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 prices.

Types of accommodation in Chile

Expats will find accommodation in Chile in the form of apartments (piezas) or houses (casas). Both furnished (amoblado) and unfurnished (sin muebles) options are available in Chilean cities. Unfurnished apartments will come with limited furniture or appliances (usually ovens and hobs, sometimes light fittings). It is often possible to negotiate to have other appliances included as well. 

Properties in Chile are not always built for the weather conditions in the country. Newly constructed buildings usually have central heating but almost never have air conditioning. Expats should find that this is not too much of a problem, as the Chilean summer is not particularly hot except in the northern desert regions.

Finding accommodation in Chile

Finding an apartment or house in Chile can be complicated if expats don’t speak Spanish, so it’s best for expats 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 newspapers generally have an extensive properties listing section, while many supermarkets have bulletin boards where properties for rent are advertised. Expats can also take a drive through an area that they like, looking for “se arrienda” signs.

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. Landlords are often flexible and shorter terms are easily negotiated, although usually at a higher price. Rental agreements 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 usually negotiate to pay a larger security deposit instead. 

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.