October 31, 2015

7 Tips to Look Out for BEFORE Renting in Cuenca Ecuador

Of course, if you have us help you find a rental we make sure everything, and we mean everything is on the up and up. We go through every fine detail with the home and Frank goes through the contract with a fine tooth comb to make sure there are no silly stipulations or catch-22’s that will later have you pulling your hair out and costing you money.
Turi View - Cuenca Ecuador
Recently we learned of a newcomer to Cuenca who went to all of the trouble of finding and procuring a rental, buying furniture and having it transported to her new rental, then getting her new home all set up and cozy, only to find there is no Internet service provider in that area. Wow, talk about frustrating! there are many such stories that we hear from time to time from foreigners that are worse than that. So, we made this check list of things to look out for BEFORE RENTING.
 

1. Make sure you can actually get Internet installed in your new home / apartment. Some areas outside of the city do not have Internet as of yet. We live in the city but not downtown and four years ago the Internet just got in our neighborhood.  Some of the local folks just a block away didn’t have Internet. The point is some areas of Cuenca do not have Internet service.
 

2. If you are not fluent in Spanish, make sure you have someone who knows Business/Real Estate Spanish to check over the contract.  Anyone that knows basic Spanish can read a contract but do they know real estate laws and provisions? It’s important that you hire someone that can help you not get taken advantage of.  Frank’s REALLY good at that and knows all the regulations that pertain to renting in Ecuador.
 

3. If you decide to live in a house, make sure the house is secure with either razor wire or electric fencing. If neither of these is present, unfortuantely, you will be upping your risk of getting robbed. Make sure the home has a whole house alarm installed so when you leave the home and an intruder tries to break in, the alarm will ring very loud, which will deter thieves from sticking around. They’ll be high-tailing it out of there fast! You can register the alarm with the police too.
 

4. Make sure you like the area. More and more foreigners move into an area only to find as little as two, three, four months later they’d rather live in another area of Cuenca. This is why it might be a good idea to live in a temporary 3-month rental first.  This way you can get a better idea of where you want to live permanently. But that’s up to you…we’re not telling you what to do, just giving you recommendations.

5. Make sure the house does not have leaks, mold, or other major problems that will come rearing their ugly head down on you after two, three, or four months down the road.  That happened to us when we first arrived, but I was able to clean the mold in our house, but sometimes the mold is not cleanable with ordinary household chemicals; besides who wants to clean mold from inside and behind cupboards every couple of years?
 

We know personally of two different renters who had to leave the rental they were in because of mold growth inside the walls of the home and another with mold growing under the carpeting.   If you’re reading this, perhaps you would like to comment about it below.
 

6. Make sure you feel comfortable with your landlord.  Reality is you might not get along with your landlord; this is a complaint we hear from expats from time to time. Some things such as this are often, but not always, an unforeseen issue that can only be rectified by moving.  This is why we advise to take your time with the new owner/landlord and get to know them a little bit. Women usually have a good gut feeling about people, so do what your gut tells you and do not rent the place if you feel uneasy with the landlord.
 

EXAMPLE: One couple told us that their landlord is always coming over checking to see if the place is clean and wondering if the dog is messing up the floors and furniture. According to the renters, she is also snoopy and relentless. We’re just saying, if you have a pet(s) and the furniture and house is newer, the owner might be a bit more concerned about the home, and rightly so. Be a good tenant and make sure your pet is not ruining anything. Put slip-covers on the furniture, clip your dogs toenails so they do not scratch the hardwoods, you know things like that.
 

7. Well these are the kinds of things and more, that we look out for, and protect you from as much as possible.  Nowadays, everyone says they will:  “look at the contract” but in reality, do they know what they’re looking for?   

Until we write again…
 

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We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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