How to Choose the Perfect Holiday Apartment in Barcelona: 5 Top Tips

Many visitors heading to the Catalan capital opt for an apartment rental in Barcelona. Offering more privacy than hotels, an opportunity to save money (your own kitchen for home-cooked meals), plus the ability to sleep larger groups in the same location, it should come as no surprise that apartment rentals in Barcelona are continuing to grow in popularity.

However, there many questions to consider when deciding which apartment to choose for a break in Barcelona: Do I want a relaxing beach holiday or the full Catalan neighborhood experience? Do I want a spacious three bedroom apartment or a stylish studio for one? Will I be taking daytrips, and if so, is the apartment close to public transportation?

To help you select the right accommodation for you, take a look at these 5 top tips on how to choose the perfect holiday apartment in Barcelona.

  1. Find the Right Barcelona Neighborhood

    It goes without saying that choosing the right Barcelona neighborhood in which to stay can make all the difference while on vacation in Barcelona. The Catalan capital has around 10 main districts, ranging from the bustling Casco Antiguo (Old Town) in the city center to the less touristic neighborhoods on the outskirts like Horta-Guinardó.

    Before starting the search for your ideal Barcelona apartment, be sure to do a little research on the various zones of the city, from the Barceloneta beach area to the quieter ‘barrio’ of Sarrià. Many apartment rental agencies have ‘district guides’ on their blogs where visitors can get a deeper understanding of the neighborhoods and find out which one best suits their needs, be it sightseeing, relaxing by the Mediterranean, or attending one of the city’s many fantastic festivals and events like the Sonar festival.

  2. Facilities and amenities

    Everyone heading to Barcelona undoubtedly has different needs. For example, the apartment you’ve chosen may be just what you had in mind in terms of location and size, but it’s situated on the 3rd floor and the building does not have an elevator. For some, this may not be a problem, while for others, mobility is at the top of their priority list. It is therefore important to check the facilities of an apartment prior to booking.

    Will you be dining in or out most days? If the answer is home-cooked food for a budget trip, be sure to check that the kitchen has everything you’ll need to prepare your meals. Don’t forget to check the capacity of the holiday apartment in Barcelona as well as the bed distribution to ensure that there are no problems upon arrival.

    Apartment agencies generally list all apartment amenities on their websites and it is important to review these. If you’re unsure of anything, be sure to call the agency or send an email to ensure that the apartment is fit for your needs.

  3. Company reputation

    With numerous apartment rental agencies in Barcelona, it is important to make sure that the agency renting your apartment of choice is reputable. Spend time looking at reviews on Tripadvisor, travel forums or the company’s website to get an idea of what to expect from former customers.

    Also, check the company website for contact details, which should be clearly displayed all over the site. For an extra precaution, look out for the letters S.L or S.A following the business name, an indicator that the company follows strict tax and book keeping rules in accordance with Spanish Law.

  4. Apartment Reviews

    As with company reputation, you can also check what others thought of the Barcelona holiday apartment you have in mind through review websites like FlipKey. Many apartment agencies also list customer ratings of apartments and comments on their websites, so be sure to check out the nature of the online guest reviews the apartment has received before you make your final decision.

  5. Read the Small Print

    Each company is different, so be sure to review the FAQ and Terms and Conditions pages of your Barcelona apartment rental website of choice, ensuring that you are fully aware of the entire rental process from booking to check-out. Information on everything ranging from the damage deposit conditions to the check-in procedure should be covered in this section, allowing you to be aware of exactly how the company works and what is expected of you as a customer.

As the travel industry keeps expanding, many agencies offer apartments in Barcelona. However, many of these companies are not physically located in Barcelona, which means that if you encounter a problem in the apartment, there may be no one to come out and offer a solution. Be sure to check the locations of the agency’s main offices as well as the hours of operation.

Also, watch out for companies that offer 24 hour assistance, as this can give you extra assurance when travelling abroad.

So, whether you’re in search of a one-bedroom apartment for a romantic getaway or an apartment for a large group of friends heading to the Catalan capital, follow these simple pointers to ensure your search for your ideal Barcelona holiday apartment goes off without hitch!

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How to Find the Best Gainesville Apartments For UF Students

In Gainesville, if you’re looking for housing, chances are that you are a UF student; more than 40% of the population is here to attend the University of Florida. Looking for your first Gainesville apartment can be a daunting task– especially if you’ve never lived in an apartment before. By following these helpful tips and beginning your apartment search online, you can save time and find the best fit for you and your particular needs as a UF student.

