Last year I covered my experience in renting three different unfurnished apartments in Medellín in a popular four-part series. Read the first part here, the second part here, the third part here and the fourth part here.
After living in the same apartment in Belén for past two years I thought I would be able to renew my lease for another year. But, unfortunately, the owner of the apartment wanted his apartment back as he wanted to live in it.
So I found myself searching for an apartment in Medellín last month with my soon to be Colombian wife. We fortunately found the perfect apartment for us in Sabaneta.
Finding the perfect apartment in Medellín (for us)
Medellín has a variety of options for apartments available in a broad range of prices (from less than $200 to well over $2,000 per month) to meet the needs of renters.
In many neighborhoods, you can also find two-story attached row housing. You won’t however find in Medellín many single-family detached homes that are common in the U.S. You have to get outside of the city to find these.
I have already lived in Medellín for four years, and I know the city very well, so I know what type of apartment would be perfect for us.
I also have researched the unfurnished apartment market in Medellín, which was covered in two articles on this website (Apartment Rental Costs in Medellín and 4 Inexpensive Neighborhoods for Apartment Rentals in Medellín), so I know the neighborhoods in the city well.
We wanted an apartment in a high-rise with 24×7 security on a higher up floor with a balcony with an excellent view. In addition, we wished to find an apartment within walking distance to a grocery store and close to the metro.
We also wanted to find an apartment in a building that is not close to a major street to avoid noise from traffic. We also wanted to be in an Estrato 4 or 5 neighborhood.
Also, we wanted the apartment to have Claro Internet/TV/phone service available and for it to have a kitchen with an oven.
We also wanted to find an apartment that was larger than the 78 square meter apartment we were moving out of. We were looking for an apartment with at least 90 square meters of space.
My fourth apartment search
We used a combination of methods to find an apartment in Medellín. We found some apartments ourselves by walking around and finding rental signs in windows and using the Espacio Ubano website.
We also used my real estate agent in Medellín, who I have rented from over the past three-plus years.
Since I already know the market in Medellín very well, we limited our search to just a few neighborhoods. We did not want to look in popular neighborhoods for foreigners like El Poblado or Envigado as we want to live in a less expensive area.
There were two apartments available in our existing building in Belén, which we looked at but decided they didn’t meet our needs, as we wanted to move to a larger apartment. We looked at a few other apartments nearby in Belén, but we didn’t find one large enough that we liked.
We also looked at a few apartments in Bello in the Niquia barrio near the Puerta del Norte mall. We like this area, which is convenient to the metro and a large shopping mall as well as Exito and Euro grocery stores.
Niquia has several inexpensive apartments, but we didn’t find any larger apartments that we liked.
We also like the Sabaneta area. Sabaneta has many new apartment buildings that have been built over the past few years, so it has many apartments available to rent. We looked at seven apartments in Sabaneta with my real estate agent and found one we liked.
We signed a lease for this apartment, but, unfortunately, the owner changed his mind and was unsure about renting it, and we didn’t have time to wait on this owner to make up his mind, so we looked at more places in Sabaneta.
My real estate agent said he wanted to show us an apartment in Sabaneta that he thought we would really like based on our comments about other apartments, and he was right. We signed a year-long lease the next day.
The Sabaneta metro station is located about a 20-minute walk away, and an inexpensive bus route (1,700 pesos) to the metro station runs right in front of our apartment building.
We also have found that three grocery stores in Sabaneta offer domicilio (delivery) services: Euro, Supermercado Sabaneta and Merkepaisa.
Moving to the new apartment
We have some big pieces of furniture, plus a fridge and wash machine to move, so we wanted to use professional movers.
My real estate agent recommended a moving company, which we called. This mover showed up as scheduled with a crew of three, and they took about three and a half hours to pack up, drive to the new apartment and unload.
The move was painless, nothing was damaged, and the cost was only 300,000 pesos ($112).
My fourth apartment specifications:
- Brand new, never been lived in before
- Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, about 110 square meters (1,184 square feet)
- Kitchen with granite countertops, oven, and gas cooktop
- Gas water heater (tankless)
- 10th floor in a high-rise building, with two balconies
- Pool, sauna and small gym in building
- 24×7 security
- Estrato 4 neighborhood
- Cost: 1,350,000 pesos per month, which is $503 per month at an average exchange rate of 2,685 pesos per USD
My real estate agent has offered to rent the apartment for another year, so we plan to sign another lease to lock in the price for the apartment another year.
The Bottom Line
With the recently improved exchange rate our new apartment in Sabeneta costs less in terms of USD than the rent we paid over the past two years for a 41 percent smaller apartment in Belén.
I fortunately have exchanged sufficient funds at an average exchange rate of 2,685 pesos to the USD to enable paying another year of rent to lock in $503 per month in rent for two years.
A similar sized (110 square meters) and similar quality unfurnished three-bedroom apartment in El Poblado would likely rent for at least 1,800,000 pesos ($668) per month based on my earlier research and confirmed by my real estate agent.
In El Poblado, a similar apartment would be at least 33 percent more expensive. The bottom line is if you want to save money on apartments in Medellín, you can save substantially by looking outside of El Poblado.
My other living costs will also be less expensive than if I lived in El Poblado. Groceries are less expensive in Sabaneta and utilities are less expensive compared to the mostly Estrato 6 neighborhoods in El Poblado.
Plus pretty much everything else in Sabaneta we have discovered is less expensive than in El Poblado, including restaurants, items in the drugstores, and clothing and other items found in nearby stores.