How to rent an apartment in Buenos Aires

How to rent an apartment in Buenos Aires

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We finally found a great new short-term apartment here in Buenos Aires. Finding the right short-term rental is far more complex than you might think, so read on for our reviews of all the agencies we worked with and a very important list of tips/tricks to make sure you get a good place and don’t get taken.

Yesterday we finally agreed on a new apartment.  Even though we didn’t decide until 3:30pm yesterday, the gang at ApartmentsBA were able to let us move in at 5:20pm which was pretty awesome.  The apartment isn’t perfect–it could use some more light and we wish we had a patio and a dining table–but it is huge, has a great kitchen is in a perfect location in the heart of Recoleta and perhaps most importantly, it has a king sized bed!  Most of the beds down here are tiny double beds and while Jen and I like each other, it hasn’t been so much fun waking up every time the other person moves for the last 2 weeks :)  Pictures of our new place down below.

Before the pictures of our new place, we thought we’d give a little bit of an overview of the process we went through to find this place and some brief reviews of the agencies we worked with and some general tips/tricks.

Buenos Aires Apartment Rental Agency reviews

There are about a 1000 different apartment rental companies here in Buenos Aires and they are all over the board in terms of apartments that they have to offer and the quality of their service.  We read lots of horror stories about some companies.  Here are a few high-level reviews of just some of the companies we’ve worked with over the past two weeks:

ApartmentsBA:  These guys definitely seem to be the premier rental agency for luxury apartments.  Owned by an American expat who saw a market opportunity for high-end rentals to compete against hotels, they actually own most of the properties (rather than being a middle man for a bunch of landlords) and they only do very high-end stuff.  It’s quite pricey, but apparently you get what you pay for.  They gave us an incredible deal on our place which is the only reason we could afford it.  The quality of the apartment and the furnishing definitely standout from everything else we saw.  Also, the professionalism of the company seems to be way above the norm–super responsive (we emailed them at 3:30 and they met us to do a check-in at 5:20 the same day!) .  So far, we’re quite impressed with them and will continue to update this as we work with them further.  They definitely seem like the low risk way to go (e.g., you’ll get a nice place to live and if anything goes wrong they’ll fix it), but as expected you do pay a premium for it.

Update 5/15/2010: After 2 months in the apartment, we continue to be very impressed with ApartmentsBA.  There have been a few minor issues here and there, but the staff has always promptly responded to everything and genuinely seems to want our stay to be as good as possible.  This is quite a difference from a friend of ours here in BA that is now on week 2 of not having any hot water (using a different company)

BuenosAiresStay:  Very professional and seem to have high standards for the owners they work with, but had a somewhat limited inventory in the price range and dates we were looking for.  We like the apartment we saw with them, but didn’t love the location.  In general though, I’d definitely recommend these guys and they also are very highly recommended on TripAdvisor and other sites.

AndreasStyle:  Andrea is a local who runs her own business doing this.  She was very helpful and persistent in trying to find us places.  We were very close to going with an apartment through her, but it came down to price as we were able to get the one through ApartmentsBA cheaper.  I’d definitely recommend her as well though and she comes highly recommended on the local expat website/forums (which is a great resource).

BytArgentina:  These guys are likely the biggest player down here; they have the most listings and many people have used them and had fine experiences.  However, there are also MANY horror stories about them; it seems that if everything goes ok with the apartment you are fine, but if anything goes wrong (e.g., cockroach infestation, water pipe breaks, etc.) they are unlikely to do much of anything to help you.  We were too afraid from all the stories we read to use these guys for a long term rental–like I said though, many good reviews as well, so if they have the place you like, proceed with caution.

Kuke:  These guys are small, but they seem to have some decent properties.  However, we went and saw one of theirs in person and it was significantly worse than it looked in the pictures.  Not sure if this is a one-off or they are all like that, but the one we saw was extremely dirty (e.g., I would not have been willing to sit on the leather couch that used to be white).  They do have some good reviews on TripAdvisor for a few properties though, so I’d say they are worth looking at.

AlojArgentina:  These guys seemed to have great properties, but were very unresponsive.  In fact, we’re still waiting to hear back from them on setting up a time to see a place from last Saturday.

