Long Term Rentals
Even though there are vastly more long-term unfurnished rentals in Buenos Aires than short-term rentals, it can be harder for expats to find one. The vast majority are published in Spanish language newspapers with cryptic abbreviations that mean nothing to an English speaker. For example, did you know that "c/dep" means it has a maid's quarters and "PH" means the apartment is in a small horizontal building with just 1 or 2 stories?
A reader wrote in with this question today about how to best locate a long-term rental. Since I'm doing this right now for myself, I thought I'd share my tips about how best to approach this.
I have been in BA for 3 weeks and it looks like things are going to work out business wise, so I am going to start looking for a long term rental - 1 year preferred. I am currently in an apartment for about 6 more weeks with Reynolds. My initial impression is that the short term rental agencies are pretty weak as regards long term rental solutions. Any advise or referrals would be appreciated. Thanks Expatriado for allowing me to use the blog in this manner!
What Not To Do
Some real estate agencies that specialize in working with foreigners and relocation companies will do a search for you. For this, they may charge you 10% of the entire contract value, which is outrageous when you realize you'll have to be paying a commission to the real estate agent that is offering the apartment as well.
Find an Apartment Like an Argentine
Your best bet is to just use classified ads in Clarín and La Nacion or the online editions of both these papers. This is how ordinary Argentines search for their apartments and this is how you are going to find an appropriately-priced apartment in pesos.
There is another advantage to using the ads -- you have the possibility of finding an apartment that is offered by an owner, without a real estate agency. This will let you skip out on paying the agency commissions, which is a big plus. That's right, both landlords and renters have to pay the real estate agency commission -- stupid, but that's how it works.
The downside is that you're doing all the legwork yourself. It takes a lot of time to search through all the ads, call them up, ask them to describe the apartment so you know if it fits your criteria or not, then make appointments to go and view the apartments. This is further complicated if you don't speak Spanish that well or not at all. Sometimes the owners get nervous when you can't speak well and just tell you on the phone they're not interested in renting to you.
Some Help For Fellow Yanquis
If you would like to go this route, I can offer my personal secretary to help you out in your apartment search. She is doing this for me right now and doing a very good job of handling my own search. She'll take your apartment criteria, look through the newspapers, call the owners, and make appointments for you -- one after another, every 20-30 minutes. For me, this is just as good as using a real estate agent and you don't have to pay 10% to anyone.
There's also the added benefit of an Argentine voice on the other end of the line when she asks for the price. In the ads where the price is not listed, she always asks the price before giving out my name to make the appointment. Once they hear a gringo name, the price goes up by 30%, so be careful.
If anyone out there needs someone to help them, feel free to e-mail me and I'll see to it you have some help with your apartment search.