Accommodation in Chile
Chile boasts a range of accommodation options for expats and even top-quality housing tends to be affordable when compared to other global expat hotspots. Both buying and renting prices in the country are among the cheapest in Latin America, and a construction boom yielding sleek skyscrapers and an array of housing developments means that standards aren't sacrificed even in the face of lower fees.
Types of accommodation in Chile
Expats will find accommodation in Chile in the form of apartments (piezas) or houses (casas). Both furnished and unfurnished options are available in Chilean cities; unfurnished apartments will come with no furniture or appliances (sometimes not even light fittings), so it's best to negotiate to at least have a refrigerator and oven included.
Properties in Chile are not always built for the weather conditions in the country and won’t always have air conditioning or central heating to counter the cold or heat in winter and summer respectively. However, newly constructed buildings usually have central heating.
Finding accommodation in Chile
Finding an apartment or house in Chile can be complicated if expats don’t speak Spanish, so it’s best to ask a friend or realtor who is able to speak the language to assist in the house-hunt. There are a number of rental agencies that cater specifically to the expat community in Chile’s major cities. These service providers make finding accommodation much simpler, but far more costly.
Santiago’s daily newspaper El Mercurio has an extensive properties listing section, while many supermarkets have bulletin boards where properties for rent are advertised. Expats can also take a drive through the area that they like, looking for “se arrienda” signs, meaning “for rent”.
It’s important to consider the area where one chooses to live in Chile and its proximity to schools, shops, work and public transport links. Traffic congestion can be heavy in Santiago and other cities, so being close to these amenities is an important factor to take into account.
Renting property in Chile
Rental agreements in Chile are generally for a 12-month period, although landlords are often flexible and shorter terms are easily negotiated (usually at a higher price). Landlords generally require a deposit of at least one month’s rent.
Depending on the landlord, expats may be required to have a Chilean guarantor in order to secure a rental contract. In most cases, an expat's employer will act as guarantor. In instances where a guarantor is required but expats are unable to find one, they can negotiate paying a larger security deposit.
Utilities aren't often included in the rent and should be factored into the monthly budget. Water, gas and electricity are reasonably priced, but as Chilean accommodation can lack insulation, heating can become costly during winter.