Work Abroad but earn in USD

Monday, March 07, 2005

Finding an Unfurnished Apartment Online

I've commented previously about finding a furnished apartment to rent for a short period -- a few months at most. What about when you decide to move to Buenos Aires for good? Well, today's article is about just that. Luckily, there are several good websites to view Buenos Aires apartments. Today, I'm going to point one of them out and also give you a few pointers to help you use it.

Clarín Classifieds

One of the best resources is the classifieds section of Clarín, Argentina's largest newspaper. The search feature is very good. The only thing lacking is that there are no pictures. So, you'll have to go in-person to view the apartment to see whether it is what you are looking for. Nevertheless, you can still use this to help you find prices and availability in the neighborhoods you're looking at. Go to the Clarín Classifieds page and then click on "Cases y Departamentos," assuming you are looking for either houses or apartments to rent/buy.

Spanish Cheat Sheet

To intelligently use this page, you'll have to understand a little bit of Spanish, so you can set the options you're looking for. Here's a little cheat sheet:

  • casa / house
  • departamento / apartment
  • inmuelbe / property
  • en venta / for sale
  • alquiler ofrecido / offered for rent
  • ambientes / rooms
  • fecha de publicación / date of publication
  • desde / from
  • hasta / until
  • zona / zone
  • localidad / location
  • buscar / find
  • Captial Federal / the city of Buenos Aires
  • Gran Buenos Aires / Greater Buenos Aires, includes areas outside the city

Now that we have the basics, we can do a search. Suppose we are looking for a 3 bedroom apartment in Barrio Norte, a touristy/expensive area of Buenos Aires. We're not willing to pay more than $1000 USD per month, though. Here's how we'll do it. Under "Inmuelbe", set it to "departmentos", since we're looking for an apartment. Next, under "Operación", set it to "Alquiler ofrecido", since we are renting not buying. "Zona" should be set to "Capital Federal" and "Localidad" should be set to "Barrio Norte".

Now we are on the "Ambientes" section. Keep in mind that while we describe houses by "bedrooms" in the USA, they describe them by "rooms" in Argentina. If you ask for an apartment with 3 rooms, you will probably get a two bedroom apartment. So, we're going to set "ambienties" to four, which should give us one main room and three bedrooms. Keep in mind that this is not exact, though. It could be two great rooms and two bedrooms. You'll have to call to find out about a specific property.

From here, let's set our minimum price at 0 by putting a 0 in the "desde" field. And our maximum price was $1000 USD, so let's put 3000 (exchange rate is about 3 pesos per 1 dollar) in the "hasta" field. The next option is "Incluir avisos sin campo precio" which translates roughly to "Include ads without an obvious price". We'll leave this checked to pull up the maximum number of listings. Of course, if there's no price listed, we'll have to call and find out. Still, better to see it than not see it. Just because a price was omitted doesn't mean it won't be in our price range. Better to have too many choices than too few.

Next, let's select "La última semana" under "Fecha de publicación". Chances are that if an apartment isn't rented, it'll be published each week in the newspaper until it is rented. If you go older than that, there's more of a chance the apartment will already be rented out. Now just click "Buscar" and wait while the site finds your listings.

So, let's see if we can decipher the listings now and discover what the apartments have to offer. The first one that pulled up for me looked like this:

Barrio Norte 1800 | Alquiler ofrecido | Departamentos | 4amb
4amb c/dep 2 cochs semip T/al fte v/pa- nor suite + bño
cto espect Liv v/ Dom 27 de Febrero y Sab 05 de Marzo
de 15-19hs Laprida 1385 16º"A" y Av Sta Fe 4822-5959

At first, its a lot to look at. However, we can try and decipher it piece by piece and discover what this apartment has to offer:

  • 1800 / price of the apartment in pesos.
  • 4amb / number of rooms.
  • c/dep / this stands for con dependencia, which means there is a small room for the home service personnel.
  • 2 cochs / shorthand for 2 cocheras, meaning there are 2 parking spaces in the garage for cars
  • semip / short for semipiso, meaning this is one of only two apartments on the floor
  • al fte / short for al frente, meaning this apartment is at the front of the building with a view to the street
  • v/pa / not positive on this, but I believe it stands for vista panoramica, or panoramic view
  • nor / short for norte, the building should be pointing north, so you'll be getting northern sunlight with this building
  • suite / a suite is a room with an included bathroom (i.e. a master bedroom), so there is one master bedroom in this apartment.
  • + bño / short for baño, or bathroom, refers to the fact that there's one other bathroom that's not located inside a bedroom. This apartment has two bathrooms, with one in the master bedroom and one that's probably in a hallway.
  • espect Liv / short for espectacular living, they are saying that the apartment has a spectacular living room. Yes, they do use the English word "living" for living room.
  • Dom 27 de Febrero y Sab 05 de Marzo de 15-19hs / Feb 27 & March 5 between 3:00 - 7:00 PM, these are the two days and times that the apartment will be open for anyone to walk-in and view without an appointment, an open house.
  • Laprida 1385 16º"A" / the address of the apartement. Laprida street, 16th floor, apartment "A".
  • y Av Sta Fe / and Sante Fe Avenue, the major cross-street of the apartment
  • 4822-5959 / phone number of the realtor, so you can call and make an appointment if you want to view the apartment at a different time than the open house.

I hope this little overview will help everyone in their search for apartments. Of course, various ads will be using different abbreviations, but this little cheat sheet should help you understand most of what's listed. Of course, if you have a question about a specific ad, I'd be happy to help you interpret. Good luck with your house/apartment search!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used for a 1 month rental last year. They are experienceed in dealing with english speakers and everything went smoothly. Just beware the pictures of the pools and workout rooms. Don't pay extra because of these. Our buildings pool was 2 feet deep and unheated. Nothing worked in the fitness room. Spend your money on a building with good location, security. 1 sq meter is about 10 square feet. The apartment will be smaller than the pictures make it look.

Michael Shamberger

3/20/2005 06:57:00 AM  

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