Finding A Buenos Aires Apartment – The Real Argentina Guide

Whether you plan to stay for a couple weeks or a few months, many travelers opt to rent a Buenos Aires apartment instead of staying in a hotel. Yet, without help finding a nice place and dealing with all of the Argentine idiosyncrasies, it can be a bit daunting.

Now, it is true that when I am not moonlighting as “The American Girl in Buenos Aires” I am running my own real estate business here, but I speak from experience on the subject of finding a Buenos Aires apartment. I must have spent a week straight in December of last year visiting websites, constantly responding to ads on Craigslist and emailing agencies, just to find a vacation rental for two weeks! I experienced many unanswered requests, misleading listings and irrelevant emails from agencies. It was this precise experience that led me to set up my own agency, and so the advice offered here is from the heart.

In the seven months I have lived and worked here I can tell you without bias that there are many things you need to take into account when selecting a Buenos Aires apartment. Here are some of the most important factors to consider…

Tip 1: Choosing the Right Neighborhood

Before you talk to an agent or start searching listings, make sure you know what you want and ask for it. If you do not know the neighborhoods then describe what type of experience you would like to have in Buenos Aires and your real estate agent will likely steer you in the right direction.

For example, if you want a more Bohemian artsy neighborhood you may choose San Telmo; if want trendy shops and fun nightlife then you likely will prefer Palermo; and if you want to experience the “Paris of South America” and live near upscale shops and beautiful streets Recoleta is probably your place.

Buenos Aires Apartment
Our new Neighborhood. Along Alvear by Longhorn Dave on Flickr

Tip 2: Getting Value for Money

It is understandable to look at the exchange rate and want a bargain, but whether you are traveling on a tourist visa and/or a residing expat unless you have your DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad) your “residency” you are a essentially a tourist here and are paying tourist rates. For those of us who live here we find ways to best live like a “porteño”, but even we have our limits.

Compare the rates of the local hotels then compare what you will be paying per day for an apartment. Chances are you are getting a VERY good deal compared to staying in a hotel, so be thankful. If you want accommodations like the Four Seasons then expect to pay similar rates for an upscale apartment or house. Don’t rent a nice apartment for the equivalent of $30-$50(USD)/day and complain when the linens are not 800 thread-count or the kitchen does not have “all-clad” pots/pans. If you want to live in a high-rise with all of the swanky amenities then keep in mind that these will be costing the owner around $250-$300(USD) a month plus utilities.

Most of these apartments also include weekly maid service, so while the cost of a maid is definitely less expensive here think about how much your housekeeper at home costs and count your blessings.

Room in Buenos Aires Apartment
Kitchen & Lounge of Buenos Aires Apartment by proimos on Flickr

Tip 3: Finding a Good Agent

There is no central real estate system for sales or rentals in Buenos Aires so, although I recommend it, it is less common to choose one real estate agent to represent you. As a result, the process can be not only exhausting, but also very time consuming. Many agencies will send you multiple options that do not meet your needs, some will not return your call or email promptly and others seem so nonchalant about the whole process you will think they are not commission driven!

Fear not though, because while many agents and agencies are not as apt to the service most of us are used to in our own countries there are also many who “get it” and are fantastic! The key is to find a couple really attentive agents and stick with them before exhausting yourself on craigslist and scouring countless websites!

There are many fabulous agencies here to help you settle into a Buenos Aires apartment. Founded in 2005, My Place Real Estate is a boutique firm established by a well-traveled Argentine who understood the general needs of the traveler. They offer apartments in all prices, but average about $800-1800/month.

Woman outside Buenos Aires apartment
Buenos Aires 2009 by marksurman on Flickr

For the South American traveler seeking upscale accommodations Oasis Collections deal in not only Buenos Aires apartments, but other countries too, and is a great choice. Established by three guys from the USA who primarily work with newly renovated luxurious places the rates for their properties range generally from $2500-$10,000+.

And of course my own shameless plug, my company, Jensen Properties International generally focusing on the $1000-$3500 market. After 15 years in the San Francisco real estate market I immediately saw a need in the Buenos Aires apartment market for someone to not only represent their own inventory, but also to really search and find what the client wants… “If I do not have in my inventory the perfect place for you I will keep searching until I find one.”

