Work Abroad but earn in USD

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My Apartment is Finished!

After four months of renovations, my apartment was finally finished today! Only a few details remain, but I'm happy that it was finally done. For the last 15 days, I've actually been living in my apartment as the construction was going on. When I bought my apartment back in July, I had the naive notion that maybe it would take a month or so to finish all the work. I also figured on spending about half of what I ended up spending.

In the end, though, I'm very pleased with the way everything turned out. Just like every software projects, construction and renovations hinge on three different variables -- time, cost, and scope. My apartment suffered from a very bad case of "feature creep", as we say in the software industry. I started with the expectation of adding wood floors in the bedroom, replacing the maid's quarters with an office, and buying decorations. In the end, I finally finished by:

  • Replacing & resurfacing everything in the master bathroom
  • Changing every surface in the kitchen
  • Tearing down and then rebuilding 1/5th of the apartment, which would become the office
  • Replacing the plumbing, hot water heater, etc.
  • Replacing every electrical outlet in the house, adding U.S. & European plugs to the Argentine ones
  • Adding a 5.1 surround sound system and home theater
  • Adding a home bar
  • Replacing all the lighting fixtures

The Cost of Renovations

Even though I spent about twice as much as I thought, in the end, I was very happy with how things turned out. Much of the expense was related to my home theater, which I was very keen on having here in Buenos Aires.

In general, the cost of renovations here was far less than what it would cost for something similar in the United States. There is plenty of labor expense that goes into a project like this and there is a big benefit of paying in pesos for that labor rather than in dollars. Throughout the project, I also tried to use locally-produced goods whenever possible, to avoid the costly imported furnishings.

I was very impressed with the work of my architect, who is also an interior designer. As such, she was able to manage the entire project, from the construction all the way through the purchasing of all the decorations. Having someone to take care of all this for me was a godsend. I couldn't imagine trying to do all this myself. If anyone plans on renovating a property they purchase, I can highly recommend her.

Pictures Coming Soon

I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow and I'll be gone for two weeks, but I'll try to have pictures online of the apartment when I get back, so you can all see how it turned out. By the end of the year, the apartment will also be available for rent, so if anyone is looking for a very nice place to stay in Recoleta, you'll be able to rent out my apartment.

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Blogger skeye777 said...

Congratulations! Have a great time on vacation!

11/15/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger rickulivi said...

Can you share your costs? My wife and I want are thinking of remodelling our apartment, but have no idea what it can cost, so your input can be very valuable to us.
Enjoy your new place!

11/17/2005 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Congratualtions! Have any of you considered property in Bariloche-- it would seem to have good income potential. Does anyone know of any reputable imobliarias down there? Thanks

11/23/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger a1buenos said...

Well done, that´s quite an achievement here in Bs As...look forward to seeing the photos

12/01/2005 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger idil said...

Hi .. seems like you have quite a bit experience there. My husband and I are going to be in BA in the end of Jan2006. We are planning to buy an excursion to Ushuaia (air and hotel) from a company called "By T Argentina" website Do you or anybody else have an idea if this is a legit company??? The other question is where/how do we find radio taxis when we are in BA. Is it really not safe to take the shuttle bus from Ezeiza to downtown???

Cheers, and thanks in advance

12/07/2005 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger softbomb said...

Bytargentina is reputable. Truth be told, while radio taxis are everywhere, all taxis are safe. I have taken about 400 rides in the last few years and have not had 1 problem. however, from the int'l airport, I prefer a remise.

12/08/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger idil said...

Thanks a bunch for the valuable information... Tomorrow we will make the payment for the excursion with ByTArgentina ... very exciting

12/09/2005 02:47:00 AM  
Blogger ABA said...

Congratulations El Expatrido!

I'm looking forward to seeing the place. I do many, many renovations. I just got done renovating another property that I own. I also spent much more than I wanted to but it turned out really great. For those interested, you can see before and after photos at the link below:

Another is:

1/07/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger ABA said...

You did a wonderful job El Expatriado. It was a pleasure seeing your beautiful apartment. The renovations were top quality and the terrace is just really unique. Your architect did a great job. I know you said you spent a fortune but honestly it was worth it.

You will see. Kudos on a job well done.


1/14/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger regc80 said...

Our apt. was nicely decorated and updated, but the beds were very uncomfortable and the sheets were rough and low quality.
The building maintainence shut off the water for the entire weekend the first weekend we were there for maintainence work. We were not told this up front. They did deliver buckets of water to flush the toilets, and the apt. owner did let us take a shower on Sunday at one of his other apts. He claimed that he was not told that the apt. wasn't going to have water that weekend. Then the day the cleaning lady came, my headphones disappeared....along with some of the kitchen utensils that I had used the day before. The apt. owner refused to believe that the cleaning lady could have taken it since he had never had trouble with her before. We told him we didn't trust her and the apt. security and wanted to move out a couple of days early into a hotel, but he refused to refund us any money. He did not offer to make any amends to my missing headphones either, neither did ByT Argentina. We moved to the PanAmerican Hotel anyway and paid out of pocket just to feel safe. I definately would not recommend renting this apt. nor would I recommend this company. If you go to Argentina pay the extra to feel safe in the PanAmericana Hotel. It's the best!

5/30/2007 04:55:00 PM  

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