DETERMINE HOW YOU’LL GET TO UF CLASSES

After spending a year on-campus in dorms like Broward, Hume, Springs or Fletcher, most UF students choose to live off-campus and begin searching for an apartment. And can you blame them? On-campus UF dorms are typically dark, damp and incredibly cramped, with most students sharing a bathroom with 45-60 other students. Unfortunately, UF does not offer on-campus parking near classes to UF students who don’t live in the dorms. So before you begin your apartment search, the first thing to consider is how you will get to your UF classes. Will you walk? Will you bike? Will you ride a bus or seek out a spot in ParkNRide? If you plan on riding the bus from your apartment, you’ll need to leave at least 1 hour before your class begins to ensure that you won’t be late. Remember that most RTS buses drop you off at the Hub (also known as the Reitz Union), and you’ll need to walk from there to your classes. The only other option is to seek out ParkNRide (which is so far from classes that you’ll need to ride a bus from your parking spot to the Hub and then walk from there). Because of the challenges you’ll face getting to your classes, most students seek out apartments near the UF campus, so that they can walk to class.

It can be very difficult to find an apartment near UF, especially if students do not have the help of older friends and family who have been through the process before. Many of the apartment complexes near UF are small and don’t advertise in the local apartment guides or Gainesville Apartment Hunters or similar apartment finder services. Instead, you’ll need to be proactive to find your best fit.

START YOUR APARTMENT SEARCH ONLINE

Smart students who want to find the best and cheapest apartments in Gainesville start their search online. They begin by navigating to sites like Google and typing in general keyword terms like Gainesville apartments and Gainesville apartments near UF. These terms will return a list of apartment complexes close to campus. The first few search results will include apartment finding services and roommate matching services that will list lots of the apartments with easy comparison charts, where you can search by style, size, move-in date and more. These same sites include many photo galleries, floorplans, virtual tours and maps showing where the apartments are located.

By starting their search for the best Gainesville apartments online, students can really cut back on their research time. Many websites also include time-saving tools like “schedule a tour” buttons and even offer online specials.

HOW TO COMPARE GAINESVILLE APARTMENTS

While performing your apartment search online, be sure to take good notes. You’ll want to make note of all of the following amenities in order to help determine which would be the best fit for you:

* Location – how close is it to UF

* How will you get to class – can you walk from the apartment to school

* Square footage – how big is the apartment

* Number of bedrooms – how many roommates will you have

* Roommate Matching Services – does the apartment complex offer roommate matching or will you need to find your own roommates

* Rental Rate per Person – how much will it cost you to live there

* Availability – is the apartment available for the month in which you need to move

TALK TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Before taking a tour, students should talk to their parents, friends and anyone else involved in their decision making process. They should make a list of what is most important to them: budget, location, size of the apartment, how many bedrooms they are looking for, etc. From this list, they will be able to tell if the apartments online match their particular needs. Apartments are a lot like cars; as you increase your budget, you are able to get better amenities. So to find the best apartment, it is important to start off by asking parents what the budget is.

SCHEDULE A TOUR OF THE APARTMENT

After finding a few Gainesville apartments that seem like a good fit, the next step is to schedule a tour. Tours typically take less than 15 minutes, and they are free. Plus touring is the best way to check out the actual apartment (though most apartment complex websites are honest, some are highly inaccurate). You should bring along anyone who is involved in the decision making process: friends, potential roommates, and parents (if they are in town). Always bring your checkbook and photo ID or driver’s license, so that you can put down a security deposit or make a reservation if you find that you like the apartment after your tour.

QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING THE APARTMENT TOUR

1) How many bedrooms does the apartment have, and are the bedrooms big enough for your furniture?

2) How many bathrooms does the apartment have? Will you need to share?

3) How does the parking around the apartment work?

4) How will you get to your UF classes from the apartment? Be forewarned. Most apartment complexes try to make the Gainesville bus system sound great– but RTS is terrible! For apartment near the Mall or off of 20th Ave, plan on leaving your apartment about 1 hour before class begins every day, to ensure that you get there on time. Between walking from the apartment to your bus stop, then waiting for the bus, then taking the bus ride (and all of its stops), then walking from The Hub on UF campus campus to the actual classroom, you are talking about a 45 trip. Plus, if the bus is late or if the bus is full, you will need some extra leeway. Because of this commute issue and because there is no on-campus parking (except for ParkNRide) for UF students who live off campus, most students try to live in houses and apartments close to UF, so that they can walk to class. Apartments that are walking distance to UF classes are a bit more money than those further away, but think about it: you’ll be saving up to 2 hours per day in commute time.

