Big news: I bought a house in Spain!

I have a new hell.

The foreigner’s office has been officially replaced with a new place that wants to make me rip my hair out: IKEA. 

You see, I bought a house – a 125-square-meters-with-an-incredible-terrace and three stories and a kitchen large enough for an actual table and multiple bookshelves and closet space for my two flamenco dresses. There are two bathrooms, three bedrooms, air conditioning units in most rooms, mosquito nets on all of the windows and room to put in a dryer.

It’s a HOUSE, not a piso. And best of all, it’s in my favorite neighborhood in all of Seville: Triana.

But when the Novio and I signed our mortgage in June and began talking about painting and buying furniture and the logistics of moving all of our things, I knew his functionality and my hours decorating my doll houses would lead to arguments over money and space. 

In hindsight, it was genius to not go together to IKEA. The Novio and I did some online shopping one night, then he went and graciously wrote down the numbers and where to find our basics – a table, four chairs and bed frame – in the self-service area. We calculated 600€, just what we had leftover after buying a custom-made couch and the big appliances for the kitchen. I offered to go the following day and pay with our joint account, then have the whole pedido sent to our new place.

After picking the perfect time to go in Spain, despite having entered in the rebajas sales period, I quickly steered through the maze of cute set ups and couches that wanted to be sat on. I ordered our bed frame and found a few light fixtures, then steered right towards the self-service area. 

The headboard and table were heavy, but I felt triumphant for handling it all on my own and happily presented my debit card. 



And a third time.

After asking my bank for help and getting nothing in return, picking everything up at IKEA once to have my credit card also denied, I threw my hands up in the air, asked the Novio to take out cash for me since my bank had frozen my accounts because of the new FATCA rule, and finally, five hours later, paid for our goods.

So. I essentially hate IKEA for being the torture that it is – an obstacle course riddled with carts and baby strollers, an endless amount of impulse buys staring me down and never-ending lines. Going three times in 24 hours did not help, either.

Not that you care about my current grudge against the Swedish home decoration king (though not their meatballs), here are some pictures of our soon-to-be hogar dulce hogar. 

and the best part…

The house is on a corner lot in the Barrio León section of Triana. Wide avenues, chalets and a few famous residents, like the San Gonzalo depiction of Christ and Our Lady of Health, and the family of singer Isabel Pantoja. Most are rumored to gossip at renowned bakery Confitería Loli or in the dinky but bustling Mercado de San Gonzalo.

To me, the house is the physical manifestation of making the decision to live abroad permanently (or until I’ve paid it off), and whatever is to come next with the Novio.

Want to know more about the process of buying a house in Spain? Be patient…I’ll eventually figure out what I just did for the sake of having a house house in a beautiful barrio.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. How FABULOUS! I cannot wait to see it with this custom made couch and that terrace is going to get all kinds of fantastic use. You will forget all about this IKEA hell once every thing is set up in your HOME.
    Alex, Speaking Denglish recently posted..GERMANY SQUASHES BRAZIL TO ADVANCE: MY FAVORITE TWEETSMy Profile

  2. Weehaw, congrats!!!
    Ryan from Jets Like Taxis recently posted..Design Your Life: New T-shirts!My Profile

  3. Melanie Murrish says:

    Looks fab!

  4. Wowww, it’s beautiful! Congratulations! It’s making me eager to have my own place in the future. (I’m even excited about the Ikea decorating…as long as my card doesn’t get declined!)

    Also, just looking at a map of Sevilla to figure out where exactly Barrio León is has made me miss Sevilla like mad. Think I can find a way to have houses in Sevilla, Madrid, Granada, Sydney, Pasadena, and San Francisco all at once?
    Kirstie recently posted..When in Rome, All Roads Lead to Rome, and Other Such ClichésMy Profile

  5. Oh Cat! I love the arched door! So fabulous. Congrats!
    The Spain Scoop recently posted..Now On KOBO! The Guidebook For Your Next Trip To Barcelona, SpainMy Profile

  6. Cat, this looks great. And I will pick your brain soon about buying a house in Spain. We’re going to actually do it one of these days…since we’ve talked about it since 1978. Have you beaten the FATCA out of your bank yet?
    Tom Bartel recently posted..Lake Inari, Inari, FinlandMy Profile

  7. Congratulations, Cat. What a beautiful home. I wish you all the best on this new adventure. That’s a huge step forward in your life. What an exciting (and scary) time for you. Felicidades!

  8. Congrats! Looks wonderful.
    Nicole recently posted..WIAW (7): A Busy DayMy Profile

  9. Cat Gaa says:

    Thanks, everyone!! Very surreal, but we got our first furniture delivery this afternoon! Come visit?

  10. What a beautiful home! Congrats!
    Danielle Pignatelli recently posted..Just A Little Somethin’My Profile

  11. Felicidades!!!!!!! This is so exciting–and I love how, now that I’m back stateside for the summer, how very Spanish your house looks, what with all the tile flooring, persianas blinds, and terrace. So happy for you that you get to move back to Triana :)

    BTW I have a love-hate relationship with Ikea…love for their super cheap, decent quality stuff, hate for like you said “an obstacle course riddled with carts and baby strollers, an endless amount of impulse buys staring me down and never-ending lines.” My American roommate in Galicia and I had to make 2 trips to the A Coruña Ikea…all the way from Santiago via public transport. Yep, we were one big hot mess dragging two big blue bags of crap on the city buses and the MD train back home. Wow.
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Boiro, Spain: A Typical Galician Coastal TownMy Profile

  12. Congrats on the purchase! What a huge step in your Spain experience. There aren’t too many things to fix are there? My friend and her husband bought a house last year, a serious fixer-upper and whenever she regales me with tales of how they are DIY-ing everything, I get exhausted just thinking about it!

