January 01, 2016

10 Tips of the Trade When Looking for Rental in Cuenca Ecuador

It really is all about value; and frugal folks know that because being frugal does not necessarily mean, and usually doesn’t mean, buying the cheapest product or service on the market.  If you want to save money every month on your rent then there are a few things we must keep hush-hush. Why? When little ears know what you want in a rental the price suddenly goes up and up and up and up…and then where is “value”? 
Cuenca Ecuador
1. Don’t let it be known you want to be walking distance to Supermaxi or Coral – There is no need to tell the agent you want to be close to a grocery store. Eight times out of ten, you’ll actually be walking distance to a grocery store in Cuenca, unless you live in the country.
 

2. Don’t let it be known that you want to be near El Centro – Did you know that anywhere within the city of Cuenca, you can grab a taxi for a few bucks or a bus for $0.25 cents and be in the historic district?
 

Most Gringos Have the Same Rental Requirements
 

It’s all over the Cuenca chatter: The immigration office handles 10 new applicants from North America a day! That means there are ten new people who need a house or apartment to rent just in Cuenca! That’s 70 people needing a rental in one week in a city of just 500,000 people. And did you know that most gringos have the same rental requirements? What does that mean for Cuenca?  It means higher prices and less value. 

3. Don’t let it be known that you want a river or city view – Have you ever seen the ads that say “river view” or “on the river Yanuncay”?   Are they renting you the river or the apartment? Gee whiz!  
 

Let’s stop right here! You’re probably wondering how can I have all of the above things in a rental if I don’t let the agent or facilitator know what I want?  That’s easy. Just keep looking and usually you will find something you are looking for, or close to what you are looking for.   Gone is the $300 home with green space, river views and walking to a nice park and grocery store because that’s what everyone wants. That house is now at about twice as much!!

It’s not reality to have everything you want on your rental list and at the price range you are looking in.  We understand you want to rent a nice, clean, bright and airy place but too much pickiness above that will surely cost you.  The “cost you” part doesn’t make Cuenca cheap anymore, does it?
 

4. If you are renting for 6 months or less, we say forgo the river view!  It is funny, foreigners move here for three months and demand a river view. Are you going to stay cooped up in your apartment all day or go out exploring Cuenca?  Views cost money and are impractical at best. Views do not make the apartment any more comfortable and not having a view does not make a nice, clean, airy apartment less inviting either.  Sometimes an apartment just happens to have a view but because we didn’t demand it, the price stays in line with what it should be.
 

5. If you do not have a dog, then definitely give up the yard idea. Seriously, this is no joking matter.  Espacio verdes (green spaces) cost money in Cuenca Ecuador!  If a house on the Cuenca Ecuador rental market today happens to have a small green space then it’s going to be overpriced!  Sadly, that is what it’s come down to.
 

6. Renting in a certain neighborhood, plus wanting to have all the gringo requirements mentioned in this article, will surely cost you a higher rent and most-likely will take a lot longer to find.  Better not be in a hurry. 
 

7. Be willing to rent in any area of Cuenca as long as the neighborhood is good.  We know the good neighborhoods of Cuenca and the not so good neighborhoods.  Not being picky about what neighborhood (sector) of Cuenca you live in will surely open up a lot more variety and options to the renter, which means more value in a home.  The southeast side of Cuenca has less gringos living there but some of the nicest and newest homes are in this part of town and the river!!
 

8. If calling an ad out of the paper and you don’t speak Spanish very well or have a thick gringo accent, find a local Ecuadorian to call the ad for you and get the “real price” to the local market.  You wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve called on house ads that raised the price once they found out it was for a gringo. We have even had Ecuadorians say “You’re a gringo, so it will cost more for you”.
 

9. Always negotiate the price – This one is a sure thing. We should negotiate even if the ad doesn’t say it is negotiable. Don’t be bullied because you are a gringo.
 

10. Know what the contract says – Make sure you know exactly what is stipulated in the rental agreement because you might need to make changes. You do want your deposit back when your lease is up, right? Then nine times out of ten the lease will need to be changed. It’s all in the wording and if you don’t know what to look for you might just get gringoed. 

Until we write again...if you like this article you might like these ones too. Happy 2016!

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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