Best websites for renting in Athens
Last Modified: 13/05/2022
Are you planning to rent a property in Athens? In this article, we have gathered the best sites and platforms for finding apartments. Learn about the pros and cons of each website and see which ones work better for you.
Are you looking to rent an apartment in Athens? Don’t know where to start? With so many options available, it can be challenging to know which sites you should use for your property search. That is why we have collected the top websites for finding a property to rent in Athens.
Finding a Rental in Athens - what to expect
Before you start scouring the platforms to find your next rental, it is important to set some expectations. The real estate process in Athens may be a little different to what you are accustomed to. We have summarised the key things you need to be aware of below:
Multiple listings for the same property
While searching through the platforms, you will possibly find the same property listed with multiple real estate agents. Try and find the listing posted by the owner or the most recently published listing by an agent and contact them. This will increase your chances of being able to see the property.
The property address will likely be hidden
Many real estate agents in Athens will not show you the property's address in the listing. Instead, you will be given a general idea of where the property is. The agent will meet you near the property and ask you to sign a services contract. This contract guarantees them a fee in the event that you end up renting that property. Only then will you learn the actual address.
Listings contain limited photos
You will see many property listings with few or even no photos. Other listings will contain low-quality photos taken from a smartphone. Unfortunately, the presentation of properties for rent in Athens leaves a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, these properties may still be worth seeing. So, place less weighting on the photos when searching for a rental in Athens, and be more willing to see a property, even if the pictures aren’t great.
You will pay three months' rent at the beginning
You will typically pay the first month’s rent in advance when you sign the rental contract. Additionally, a security deposit equivalent to one month's rent is typically required. In Athens, real estate agents also charge one month’s rent to the tenant when intermediating a rental contract. So, be prepared to hand over three months’ worth of rent at the beginning of your contract to cover the following:
- First month’s rent,
- Security deposit and
- The fee for the real estate agent.
Note that the same expenses are applied even for a short term rental.
The best websites for renting in Athens
Below, you can find a detailed list of the best websites for searching for a place to rent in Athens:
Facebook is one of the most popular house searching platforms for foreigners, through Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Groups. Many owners choose to post their property ads on Facebook to avoid the mediation of third parties and communicate directly with the interested tenants. Moreover, many property managers prefer this platform because they don’t have to pay any charge or commission for listing their ad, like other rental platforms.
Use the Facebook Marketplace Filters
Use your PC instead of your smartphone for a better browsing experience. You can filter the region, e.g., Kallithea and select a radius of 5 km to help you target the desired area. One major drawback is the lack of other adequate filters. You can filter the price range, the availability and sort by the age of the ad. However, many listings are no longer available but remain online with no way to disqualify them in the search.
Pay attention to the ad’s description so that the property’s characteristics satisfy your search criteria. If the caption is only in Greek, use a translator. Check the house's attributes and the rental terms. Look for potential tour links in the details to help you gain a better idea of the space.
Use the search function for specific amenities
One major drawback of the filters is that you cannot filter for specific amenities by selecting a checkbox. For example, there is no filter to check if the property is furnished, if there is an elevator, air conditioning, heating or a balcony.
If you want to search for specific amenities, you must type them into the search box. If you want an apartment with a balcony and a parking spot, you can type ‘balcony parking’ to return any listings that contain these words in the description. As many descriptions are in Greek, it may be worth using a translator or asking a friend to assist you. In this example, you would also type ‘μπαλκόνι πάρκινγκ’ to return any listing with Greek descriptions.
Verify the person who listed the ad
Do not ignore verifying the agent because they might be a scammer pretending to work for a real estate agency. You can also ask to have a video call with them. In this case, scammers most likely will step back.
Pay attention to the profile that posted the ad. If it is a real estate agency, do a quick Google search to see if they have a website. You can also check the Chamber of Commerce registry by the business name, distinctive title or VAT number.
If it is a private party, it is more challenging, and you should verify the identity of the actual person. Ask them if they work for a real estate agency and if they can provide their name and VAT number. You can then call the agency and ask them if e.g. George Papadopoulos works for them and if their company manages the property.
If the owner has posted the listing, you should ask them if they are the owner of the property. Before signing any contract or handing over any money, ask for their ID and their E9 declaration which shows the properties they have in their name.
Prepare a script
Once you have verified the person, try to book a viewing. Prepare a brief introductory message including who you are, your strengths (e.g. resume, income, profession), and your availability for a viewing. Do not just text them, “Is it still available?” because they will most likely ignore your message. In demand properties are snapped up quickly, so you should be prepared to do what is necessary to stand out. Make sure you state your strong interest and secure your viewing as soon as possible.
Key points of the lease contract and the payments
When you find a home that meets your needs, and you come to an agreement with the owner, you can start putting a contract together. Learn more about the terms and conditions and how to accept the lease contract in this blog post. In any case, you should never give cash for a rental unless you have verified they are legitimate or before signing your lease contract.
Note that if you are considering renting a room in a shared apartment or subletting a property, you can ask for the initial lease contract that the original lessee signed with the owner. You can then determine if they have the right to sublet a room to you and if your rights will be protected.
