Expat Exchange
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia

Real Estate in Colombia

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: People living in Colombia offer advice about real estate. How do you find a home in Colombia? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

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How do I find a place to live in Colombia?

Live in Colombia? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Found on fincaraiz.com. Friend checked it out, said it was good, negotiated with owner, came down two weeks before move, checked it out, signed papers," explained one expat living in Medellin, Colombia.

"I visit the area many times and was in love with the Cerritos, Cartage and Quindio area. This area is safer than the USA," said another person in Cartago.

"Traveling through Colombia i stumbled upon a town called Guatape 1 hour from Medellin," added another expat who made the move to Guatape.

"Found Medellin from a friend - climate is perfect 75 days, 65 nights for sleeping(other cities climate can be much colder), good infrastucture equal to USA (drinkable water - no bottled water, low cost hydroelectric, same voltage - no convertor, natural gas in ground) and products / services (from USA, we are very accustomed to finding everything we want) and the people are very friendly / helpful Find a good English speaking real estate agent (Andrew - Apartments Medellin) because they will generally understand also more of your needs. The local agents tend to help their friends and do not show what you will want (no MLS services here). Look for US designed and constructed housing or you will miss all your conveniences (from experience)," explained one foreigner living in Medellin, Colombia.

"Several American friends live in the Cartago-Cerrito-Alcala-Quindio areas. Just outside Cartago is a paradise. The Cerritos or Quindio areas i think is one of the best places in the world to have a good life. A little bit expensive but you can have great choices from $100k to $300k. Several acres, swimming pool, everything you did not have in the USA. or if you want you can buy a house in El Prado neighborhood for $70k. Fantastic," said another in Cartago.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Colombia?

Live in Colombia? Answer this Question

"I have a US $70,000 home I found and fell in love with. This home in the Gig harbor area in WA will cost $600,000. Some expats buy homes in more expensive areas out of town for US $120,000 with swimming pools and entertainment areas," explained one expat living in Cartago, Colombia.

"Look for US designed and constructed condos - real estate values here are appreciating rapidily (similar to Panama 10-15 years ago) and dollar is falling so NOW is a good time to invest here (do not waste money on rent) US style housing is NOT common here - typical housing is more european (my 1st apartment) with smaller box rooms and closed in feeling, miss the US kitchen and bath design including appliances in typical housing here (my new condo is US design and is good), much construction here is NOT equal to US standards (no inspection process) and could require much money for repairs," said another person in Medellin.

"Anything you want. You can start at $40K to $300k. Nice neighborhoods around $70k and very luxurious country homes with swimming pools , air, cable, 5000', barbeque areas, security, etc. They are like fancy homes in a country club," added another expat who made the move to Cartago.

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What is the average cost of housing in Colombia?

Live in Colombia? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Colombia, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Lower. Comparative USD $3,000+. I pay USD $1,400 or lower depending on exchange rate, for 90 sq mt, live in Poblado, many apts are less expensive. I know people who live nicely on monthly Social Security, they stay out of high rent places a couple of blocks of Poblado Avenue, literally," remarked another foreigner who made the move to Medellin.

"One dollar in the area will buy the equivalent of $9 dollars in the USA. I have a car if I want to drive, however at less than US$1 for a taxi ride in town, I prefer for them to pick me up. You can live in Colombia on US $2000 with a maid cleaning, cooking. I travel to the coast for six days for US $500. I live like a king," explained one person living in Cartago, Colombia.

"Costs are MUCH lower as average wages are US$300 / month. With $500 / month, you can live like a king - Utilities $100 (no heating or cooling required), health $50 max with insurance and co-pay, food $250 (buy local grown/made products), other $100 for restaurants ($5 dinner), taxi $5 or bus / metro $0.65 / trip. Housing starts at $100k for good quality US style design - do not waste money on rent as real estate is a good investment here," said another expat in Medellin.

"Equivalent housing to the USA, what cost in Seattle $6 dollars, cost $1 in the area. take your pick. A $1.2 million home in Seattle costs $200,000. A $500,000 dollar home about $80,000," remarked another member in Cartago.

Should I buy or rent a home in Colombia?

Live in Colombia? Answer this Question

If you have not spent a lot of time in Colombia, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"We knew we had come to stay for several years or more. So we rented an unfurnished apartment. Some friends referred us to locals and the process was very easy. We bought a few things new like mattresses, TV and recliners, but all the rest of the furniture was used and we got some bargains. We had to buy lots of accessories, and those cost more than we counted on, but we have them now and they aren't going anywhere. In 3+ years, we have had 5 different homes. We could not have had all our adventures if we had purchased a home," added another expat who made the move to Medellin.

"We built a beautiful country home. Again, the family helped throughout this process. From land purchase to completion of the house took a total of around 18 months," explained one foreigner living in Medellin, Colombia.

"We are currently renting, but when I get there permanently next year, we will be buying. We actually were able to sign up for a government plan through a local bank. We make monthly deposits & in a year, they'll offer us our mortgage," said another in Cali.

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.

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Cartagena, Colombia

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Colombia GuideColombia Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Colombia.

Colombia Forum Colombia Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Colombia on our Colombia forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Colombia Index Colombia Index
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Contribute to Colombia Network Contribute
Help others in Colombia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Colombia.

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Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Colombia.

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