I am a hostess. I love to cook and I love to entertain. So when I discovered that my new Madrid flat had no oven, I just about passed out. In my first-week-daze I failed to notice such a deficiency as we viewed the apartment, agreed to “take it” and then signed the contract. Damn.
Will and I are planners I must confess. While we technically showed up to Madrid homeless – we had done our research before arrival and had not only scoped out apartments but also the agency options to rent them. We pre-booked a flat for one week near Sol on Calle Barcelona using D’Flat Madrid, the company we would use for our long-term rental as well (D’Flat Housing – for long-term stays).
D’Flat Housing is run by two 2003 Executive MBA IE graduates. They work on a reduced commission basis for IE students. Unlike other rental search companies, who charge a NON-REFUNDABLE full month’s rent as their commission, D’Flat Housing offers a €175 (+16% VAT) = €203 finders fee, which is refundable if you find a renter to take your place when moving out. D’Flat Housing manages a selected portfolio of apartments which Will and I felt were good options for what we were looking for (furnished, 2 bedrooms, good light, short distance from the IE campus and charm). We selected apartments we were interested in viewing, gave D’Flat our wish list and then arranged meeting times at the apartments where someone from D’Flat would meet us and let us in to view.
Using D’Flat had its advantages outside of the geared-towards-IE student approach they take. For instance, as non-EU members, we had a solid two month process ahead of us to get our residency numbers (NIE). These numbers are typically required for obtaining a place to live or in the very least, having basic utilities switched on. In using D’Flat – this was not an obstacle. Another positive was an English speaking staff. Lastly, their website is comprehensive, though a bit difficult to navigate, with true-to-life photographs included. As a result of this we found an apartment relatively quickly in Barrio Salamanca.
Most of our contact was with Viviana Montoya (email@example.com) who was very helpful and responsive via email (just not always in incredible haste) but I believe another good D’Flat contact is Mr. César Rivera +34 / 645186233.
I admit once I discovered the lack of oven I flipped into a bit of “buyers remorse”. Had we selected the flat in haste? Were we not thorough enough? Were we paying too much? These thoughts have passed as I have learned to appreciate other things about my apartment, like its gigantic master bedroom and bathroom. As for appreciating my area…that’s a whole other story entirely…
Now that we’re four months in I have figured it out! As I work to master the art of Spanish cooking I have begun to notice the lack of oven-time necessary to turn out such delicious items. And while Spaniards (especially the older ones) LOVE their bread and pastries…these aren’t ever made at home…no way! These are lined up for and savored in cafes, bakeries and pastry shops…for hours at a time.
Oh but in the end…I am an American so our apartment kitchen is now complete with a state of the art Taurus toaster oven (from the all powerful El Cortes Ingles). Let the entertaining resume.
What about you? Have you used D’Flat or perhaps another company for your apartment search that you would like to share about with us?