If you deal with an agent, try to sign the contract and pay the related fees in their office. Demand a receipt with the name and VAT number of the agency so that you have proof of the transaction. If you are dealing with the owner, you can sign the lease contract in front of a third party or at the KEP for additional protection.
Facebook Groups to search
Most of the property ads listed on Facebook Marketplace are also posted on some Facebook Groups, namely:
- Expats in Athens
- Apartments/Rooms/Houses for Rent/Sale (Greece)
- Rent Athens Greece
- Athens Greece Apartments/ Rooms for Rent/Sale - Digital Nomads
- Rent Athens Greece
- Digital Nomads in Greece
Although they offer a plethora of homes, Facebook groups are challenging to manage. Properties are published daily, and it can be difficult to keep track of them all the time. This means you have to constantly check the property pages, looking for ones that match your requirements and expectations.
Speaking of the best websites for renting a property, we cannot leave out Airbnb. Many owners are increasingly willing to offer their properties for longer-term stays on the Airbnb platform. The website and the Airbnb app are user-friendly and offer users the advantage of direct contact with the listing owner.
Book in advance
If you are using Airbnb to book a long-term stay, it is crucial to secure it as early as possible. If someone books it for a single day during your preferred date range, it will be unavailable to you, significantly reducing your choices. You should book three to six months ahead of your stay dates to secure the property. Prepare in advance to ensure you find a place that satisfies your expectations and is within your budget.
When searching for properties on Airbnb, take advantage of the variety of available filters. After choosing the region and the dates, use the map search to focus on your preferred areas. Choose between property types, prices, free cancellation, house rules and amenities/facilities. Remember that since some properties are intended mainly for short-term leasing, they may not be fully equipped.
Pay extra attention to the “Type of place” option, depending on your preferences, whether you want a shared/private room or an entirely private space to yourself. Additionally, we recommend you not to choose “Instant Book”. Since you are staying longer, you should discuss your booking with the host first.
If you're looking for a higher quality apartment, then you can filter the listings on Airbnb Plus and Airbnb Luxe. These options will show you homes that have modern decor. The results are limited to owners who have gathered positive reviews from previous tenants.
Evaluate the house and host
Take a look at the rating and the reviews section. See what other users have to say about their experience staying at the property. Airbnb does a great job on ratings, breaking them down by categories like cleanliness, communication etc. Moreover, Airbnb has a feature that leaves an automatic review if a host cancels a reservation. If the host cancels a reservation once, they might do it again. On the other hand, if you want to ensure the owner's hosting performance and reduce risk, choose a “Superhost”.
Contact the host directly
If you have found a place that you like, message the owner directly. Let them know that you would like to stay for a longer period and tell them what you plan to do while in Athens. Some landlords may be willing to negotiate a lower price for a longer stay. This is because they can save on cleaning fees and not have to worry about check-ins and guest management.
You should always communicate with the host through the Airbnb platform. Any exchange or conversation outside the Airbnb site or app is not protected. If you have a conversation outside the site/app, e.g., the owner promises you something, Airbnb is not responsible and will not provide you with any refund.
Blueground is an online platform that offers stays starting for one month or longer. They offer fully furnished apartments with a modern design aesthetic and high-quality appliances. Blueground began in Athens and is now active in 18 cities. As of April 2022, their website showed 953 properties in Athens available for rent.
Modern design aesthetic
Blueground apartments are very similar to each other. While this means you can be assured of the quality of the furniture and the appliances, one drawback is that it might be difficult to distinguish between the different flats when browsing online. Check for floor plans and virtual tours to better understand the layout and feel of the space.
Your wifi and utilities are already connected
Connecting utilities to your new apartment can be a real pain. Internet providers can take up to a month or more to install your wifi. This fact causes great inconvenience for many expats and digital nomads when they first move to Athens. Furthermore, the transfer of electricity, gas and water into your own name can also be tricky for first-timers. With Blueground, this is taken care of.
Pay less by paying upfront
Blueground offers a better price when you pay upfront. This can be very attractive if your budget allows it and you have savings on the side to secure the discount. However, this may be unfeasible for other renters. One must decide between paying a large sum upfront for a significant discount or paying a higher rent month by month.
Pricing and fees
The price shown in the listing isn’t the final price you end up paying. When browsing the search results, Blueground shows you the lowest possible price. However, in the final booking price, more charges are included like utilities, cleaning and insurance fees, potential pet fees, and the security deposit. Thus, the final monthly price might be hundreds of euros more than the price seen in the search results.
Ratings and reviews
A significant drawback of the Blueground platform vs. Airbnb is the absence of property reviews. This can make the searching process challenging since you have no input or feedback from any other user.
With 4 million visits last April 2022, according to Similarweb, Spitogatos.gr is ranked first for online real estate listings in Greece. The Spitogatos network also includes the sites tospitimou.gr and spiti24.gr, which also receive significant traffic. Properties posted on Spitogatos are typically published on these platforms as well.