RESERVE YOUR NEW GAINESVILLE APARTMENTS

If you like the apartment after checking it out in person, be prepared to reserve the same day that you tour. Apartments in Gainesville Florida rent very quickly for fall move-in. Many floorplans fully rent out by January, for August move-in. Plan ahead so that you don’t miss out on your ideal new home!

What Do Apartments in Dallas Check For When They Run Your Application?

Apartments in each state and, even in each city within the same state, have their own different qualification procedures when reviewing the application of a potential new renter. Take the state of Texas as an example. The largest metropolitan areas in this state with the highest concentration of apartment communities are Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. There are thousands of various apartment complexes in each of these cities. You would think they would have the same requirements for approval when running an Application for a new renter since they are all located within the same state of Texas. However, Dallas has very unique requirements that are different from Houston and San Antonio as well as different from other cities and other states.

Apartments in the illustrious city of Dallas check four (4) major areas in order to approve your Application: criminal background, income/job, rental history, and credit. It is the combination of these specific 4 areas that make Dallas requirements unique as a city, as well as how lenient or strict they are within each of the 4 areas.

For instance, In Houston, located only 239 miles away from Dallas, there are some apartments that consider your debt and your debt to income ratios as well as Social Security fraud history, when checking your Application. These are items that are never checked by Dallas apartments when they run your Application. Also, Dallas is more lenient than Houston when doing a criminal background check when it comes to fraud and financial crimes. Several apartments in Dallas will still work with you if you have a misdemeanor or felony in those categories, whereas in Houston these two areas are almost always causes for denial of your application.

As another example of how unique Dallas qualification requirements are, consider how Dallas differs from another major city, San Antonio. In the city of Dallas, apartments do not check how long you have worked at a particular job. The length of your employment history is not a consideration. As long as you HAVE employment and income that can be verified, most apartments will approve your application. In fact, you can have a brand new job, or even be transferring here to Dallas from another location, and all you need is a “Hire Letter” from the new employee showing your start date and your rate of pay. This is different from San Antonio. Most apartments in San Antonio want to see at least 6 months of employment history.

So, as you can see, Dallas has unique requirements that they check for when running an apartment application. Here are the specific requirements that Dallas apartments look for in more detail:

1. The first area that the best Apartments in Dallas check is your income qualifications. They almost always require that you earn three (3) times whatever your rent amount is. Other cities and states may require that you earn 2.5 times, or even 3.5 times the rent amount, but almost all properties across the board in Dallas check to see that you earn 3 times minimum. For example, if your rent is $1000, they want to see proof that you earn at least $3000 a month. You can provide this proof of income in the form of paycheck stubs. If you are self employed, you can provide bank statements and the most recent year’s tax statements. If you are new moving into the Dallas area and have been transferred from your job, or you are just starting a brand new job, you can provide a letter from your employer on company letterhead from the HR department or the hiring manager. The letter should state that you are being relocated and what your income will be.

Many cities, such as Houston and San Antonio, check to see how long you have worked for a particular employer, and therefore will not accept a “New Hire Letter”. Dallas does not do this. As long as you have the Hire Letter, you can be accepted with a brand new job. More than likely, however, the new apartments will call the company and ask for verbal verification of the letter, and it must be signed by someone with authority, such as the Hiring Manager. They may or may not ask for the letter to be notarized.

What kind of income will the Dallas apartments consider? In addition to income from a business you own or from employment, you can also include funds that you receive as child support, disability, retirement, investments, etc. Any and all income that is legal and is provable will be considered.

What if you are retired and do not have income? Some areas would require you to move to a retirement community or senior facility. But most apartments in Dallas are flexible in this regard. They will just require a copy of your bank statements to verify that you have enough funds to cover the cost of the rent for each month of the lease. For example, if your rent is $1000 a month, and you sign a 12 month lease, they will check to see if you at least have $12,000 in savings. They will also consider any Social Security money that you receive as monthly income. And if all else fails, they will accept a co-signer. Because Dallas is flexible in working with retired individuals, many enjoy the freedom and dignity of renting their own apartment without having to move into a retirement home for seniors. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Money Magazine voted Dallas as one of the best places to retire in 2006 and 2007.