RecoletaTerrace:  Great guy running this.  Sat and talked with him for almost an hour (he used to be a consultant too!).  Would definitely recommend checking them out, though beware that some/all of the properties are listed elsewhere as well, so it’s not as exclusive as the website makes it look.

VRBO:  VRBO is worth taking a look at, but our experience was that most of the places on here were actually managed by one of the local rental agencies, so we didn’t have much luck.  Also, things were pretty pricey.

NancyLandi:  Very professional website, but seemed kind of flaky and didn’t get back to us when she said she would and then when she finally did, she didn’t answer the questions we had sent.  Eventually we became too frustrated with her to bother.

4RentArgentina:  These are the guys we used for our first 2-week site unseen rental.  In general I’d say they did a very good job.  They were very professional in getting us picked up at the airport (despite that we arrived a day late-thanks United), checked us in to the apartment efficiently and genuinely did a good job of being responsive to our needs during the stay (e.g., brought us an extra set of keys and extra towels).  The apartment we stayed in wasn’t awesome, but it definitely matched up with the apartment in the pictures online, so no complaints there.  However, over the last 2-3 days, they have become completely unresponsive and never set up a check-out time for us to get our deposit back and give back the keys.  I’ve emailed 5 times over the last 3 days and left voice mails with no response–not impressive.  We’ll see how it plays out.

Update:  4RentArgentina really dropped the ball on our check-out.  They didn’t return calls or emails until the day after we were supposed to check out and never offered any excuse or reason for the unresponsiveness.  When their agent finally showed up to return our deposit at 4:30pm the day after we were supposed to check out (And 30 minutes later than we were told to meet him).  He apologized profusely and told us that he is a 3rd party rep that does check-ins for 4rent and another company and that this sort of thing happens all the time.  Apparently they didn’t even tell him to come meet us at 4pm until 3:55pm.  Overall, these guys were ok and we did get our full deposit back, but this check-out experience would definitely make us avoid them in the future.

15 Tips/Tricks for renting an apartment in Buenos Aires (in no particular order)

  1. Understand up front that there are a bazillion different apartments and almost as many rental agencies and that most of the apartments are listed by several different agencies
  2. Choose your agency carefully. We’ve heard many times that the agencies aren’t really the problem, it’s the individual landlords.  This may be true, but there are definitely some agencies that refuse to work with bad landlords and actively remove their listings if they have problems (e.g., BaStay, ApartmentsBA) and some that just try to get as many listings as possible (e.g., BytArgentina);  for many of the agencies, there is no thought given to repeat business, so they don’t really care how your stay goes.
  3. Know that for many of the agencies the pictures posted on the website are not the most accurate portrayal of the apartment–e.g., many of the pics are taken when the apartment is first listed (could be several years ago) and then never updated so it always looks clean and new; also, it should go without saying that the pictures are taken to make the apartment look as large, well-lit and high quality as possible.  Beware that unless you can see it in person, you won’t really know what you’re getting until after you’ve already paid a deposit.
  4. If you are coming for a longer period of time (2+ months), do yourself a favor and get a place for 2 weeks online and then look around for a longer term place after you get here.  Very important to see the places in person before any kind of long term commitment
  5. Bring USD, lots. Almost every company will want you to pay the vast majority of your rent in USD as everyone here is concerned that the peso will continue to go through a devaluation.  This is challenging because you can’t easily get USD here in Buenos Aires without paying exchange fees and/or getting a bad rate.  Also, there is a big problem with counterfeits, so if possible, bring your USD with you or look for a company that will take pesos or even better PayPal (yay, ApartmentsBA!)
  6. Check to see if the hot water works, and for how long
  7. Check to see if the A/C, stove, internet and anything else that could potentially break works. Many companies won’t help you later if you don’t find these things at check-in, and worse, they could potentially try to make you pay for it at the end even if you didn’t break it
  8. When you check-in, make sure that the inventory sheet they give you matches what is in the apartment–if it says 4 plates, make sure there are 4 plates, otherwise you may have to pay for replacements
  9. Tell them in advance if you want more than 1 set of keys (seems like it should be obvious, but it doesn’t seem to be here)
  10. NEGOTIATE!!! Some of the prices they are asking are crazy and there is a near unlimited supply of vacant apartments on the market.  Especially if you are here for a longer period of time, expect that you can get 30+% off of the listed rate at many places; and be wary of the ones that won’t negotiate at all, they scare me.
  11. Ask someone that lives here or has spent significant time here about the neighborhood and specific streets of the apartment you are looking at.  Some intersections are definitely better than others and some streets are VERY loud.
  12. Allow PLENTY of time for your search, this has literally felt like a full time job for the last 1+ week
  13. Read as many reviews as you can of the companies and even individual apartments if possible (TripAdvisor and BAExpats are great resources)
  14. They will want you to pay the entire rental up front in USD cash.  You don’t have to.  For longer term rentals, negotiate a monthly plan. We did.
  15. Manage your expectations–this is not the same as getting a hotel room, it’s much cheaper, but far riskier

