Planning on renting a home in Costa Rica?
The home rental market in Costa Rica really just depends on who moved out that week and what became available! This can be a bit challenging especially for someone who knows they want to move in July, but they would feel better if they could secure something in May for when they will be down. It is typically an easy process to find rentals and here is some information and tips below to help you with finding yours!
Where to find rentals:
Facebook groups are extremely helpful for finding rentals! Some of my clients do not have Facebook, which is why I often help in this area! There are different local Facebook groups for each area in regards to rentals and general questions. You will want to post what you are looking for and your budget and then see what responses you get. Or on the pages, owners will also post their homes for rent so you can reach out and inquire.
I would recommend using Facebook groups if you are someone who wants to secure your rental months ahead of time before coming down. It is worth a try to post your arrival date and check to see if someone would agree to rent you their home then. Also do keep in mind that you would be agreeing to a place without seeing it in person, but perhaps it will be a good place for you to land until you can find something that is a better fit for you.
This is the Costa Rica version of Craigslist. You can also find rentals here and I used it to find a rental when I was living outside of San Jose before my daughter was born. It’s worth a try to take a look to see prices and availability in the areas that you are interested in.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth is powerful here in Costa Rica! If you have already landed and you are looking for another place to rent, start asking around to see what may be available in the area you’d like to live.
What to look for in a rental:
– Decide what you want to have in your rental – Strong wifi? AC? Hot water? Privacy from neighbors?
– What is your price point
– Proximity to what you need and the area you want to be in
A security deposit for your rental will depend on the owner. If a security deposit is required by an owner, it is typically equal to the first month of rent.
Contracts / Lease Agreements
This will also depend on the owner. There are rentals that require no lease or contracts, and other times where there may be a 6 month to 1 year lease.
Some owners rent out their homes only for the rainy season, April-November. Then when high season comes from December – March, they may want to rent it out to vacationers in order to make more income during those months. So make sure that it is understood how long you may rent so they won’t give you the boot come high season!
I have found subletting to be very lenient here! It is not a complicated process like it is in North America. If the owner of your rental gives you the go ahead on having someone rent your place temporarily but then you taking it back over afterwards, then it will be as simple as that! I have done this when I go back to the United States for a period of a month or a bit more. This helps cover the rent for that month!
Paying 6 months or more ahead of time
I would not recommend doing this unless you are absolutely sure that you LOVE the place, area, and everything about it! If paying 6 or more months ahead of time means getting a better price on your rental, then really make sure that it’s the right one for you for that long of a period. I have had some friends who did this and then their rental had issues with water, internet, they ended up feeling too isolated with the location, and the home owner was not honoring the terms that they had agreed to. In Costa Rica, it would be very very very difficult to ever get your money back in this instance unless the owner decides to do it.
The best time to look for a rental
The best time to look for a rental is between April and November. November is cutting it very close to high season! But still possible to find something. This is because when the tourist traffic slows down in April, more options open up and usually are at a lowered price.
– Go into the facebook groups for the area that you are interested in to see what types of rentals are available and for what prices. This will help you with your budget and give you an idea of the cost of living in each area you are considering.
– If you heavily rely on WIFI for your work or in general you want to have a higher speed service, I recommend asking the landlord to do a speed test for you to check the WIFI quality. There is another section dedicated to WIFI because I have relied on it heavily while living here for my work and businesses!
– Bring your own bed bug mattress cover with you!! Not to say that any of the rentals or mattresses I had ever had bed bugs, but I always slept nicely at night knowing that I was covered regardless! I would purchase a queen size as most beds will either be full or queen in a rental (or possibly a twin mattress, but it will still work for that too).
Things to note:
– If you do have AC in your rental and you need to use it often to feel comfortable, the electricity bill will be more and you will need to budget for that.
– Most rentals are typically furnished. There are PLENTY of furnished options available, so I would not recommend going with an unfurnished rental to start out. Especially if you will be trying out different areas. The last thing you want to do is haul a bunch of furniture around with you from place to place!
– If you do not have a car, how easy is it for you to access what you need from your rental? Always take this into consideration. You may not want to pay for a taxi or rely on the bus system every time you want to go load up on groceries! I always recommend when just making your move to Costa Rica to be close to what you need, within walking distance if possible unless you’ll have a car or will be getting one soon.
– When looking at rentals, also be aware of the neighborhood you are in. If many barking dogs or noise from close neighbors may be bothersome to you, then take that into consideration. In Costa Rica, many people have dogs so it can be common to hear barking. Luckily in my case I have never been close to ones that were overly disruptive, but it is something to make note of!
– Many rentals DO allow pets! As so many Costa Ricans have their own animals, I have found they are much more laid back with allowing pets and do not find it to be a big deal. This will also depend on the home owner! Perhaps if you are renting more of a luxurious home, the home owner may not allow pets or may require a deposit.
I hope these tips are helpful! Happy searching!
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