The NOTEBOOK Madrid.comExpert facts from local expats since 2001
Moving to Madrid
Housing

Renting a room in an apartment is definitely the best option for living long-term in Madrid. It's a great way to meet new people and one of the most economical options! Compared to other large cities, Madrid is one of the cheapest cities for housing. It's also an incredibly quick process! By contacting renters from ads online or numbers from the 'alquila' signs on the streets- you could call, visit, sign a contract and get the keys for your new place all in the same day! It is recommended not to settle though, because there are usually lots of options! It is best to take a week before classes to visit different apartments, but if you have the ability visit a month before classes, then the prices will be more reasonable.
If you are looking to rent a room for just a week to a month, Madrid Rooms offers single or double rooms for 15€/night or 20€/night. madridinsider.com/madridrooms/

General Advice:
- The average cost for rent is between 300 to 600€ per month.
- Lots of Madrileños are on vacation for the month of August, so you may have to wait to see a place until after the landlord returns from vacation.
- It will be very helpful to have a spanish phone number when looking at apartments, since most renters can only be contacted by phone and don't usually use email.
- Sometimes online listings are part of a 'bait-and-switch' scheme, where renters will advertise a nicer apartment, only to try to get you interested in other apartments and/or charge you a finder's fee. Unless you really need an agent to help you find a specific place, you should be fine on your own.
- Also, be aware that contracts are often negotiable. If you want to stay in an apartment for a shorter or longer time than specificied, the renter will often agree to make a new contract for you.
- Finally, it is important to ask which 'gastos' or utility bills are included. It will be easier for you in the future if heat, water, electicity and internet are all included. 

Helpful websites:
www.segundamano.es
www.easypiso.com
www.idealista.com
www.emes.es/VivirenMadrid/Alojamientoestudiantes/tabid/219/Default.aspx
For information on Spanish host families or student residences:
www.student-accommodation-madrid.com/home 

Sometimes universities maintain residences that are near campus. This is a good option to meet students, but it is generally more expensive and more popular with first year students.
Neighborhoods of Interest:
Chamberí (Metro Arguelles/Moncloa/Islas Filipinas/Bilbao)
Best barrio for students of Computense or ICADE. Close to many university campuses. Plus, the area has many grocery stores, cheap bars, parks and metro and bus stations. Apartments can be on the smaller side. Also, a few renters do not want students, because many elderly couples also live in the area.
Malasaña
Trendy and international, this area is well known for Calle Fuencarral, the main shopping street. But also has an eclectic mix of clubs, good international food and the Cultural Center of Conde Duque.
Central (Metro Sol/Callao/Opera)
City center and tourist heaven. There are lots of monuments, shopping, restaurants, clubs and Irish bars in this area. But you won't easily find a cheap dinner, grocery store or haircut in this area. Also, pickpockets like this tourist spot.
Cheuca
Known as the gay district of Madrid, this area prides itself for having great nightlife. In the daytime, it's a nice area with little streets and small shops.
La Latina
Historic district near the central with older apartments and residents usually in their mid-thirties. This place is great for tapas, bars and clubs in the summertime. Every Sunday the streets are usually bustling with people on terrazas or in unique, modern bars enjoying drinks with friends and people-watching.
Lavapies
This area has some of the best ethnic food and outdoor dining. It's the most international district because it has been home to immigrants for many years. You'll find great Chinese, Indian, Moroccan, Arabic and Senegalese food at reasonable prices. But it's not the best area for nightlife or normal living.
Salamanca
The apartments are very pretty here and it is close to Parque Retiro, but prices are a bit higher.