Written by Shanie
We had ambitious plans for a mountain bike ride on the newly-melted-out and tacky trails but woke to the howling winds. The thick clouds raced each other across the bright blue sky.
We decided to use the chilly but beautiful day to do the Sunday drive thing and check out available properties out there. My parents, as I mentioned before, are coming to visit and want to see what’s available.
Jamie compiled a list a few weeks back. We did a double check and went through the various listings to make sure nothing had been added. We had about ten different houses on the list, three of them new.
I should give a little background on the real estate market here. It is not easy to see or get information on houses in Argentina, let alone Bariloche. There is no such thing as a MLS list and agents do not share information. They feel that they are loosing out on potential income if not representing both the buyer and seller. For that reason, spending the time studing the market via the local property magazines and internet sites is imperative to getting a variety of choices from different agents. Otherwise they will only show you what they list. As well, sometimes the details and often bad photos found in the advertisements don’t quite match the real thing. Furthermore, a surprising amount of properties are listed with no asking price. So, a fair amount of investigative work needs to be done.
The days journey included different neighborhoods that we had never visited before.
Out towards where we live, on the west end of Avenida Bustillo it is amazing to me how the dirt roads wander through the forests. The twists and turns of the dirt road often becomes the driveway of a beautiful log cabin. We noticed that they were putting gas into some of the more isolated areas, farther off of Avenida Bustillo. This is a great thing. Gas is very expensive here if it is not piped into the home, as much as ten times the cost of city gas. We learned this the hard way last summer with our rental by Lago Guiterrez.
There are seven criteria that we look for when wading through the hundreds of options out there. Here’s what we look for in Bariloche property:
- Aspect: It can get cold here and sun is imperative (especially in the winter). Properties with a northern exposure receive the most sun. We think northwest is the perfect aspect for getting all day sun and enjoying the incredible Patagonian sunsets.
- Access: There are a lot of homes that have good aspects and views but have steep, gravel roads for access. Pretty much every Argentine drives a two wheel drive. I have no idea how they make it up or down some of the roads in bad weather. If the ruts are any indication, I don’t think I want to be anywhere near when it is snowing.
- Location: As with all real estate; location, location, location. No more words are needed.
- Services: As I mentioned before, gas can be very expensive if not piped into city gas. It is also important to check the ability of internet because there are some areas where DSL internet service is not available, thus leaving satellite as the only option (which is fairly experience). In addition to the cost, we learned from our time living on the farm that there is a slight delay when using Skype with a satellite.
- Rent-ability: For us, we feel that buying property should have the ability to be an asset in multiple ways. Appreciation is a great thing but if you are making rental income in the mean time, all the better. This is also why we favor houses or apartments over lots. Lots can’t make an income until a large amount of money is invested in construction.
- Neighborhood: We look at the neighborhood in general. Some neighborhoods feel classier and better taken care of than others. Like in all real estate, there seems to be some neighborhoods that take more pride in their area than others.
- Neighbors: This may sound the same as neighborhood but is a bit different. A great neighborhood can be tainted by the not-so-great neighbor.
UPDATE APRIL 8, 2010