Buenos Aires: The Quest for an Apartment

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My boyfriend and I arrived in Buenos Aires early one Saturday morning. After the long and rather uncomfortable red eye flight, all we could think about was getting to our hostel and napping. That’s exactly what we did for a few hours, but we began our apartment search as soon as we awoke. We sent out numerous emails but never received a single reply Saturday or Sunday. We quickly became very frustrated for we are accustomed to the American way. In the United States, you would think people had a computer attached to their belt considering how prompt they are in responding to emails.

Unfortunately, you will quickly learn that this is not the case in Argentina. In fact, no one is ever in a hurry in Argentina, and the rental companies do not work during the weekends. Therefore, if you arrive on a Saturday or Sunday, you can begin your apartment search and emails, but don’t expect responses until Monday morning at 10 or 11am. One thing you will learn for sure in Argentina is patience. The locals are very relaxed and move at their own pace. It is a lifestyle many Americans could take note of.

The quest began Monday morning. My boyfriend and I had walked through the neighborhoods during our weekend free time, so we had narrowed our search down to a few neighborhoods. Having target areas will save you a lot of time and energy. We also quickly figured out that email was not our best tool. If you want immediate results, you need to call the rental offices. Many of the offices have a decent English speaker, but you will definitely get some Spanish practice during your apartment search. We then scheduled times to meet with the company to see the places.

Sounds easy, right? Well…it is far from easy! We saw old apartments, unattractive apartments, small apartments, and many nice apartments. Unfortunately, many of the apartments we liked were free at the time, but had a renter coming in tomorrow or next week. Therefore, you either have to stay at a hostel for an extended amount of time or rent a different apartment temporarily. Overall, it is a challenging task. Begin your search before you get here, but you might want to wait to see the place. They don’t always look as nice as they do in the pictures.

If you are willing to take the risk, find an apartment while you are still in your home country and rent it for a month. If you hate it, you have a month to deal with it while you look for another place. All of the apartments on these rental company websites are targeting foreigners who can pay a lot of money. Therefore, they are all quite decent, but get ready to pay an arm and a leg (in comparison to what the Argentines pay anyway). Where there are tourists, there is a market.

By and large, my advice is to utilize modern day man’s best friend…the Internet. Have patience, make phone calls, walk through the neighborhoods, talk to people, ask questions, and educate yourself. The more you know about yourself as well as the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, the more capable you will be in finding a place you will be happy in. I stayed in a hostel, a temporary apartment for a week and another apartment for a month before I ended up in a place I love! It takes time, so don’t worry if you are getting frustrated. Remember…you are in the Paris of South America!

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