Renting an apartment in Uruguay is a very different process than our experiences in the States. Oftentimes in the US, you deal directly with the owner. However, in Uruguay, typically both the owner and the renter have a real estate agent (inmobiliaria) representing them.
As a renter in Uruguay, it’s best to have more than one real estate agent representing you… we had four. Why? There is no MLS (multiple listing service) in Uruguay, so oftentimes only the owner’s inmobiliaria and a few of their friends know about each available apartment.
Every real estate agent will have different apartments to show you, so you don’t want to limit yourself to only what one agent has to show you. Luckily we were given that piece of advice our first week here.
We decided to spend our first week exploring Pocitos to get to know the area, and start looking at apartments our second week in Montevideo. We had our room at the Punta Trouville Apart Hotel reserved for three weeks, and we were hoping to have an apartment before the end of that three-week period.
The first apartment in Uruguay we decided to check out was one we saw on the Internet. It was a fully furnished 2-bedroom apartment listed on the Internet for U$S 600.
When we contacted the inmobiliaria, she showed us the apartment and told us the rent was U$S 650… It was also listed as being in Pocitos, but it was actually in Parque Batlle. Next inmobiliaria please.
Our next inmobiliaria showed up to our hotel in a cab and said she didn’t have enough money to pay for a cab to the property. It was a “3-bedroom house” in “the heart of Carrasco,” furnished at U$S 620 per month.
We planned on staying in Pocitos, but that is an AMAZING deal for a furnished 3-bedroom house in Carrasco. She told us it had a “nice patio and a parrilla” and it was “not to far from the beach” and it was “walking distance to everything.”
Well, it was actually in Carrasco Norte. The “3-bedroom house” was a quadra-plex and the unit was a center unit. The 3rd bedroom was off of the kitchen and led to the parrilla, and didn’t have a door… I would consider it a dining room.
It was walking distance to the Portones Shopping Mall; “They have all the stores there, you don’t need any others.” And it was a good 2-3km from the beach… LOL, at least we got to see part of Carrasco we would have not otherwise seen.
After that, we had two other realtors we were working with and they were both phenomenal. We started out looking at furnished one-bedroom Uruguay apartments, thinking that Zoë could sleep in her travel crib in our room since we only planned to sign a six-month lease initially.
While it was a nice idea, we quickly realized we just wouldn’t have enough storage space for our luggage… or much privacy.
So, after seeing several very nice fully furnished one-bedroom Uruguay apartments ranging from U$S 500-900 our first week of looking, we started viewing two-bedroom apartments in our third week in Montevideo.
On Wednesday, we had a full day of apartments to see with our real estate agent. (BTW, because we did a 6-month lease with option to extend; we paid a premium. If you are willing to do a 1-year lease, you can get an even better price…)
The first two-bedroom apartment we saw was beautifully furnished, but overpriced at U$S 1200 per month (gringo discount). Then we saw a couple of Uruguay apartments in a compound type community. The whole community was gated with 24-hour security, and it even had a market and jardin (preschool) in it.
We were told there were a lot of international people and people from the US who lived there. They were reasonable priced U$S 700-850 range, however, the community was very secluded from the heart of Pocitos, where we really wanted to live. In addition to that, if we wanted to live with a bunch of people from the US, we would have stayed in the US. Zoë was tired, so we went home to rest for the day.
The next morning we were out looking at Uruguay apartments again. The first one we saw was down the coast a bit, right on the Rambla.It had amazing views (the yacht club on one side and the beach on the other, but again, it was just a bit too far from the area of Pocitos we wanted to live (at U$S 1000 per month).
The next apartment we saw was a small two-bedroom apartment overlooking the park, and a couple blocks from the water. At, U$S 850, it was perfect. We decided we would take that one…
Until we saw the next and final apartment on our tour. It was only a half of a block from the water and one block from the park. It was nicely furnished and the second bedroom was a little bigger, which was nice for Zoë.
It also had a pool, parrilla (barbeque), gym and 24-hour security. It was slightly more at U$S 900 per month, but gastos communes was less (basically like HOA fees that you as a tenant are responsible for when renting an apartment in Uruguay).
So, we went to lunch to talk about our options and decided to make an offer on the final apartment we saw. We made an offer that day, Thursday. We offered a little less than the asking price, in exchange for paying six months rent up front.
Unfortunately the owner lived in Argentina and was out of town, so we were told we’d have to wait until Monday for an answer. Monday came and we received a counter offer, which we quickly accepted.
However, on Tuesday the owner decided that since Zoë walks, she wanted to renegotiate (I guess she was afraid Zoë would break something). We decided that we weren’t interested in renting from her at that point, and made an offer to rent the other apartment we liked.
Unfortunately, that owner decided that since we did not have an Uruguayan job, he didn’t want to rent to us (even though we were paying six months rent up front plus a security deposit). At least he let us know immediately.
Our real estate agent assured us this was not common, and that it was the first time they’d ever experienced anything like this when working with families like ours to rent an apartment in Uruguay.
Luckily, there was an apartment that had just become available in the heart of Pocitos that they could show immediately.
So, Brian went down to take a look at it (Zoë was down for a nap) and it was perfect! It was bigger, less expensive than either of the other places we were looking at (U$S 700 per month) and right on 21 de Setiembre (one of the main drags in Pocitos), one block from the park and 5 ½ blocks from the water. It has a lavaropa (washing machine), drying lines on our back balcony, and we have a front balcony as well.
We immediately put in an offer on it. It was accepted; we signed the papers Wednesday and moved in on Thursday. It was a great feeling to know that we’d be out of that hotel. As much as we all love each other, we also need our own space.
So, even though it was a trying process to rent an apartment in Uruguay, we’re happy with the way things turned out. We love our apartment. Our porters are great (yes, we have porters… it’s pretty cool). Our apartment came with a parking spot, which we don’t need since we don’t own a car, and Mario (one of our porters) was able to rent it out to another tenant for $1000 Uruguayan pesos per month. So, that essentially dropped our rent to only about U$S 655 per month. We couldn’t even get an unfurnished studio for that price in San Diego, let alone a furnished apartment with porters!
We would also highly recommend the inmobiliaria who helped us our rent our apartment in Montevideo, Uruguay. They are professional, very friendly and extremely helpful. We also found that they had the most listings to offer us to look at in the Pocitos area (they cooperate with several other agents to find you the perfect apartment to rent or buy in Uruguay). You can visit their website here.
As promised here are pictures of our new apartment in Uruguay:
|Guest Bathroom (small shower behind door)