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Accommodation in Buenos Aires is plentiful, ranging from serviced apartments and short-term rentals, to villas available for purchase. Most expats who move to Buenos Aires prefer to rent accommodation closer to the city centre. Expats who are in Argentina for longer, however, often decide to buy property.
Most expats choose to live in the upmarket, more expensive areas of Buenos Aires. So, those wanting to live near other expats may have to come to terms with high rental prices. The most popular suburbs of Buenos Aires for expats are Palermo, Recoleta, Belgrano and San Telmo.
Types of accommodation in Buenos Aires
There are many options for accommodation in Buenos Aires. Expats should be able to find something to suit their taste and budget without much of a problem. There are luxurious apartments and economical studios, shared apartments, villas in gated communities, and even grand estates on the outskirts of the city.
The type of accommodation an expat chooses will depend on the location they want to live in, their family's requirements and, most importantly, their budget. Generally, the further one moves from the city centre the more affordable properties will become.
Finding accommodation in Buenos Aires
Expats should do some research on accommodation before moving to Buenos Aires. Finding accommodation in the city can be easy thanks to the availability of online resources, newspaper classifieds and real-estate agents, but expats should put in the time and effort to do their own research and stay vigilant of scams.
Airbnb has become a popular website for short-term rentals. Other good sources for listings are La Nacion and Clarin, both of which are daily newspapers in Argentina.
Despite these resources, the best way for expats to find long-term accommodation in Buenos Aires is often through an estate agent. Estate agents have access to the best listings and can help expats through the process of securing accommodation, whether to purchase or rent. For expats who do not speak Spanish, having the assistance of an estate agent can also be very useful.
Renting property in Buenos Aires
There are two options when looking to rent: long-term or short-term. Short-term renting requires much less paperwork and is a good initial option for newly arrived expats looking for longer term accommodation.
The easiest way for expats to rent property in Buenos Aires is through an agency that specialises in working with foreigners. These agencies can help secure short-term rentals for expats without the need for a cosigner or additional paperwork.
If an expat has a Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI), a guarantor (an Argentinian who acts as cosignatory on the contract), and a large initial injection of cash, they may be able to get their hands on a long-term rental contract. These contracts usually last two years.
Long-term rental contracts are usually less expensive than short-term rentals. That said, there are many roadblocks for foreigners. To avoid these challenges, expats living in Buenos Aires often try to convert short-term furnished rentals into long-term leases. This is usually easier than wading through the copious amount of paperwork needed for a traditional long-term lease. It is important to note that a long-term rental is typically unfurnished. This means the property won’t come equipped with major appliances such as refrigerators, heaters or ovens.
Foreigners in Argentina who don’t have a DNI card or a guarantor will find it easier to rent with a short-term lease. These kinds of leases don’t have as many hoops to jump through as a long-term contract. These properties are also normally furnished and advertised online.
Costs, fees and deposits
When working through a real-estate agency, one often has to pay commission to a realtor. Other costs to factor in are a one-time administration fee and a security deposit.
Negotiating payment is important. Because of Argentina’s fluctuating economy, property owners will often ask for rent to be paid in cash and in US dollars. If an expat doesn’t have dollars readily available, they can negotiate to pay using Argentinian pesos. It is important to agree on a steady rate regardless of what is happening with the economy. Expats should also try to pay their rent in monthly instalments. This will ensure they don’t lose money if they have to terminate the contract unexpectedly.
Utilities are generally not included in rent. Expats will therefore need to pay for their own water, electricity, gas, telephone and internet usage.
Buying property in Buenos Aires
Expats have the right to buy property in Argentina. In most cases, they are not required to first have a residence visa. That said, if expats want to move to Argentina permanently and bring their household items with them they will have to pay a customs bond and a yearly guarantee on the items until they have a permanent residence visa.
Expats tend to pay considerably more for property than locals. This applies in many other situations, such as buying a car or even just hiring a plumber or electrician. Unfortunately, unless expats have connections in Argentina it is difficult to negotiate a 'local' price.
The housing market has seen a degree of improvement over recent years. While the mortgage market remains sluggish, the fact that most transactions are carried out in US dollars has helped maintain some level of stability.