If you’re considering spending your time in Medellin, you’ll obviously want to be staying in comfort and style. No worries – no hay problema!
In fact, Medellin offers abundant rental opportunities across any price range for any traveller or would-be resident. One could pay anywhere from $100 month to $1200 by simply choosing their neighborhood, number of rooms, and amenities.
There are some noticeable differences between renting here and in other countries, and this post is going to delve into just what those subtleties are. This way, you’ll be 100% ready to live when you arrive. Follow these 7 steps to enjoy a painless rental process.
1) Speak the Language
The ability to land a good apartment can have a lot to do with how well you can communicate with landlords, agencies, and real estate agents. If you don’t speak at least proficient Spanish, bringing a bilingual associate along for your housing negotiations is recommended.
2) Jump the Fiador Hurdle
Apartments here do not require a security deposit. But, as many other Latin American countries do, cosigner guarantors – or fiadors – are “required” for apartment rentals in Colombia.
Requirement is a bit of an overstatement though. Landlords and rental agencies just want to be sure and cover their backsides. You can overcome the fiador requirement a few ways
Find the right real estate agent: Some real estate agents are willing to lease apartments without a fiador. This usually means you will have to pay rent in advance, however. That said, these agents are also few and far between. If you speak Spanish or have a friend to translate, your odds will increase.
Find the apartment owner: Some owners, if you can locate them, are willing to negotiate directly with renters. If you make yourself agreeable, renting without a lease is a total possibility.
Find a company sponsor: There are companies that will act as fiadors for you. This may not be most desirable option, as the fee can often be as high as a full month’s rent.
3) Grab a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can also help you get around the fiador requirement.
For those accustomed to the ease of finding property rentals online, we recommend finding a real estate agent. The web presence in Colombia can be very frustrating.
A good agent with years of experience will save you time and energy, and probably find you a better space as well. Since Medellin is a largely open rental market, any agent can show the most available apartments.
Just do a bit of comparative shopping beforehand. This way, you’ll be sure to not get overcharged the “foreigner” price.
4) Use Different Search Methods
Many available unfurnished apartments are not advertised on the Internet or in newspapers. The best way to locate these is by engaging a real estate agent or walking around and looking for signs in windows. Check out many apartments before you find the right one. You can go to First American Realty Medellín and see all the apartments before you make a decision.
5) Write a List of Your Priorities
Prior planning prevents poor performance, right? Having a set idea of what features, the location, and the price of your new rental will go a long way to making sure you get what you want – and that you don’t pay too much for it.
A great many of apartments offer security and door men around the clock, as well as cleaning services. Here are some factors to consider when searching for housing in Medellin:
- Proximity to metro station
- Proximity to bus line
- Air conditioning
- Quiet neighborhood
- Nearby parks
- Nearby cafes, restaurants, bars
- Nearby malls, movie theaters
- Nearby grocery stores
6) Pick a Neighborhood
If you look at a map of Medellin, you can see it sits in a long valley. Residential properties are classified according to their socioeconomic position within certain sections of the city. These sections are called estrados and they’re scored as 1 – 6. The higher the number, the more affluent the area.
Properties in lower estrados pay lower rates for electric, water, gas, telephone, TV, and internet. Those in higher estrados pay more. In similar fashion, there is a correlation between the price for an apartment and the estrado it sits within.
Foreign neighborhoods – those with frequently spoken English and more typical goods and services – are within estrados 4 – 6.
The most desirable neighborhoods are:
More upscale than the rest, El Poblado attracts the most foreigners of any neighborhood. Hostels, hotels, swanky restaurants, boutique shopping all inhabit this estrado 6 neighborhood. The hub is Parque Lleras, which fills with fun and excitement most nights of the week. For all the convenience and mod appeal, this is the most expensive area to rent in.
Called ‘the next Poblado’, this neighborhood offers plenty of fun and plenty of rentals. The futbol stadium is here, and is surrounded by outdoor public recreation areas with basketball courts, swimming pools, a skate park, and places for dancing. Here, you’ll find the Unicentro mall, plenty of nightlife, restaurants, and the Parque Laureles. Here’s a trendy estrado 4 – 5 area that’s mostly quiet, tree-lined residential.
Ciudad del Rio
A quick jaunt down the hill from Poblado, this is a developing area of Medellin. The impressive Museum of Modern Art straddles the Parque Lineal Ciudad del Rio and the many highrise apartments. The neighborhood looks up the hillside towards the Southern mountains and offers great views. Restaurants and bars are select but few at this point but overall this is a nice estado 4 -5 area to live in if you don’t mind stepping out for more of your amenities.
This is the charming and quiet neighborhood for those seeking a relaxing rental experience. Envigado hosts some of the best and interesting restaurants around Medellin, beautiful parks and plazas, plus lots of great cultural sites. This is a largely residential estrado 4 -5 area that can offer every comfort and amenity. It also straddles the boisterous neighborhood of Poblado but lacks the hubbub of typical ‘gringo’ tourism.
7) Furnished or Unfurnished?
As a newcomer to Medellin, renting a furnished apartment is recommended. Once you can get the lay of the land and, if you decide to, find a more permanent spot you’d like to furnish yourself.
But if you’re planning to stay long-term, finding and furnishing your own apartment will create a personalized space. It will also open many other rental options and areas to you. Oftentimes, the best rentals will be unfurnished apartments.
Plus, renting an unfurnished apartment can save you, on average, around 40% annually.
Some furnished rental apartments will have a minimum rental period of 2-3 days – some will have rental period of 30 days. Other leases will be for 6 to 12 month.
Here are some resources for furnishing an apartment:
- Fabricas Unidas – One of the largest furniture stores in Medellin.
- Homecenter – Good for shopping for mattress (often 50% cheaper than a mattress store). This is also your go-to big box hardware, housewares store like a Home Depot.
- Jumbo and Exito – these big box retailers will have appliances and electronics – plus sales.
Renting in Medellin offers a great deal of variety and options. Before you arrive, take some time to consider the area and the amenities you’d like to enjoy in and around your new living space. Think about your price point and do some research online within an appealing neighborhood.
Come prepared to talk with a real estate agent or at least speak decent Spanish to negotiate your own lease conditions. Once you have an idea of what you want, Medellin will open its doors to you and you’ll be very comfortable here.
Before you leave, download the renter’s total checklist. It details exactly what information and documentation you’ll need to sign a lease.