We have signed a lease on our first apartment in Cuenca, Ecuador.
It didn’t take as long as we thought it might. In fact, only about 5 days of searching. We ended up looking at 4 apartments/houses for rent in person and hundreds online over the last 6 months.
The process isn’t particularly different here than in the US. You find something you like online and contact call or text the number in the ad. Or you walk the streets of the neighborhoods you think you might like to live in and look for for rent signs in the windows. Or you hire a facilitator.
We found an awesome apartment in the neighborhood we are currently staying in and contacted the owner via the number on the sign posted on the building. We missed out on that one, but they wouldn’t accept our cats. Can’t go there.
We set several other appointments to see apartments and houses and got the usual: Silence, Already rented, or an appointment to see the unit. The unit we rented ended up being through a vender that specializes in ex-pats, but is expanding to the Ecuadorian market. Estaban is a native Ecuadorian and spoke English (learned in Norway) and handled the transaction very well.
We met Estaban and the apartment owner at the apartment today and signed the lease. We initiated a wire transfer for the rent from our bank in the US to her bank here in Cuenca. That process shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 business days. She gave us the keys today, even though she doesn’t have any money and our lease doesn’t technically start until the 10th.
The apartment is on the fifth and sixth floors of a mid-rise building. The sixth floor being the highest floor. In Ecuador, the street level floor of tall apartment buildings is almost always retail space and the 1st floor is the floor above street level. This building has 11 apartments. The fifth floor has an apartment and the lower floor of our townhouse. the sixth floor has a single apartment and the upper floor of our townhouse. The owner says most of the apartments are long term residents and she owns a second apartment in the building that has had the same tenant for 6 years.
Our lower level has a social bathroom (half bath), a large living room/dining room partially divided by a bookcase, a good sized kitchen with small built in table for 3 or 4, a service bathroom with small shower off the kitchen, and a large storage room off the kitchen. There is space for a washer/dryer in the kitchen as well.
Our upper level has a master bedroom with full master bath. Another full bath in the hallway aside an open extra room about 10×10. The remaining two bedrooms are also upstairs, each around 100 square feet. Each of the bedrooms have large built in closet/drawer areas. We won’t need to buy any dressers!
Wood and tile floors, an elevator, a secure parking space and lock storage in the basement, storage under the stairs, a concierge at the front desk. This building doesn’t have any green space, but the river and river walks are only 1 block away.
We feel we got a great price. Gas, electricity and water shouldn’t be more than $50.00 a month combined. There is no need for heating or cooling in Cuenca, so apartments don’t have furnaces or air conditioners.
We are totally geeked! and relieved to have found an apartment so readily.