    And it does look like a very Spanish-Andalusian house. Reminds me of my host mother’s house in Malaga. And oh Ikea… the necessary evil for all starter homes I guess. I’m not that enthused by their furniture which breaks apart within a few years of use but what can you do. It’s cheap! I think I’ve been to Ikea once in the States which involved my mom and I getting super lost in Newark, NJ. Not really a great place to get lost in.
    amelie88 recently posted..Spring Snapshots on the High Line Part 2My Profile

  13. Christine says:

    Cat, congrats! How exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time. I remember when I bought my place, the first thing I said was no more white walls. I can paint and do whatever and whenever….ahhhh the little things. Here’s to many happy times in your new home, it looks beautiful.


  15. If this is hell, I can’t imagine how fabulous would heaven be. Nice place Cat!

  16. Congrats!!! Who knew when you came over your first year as an auxiliar, you’d end up buying a house and probably residing in Spain for a looooong time. Amazing how things turn out!!
    I hope you decorate your house better than the dueños who have decorated every single piso I’ve lived in :)
    Jenny @ A Thing For Wor(l)ds recently posted..Round-the-World Travel in One Windy CityMy Profile

  17. Nice post! Looks sooo worth the jaleo you’ve had to go through.
    Kristin Henning recently posted..Royal Ceremonial Parade, Stockholm, SwedenMy Profile

  18. I totally feel ya – just went to IKEA with my suegros; their first time in an ikea ever! And we had a 3 page shopping list to get through lol ;P Congrats on the new home – that’s so exciting!

    • Cat Gaa says:

      I’m thrilled my suegros didn’t come with…and my boyfriend! We’re slowly decorating, but mostly because all of our money went into the house! Tomorrow, we paint!

  19. Congratulations on your house! That’s so exciting. It looks amazing, especially the terrace.

    Bummer about the Ikea stuff though. I love Ikea but there does come a point when you’ve just had ENOUGH. There always seem to be lots of screaming babies there too.
    Jessica (Barcelona Blonde) recently posted..Dealing When Your Best-Laid Travel Plans Go AwryMy Profile

  20. Congrats! Welcome back to the neighbourhood – we’re neighbours 😀
    Kim recently posted..Musical moments: SilvioMy Profile

  21. Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one who hates IKEA! That place is hell to me. But your house looks so darling!!! And it sounds like it’s in the perfect location. Congrats, chica!! :)
    Courtney recently posted..Summer in Seattle: What I’m Looking Forward To the MostMy Profile

  22. Congrats! And so this is the start of a brand new adventure! A new house! Wow! I also live in Spain, and this feels so familiar to me.
    Laura @Travelocafe recently posted..Teppanyaki Restaurant Sazanka, Amsterdam. A Different Kind of Dinner with ShowMy Profile

    • It seems so crazy to me! It’s a big step, but once we get that damn IKEA furniture together, it should start being fun!

  23. What a stunning house in Triana. Gorgeous. We bought a piso in March, and we had to deal with IKEA too. I developed a serious love/hate relationship with the place. It’s unfortunate that it’s the ONLY home store to get affordable, decent design-y furniture. We must have taken 8-10 trips of buying/returning and spent thousands! Luckily we could leave the kids with my visiting suegros the first few trips…after that I am guilty of the traffic-forming strollers and sometimes-crazy kids. But at least I know how to follow the arrows!
    Justine recently posted..Why You Should Visit Barcelona’s Flea Market, Encants Vells (Fira de Bellcaire)My Profile

    • Hey, congrats to you guys as well! We’re the same in the affordability department, though all of our dishes are from the bazaar around the corner – the same place I stocked my house when I first moved here!

  24. House looks great! Since I’ve been here I’ve only ever actually seen three (three!) whole houses. It’s definitely something that I miss from back home, although apartments have their pros too.

    And IKEA was never supposed to be fun – when you actually NEED stuff :(
    El recently posted..Top five most ridiculous complaints by expats in MadridMy Profile

  25. I’d love to hear your recommendations to take the leap to living in Spain full time. My husband and I ha e decided to make the move in about 10 years – I know, long term goals but I’m a planner. Would it make more sense to buy a home and start paying it off or continue to save and pay in full when we’re ready to move. We will seek out an attorney for making the move, but I would love to hear your advice as well. Thank you!

  26. Congratulations on buying a beautiful home!


  1. […] we settle into our newly purchased chalet in Barrio León, we’re slowly learning the quirks of the so-called ‘Alcázar.’ […]

  2. […] moving all of my stuff and my padrón to his house. Four years later, I moved back to Triana with my name on the deed and way […]

  3. […] Thankfully, everything worked out fine, and I lived in that apartment with the same Spanish roommate for three years before packing up and moving in with the Novio and eventually buying a house. […]

  4. […] more:  Five Strange Things You’ll Find in Your Spanish Flat | I Bought a House! | What They Don’t Tell You About Finding an Apartment in […]

  5. […] the Novio and I got serious. We’d talked about offspring quite early on in our relationship, bought a house with said offspring in mind, and began conditioning our minds to nights nursing babies instead of […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.