Does anyone else have any more tips?  Or questions?  Leave them in the comments and we’ll respond!

Pictures of our new pad in Recoleta

Recoleta apartment entry hall image

View of kitchen and hallway from just inside front door

Recoleta apartment kitchen image

Our fancy new (somewhat oddly shaped) kitchen

Recoleta apartment living room image

Our living room

Recoleta Apartment living room 2 image

Living room from the other side (we get lots of cable stations)

Recoleta Apartment Bedroom image

The largest and nicest bed in Buenos Aires

Recoleta Apartment Bathroom Image

The nicest bathroom you'll see today (with jacuzzi!)

By the way, did we mention that even fully furnished and even for only 3 months, this costs less than a third of what we were paying for a smaller apartment in San Francisco???  Also, we signed a 3 month lease so we’ll be here for awhile!

Please leave a comment, it will make us feel special!

Comments
  • Bryan Farris March 25, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Place looks AWESOME. I also have to say…kitchen appears to be a wee bit larger than your SF place :)

  • Alicia Johnson March 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Wow! It’s so clean! Can we move in…with the kids?

    • jen March 29, 2010 at 11:59 pm

      Nice try, sis – although Logan could probably help me out with my Spanish!

  • Samira June 29, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Is $22/day ($672/month) and a $500 deposit too much for a studio in Recoleta for 6 weeks too much??

    • ryan June 30, 2010 at 12:26 am

      Seems like a pretty good price actually… what agency? And what part of Recoleta?

      • Samira June 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

        Andrea’s style and the intersection of Quintana & Ayacucho… a bit nervous that i’m getting it unseen but it looks good in pics and i’ve read she’s honest.

        Also, it’s not available until a week after i arrive, any suggestions on where i can stay in the meantime? I’ve been looking at lonely planet and asking vamos to see if they have a shared apt

        • ryan July 4, 2010 at 11:02 pm

          She seemed great, and we read lots of good things as well; I’m sure it will work out well.

          In terms of shared apartments… not really sure. Vamos can likely set you up with something or at least point you in the right direction. Good luck!

  • Samira June 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    ps. It’s for July and August (read winter)

  • Dan July 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I live in Rio Vista Ca.. Am planing a trip to BA,looking around found your post .Find it most informative. This will be our last trip due to age etc. If i read the info on the BA sites it appears some what the same as Australia. We have been there for 90 days at a time . Can you give me info on the following items.Cant type worth a damn trying to keep this short. Banking , wire Dollars to bank, use Peso for living expenses . Is there a two tier system relative to costs ( if they know you are American and do not speak Spanish )Some sites suggest you deal in US dollars . WHY ?????? Would it not be better to convert to peso and live on the peso ??????? Plan on being there 6 weeks or so. Subject to finding a good 2 bedroom Apt.Got a laptop after using a WEBTV FOR 10 YRS AND CANT FIGURE IT OUT YET. Hope t6his makes sense to you Appreciate any and all feedback.

    • ryan July 8, 2010 at 11:36 am

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for stopping by. We still use our US banks and just take out pesos at the ATMs here which works fine (though we do pay ~US$7 for each withdrawal), you can also do wire transfers from banks here for something like a 3% fee. I’d definitely recommend operating in pesos while here; the only time you really need USD is for apartment deposits/rent (and pesos are usually ok as well). Not really a 2 tier pricing scheme on anything except for domestic air travel, but that is government mandated and you can’t really get around it unless you become a citizen, so expect to pay double there, but everyone else you should be fine.

      Good luck!
      Ryan

      • Crack September 6, 2010 at 9:16 am

        Just a quick one following up from my earlier note. This is very useful, particuarly your comments re the various agents etc. What would be useful and I hope you don’t mind my asking but what are the various areas like.

        My wife and I are looking to get an appartment though not looking to rent in the best part of town (if that makes sense…) We’re looking for somewhere thats quite arty/cool – for example I have a real passion for street art of which I like to photograph so an area like that?

        Also, I have the option of bring my motorbike across on the ship (its £300) would you recommend having the bike there?

        • ryan September 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

          Hey Crack, Congrats on your adventure!

          Yeah, we’ve been meaning to write-up a neighborhood guide for awhile, maybe this will be the catalyst to make us finally do it :)

          Quick answer…
          Most popular tourist area is probably Palermo Soho – which has lots of good restaurants and shopping areas, but is also probably the most expensive neighborhood and you’re more likely to hear english than spanish.

          We really enjoyed Recoleta, which is the older nice neighborhood where a lot of the wealthier locals live. Still quite high-end, but much less english spoken here vs. Palermo Soho so a bit more authentic.

          Another popular option is San Telmo which is a bit more artsy as you describe. This is a favorite of the backpacker crowd as it has lots of hostels and fun bars and is home to the San Telmo Sunday market. Should be cheaper than the the other two, but only issue is that it is not as safe (especially at night), though it may be just an incremental difference–you should be aware of your safety anywhere in BA at night.

          There are other parts of Palermo that could be good as well (e.g., Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Alto, Palermo Chico).

          Outside of those neighborhoods, the number of tourists and short-term accommodations declines pretty quickly. Some people like Centro which puts you right in the middle of everything. Some people like Canitas which is a nice neighborhood, but a bit far from many of the attractions (or Belgrano which is very nice, but even further out). There are others that are more off the beaten track, but those are the ones we have the most experience with.

          Hope that’s helpful!

          That’s a quick overview. Just be aware that these are just generalities and the specific street/intersection you stay on can make a big difference in noise, safety, convenience, overall vibe, etc. If you are going to be there for awhile, I’d recommend just booking something for a week or 2 initially and then get to know the areas and view specific apartments before settling down longer term.

          In terms of motorbike… sure, would probably be fun to have. There are many in BA. Make sure you have somewhere safe to store/park it though and be very careful driving as the drivers are a bit crazy.

  • Crack September 8, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Morning Ryan – thank you very much for your thoughts re the areas of BA, greatly appreciated. Will update you of where we end up in due course. Do keep up the good work on your site.

  • Jota November 4, 2010 at 12:14 am

    I forget exactly how I found this post (maybe from BAExpats.org) but it’s been incredibly helpful. My wife & I are in Peru right now and planning the next leg of our journey for Buenos Aires. Love the mini-reviews and I’m going to totally rip you off and do the same thing on our blog. :) I’ve contacted 24 agencies & owners so far. Hopefully something will fit the bill when we land there in two weeks.

    • ryan November 5, 2010 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Jota,

      Thanks for commenting. Glad we were helpful. That’s great that you guys are putting together a similar post – please feel free to put a link to it here in the comments once you have it so that people can find a more current set of reviews.

      I checked out your blog a bit and it looks great. Congrats on your adventure!

  • Jeff L December 28, 2010 at 1:37 am

    would you mind posting or emailing me what you paid for your place in recoleta, and what it was initially listed for when you first found it? thanks!!

    • ryan December 28, 2010 at 3:42 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      We paid US$1200/month for a 3 month lease (and ended up extending to 4 months). I believe the monthly rate listed was $1600. Discounts are usually bigger if you can commit to a longer time period.

      Hope that’s helpful,
      Ryan

  • Rebecca January 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Hey,
    Thanks for the tips, it is hard to know who to trust when you go to a new place, if its ok, i thought i would leave my personal recommendation for renting in Buenos Aires.
    My partner and I have been renting apartments in the city for 7 months through Baires Apartments.
    After having difficulties with communication, and dissatisfaction with the apartments and agents of other agencies, we contacted Baires Apartments.

    From the beginning they were very helpful and informative as we were new to the city. Contracts are legal and all transparent, they are efficient with property maintenance and easily contactable.
    We have stayed in two different properties, one near Plaza san martin and the other in recoleta. The apartments are fully self contained, very clean and comfortable and in convenient locations. Also we found them more economic for what we received.

    Dealing with this company has been a pleasure and after such a good experience, we couldn’t recommend any other company to organise your stay in Buenos Aires.

    Please see their website at http://www.apartmentsbaires.com.ar

    I have no connection with this company, other than living in their properties. Good luck :)
    Rebecca

  • Abby G February 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    We ended up going with a local real estate agency, Menendez Propiedades in Palermo SOHO. We are one month into our rental and so far it has been perfect. The apartment owner actually lives in another unit across the hall, so if we need anything, we can deal with her directly. On our 2nd day in the apt, we found the toaster to be non-functioning. Worried we would be charged to replace it as we did not test it at check in (who checks the functionality of toasters anyway?), the owner promptly replaced it with a new one. We pay $800 a month plus electricity (was told it would be only $20/month) for a brand new studio in a very nice, new tower with a 2 month lease. We found that if we walked around in the desired neighborhood and visited the local real estate offices, we found better deals than online and the staff were very friendly.

    • ryan March 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      Hey Abby G, Thanks for the update. Glad to hear things are still going well!

      Question for you – how easy/difficult is it to succeed with the local real estate offices if you have limited Spanish skills?

      • Aida Grinspan July 6, 2011 at 9:48 pm

        ryan
        Hey Abby G, Thanks for the update. Glad to hear things are still going well!
        Question for you – how easy/difficult is it to succeed with the local real estate offices if you have limited Spanish skills?

        No problem Ryan. Our site is both in English and Spanish and at Instyle Rentals we are fluent in English. We have apartments in the safest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, such as Recoleta, Palermo, downtown. Let us know what you need and it will be our pleasure to help you in your search.

  • Abby G March 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    We visited about 6 offices and had no trouble with our limited Spanish skills, and they were very limited at the time. Usually we were shown to the one person in the office who spoke English. The office where we found our current apartment has an agent who is completely fluent in English so she went over all the details in the contract with us, which was really helpful.

    • ryan March 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      cool, thanks for following up!

  • charles manus March 27, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Hello guys,
    I am looking for a 1 month rental in Palermo in May. i have noticed some nice units on BuenosAiresHabitat. Any 411 on this company? I did not see any them on your list.
    Many thanks

    Charles

    • ryan March 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      They didn’t have anything in our price range, so we didn’t have much contact with them. They are typically quite highly recommended on Trip Advisor though, so I’d say they are likely to be good.

      Good luck!

  • charles manus March 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks Ryan!

  • Aida Grinspan July 6, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    All our apartments are located in the safest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. We do not have very many. But all of them have been visited and inspected personally by one of the three partners at Instyle Rentals. When you next come to Buenos Aires, you may send us a mail with your requirements so that we may suggest a suitable option.

  • willy m September 8, 2011 at 12:26 am

    We rented an apartment in Buenos Aires. I recommend. There are scores of Buenos Aires apartments to choose. We chose this one, in the Recoleta neighborhood, for its location, style, reasonable price and full services and amenities. Are a good deal, fully furnished, free wifi internet, gym, swimming pool, etc more cheaper than a 3 star hotel. You can Take a look!
    http://www.bairesapartments.com/apartments-buenos-aires-arenales-and-azcuenaga-vii-2161.html
    Is a recomendation no an add

  • Alexander September 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for a very informative blog! I have had both good and bad experiences with renting apartments in Buenos Aires. One of the biggest problems seems to be that many apartments are listed on several different websites and that the agencies does not know if the apartment is actually available or not. I spent a whole week in March trying to get a place, but it was very frustrating since most agencies are very slow at replying to e-mails and when they do reply, they still don’t know if the place is available or not. One great company is http://www.checkin.se/buenosaires, who has a whole building and rents out their own apartments.

