Guide to Housing in BsAs

EliA

Active Member
#1
Hello!I have spent the last three weeks in an equal parts
frustrating/hilarious housing search, so I thought I'd share my
newfound knowledge with people who will have to go through the same.

First,
keep in mind that the temporary apartment business in BsAs is booming. This means there is a lot available, but that the good stuff goes
really, really fast. To wit: I unofficially reserved two places and
when I went to pay mere hours later, they were both already gone.

A few recommendations:

1) If possible, call. I'd say about 1 out of 5 e-mails I sent got a response, but everyone I talked to or left messages with was very good about responding.

2) Be willing to look at apartments that don't have pictures posted online, as long
as it has the requirements you're looking for. Since many people go based on pictures alone, these apartments are less in demand.

3) You will probably find something faster if you are willing to pay commission. I spent 3 weeks looking by myself, but only 2 days looking when I decided I was willing to fork over a little. (Sneaky tip: if the owner him or herself shows you the apartment and not the real estate agent, you can usually go directly through them and avoid the commission altogether. This is pretty backhanded, but Argentina can be a backhanded place.)4) If you speak Spanish, that's really useful. If you don't, try to find a friend who will help you out.

5) It's always easier to look if you're already here, and patience is generally rewarded (I ended up finding a fantastic apartment for an amazing price) so consider renting a temporary place for a few weeks while you look for something more permanent.

6) Remember that what you see on the internet is not necessarily available (even if it says it is), and each company generally has other options that are not posted online.Note: BsAs is a very, very noisy city. If the address is Santa Fé, Avenida de Mayo, 9 de Julio, etc, make sure the apartment itself does not face the street (unless noise doesn't bother you). You may also want to check to see if you are next to or on top of a nightclub or restaurant.

These are the various companies I dealt with and would recommend (not to mention the many, many others I would not).

1) Sergio Giachetti: www.sergiogiachetti.com.ar
This is the company I ultimately rented from; their commission is 15% of the total cost of your rent (i.e. 3 months at $500 = $225); very helpful people and had some great deals.

2) Urban Rent: urbanrent@ciudad.com.ar
They were quite helpful, especially Maria Elena, who tried really hard to give me exactly what I wanted and even tried to negotiate prices down to my level. Her number is 4785 2107 (I don't think she speaks English). Their commission is half a month's rent (pretty standard).

3) ByT: http://www.bytargentina.com
Very big temporary rental company. No comission, administrative fees of $45. I used this company to find the apartment I stayed in for a month while house hunting and was very pleased with the place and the service. Wide range of prices.

4) Next Level: http://www.nextlevel.com.ar
No commission but they do charge administrative fees, usually about $70. They have pretty good prices but aren't always great about getting back to you.

If you are already in BsAs you have the option of just walking around to different agencies. There's an area in Palermo
between Santa Fé and Soler to the N/S and Bulnes to Scalabrini Ortiz (or even as far as Uriarte) to the E/W where you can't throw a rock without hitting one; they will have listings posted outside and you can always go in to see what they don't have posted, too. (Remember that "alquiler" is generally for 2 years, and "alquiler temporario" can be as little as a month or as long as you like.)

You can always use online classifieds as well. These are the best ones I found:
http://www.universia.segundamano.com.ar

http://www.inmuebles.clarin.comhttp://buenosaires.olx.com.arFinally, don't discount both craigslist.org and compartodepto.com if you are looking for a shared space. (Note that, for
non-shared apartments, CL tends to be a rip-off because it caters
almost exclusively to unknowing yankees.)As a general pricing guide, I found a one-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, full dining and living room, a view and a rooftop terraza for $500 a month, all included, in the Balvanera/Congreso area which is nice and central. This is insanely cheap but really good deals DO exist - if you find one, put a deposit on it immediately as it will not last. In general, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, and Palermo are the most expensive areas to live, for good reason: they are lovely. But you should reasonably be able to find a very nice studio (called a monoambiente) or one-bedroom apartment ranging from $500 - $800, all included (furnished, expenses, cable, internet, and a lot of the time weekly maid service). It is absolutely not necessary to pay more and you can get away with paying a lot less than $800 if you are patient.

I realize this is sort of long but I hope the information is useful! Good luck in your search. ~Elizabeth
 
#2
Good post! What exactly do you mean by "no commission'? I own an apt and every short term rental apt agency i know takes a cut of the gross monthly rental, usually 20%. The admin fee is charged to cover getting you into and out of the apt, but can often be negotiated b/c they are already getting the 20% cut.
 

nikad

Registered
#3
"danc" said:
Good post! What exactly do you mean by "no commission'? I own an apt and every short term rental apt agency i know takes a cut of the gross monthly rental, usually 20%. The admin fee is charged to cover getting you into and out of the apt, but can often be negotiated b/c they are already getting the 20% cut.
That is a really old trick: the big real estate agencies ( not the ones that deal just with temp rentals ) will give you the rental price+commission, all the temp agencies give you one price they say no commission, but it is actually included there. The nly difference is who hands them the money really, check the prices and you will see they are the same in total ;)
 

EliA

Active Member
#4
It's true, most real estate companies charge commission to both the renter and the rentee. Although, I don't think the ones that charge 'administrative fees' are necessarily building that commission into the rent, or else their base rent is quite low because I saw similarly priced properties across the board before commission was tacked on.
 

nikad

Registered
#5
"EliA" said:
It's true, most real estate companies charge commission to both the renter and the rentee. Although, I don't think the ones that charge 'administrative fees' are necessarily building that commission into the rent, or else their base rent is quite low because I saw similarly priced properties across the board before commission was tacked on.
I worked for them and ran my own, trust me, they all charge a commission fee ;)
 

EliA

Active Member
#6
Oh, of course they do! I just meant that some of them only charge the renter, while the rentee pays relatively low administrative fees. I also meant to mention in the first post that real estate companies are called "inmobilarios" for those planning to search on foot.Finally, I found out the hard way that a contract and even a deposit provide you relatively little legal protection. The landlady came to her senses about the price of the apartment I rented and asked for $600 - via the inmobilario - after I'd signed a contract and put down a deposit. I offered $550, which really is MORE than fair for the space (but still!) and luckily she accepted; otherwise, I would have had to pay the $600 or gone in and collected my deposit and continued the search.Any lawyers who can offer hope on the contract front? I won't believe it's really mine until I'm physically there on Tuesday...
 
#7
Hey EliA: just to confirm, those are U$S figures, not pesos, right? Anyone have a feel for what a fair monthly price on a 2 br/ 3 ambiente would be (whether U$S or pesos)?
 

EliA

Active Member
#8
Yes, they are U.S. prices. A two-bedroom will largely depend on what area you are looking for and what kind of perks/ condition you want: you can get a cheap one in the center with oldish furnishings in an oldish building that doesn't necessarily have internet, cleaning service, etc. for around $700 and it will go up from there. For a nice two-bedroom in Palermo or Recoleta I would expect to pay $900-$1000 or more. It's important to keep in mind if gastos (water, gas, phone, etc) are included or not; this can significantly increase the price. Also if you are willing to sign a two-year contract you can get a much better deal since you don't have to go through foreigner-targeted channels which will also come with a hefty commission.
 
#9
it pains me to think that in 2002/3 i rented a wonderful bijous parquet floored batchelor monoambiente (con bano aparte), in a modern portered block in a nice street in belgrano for all of £650 ($1300) in total for 6 months.