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Expat Exchange - How to Rent a Home in Guatemala
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Guatemala City, Guatemala


How to Rent a Home in Guatemala

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: Renting a home in Guatemala for the first time can be daunting. You probably have so many questions: Do I need a lawyer? Do rentals come with appliances? How do I find good rentals? How do I choose the right neighborhood? The list goes on and on. Here are answers to some of the top questions plus insight from our members living in Guatemala.

Navigating the process of renting a home in Guatemala for the first time can feel overwhelming. Numerous questions might arise: Should I consult a lawyer? Are appliances typically included in rentals? How can I discover quality rental properties? Which neighborhoods will best suit my needs? These are just the tip of the iceberg. Dive in for answers to these pressing questions and gain insights from our members who've made Guatemala their home.

"Relocating to a new country can be an exciting yet challenging experience, and finding a place to live is one of the most important aspects of this process. If you're planning to move to Guatemala, this guide will provide you with all the necessary information about renting an apartment in this beautiful Central American country. From finding a rental property to understanding the legalities involved, this guide will help you navigate the rental market in Guatemala with ease.

How Do You Find a Rental Property in Guatemala?

There are several ways to find rental properties in Guatemala. Online property portals and classified websites are a good starting point. Websites like Encuentra24 and OLX Guatemala list a wide range of properties across the country. Local newspapers also have property listings. Alternatively, you can hire a real estate agent to help you find a suitable property. Word of mouth can also be effective, so let your local contacts know that you're looking for a place to rent.

Does Guatemala Have an MLS Type System?

Guatemala does not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) like in the United States. This means that real estate agents do not share their listings with each other. Therefore, it's a good idea to work with multiple agents to get access to a wider range of properties.

Do Brokers Have Licenses and How Do I Know If They Are Licensed?

Yes, real estate brokers in Guatemala are required to have a license. The Guatemalan Chamber of Real Estate (Camara de Corredores de Bienes Raices) oversees the licensing process. To verify if a broker is licensed, you can ask to see their license or check with the Chamber.

Should I Buy or Rent in Guatemala?

Whether to buy or rent depends on your personal circumstances and long-term plans. Renting can be a good option if you're not sure how long you'll be staying in Guatemala or if you prefer flexibility. Buying might be a better choice if you plan to stay for a long time and want to invest in property. However, buying property as a foreigner in Guatemala can be complex, so it's important to seek legal advice.

Is It Difficult to Find Rentals in Guatemala?

Finding a rental in Guatemala is not typically difficult, especially in larger cities like Guatemala City. However, the process can be time-consuming, particularly if you're looking for a property in a specific neighborhood or with certain amenities. It's also worth noting that rental prices can vary significantly depending on the location and the condition of the property.

What Documents Are Required When Renting an Apartment in Guatemala?

When renting an apartment in Guatemala, you'll typically need to provide a copy of your passport, proof of income or employment, and references. Some landlords may also require a Guatemalan guarantor. If you're renting through an agency, they may have additional requirements.

Do I Need a Lawyer When Renting an Apartment in Guatemala?

While it's not mandatory to have a lawyer when renting an apartment in Guatemala, it's highly recommended. A lawyer can review the rental contract, ensure that it's legally sound, and advise you on your rights and obligations as a tenant. The cost of hiring a lawyer can vary, but it's generally affordable and can save you potential legal issues in the future.

How Long Is the Typical Lease For?

The typical lease term in Guatemala is one year. However, shorter or longer lease terms may be available depending on the landlord's preferences and the tenant's needs.

Do I Have to Pay a Deposit?

Yes, it's standard practice in Guatemala to pay a security deposit when renting an apartment. The deposit is usually equivalent to one month's rent, but it can be higher depending on the landlord's policies.

What Other Upfront Costs Are There When Renting?

In addition to the security deposit, you may also need to pay the first month's rent upfront. If you're using a real estate agent, you'll need to pay their fee, which is typically around one month's rent. Some landlords may also charge an application or administrative fee.

Are Utilities Included?

Whether utilities are included in the rent depends on the rental agreement. In some cases, utilities such as water, electricity, and gas may be included in the rent. In other cases, tenants are responsible for setting up and paying for these services themselves. Utilities in Guatemala are generally affordable, but the cost can vary depending on usage.

Are Furnished or Unfurnished Rentals More Popular?

Both furnished and unfurnished rentals are available in Guatemala. Furnished apartments typically include basic furniture and appliances, such as a bed, sofa, refrigerator, and stove. Unfurnished apartments usually only include major appliances. Furnished apartments are often more expensive, but they can be a convenient option if you're not planning to bring or buy your own furniture," said one expat living in Guatemala.

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Expats Talk about What Type of Housing They Live In

"Another option is with an RV at the RV park park in Paulin. Full service RV park located on Highway CA9 accelerometer 34 called Automariscos permanent space for RVs," said one expat living in Guatemala.

Expats Talk about How they Found their Home

"By accident.. renting a place and discovering the area. Arrived without knowing the area, first struck by the climate and then by the locals. I found my house by world of mouth," commented an expat living in Panajachel.

"One of the best ways to find a place to live in Guatemala is to use online resources such as websites and classifieds. Websites such as Encuentra24.com and Craigslist Guatemala are great resources for finding rental properties. Additionally, you can also search for rental properties on Facebook groups such as Guatemala Rentals and Guatemala Real Estate. Additionally, you can also contact local real estate agents who can help you find a place to live in Guatemala," said an expat in Guatemala.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Guatemala City, Guatemala

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