “house swapping” your apartment if your landlord would allow it? Several of the people we have house sit before do it and have had some wonderful experiences doing so.

    • Thanks so much for the warm words of encouragement.You are not the first person who landed a housesitting assignment after reading my book. Stay in touch!

Leave a Reply to Teresa Roberts Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge