Apartment Hunt

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UPDATE: There are many websites in Chile to find somewhere to live (Vendebien, Trovit, Emol, Portalinmobiliario, Yapo, Mercadolibre, Bienesonline, etc.) and they are mostly legit advertisers posting, but the site itself does not vouch for the veracity of the ads. After searching so many I’ve noticed a couple of advertisements that repeat themselves, but with some detail changes. Overall they show absolutely gorgeous, furnished apartments for a really low price. These are scams! Don’t transfer anyone money to Chile sight unseen or without having real data on them. Some swindle artists bank on someone’s trusting nature or desire to have a place to land immediately. Here is one example:

“Magnifico piso en zona privilegiada y emblemática en el centro de la ciudad. Acabados de exquisito gusto cocina totalmente equipada y amueblada con muebles de diseño office independiente lavandería trasero y parking. El apartamento dispone de puerta blindada, sistema de alarma, aire acondicionado frío / calor, doble acristalamiento, suelos de parquet en todas las habitaciones, eléctricas e instalaciones sanitarias en perfecto estado y parking.
Estratégicamente ubicado, a 150 metros del metro (estación de metro Francisco Bilbao) y el transporte público, a una cuadra de Las Condes y 2 cuadra de Ñuñoa.”

What is wrong with this? They give no contact information beyond an email address. Most people here still do business by phone. It includes no information on gastos comunes or how to actually go about renting the place. A real ad will usually say it is being rented by the owner (no commission) or an agency (usally 50% of one month rent as commission), 1 or 2 months as a deposit, “liquidaciones de sueldo” to show how much money you make, clean DICOM meaning your credit report is fine, etc. There is never NO information of this kind. Furthermore, it is impossible to be located near the Bilbao train and be 1 block from Las Condes and two from Ñuñoa, as they are two distinct and spacious neighborhoods that don’t even touch. It also calls the rental an “apartamento” which is used in other Spanish speaking countries, but in Chile they are called “departamentos”. Yeah, it’s weird and sounds like a department store but that’s the term used. This ad poster could really be anywhere for all we know. Lastly, the list price for this was about 400 dollars, but with all that bling included I’ve be shocked to find this truly for under 1,000 dollars (500,000 pesos) per month. As I said, the ad was posted on about 9 sites with no phone number. One site requires users to include a phone number so I called the one posted – not a real number. This ad is total B.S.

I recommend you get here and stay in a hostel for a week or so to look for a place. If you do line something up in a shared space ahead of time, that usually works, but don’t transfer ANY money until you are in person. This is a handy means to part ways with your cash and the asswipes continue to get rich while providing no service to society. If you have any questions, ask. I’ll be happy to help where I can.

Time to report the fake ads. Deseas denunciar este aviso como fraude? Yes ma’am.

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I’m on the lookout for a new place to live, and it occurred to me to put a little note on here for anyone searching for a place in Santiago, Chile. Craigslist is a good site to find rooms to share or fully furnished apartments for shorter terms. If that’s what you need, great. But if you will be in Chile a bit longer, bear in mind that any ads you find in English will have the Gringo Tax included. This means the price for those living spaces are hyper inflated; at least 3 to 5 times what they are worth. Look for ads in Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish, find a bilingual friend or hire someone to help you. It will save you a lot of money. Look in printed newspapers and online, or even check the ad spaces near the door at a grocery store. Maybe you’re the crazy type and don’t care what you pay for a place to live. Well, then you’d be encouraging these people to keep up the rapery. Find a place at a decent price and donate your savings to someone else in need.

Another thing to think about are gastos comunes, or shared expenses [water, hallway/rooftop lighting, gym or pool, door guys]. If you rent an apartment [not a house], this is likely an additional fee that you have to consider. In my current building I pay about 35 bucks a month for this, as I have no pool or gym. If you rent in a high-rise, expect to pay 150 USD per month or more. If you share an apartment, ask if the price includes these expenses or not.

Lastly, I should mention this apartment / house sharing website. You can offer space in your own place or find a room for rent. The cool thing about this is two-fold; you don’t have to worry about finding all the paperwork necessary to set up shop. You just find people you get along with and install yourself in an already functioning home. Additionally, if you came to Chile to learn Spanish as a lot of people do, you will find Spanish speakers to live with and your language skills will progress much more rapidly than living alone or with English speakers. I  recommend making sure there is a lock on your door. While the vast majority of people will be respectful of you and your things, there is always that shit-head out there ready to give everyone a bad name. Don’t tempt society’s scabs.

Happy hunting.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Foreign Frauds: Don’t Get Taken for a Fool | southernconeculture

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