Inspired by A Little Cameo’s hunt for a home in Bogotá, I thought I’d share my own experiences with house hunting in Bogota and how to find a place to live in Colombia.
Finding an apartment in Bogotá, a city of more than 9 million people, is no mean feat. The first month you might find yourself living in a hostel, then a share house in the Candelaria and then an apartment with other fellow travellers and friendly locals. But finding an apartment that you can call your own is not without some challenges.
Living in Bogotá, a city that is fast-paced, with busy traffic, and bustling streets, it is important to find a sanctuary you can call your own, a place of respite away from the busy city.
If you are looking to share an apartment in Bogotá with one or two other people, then the Facebook page Bogotá Short Term Rentals is a good place to start. Every day there are people posting ads about rooms for rent. Usually rent includes internet and all utilities and, depending on the area you want to live in, can cost anywhere between $150 and $400 (or more) a month. If you are looking for your own apartment then there are websites like Fincaraíz.com.co, which is your general property search website. Just pop in the suburb you are looking to live in, your price range and other details to help you search for your perfect home.
A great way to get in quick on an apartment is to walk around the suburbs you want to live in and look for the red “Se Arrienda” signs posted on apartment windows. You can call the dueño/a directly and set up a time to look at the place. This is a great way to get in quick because often the signs are up before they’re posted online, and some are not posted online at all. Also, you can get a feel for the neighbourhood and the building before you commit to taking a sticky beak at the place.
Now, this is where things can get tricky. You’ve found your perfect apartment, you’re ready to sign on the dotted line. Sometimes this is fairly easy, you show your proof of identity, proof of income and give it directly to the dueño/a and bob’s your nana, you have an apartment. Other times it is a lot more formalised and you need a bunch of information including proof of employment, collateral, bank details and more. It really depends on the person you’re dealing with. Talk to them and know exactly what they need so you can get in quick and snap up your Bogotá apartment.
What to look for in an apartment:
Good vibes: You want to walk into the place and feel instantly comfortable. Not feeling it? Go with your gut.
Nice neighbours: While you might not see your neighbours all that much, it does come in handy to have nice ones. Neighbours with adorable pets, all the better.
Location: You want to make sure you are in a neighbourhood that you feel comfortable in. Are you close to public transport? Do you feel comfortable walking around at night? Are you close to the local supermarket? Get to know the people around the area, the fruit store owner, your portero – you’ll start feeling like a local in no time!
Other things you have to think about:
So you’ve got the keys, you’re ready to move in, now what? Don’t forget you’re going to have to hook up the electricity, you can do this through the dueño/a and then internet and TV. Don’t forget you’re also going to need to furnish your new place, so if you’ve been living out of a backpack for the last month or so, this is going to mean a trip to Falabella or Homecenter for some brand spanking new homewares, exciting! You can also find great pieces for your new home on Craigslist.
Now you’re ready to go, enjoy your new place, get cozy and have fun living in Colombia! Do you have any more tips for people looking for a place to live in Colombia? Share your advice in the comments section below.