When I first got to Chile in 2010 as part of the pilot round of Startup Chile, my first task was to find an apartment. We rented a hostel for the first week, and set out to rent an apartment.
It was a daunting task. I spoke a bit of spanish, but my business partner Jesse didn’t really speak much at all. We started looking for shared apartments, furnished apartment rentals and unfurnished units in Providencia, Las Condes and Bellas Artes, but quickly were stymied. We didn’t really know where to search, our spanish wasn’t up to snuff and even when we did find a decent property, many landlords either didn’t want to rent to foreigners or jacked up the rent 2-3x when they heard my broken spanish.
After looking for a few days, we thought we’d found the apartment we wanted right near Metro Pedro de Valdivia. The photos were amazing (like our three bedroom in Las Condes pictured below). It had a pool. Two bedrooms. A balcony facing the Andes. I called and asked for the price and a time to go see it. When we got there and walked in, I knew we’d been taken for a ride. It was a one bedroom studio that was no way close to what we’d seen online.
When another apartment quoted me $1500 a month, I asked my Chilean friend Cristobal to call and try to rent it. He got quoted $700. They’d tried to gringo tax us! Other apartments just flat out told us they wouldn’t rent to us unless we could show a year of income in Chile, or have a Chilean cosigner.
We ended up using an agency that worked out ok, but we ended up paying high broker fees and having to put four months down. Other friends weren’t so lucky and ended up getting taken advantage of by brokers.
Many of our friends ended up paying way over market value or having to pay their entire lease up front. And forget about getting your security deposit back at the end of your lease! Most of our friends ended up losing nearly all of their deposit and had no recourse. It turns out that for most Chileans the idea of a security deposit is really a “I use your money as an extra month’s rent” deposit!
In 2012 when I first got back to Chile, I decided to start to solve the problem. Two of my ex startup chile friends and I decided to create Andes Property, a company dedicated to helping foreigners find apartments to rent with a US level of customer service, fully bilingual service and without the typical Chilean paperwork and demands.
We started by buying our own apartments in Bellas Artes and then have taken over management of Chilean owned apartments that allow us to rent to foreigners using our standards. If you’re looking for an apartment, shoot us a message. We’d be happy to help you out. Click on the logo below for more info.
Nice initiative. I see that you don’t list rental prices on the website. I personally don’t like that. I hate calling and then discovering that something is way out of my budget. Giving no price also suggests (at least to me) that it is expensive
We leave the prices off the website because we have two ways to help people: renting out the apartments that we own directly (the ones you see on the site) and apartments through our partners that we then manage.
We only list the ones we own directly on the website and don’t want to preclude people from contacting us if what we have at a particular moment is not nice enough or too expensive for someone. We’re pretty new, so if we figure out a good way to serve both markets, we may start publishing prices for the ones we own. I can confidently say we’re well within market value for the ones we own, as we set the price.
I can see that it can make good business sense in your case but personally I don’t like it
Really nice post. I was a little confused about finding a place to rent in Santiago. I saw several places on my own and found several other people putting in applications. Landlords seems to have their pick for tenant. I ended up finding a place but in an area that was not so ideal. I wish I would have know about this service as it could have saved me the trouble..