Where to look
There is a strong demand for both furnished rentals and newly renovated properties in affluent zones in Colombia. In major cities, rentals are snapped up quickly, so it is crucial to narrow down your area and budget. You can find houses and flats to rent in a number of ways including:
- Contacts - other expats and notice boards in places where expats gather
- Real Estate Agencies
- Websites (such as Encuentra24, Apts Colombia)
Please note - most Colombian real estate agencies require background credit checks and for expats without credit history in the country, this can be difficult. A bank account statement or work contract detailing your salary is usually sufficient. If not, you may have to put down a bigger deposit.
There are many estate agents in Colombia that will help you in your search for a property, either for renting or buying purposes. There are offices of international real estate agencies in Colombia, if you prefer to use their service rather than that of a Colombian real estate company. Here are a list of some of the estate agents operating in Colombia:
- Colombia International - Luxury rentals in Bogota
- Encuentra24 - A classifieds site with rental properties all over Colombia
- AptsColombia - Rental properties in Bogota
Tricks and scams
Expats renting property in Colombia, especially without a sound knowledge of the Spanish language, can fall prey to scams. Here are a few tips to make sure you minimise your risk:
- Never hand over money without seeing the property first. Although this sounds like common sense, many fake landlords, who often speak and write perfect English are experts in luring expats to hand over money and show photos of flats and houses that don't exist. Many of them ask for money to be wired through services such as Western Union and Moneygram, as money sent through these services is impossible to track, and thus reclaim, after realising the scam.
- Read the contract carefully. If you do not have a strong competency in the Spanish language, you can hire a professional translator, to ensure you know exactly what you are signing. Some landlords have a tendency to put in trivial clauses within the contract which you might not be aware of.
- Never scan your ID card or passport and send it to a landlord. In addition to losing money, you are also open yourself to identity theft of your documents.