If you have good knowledge of Portuguese you should start your search for housing by asking some locals for available rental property. Brazilians are very communicative and friendly and usually well informed about news and occurrences in their environment.
Another method is to walk around an area you would like to live in and look for “for rent” signs. They are usually displayed in the windows or the gates of the property. If a property is to rent the sign will say Alugo. Properties which are only available for short-term rentals will state Alugo temporado.
Looking for property on the internet will make the housing search much easier as you can search for categories like cities (cidades), type of accommodation like temporary (imovéis temporada) or to rent (imovéis aluguel) and the price category (valor). Some web pages which cover all of Brazil are Classificados Brasil or Zap imóveis.
Real estate agents in Brazil
When looking for a real estate agency ask the embassy or the consulate of your home country in Brazil. They can usually name some agencies where staff speak your language.
As the real estate agents only charge a commission when you rent a property, you should consult several agents at the same time. They all have their own property lists so you get a wider choice.
Before visiting the properties with your real estate agents, pass by the properties on your own to get an idea of the area. You might want to see the area during the evening as many bars and discotheques are 'camouflaged' as garages during the day so that the noise might lead to some sleepless nights.
Many agents offer the same properties. You should therefore compile a list of previously visited properties in order to avoid viewing the same one twice.
Never pay your real estate agent any money in advance as this tends to suggest fraudulent behaviour.
Choosing rental property in Brazil
Before deciding on a property you should consider several aspects to avoid unpleasant and unexpected surprises:
- Try not to rent a property which does not already have a telephone connection installed. It can take ages to rent or buy a telephone line.
- Make sure you have both cold and hot water as two water taps at a sink do not necessarily imply hot water.
- Consider that most apartments do not have central heating or air conditioning systems.
When moving in consider changing the locks of the property. The safety you gain is worth the money spent. Be prepared for power blackout as these are very common in Brazil. Always keep candles or torch lights ready for this case.
A general rule once you find an apartment is that rental prices are negotiable in any price range, so do not be afraid to negotiate.