  • Helena October 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Hello,please take a look to my web-site. Wolcome to Buenos Aires !!

  • Ron January 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Well I went with Buenos Aires Stay – you were right they were very good and they were the only people prepared to let me visit apartments to help me make a choice. They have about 1000 apartments so a big choice, that’s not quite the impression I got here, but you helped me with your article and I must try to do the same for others – not a blogger though. I called so many agencies and the only professional response I got came from these poms. Try http://www.buenosairesstay.com I highly recommend them.

  • Allan April 5, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Hi Ryan,

    I found your site through TripAdvisor and have to thank you for all the info. I will be moving to BA in June and wanted to ask if you think 3 weeks in BA will be enough time to find an apartment to rent in Recoleta? I plan on renting a place I have stayed at before for 3 weeks while looking for a long term apt.
    Regards and thanks again for the info here.

  • Sven June 18, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Hi
    I’m about to go to Buenos Aires for 2,5 month for novembre this year.
    Do you know the company RentinBa?
    There are no propper reviews except the ones wich seemed to be company selfmade.
    Any advice for me to get a nice apartement with terrace in San Telmo for two?

    Thanks a lot

  • Tim October 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I had a very tough time finding another apartment (dollar restrictions, rent inflation, etc) until I found your information. Eventually, I went with Buenos Aires Stay. They are expats, speak English and seem to have the edge on the competition. They fact find, do not waste your time and even tell you what apartments on their website not to bother with unless you cannot afford something better – quote “all the apartments we list under USD300 are budget and budget does mean no frills and that funds are scarce to keep them in tip top order, but if that’s all you can afford don’t bitch – you can view. Or, try a hostel at USD500 a month for a crappy room and shared bathroom”. That made me laugh and wonder how many people do not bother with these guys who are really a bunch of ”toughies”. DO BOTHER! These guys are great and showed me several apartments all as they were listed and their relationship with owners is markedly different when viewing. They gave and GET respect. After six months in Buenos Aires and two apartment disasters with a couple of agencies listed above I advise you to at least try http://www.buenosairesstay.com they are in a class of their own. They are a bit take it or leave it, ask for Jack Brooker, he’s really helpful.

  • Scot Eastman February 25, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I gave the last lot a go and they were helpful and found me a place in Palermo within budget and at an OK price. They also got me dollars in Uruguay for my rent the following months. They are a very handy bunch to say the least. Buenos Aires Stay are definitely the cream of the crop. The others would not even show me an apartment!

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  • [...] 1)  Rent:  $1200/month (USD) We are now paying $1200/month on our 3-month contract.  This is large 1 bedroom apartment with 1.5 bathrooms in a nice part of Recoleta and is at a well discounted daily rate vs. shorter term rentals (e.g., this apt. is listed at $100/day or $600/week) and includes all utilities + internet + weekly maid service.   Depending on what neighborhoods you are willing to consider and how nice of a place you want you can get cheaper than this (or much more expensive).  There seem to be “budget” apartments that range from ~$900-$1200/month for a 1 bedroom and are pretty hit or miss in terms of quality and “Luxury” apartments which are more like $1800+/month at a monthly rate and are significantly nicer.  We are somewhere in between. If you’re trying to figure out how to rent an apartment down here, be sure to check out our post on How to Rent an Apartment in Buenos Aires [...]

  • [...] bounce back, and the telephone number never answers. Also, I found this blog post to be helpful: http://www.consultingrehab.com/2010/…-buenos-aires/ The author details her experiences with many of the well-known rental agencies and gives tips on [...]

  • [...] a great place and you will get your deposit back, so in my opinion, well worth it).  Check out our guide on how to rent an apartment in Buenos Aires for some tips/tricks to minimize your risk and some mini-reviews of several agencies that we worked [...]