How to find your dream flat in Milan without spending too much

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

In Rome they say that the only good thing about Milan is the train to Rome. Nevertheless, every year thousands of young students and professionals move to the fashion capital to continue their studies or start a new career. And the question "How can I find an apartment?" always pops up in the conversations of those who recently arrived. 

Despite the drop in population over the last two years due to the pandemic, Milan is still the city with the most expensive rents in Italy. It’s therefore no surprise to see young professionals or university students going mental trying to find a rental that does not completely consume their savings or their first hard-earned salary. Living in the “smartest” city in Italy is expensive, and often much more than we would like. 

It won’t be easy to find your dream home at a reasonable price, but with a few tips, we can try to make your life a little easier. 

Define your budget

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Whether you are moving to Milan to study or to work, whether you have your own money or someone is helping you with the rent, it’s important to understand how much you can spend. The rental market in Milan is a fight to the death, especially when it comes to small and medium sized apartments. Obviously, if you increase your budget, your chances increase as well, but don't forget that Milan is an extremely expensive city, with a cost of living that is often disproportionate to salaries, especially for those who are just beginning to work. If you don't want to risk not having money for anything other than buying a few cans of tuna fish to throw in your pasta, you have to be realistic about the monthly budget to put at your disposal for renting an apartment. Once you have clarified this point, you can automatically cross the overpriced areas off your list and focus on those that have more affordable real estate. 

Unlike other European countries, you don't have to prepare many documents to rent a flat, just show the landlord your work contract. If you are a trainee or university student, remember that you will need to have a guarantor who will be willing to pay your rent in case there are any problems. 

Study the map

Cost for a flat of approximately 55 square metres from MilanoToday

One of the most important features your home should have is proximity to your workplace or university. It's a pity that most offices and universities are in central areas and, consequently, with rents that are unaffordable. Does this mean that you have to accept that you’ll be spending hours stuck in city traffic? Absolutely not! Milan has the best public transport system in Italy, with four (soon to be five) metro lines criss-crossing the city and trains alternating every three minutes. Add to this the buses, trams and the Ferrovie Nord and it becomes clear how easy it is to reach practically any point in the city, you just need to know how to get around. So, tip number one: take a map of the city, mark the point you are most interested in reaching in your everyday life and try to figure out which is the easiest way to get there. For example, for those who have to go to the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore on a daily basis, the two nearest metro stops are S. Ambrogio and Cadorna. This makes any apartment located around any stop on the red and green lines (in Milan we like to call the metro lines by colour) attractive. You don't need to live in S. Ambrogio and spend 1500 € for 50 sqm, you can easily move to Lambrate and get away with half the price. 

Focus on the right websites

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Nowadays, creating online offers for flats is within everyone's reach, but we still only have two eyes at our disposal. To avoid going crazy on 30 different platforms every day, focus your search on the most tried and tested websites with the widest range of offers. 

The most popular portals are idealista.it and immobiliare.it. You can directly set the filter according to the price you want and the areas you’re interested in. If you are looking for a room, take a look at Milano Stanze, the budget you’ll need is a bit high but you will be able to find a place to stay for the first few months while you look for something more suitable. The private Facebook group Affitti Per Chi Ha Fretta is a real gem: with more than 130,000 members, it has put a roof over the heads of many newcomers to the city and is one of those unmissable cauldrons, where you can find anything from a room for the penniless student to an apartment for the freelancer who wants to live in the Isola area. On the other hand, if you don't have time to spend your days in front of the screen looking for the right apartment for your pockets, apply directly to an estate agency, explaining what you are looking for. On the plus side, you will save yourself a lot of work and headaches, but remember: there will be a commission to pay (usually 2 or 3 monthly rents) in addition to the security deposit, so take this into account in your costs’ calculation. 

The search for your dream flat is a mathematically perfect equation between the area where you would like to live, the area you can afford and the area where you have to go every day for work or study. It's by no means easy, but with a little patience and the right tools, we're sure you can succeed. So don't give up, the perfect apartment is waiting for you! 

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