GringoPost | Ecuador: 10 tips for finding an apartment and negotiating leases

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10 tips for finding an apartment and negotiating leases

I want to share some tips for finding apartments and negotiating rent. I'm not a realtor. I'm an expat who's lived in Cuenca for 5 years and who has moved a lot. I'm frustrated that many expats are taken advantage of or harmed because of shady landlords and bad lease contracts.

1. The best websites to find rentals are Facebook Marketplace, OLX, GringoPost, and even Craigslist.
2. Walk around the area in which you want to live and look for rental signs.
3. Negotiate! I can't stress this enough! Offer 25% off the asking price (or more). In my current rental, I negotiated $100 off - that was 20% less than the asking price.
4. If a realtor is involved, the landlord will pay them a fee of one month’s rent if you sign the lease. You should not pay a realtor a dime. If the landlord tells you to pay the realtor - Do not do it!
5. If you're currently in a rental, try to renegotiate your rent. Landlords are renegotiating rents up to 50%.
6. Your landlord is obligated by law to give you a factura every month. If they don't - your contract is basically null and void. You hold all the cards if you don't receive a factura.
7. Do not agree to predetermined annual increases. Your contract should not specifically say that there will be set increases every year.
8. Realtors will not negotiate the lease contract for you - hire a lawyer (I paid mine $30 to review my lease). Realtors will only negotiate the rental price if you tell them to. As I said before, your offer price should be at least 25% less than the asking price.
9. It's common that multiple "realtors" advertise one property. It's kind of a free for all. Often they ask different prices. Do your research.
10. You can hire a moving company for $150-$170 or you can use a camion (mixto) and two workers for about $25-$50. The mixto guys won't protect your stuff as well as a professional company, but if you need to save money, that's the way to go. Also, get a few quotes. For my last move, one company quoted me $250 while another quoted $170.

I literally looked at around 30 properties over the course of three months before finding my current rental. It's time consuming and frustrating, but worth the effort to find the right place. Good luck!

Melanie: .

City: Cuenca