2. The second area that the best apartments in Dallas always check is your past rental history. They want to know if you have ever broken a lease or been evicted. They will check with the current apartments you are living in now, even if they are in another state, to verify that you are leaving on good terms. It may be tempting to try to “stretch the truth” and hide the fact that you owe past apartments money, but resist the urge. The credit check that they pull on you will reveal any debts that you owe to past properties. In Dallas, any past debts to properties that are still unpaid, even if they are many years ago, will mean an automatic denial if it shows up on your credit. The Manager does not have control over making the final decision in this regard. This is because most apartments in Dallas are managed by large Property Management Companies who make all the corporate decisions for their properties. They set the rules, and the rule is always to check for any property debts and automatically deny an application if such a debt appears. Other cities with a higher percentage of privately owned small apartment communities, such as San Antonio or Houston, may be more flexible in this regard since they maintain more control over who they accept or deny and the Manager may be allowed to make the final ruling.

What can you do if you do owe a past apartment community and you are searching for an apartment in the Dallas area? Well, it all depends upon whether or not it shows up on your credit report. If you aren’t sure if it shows up on your credit, you might first pull your own free credit report and look to see if it is there. Make sure to pull the credit from all three reporting agencies since you aren’t sure which one the apartments will use. If the incident is mentioned nowhere on your credit, then you may choose not to bring up the past, especially if you have had good rental history SINCE that occurrence. If it does show up on your credit, then you will not get approved at any apartment complex in Dallas. Your only option is to go back to that prior property that you owe funds to and pay them off. Be sure to receive a receipt or letter that shows your debt is paid in full so you can present this letter to the new Dallas apartments. Even with the receipt or letter, not every property in Dallas will work with you. A skilled Dallas Apartment Locator will be of great assistance in guiding you to the properties that are a little more lenient in this regard.

3. The third area that the Dallas Best Apartments check is your credit. As we mentioned above, they are mainly looking to see if you owe any past apartments money. However, Dallas is unique because they also will check to see if you owe past utility bills, mainly the electric company. The reason they check this is because you will not be able to turn on your electricity at the new apartment if you still owe the utility company money. So you will have to pay off any debts to the electric company prior to filling out the apartment application. In fact, some Dallas apartments even require you to call the power company and schedule the date for them to turn on the electricity to your new apartment, and get a confirmation number to prove it is scheduled, before they will give the final approval to your Application. Apartments in other cities are not as strict in this area as Dallas.

Another item they will look for on your credit, besides just past apartment debts and utility debts are housing debts. Perhaps you use to own your own home, and now you are moving into an apartment. The apartments will check to see your payment history with the mortgage company and will look for property debts and foreclosures. If a foreclosure shows up, then they may not be able to work with you. It depends on how many years ago the incident happened. An Apartment Locator familiar with Dallas apartments will be in the best position to assist you.

4. The last area that apartments in Dallas always check is your criminal background. Although most cities and states run background checks on applicants, each city is different in how they react to the findings. Dallas apartments run a background check that goes back indefinitely. It will show any past misdemeanors or felonies that you have ever received in your entire life. It doesn’t matter if the occurrence happened 30 years ago. It will still show up. Most apartments in Dallas automatically will decline your application if any felony shows up. However, they can be flexible in a few areas where other cities are not.

For example, if the felony or misdemeanor is for something that does not involve harm to another human and does not involve theft, approximately 10% of the Dallas apartments will work with you. Some examples of misdemeanors or felonies that SOME properties may be more flexible with are: check writing fraud, drinking while driving, possession of marijuana, etc. Other cities are not flexible enough to consider any exceptions and will deny an application for any crime, regardless of its nature.

If you have a non-violent glitch on your background criminal record, you need a qualified Apartment Locator in Dallas who has knowledge of second chance properties to assist you in finding the 10% who might work with your situation. If your particular offense is not one that any apartment property in Dallas will accept, then the Locator will let you know. In that case, your best bet is to find a privately owned house that is for rent by the owner. These can be found in the newspaper. Do not apply for a rent house that is represented by a Real Estate Agent, or they will have the same background check that the apartments have, and you will run into the same problem. Only rent houses that are for lease by the owner offer more flexibility.

As you can see, apartments in Dallas have very specific requirements when it comes to their qualifications for approval of your application. Always retain the assistance of a trustworthy and experienced Dallas apartment locator when searching for the best apartments Dallas has to offer. Not only will their free service save you countless hours of blind searching, but they will also make sure that you get the best apartment in Dallas for your particular situation. Visit www.BestApartmentsDFW.com today to get your free apartment search assistance!