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Buenos Aires – Housing


In order to buy real estate in Argentina, you will need a CDI Number, which is very similar to Social Security Number in the U.S. You can go to the local police station with your passport and proof of your local address to apply. They will verify your address and give you the forms that you area required to file. A fee of less than $10 USD is paid. The application should then be submitted to the AFIP Office, the tax authority in Argentina known as Dirección General de Rentas. The CDI number is effectively your tax ID.

After obtaining a CDI Number, you will be eligible to buy a property in Argentina and register it in your own name. In Argentina, a notary, or escribano, is responsible for supervising the legalization of real estate transactions and title transfers. Argentina has a relatively sophisticated title registry that enables foreigners to trace property ownership easily. The notary will inform you if there is any problem with the property’s title, or escritvra. A notary fee of 1 to 4 percent will be charged depending upon the notary you choose.

Once you find a place you like, your realtor will contact the owner’s realtor to initiate price negotiations. It is normal in Argentina that property is overpriced to give room for negotiation. When making an offer you are expected to make a security deposit which will be held by the realtor. This deposit is called Reserva de Compra. It is recommended not to leave a cash deposit in case the seller does not accept the offer. Normally a time period during which the owner can consider your offer is agreed upon.

If the seller accepts the offer made, the property is withdrawn from the market and preparations for the boleto de compra-venta or the escritura are made. The boleto de compra-venta is the sales agreement. At this point the buyer generally makes a down payment of 30% of the total amount. If the buyer backs out, he/she loses the down payment. If the seller backs out, the buyer is refunded the 30% down payment and the seller is fined an equal amount payable to the buyer. The percentage of down payment is normally 30% but can be negotiated between the parties. The boleto is drawn up by a lawyer or public notary.

After the boleto, the parties finalize the sale at the escribano or public notary where the ownership title will be given to the buyer. If the parties wish to make use of a boleto a date to sign at the escribano is normally set at least 30 days after the signing of the boleto. General practice is that all costs incurred before signing the final papers at the notary public are to be paid by the seller. All costs after the final contract at the notary public, such as the costs of transferring names on the papers of ownership and the commission for the notary public, are paid for by the buyer.

Documents recommended to see before you sign any sales contract are the Informe de dominio and the Informe de Inhibiciones. A copy of the Informe de dominio can be requested at the Registro de la Propiedad Inmueble, the estate ownership register. This document will state the exact dimensions of the premises, who the current owner is and if there are any problems concerning unpaid mortgage(s). It is very important to verify that the dimensions of the actual premises correspond with the dimensions stated in the Informe de dominio. The Informe de Inhibiciones can also be requested at the Registro de la Propiedad Inmueble. This document states whether the owner is allowed to sell. A situation wherein the owner would not be allowed to sell would be when real estate taxes have not been paid, for example.

A sales contract (boleto de compra-venta) normally states the following details:

  • Name, nationality, address and identification of the seller and buyer
  • Address of the property to be purchased
  • Declaration of being registered at the Registrado
  • Price, currency and method of payment
  • Date and address of escribano where payment will take place
  • Statement of how premises will be handed over (furniture, with/without tenants, etc)
  • How to resolve possible conflicts between seller and buyer
  • Statement signed by escribano that the seller has no outstanding bills on the premises
  • Name and registration number of the escribano handling the sales
  • Name and registration of realtor
  • Signatures of buyer and seller and date of contract

For foreigners interested in buying property in Argentina, financing has been by and large a remote possibility. Under most circumstances, foreigners must pay 100% cash in advance, though mortgages are slowly becoming available again. The interest rates on mortgage financing are extremely high, and in the past have not been less than 15% per annum; they have a relatively short period, 10 years, and often require a down payment as high as 50% of the purchase price. If you don’t have the needed funds, you would do best to look for financing in your home country. The reason being, as a foreigner you won’t be able to show an income or a credit history in Argentina. Real Estate buyers pay brokerage fees plus VAT taxes when working through real estate agents as professional service fees require a VAT Tax in Argentina. The standard brokerage fee in Argentina is 3%.

Accommodation prices in Argentina are determined by the size and location of the property, and are described by the number of rooms, or ambientes. This includes living rooms, sitting rooms and bedrooms (kitchen, bathrooms and toilets are not included in the room count). Apartments are rented either furnished or unfurnished, both of which are readily available in Buenos Aires.

Real Estate Agents often have the most attractive accommodation, as many landlords do not wish to spend time looking for and contracting tenants. In many cases you never see the landlord as the agent handles all administrative tasks. In Argentina this is especially common practice as the Real Estate agents also check backgrounds and guarantees and have far more knowledge in dealing with tenants.

Many homeowners prefer to make use of Realtors and prevent any possible future conflicts with non-paying tenants. In Argentina tenants who are not capable of paying the rent have been reported many times over the years. To have tenants evicted is a long, difficult and costly process. This also explains why, when renting a place, a third person is often required to stand as guarantor for the tenant.

If you would prefer not to go through an estate agent, there are advertisements for apartments in the classified sections of various newspapers, also accessible online. Classified ads are filled with abbreviations and deciphering them can be quite a headache, so the following glossary may be useful. Another surprise might be the different premises offered: Inmuebles covers business space, houses, apartments, country houses, land, parking spaces…even cemetery space.

