Finding a decent (and decently priced) apartment in Malaga turned out to be an unexpectedly tough challenge! Yet when I finally move into that new place and it felt right, I immediately knew that the struggle was worth it. Here I’ve summarized my experience, to make finding an apartment in Malaga easier for you.

Apartment in Malaga
Malaga at sunset, from the Gibralfaro viewpoint
Apartment in Malaga
And a few moments later

Malaga is no London or Barcelona, where people bend over backwards for a moldy basement with a worn-out mattress. But still, the city is getting more popular by the minute and not just with tourists. Apparently, we “digital nomads” are also flooding in. Malaga attracts them/us with sunshine year-round, a great combination of beach, mountains, and culture, plus it’s fairly cheap, compared to Western Europe and North America. On the one hand that’s awesome – the city is becoming more diverse. On the other hand, finding an apartment in Malaga is now a bit of a nightmare. A ridiculous conundrum spiced up by real estate agents from hell.

Apartment in Malaga
The Malaguetta beach
Apartment in Malaga

After a month of looking for an apartment in Malaga from abroad and two weeks here, I finally managed to find a pretty nice new home. I thought I’d describe the process here and hopefully help others who are going through the same ordeal. If you have any questions or comments please post them in the comments section or get in touch on social media 🙂

The Area I Looked at

I don’t know much about the neighborhoods in Malaga but I did learn two things:

– The historic center is not an easy place to live in.

Before I came to town, I really wanted to find an apartment in the historic center. But I now understand why people told me that it’s not a great idea.

Even during the low season, it’s full of tourists. And I am guessing that in the summer it’s totally crazy and constantly noisy. Most buildings in the historic center are old, their walls are thin and the windows are not great, so it’s hard to keep the noise of the street and the “cold” of the winter out. Besides, you can’t go to the center by car, not even a taxi.

– People who know Malaga prefer to live further from the city

I met a few locals and people who’ve been living here for over 10 years. They usually go for the suburbs, and neighboring towns, such as Pedregalejo, Rincon de la Victoria, and Benalmadena. There you get easier access to the beach and more square meters for less money. These places are also well-connected to the city by public transport. But I wanted to be able to walk everywhere so I chose to look in the area that I’ve outlined below. I was finally able to find a super sweet apartment in Malaga near El Corte Ingles, on the west side of this map. My coworking is 10 minutes away, the center – 15, and the nearest beach is 25 minutes on foot.

Apartment in Malaga
The hills around Malaga
Apartment in Malaga

Where to Look for an Apartment in Malaga

This I feel more confident with because I literally looked everywhere. I even left my phone number at bars and hostel receptions.

But these are the main websites:

https://www.idealista.com/en/

https://www.spainhouses.net/

https://www.milanuncios.com/

https://badi.com/us/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ExpatsInMalaga/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatsclubmalaga/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/groups/PisosyhabitacionesdealquilerenMalaga/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1012827498733424/

Apartment in Malaga
Lagunillas – one of the neighborhoods just outside of the center
Apartment in Malaga

From the Owner or Through an Agency

In Bulgaria I’ve had to deal with real estate agencies several times – these are definitely some of the most obnoxious people I’ve ever met and the service they provide is questionable at best. But compared to the real estate agents here in Malaga, the ones in Sofia are sweet old tea-sipping ladies.

When looking for an apartment in Malaga, you often have no choice but to go through an agency. This means spending a month’s rent on their fee, and some of them get that amount from the owner as well. What I found infuriating about this is that they don’t offer anything at all in exchange. In fact, the real estate agents we worked with only made the process slower and harder. On top of that, they kept giving us contradictory information and apparently did the same to our landlady. So when looking for an apartment in Malaga, I would definitely recommend avoiding our agency Orion/Adaix, although frankly, they might all be the same.

How Much Does an Apartment in Malaga Cost?

From what I’ve been told, rent for an apartment in Malaga has changed drastically over the past few years and will probably keep rising. So please keep in mind that the information below if from the beginning of 2020.

For the area that I was looking at, a room in a shared flat is about €350-500, bills excluded. In a 3-bedroom apartment in Malaga, water, gas, and electricity costs should be around €60 per month, while Wifi is around 50-60 per month.

If you want your own apartment in Malaga, studios start at €450 but for that amount, you’ll find something on the ground floor with the toilet and shower in the same room as everything else. That’s why I chose to share with others – nice common areas, more kitchen space, and bigger terraces.

Apartment in Malaga
“The river” separates the central neighborhoods from the rest.

Furniture

Generally, when you rent an apartment in Malaga, you get one of two interior options – mismatched old-fashioned furniture or IKEA’s cheapest. So I was really happy to find a place that’s different. Although the interior is a bit too posh for my taste, the beds are new, the kitchen is big and well-equipped, we have a balcony and a terrace. Best of all – dogs are allowed. And since the space has good bones, I feel like I can make it my own with a bit of psychedelic art, candles, incents, etc 🙂

Apartment in Malaga
Our living room
Apartment in Malaga

The Law

In Spain, the law is on the side of the renter, so owners a very careful who they give their place to. While in Bulgaria there aren’t really any particular requirements, renting an apartment in Malaga means providing a bunch of paperwork (proof of income, tax returns, etc.) so they’d be sure that you can pay.

Apartment in Malaga

The Bottom Line

Finding an apartment in Malaga can be very stressful but when you get a good place it feels worth it. For a month it was all I could talk about and it was definitely a rocky ride. Especially several times, when I was just about to get a place and then it fell through.

Absolutely everyone that I’ve talked to about it so far, with the exception of a couple of people who consider themselves especially lucky, has had a similar experience. Some people have even been moving to a different apartment in Malaga every few months, looking for a place that feels right. So if you’re headed this way make sure you load up on patience. Things are so tricky that I couldn’t really celebrate before actually moving my stuff in and spending the night at the new place.

But my flatmates and I have been living in our apartment in Malaga for several months now and I must say – I am really happy here, so it was well worth the effort 🙂

Apartment in Malaga
Apartment in Malaga

What you see above is the view from our rooftop 🙂

I’d be happy to hear about your experience with apartment hunting at home and abroad. I am very curious about the small details and differences/similarities. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact me on social media.