30 months

Michael and me in our new apartment! Holding the keys

Praise the Lord, today Michael and I celebrated the SIGNING of our apartment lease.  Our 30 MONTH lease.  Which is totally normal here.  And maybe 30 months doesn’t sound so long to most people, but for a girl on her 15th or so move, it is a serious COMMITMENT.   But it’s a good commitment.  So, in light of this momentous occasion, I thought I would take this opportunity to fill you in on what it’s like to rent an apartment here in São Paulo.

First of all, it’s EXPEN$IVE.  We feel like we got a great deal on our place but I’d say real estate here is comprable to San Francisco or New York.  Some people will say it’s more, some will say it’s less, but all in all I think the rental market is pretty similar.  Although in São Paulo, when you are calculating your monthly cost, you have to remember to factor in 1) Rent, 2) Condominium Fees, and 3) Taxes.  Instead of the landlord taking everything into account and giving you one bill, it is the renter’s responsibility to cover all of the costs.  You will quickly see that this is a common theme.

So secondly, when you rent in São Paulo, you are usually renting a place BARE BONES.  I’m talking no appliances, no light fixtures, sometimes no toilet seats or shower heads.  It is NORMAL for there to be random wires sticking out everywhere.  Renters here purchase their own appliances / fixtures and TAKE THEM WITH THEM when they leave.  This translates into being a major pain that ADDS to the cost of renting.  Our place LUCKILY had light fixtures and faucets, but we will definitely need to purchase appliances.  A quick note on this — appliances (and basically EVERYTHING else that one might need to buy in Brazil) are about about twice the price that they are in the US.  I can’t get into this right now (as it deserves to be it’s own post) but in the meantime I will link to THIS POST by my friends, the Joneses, on cost-of-living here.  BOOOO.

OK so next up about apartments in Brazil… the built-ins/small bedrooms.  All of the apartments that we looked at had TINY bedrooms.  This is influenced by the fact that all bedrooms have these random built-in closets which eliminates the need for Brazilians to put much furniture in their bedrooms.  Sounds OK but in my opinion the closets are usually really unattractive, poor quality, AND hello, we are bringing down a ton of bedroom furniture that will most certainly NOT fit in our bedroom.  It’s OK though.  We have a plan to re-do the built-ins and we’ll squeeze some of our furniture in the second bedroom. (Hear that friends??  Second bedroom = room for you to stay when you come VISIT!!!)

Another oddity that we had to get used to here is the inclusion of a Maid’s room/bathroom and a service entrance for each apartment.  This is really amazing to me for a few reasons.  First of all, we were not looking at large apartments.  These are small, compact, 2 bedroom places.  And yet it is such the cultural norm to have hired help (that often lives with you) to the point that even in these small apartments, there is still a designated (albeit TINY) room and bathroom for the maid.  The rooms seem hardly the size of a double mattress and the bathrooms are like those on an airplane, but nonetheless, there they are.  Usually they are off the laundry room which is off the kitchen.  Which leads me to the point that most kitchens here are more closed off and separated from the rest of the apartment.  The tradition is for the Empregada (maid) to work in the kitchen/laundry area so you would want to be able to close it off.  This is a bit sad to us as our place in San Francisco was totally open from the kitchen to the living & dining area and we loved that!  Oh well.  And, as I mentioned, there is always a separate “service entrance” that opens into the kitchen whereas the “main entrance” usually opens into the living area.  All a bit ODD to me.

So, when will we move in?  Well, this is a little tricky because we still haven’t gotten any of our stuff yet.  Supposedly our air shipment landed in Brazil on March 30th and is going through customs and our sea shipment is set to arrive in Brazil April 26th, but we expect 2 months of customs nonsense after it arrives so…we’ll see when we get it.  Right now our plan is to do a little work on the apartment and get our appliances this month so that we can move in May 1st, and we’ll just be renting furniture until we can get our stuff.  At this stage in our lives flexibility and a sense of humor are the key to happiness.  And tonight, we’re just happy that we found a place that we can commit to for the next 30 months.

9 thoughts on “30 months

  1. Did you actually write this since we’ve been home from dinner? Very impressive lady. Honestly, I still haven’t written about our apartment search/move in process. I may very well just reblog yours 🙂 Phenomenal seeing you tonight! Miss you already!!

  2. Love the picture of you all in your new apt – who took the picture?! Can’t wait to come visit!! It’s so exciting and a great adventure you all are on while living in a foreign country–you are making wonderful friends and memories!! Keep the posts and pictures coming! 🙂 LOVE Y’ALL!

    PS Will you be able to buy used appliances?

    • Thanks Mama! The landlord met us at the apartment last night to sign the finalized contract, hand over keys, etc. so I asked him to take a picture. We will definitely try to find used appliances but obviously it is a much smaller selection and you kind of have to get lucky. But we’re looking! Can’t wait for you to visit us in our new spot! xoxoxox

  3. This is so exciting! I can’t believe the places don’t come with appliances! The little things we take for granted!! 🙂

    I can’t wait to visit at some point!

    LOVE you!

  4. 30 months?? Wow! When you get your stuff, please take us on a virtual tour of the apartment. From your description, the tour should take less than 60 seconds! Have you ever considered writing for a magazine or tour company? I’m serious. Your blogs are very, very readable and tinged with some really great humor. Love you and Michael — Nan & Pa

    • Ha thanks Nan & Papa! We will definitely do a virtual tour when we have our things (in a couple of months). 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement on the blog and my writing. You’re the best.

  5. Pingback: Oh Brazil… | Jeans & A T-Shirt

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