Addresses are often indicated by the street plus its nearest cross street. An example would be Av/Corrientes y Estado de Israel, meaning the apartment is located at Avenida Corrientes near the junction with the street called Estado de Israel.

Prices are mostly quoted in US dollars and Argentinean Pesos.

Alquiler = The rental agreement between landlord and tenant
Arrendador = Landlord/owner
Arrendatario = Tenant
Campo = Land
Departamento = Apartment
Dependencia = A small room which is normally inhabited by personnel.
Desalojo = Eviction. Only a judge can order this
Family = Dining room or a room close to the kitchen
Fiador = Co-signer (also called garante)
Fianza = The contract in which a third person known as garante/ fiador takes responsibility for the tenants payments to the landlord.
Garante = Co-signer (also called fiador)
Inquilino =Tenant
Locador = Landlord/owner
Locatario = Tenant, term used in contracts
Mantenimiento = Maintenance
Propiedad horizontal (PH) = Housing in which the owners share certain attributes like stairs and main entrance and also have private property like patios. It is best to be compared with an old house in which several small houses are built.
Playroom = Television room, play room or living room
Propietario = owner
Quinta = Country house, originally for weekend retreat and found in the outskirts.
Suite = Master bedroom with individual bathroom
Toilete = Bathroom for visitors

a estr = a estrenar, brand new
amb = ambientes, the number of rooms
amobl = amoblado, furnished
ampl = amplia, spacious
apto/prof, apto profes, a/p = apto professional, can be used as an office
balc, bc = balcon, balcony
= baño, bathroom
calef = calefacción, heating
cat, categ = de categoria, upscale luxury building/apt
cochs = cocheras, parking spaces
coc = cocina, kitchen
com = comedor, dining room
cfrte, cfte = contrafrente, apartment that does not face the street
D, u$d, USD = US Dollars (otherwise assume the price is in pesos, even if it has a $ sign in front of it)
dep = dependecia, small room where personnel lives
depto = departamento, apartment
dño = dueño, apartment is rented by the owner, not the real estate agency
exc = excelente, excellent
Expens = expensas, condo fee (tenant to pay, unless otherwise stated)
fte = frente, front side of the building
+gtos = plus gastos, in addition to expenses tenant has to pay for utilities
impec = impeccable
lat = lateral, on the side of the building
lav = lavadora, washing machine
lum, lumin, luz, t/sol = luminoso, bright, sunny
mucam = mucama, maid service
nvo = Nuevo, new
paq = paquete (see t/incl), sometimes implies extras such as maid service
P.H. = propriedad horizontal, Housing in which the owners share certain attributes like stairs and main entrance and also have private property like patios. It is best to be compared with an old house in which several small houses are built.
pisc = piscine, pool
ptio = patio, back yard
pulmon = windows open into a narrow well that goes from the top to the bottom of the building
quinta = Casa Quinta/ Casa fin de semana, weekend retreat
s/gtía = sin garantia (no co-signer necessary – rare)
t/incl, tdo incluído = todo incluido, everything is included in the price
t/nvo = todo nuevo, everything is new (not necessarily brand new, may be remodeled)
temp = alquiler temporario (available for a short term rent)
toi = toilet
ubic = ubicacion, good location
vig = vigilancia, secured building
V/14-18 = you can see (ver) it from 2 to 6pm

For example, an ad might look like this:
Recoleta 580 | Alquiler ofrecido | Departamentos | 1amb
1amb +gtos 34m sol a/p ampl div temp pisc mucam 14-18 Guido 1888 8P XYZ IMBOBILIARIA 5555-5555

In Spanish, that would translate as:
Recoleta 580 pesos | Alquiler ofrecido | Departamentos | 1amb
1 ambiente, plus gastos, superficie 34 metros cuadrados, sol, apto professional, alquiler temporario, piscina, mucama, ver 14-18, calle Guido, altura 1888, departamento 8P

And in English:
Recoleta 580 pesos| For rent | Apartments | Studio
studio, condo fee and utilities not included, 34 square meters, sunny, can be used as an office, short term lease possible, pool, maid service, you can see it from 2-8pm, 1888 Guido, apartment 8ºP (8º means eighth floor)

Rental contracts in Argentina are usually for two years. Contracts with a lease period shorter than 2 years are considered temporary contracts and are usually listed in a separate section for short term rentals. Otherwise, listings of this type contain the word “temp” (alquiler temporario), or the minimum term of lease is explicitly specified (for example, “3mes”). You can call the number and ask whether they will consider renting the apartment for a short term. Many of them will agree to do it, but expect the rent to be significantly higher.

Rental contracts normally contain the following details:

Name, nationality and identification of the tenant and landlord

  • Address of the apartment
  • Description of the condition of the apartment (and furniture)
  • A clause stating fines for subletting
  • Exact amount of rent (in US$ and/or AR$) and conditions of payment
  • A clause stating fines for failure to pay rent and the right of the owner to initiate eviction procedures
  • The duration of the rental period and fines for exceeding the period
  • Agreement not to make any adjustments in the premises without the owners permission
  • Payment of utility costs and maintenance expenses
  • The amount of security deposit and the owner’s right to use the deposit for unpaid costs
  • Clause regarding where disputes will be solved
  • Signature of tenant and owner and the date of contract