Tip 4: Remember, This is Argentina

While many apartments look very nice and are well-cared for, if your internet or air conditioning goes out do not be surprised if you have to wait a few days for it to be fixed. Often this is beyond the control of the owner or agent…things just generally move at slower pace here.

Sunset over Buenos Aires Apartment by blmurch on Flickr
Sunset over Buenos Aires by blmurch on Flickr


Tell Us About YOUR Buenos Aires Apartment

While renting a Buenos Aires apartment can have its quirks I highly recommend it as an option to anyone looking for a more authentic Argentina travel experience. We’d love to hear from anyone with their own experiences – positive or negative – of renting a Buenos Aires apartment as a tourist or ex-pat – do share your own tips here on the blog, or via our Twitter or Facebook profiles.

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Jaime Jensen
Jaime moved to Argentina in 2010 and is currently enjoying living and working in the heart of the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires. After over 12 years in the San Francisco real estate market, she desired a change. Craving a shift in professional focus Jaime decided it was time to make a move, learn a new language and offer her years of real estate expertise to the local sometimes ambiguous local Buenos Aires market. Jaime is now working with traveling foreigners, expatriates and locals alike in finding the perfect Buenos Aires residence, as well as writing about her life and experiences in Argentina from an expatriate's point of view.

13 responses to “Finding A Buenos Aires Apartment – The Real Argentina Guide

  1. joel jensen says:

    Hey Sis, Great add sounds reliable and thats what people want. Fyi still planning on visiting at the beginning of next year with some friends so keep that in mind… Miss you terribly and very happy to read your words… talk to ya soon, love you

  2. Devin Boddie says:

    Hi Jamie, My name is Devin and I really enjoyed reading your article. I am a documentary film maker looking to move to BA in February of 2011. I was curious to know if you have any idea if you can get an apartment closer to the price that the locals pay once you have received your DNI number? Any information that you might be able to provide me would be great. I'm also looking at the possibility of purchasing an apartment once i arrive, but i'm not sure how easy that would be.

    [email protected]

  3. Hi Devin! Thank you for commenting! Once you receive your DNI you are home free and can receive the same benefits as locals! Also if you are willing to put in the effort and have a local who can provide you with a “guarantia” you can on occasion find an owner willing to rent you an unfurnished apartment for a 1-2 year lease without a DNI…its a bit more rare and can be time consuming, but possible.

    I will email you directly for any additional questions! Looking forward to hearing more about your film!

  4. Hi Devin! Thank you for commenting! Once you receive your DNI you are home free and can receive the same benefits as locals! Also if you are willing to put in the effort and have a local who can provide you with a “guarantia” you can on occasion find an owner willing to rent you an unfurnished apartment for a 1-2 year lease without a DNI…its a bit more rare and can be time consuming, but possible.

    I will email you directly for any additional questions! Looking forward to hearing more about your film!

  5. Freddie says:

    Great article. I have been travelling frequently to Buenos Aires and find a fgreat way of staying is in apartment. Have met several good agencies, like

  6. the place of Argentina is very nice place to have vacation and i love this different kind of apartment and it seems that it fabulous.

  7. MichaelCarver says:

    If you really want to Buenos Aires, rent a temporary apartment. Renting an apartment can often save you a lot of money compared to staying in hotels.

    breckenridge lodging

  8. A very helpful and informative post Jaime. Got an Idea when I'm go to Argentina. Got a scope Finding a Buenos Aires Apartment. Thank you!

  9. this is a right place to spend my vacation we will really enjoy this place its beautiful enough i'm sure my family will appreciate this place

  10. it seem this place is beautiful i love to spend vacation here this is the place i like its very comfortable and spacious

  11. its a nice place i love to visit this i know its beautiful and its a cool place kids will enjoy to spend vacation here

  12. Majronstyles says:

    Hey, I am a seasoned renter in BA. Been renting apartments, first from BYT, they became a shower, then from many others. Since 2007 I have used a company called BA Stay, this agency is head and shoulders above any of the agents I have used in the past – that's not to say there are not good agents in BA.

  13. Lee says:

    We have asked a real estate agent to help us find an apartment in BA, is it normal to pay a commission to the agent on top of advertised rental rates? We are used to seeing whatever fees there are buried in the rental price. What’s normal?

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