The Spitogatos platform is user-friendly, featuring some advanced search functions. The Android and iOS apps provide additional features not available on the website. For example, you can drop a pin on the map to search for properties within the radius of the pin. Alternatively, you can draw a custom shape on the map to define your search area. In addition, the ability to save the search is a valuable tool for the user. This way, you can be notified when new listings that meet your criteria are uploaded.
Browse Spitogatos in English
The English version of the Spitogatos website en.spitogatos.gr has a slightly different interface to the Greek version. The Greek version was recently updated and is more user friendly. The property information is presented more clearly, and the listing page has a nicer flow. So if you find an interesting property on the English version, you can switch the language to Greek and use a browser translator to view it in your preferred language.
Display Recent Listings
Use the “Listing Creation” filter to display only the most recent listings. This will allow you to see new homes before someone else has a chance to secure them. You will also save time by avoiding properties that remain on the platform for months and are no longer available.
Browse Listings from Owners
If you only want to see ads from owners, you need to use a computer. These are usually found on the last few pages of listings. So go to the bottom of the results to see the properties you are interested in.
Xe.gr is one of the best-known websites for all types of listings and one of the best sites for house rentals. It has an app for Android and iOS mobile devices.
Numerous landlords use this site to post their property at a low cost. As a renter with free access, you can save specific xe.gr searches of your interest and receive notifications. In this case, you can choose how often to receive email alerts. There are options to receive a message every three or seven days for each saved search. However, you will need to get the premium subscription to receive notifications immediately whenever new listings are posted. This subscription is equivalent to €9.99 for 30 days or €20.97 for 90 days.
Browse Xe.gr in English
Xe.gr has an English version of the site available at xe.gr/property/en/. However, this version lacks some of the features that are available in the Greek version of the site. The Greek version includes Map Search, and the property listings are more detailed than the English version. Use the Greek version at xe.gr and use a browser extension like Chrome translate to translate it to your preferred language.
Browse Listings from Owners
With the premium subscription, you can filter the ads, choosing to display listings exclusively from owners. You can also receive instant notifications whenever a new listing matches your criteria.
Browse Xe.gr Listings by Age
Use xe.gr platform via computer and filter the age of the ad. This way, you will only be able to view the most recent listings and check the quality apartments at a reasonable price on time.
Filter Mutliple Listings on Xe.gr
Xe.gr recognises when multiple listings refer to a particular property and groups them together as "Multiple Listings''. Sometimes, there are even ten or more listings from different real estate agencies for one property. On one hand, this is helpful as the user understands that all these listings relate to the same property. On the other hand, it causes confusion as you may not know which agency to contact first.
When you see "Multiple Ads", you should check if the owner themself posted an ad for the property. In this case, you can contact them directly. Otherwise, you should contact one of the estate agents to arrange a viewing.
You should check how long the listing has been online on the platform. A property posted many months ago by numerous agents may indicate a problem with the property or that the landlord is not motivated enough.
Plot.gr is a real estate listing site that allows owners to post their properties for free. The platform was launched in 2018 and is operated by car.gr, the market-leading website for buying and selling cars in Greece. According to Similarweb, Plot.gr had 319K visits in April 2022.
The biggest advantage of Plot.gr is the advanced use of certain filters. The English version of the site has the same functionality as the Greek version, and the advanced use of the site does not require any paid subscription.
Filter between Ads from Owners and Realtors
The “Private/Realtor” filter allows you to browse between ads from owners and realtors. We searched the residential properties for rent in the centre of Athens and received a total of 1.036 results. The results consisted of 151 ads from individuals for houses and 885 posts from agents.
In addition, the "Realtor" filter gives you the flexibility to view and choose between real estate agencies that have posted ads. Once you have selected some agencies you trust, you can use the other available filters to narrow down your search results.
Limited Filtering on Property Features
One downside is that you cannot select specific features of the properties you are interested in, as other websites provide. The free text filter search also has limited functionality because many of the ads are in Greek.
Conclusion - Best websites to rent a house
Searching for a new apartment to rent in Athens can be challenging. If you are wondering which are the best websites for renting in Athens, this is our top list:
Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Groups are popular solutions for expats and digital nomads who are looking for apartments and flatshares in Athens.
Airbnb is a short-term rental platform that is increasingly being used for stays longer than 28 days. You should book the flat several months in advance to secure its availability for a long term stay. Always communicate with the host through the Airbnb platform to avoid potential misunderstandings.
Blueground offers fully furnished apartments with a modern design aesthetic. The minimum stay begins at one month, and while you do pay a premium, discounts are offered for longer stays, and for paying upfront.
Spitogatos is the market-leading property listings website in Greece. The rental section is tailored more toward Greek speakers, and the app differs if you are an English speaker. Use the Greek version and a browser translator for more detailed descriptions of the properties.
Xe.gr is one of the most well-known rental websites in Greece. Use the Greek version and a browser translator to help with your search. Filter the properties by age, multiple listings or limit your research to ads from owners to avoid paying agent fees.
Plot.gr has a user-friendly English version of the website, with advanced filtering. That allows you to select listings from owners or realtors.
If you are searching for a flat, take a look at HOMI’s apartments for rent in Athens.