Housing reality check?


Jun 2, 2009
Hello forum,

I read the Craigslist debate thread and was wondering:

Is it realistic to look for a furnished place in San Telmo for less than $400 USD? I'd be looking for a place with a kitchen with fridge and a bed. (I don't even need a living room!)

I'm a homestay right now for 600$ USD a month. It's in the Recoleta and includes breakfasts everyday and dinner on weekdays. One other added bonus is the house has gym equipment that I can use.

However, I would like to live alone. The meals haven't been so good and the added benefit of human interaction is pretty nil. If I can live in San Telmo for cheaper (meaning housing plus rent and a gym membership) I'd move. (So I'm putting food and gym at $200 USD per month. Is that unreasonable?)

Would this be possible?
You're looking for a "studio".

$400 for a short term, furnished, all bills paid studio apartment in San Telmo is not realistic IMO (but I've been here less than two months). I'd guess one in the bottom of a damp ventilation shaft, with no natural light and curious sounds of your neighbors bathroom activities would run around $600...

San Telmo doesn't have many gyms that I saw. I used a very basic gym on Peru near Belgrano that I believe was 70 pesos a month. I used the $15 peso one time visit.

San Telmo has a tons of hostels where you could get your own room for that amount or less. Probably good for making friends - like back in the dorm at uni...
Unfortunately for US$400 a month, your best bet is renting a room in someone´s home/apartment (which I assume is what you´re already doing). If you´re not happy with the one you´re at, go on and move, move around until you find somehting you really like. For US$400 you should be able to find a private room in a rather quite place, even in nice neighborhoods like Palermo or Recoleta!

Now for your own place...I think you´d need a much higher budget. I´m not sure how much the temporary rentals are, but a normal 2 year contract for a studio apartment (unfurnished) in an average (meaning, far away from most tourist things) neighborhood would cost you at least US$300 plus you´d have to furnish it and blah blah...and you´d need a guarantor or a buttload of money up front. I´m guessing for temp rent it would probably be at least double that, am I correct?
Stingy, I would like to comment on this as 2 of my nieces just moved to BA and I was helping them find housing. I see on this site constantly the issue of rents etc and the pricing being high so I was expecting that to be the case but it is not. When I began to look for places for them, I searched google and went through all of the normal sites you see , aprtmentsba.com and any others. I found that all of the sites in English were certainly high priced etc as they are targeting expats at a higher price. However, my nieces are from Mexico so they began to look for places in spanish and found a ton that were cheaper and in some cases even better. IN the end, they found a great place for 6 month contract all included for a much lower price than they could find on the english sites. They have just decided to go to a 3 bedroom because 3 more girls are coming to BA from their home town and they found a 3 bedroom in terrific shape, all included in Palermo soho (great location) for 900 all included. So, it is possible, I think the trick is to search on sites that are local and not targeted to expats and as far as garantia etc, in this economy, I am finding (as I neogtiated their deal) that with 1 month deposit and prepaying 2-3 months, you can get a further discount and a longer term. Here is what I have learned, they are concerned with longer term rentals because of the squatters laws and the difficulty in evicting people, short term contracts protect them better, so we did a 6 month deal with the option to renew at that point and sign a new 6 month deal. I can tell you that it is possible, you just need to search it out and unfortunatley you are not going to find it on this board. Theyb also found some options by walking the neighborhood and looking for signs.
Good luck
I rented a studio in San Telmo (Bolivia & Venezuela) for $500 in fall of 2007. It had a living room with loft upstairs, TV, internet, a patio with a roof over it and a kitchenette. (Sounds great, but was all pretty basic though...) no maid service though.

That was the upsolutely cheapest I could find for living alone (back then). Dealing with the owner was easy. I got all the deposit back in the end.

Thanks for that information - I am considering a move to BA and I've been checking out apartment sites (in English) and quickly got the sense that the sites were geared towards visitors and had vastly inflated prices. I had an inkling that they would charge locals much less for the same place.

If someone has the cash to put down the deposit and pay some months up front (and doing a six month lease) it seems as if getting a rent in line with what locals pay is possible.

What locals pay varies.

Plenty of locals will use a realtor to help find a rental property with a two year lease. The rent will be cheap compared to tourist flats, but then you have to pay the realtor a two month rent commission for the place (pretty standard), plus pay the building fees, all bills and the places are often unfurnished. It doesn't work out all that cheap.

If you can find an owner to deal with directly - of course you can cut a better deal, especially if you have cash up front. But the problem there is finding an owner direct, in the neighbourhood you want to live in, in the timeframe you are going to be here, with a property you are interested in.

Great deals exist, and if you can be flexible and smart you can take advantage, but thats not to say its only dozy tourists paying top dollar.
Another point to note is that 99% of locals do not rent furnished apartments. This is just a question of economy and that most porteños never leave their porteño city limits in their entire life, so they never find the need for furnished apartments. For this reason, furnished apartments will always be somewhat more expensive (even if you pay 6 months rent up front or something like that) because most owners know that as a foreigner, (in general) you have more money than your porteño counterpart, and they do take full advantage of that.

But it sounds like Karin found a great deal though! US$500 for a furnished studio with internet and tv included is really a good price... so now we know it IS possible (just not that easy...)