Cost of Living in Loja Ecuador - Rent a place


Even a rental apartment's fancy kitchen might not have appliances

To start, I recommend that new arrivals to Loja rent an Airbnb for a month or two while researching exactly where to live. In fact, one solution that can work well is to rent a place by the week and then each week move to different neighborhood of the city. This gives an excellent experience to learn about the various neighborhoods and one can walk around to look for signs that say "Arrienda" (Rent).

Walking a neighborhood is a good way to discover properties, and also get a feel for amenities like local tiendas (shops), bars, bus stops, parks and playgrounds, schools, etc. Renting a place for a week can also be informative about noise (trucks, zumba classes, discos), air pollution, the friendliness of stray dogs, etc.

An Airbnb rental in Loja can be had for as little as $13 per night, or as much as $120! Of course, prices reflect such differences as location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen facilities, and other items that have the same influence on renting a more permanent apartment. It should also be noted that some Airbnb "stays" (as they are called) offer discounts for booking by the week or by the month, so the price per day can be even lower.

Hunting for an apartment to call home is a little more difficult process in Loja than most North Americans expect. Yes, there are some listings online (OLX and Facebook Marketplace are the most common) but many landlords in Loja are still just putting up signs (like mentioned above) or using word-of-mouth to advertise their openings. Some realtors will also have rentals available - these are likely to be houses that are for sale but can be rented while awaiting a buyer.

Apartments in Loja may be found for as little as $130/month and on up to $600 or more. The higher priced offerings might include utilities, have a garage, be centrally located, have some appliances, and perhaps even be furnished.

When it comes to figuring out the cost of living for rentals in Loja, one thing that may surprise you is that the majority of places do not come with installed appliances. The expectation is that you will already have, or will buy, your own refrigerator, stove, washing machine, and whatever else you desire. Granted, these are a one-time, up-front expense but you will also be paying to move them with you whenever you change locations. Just something to consider as a part of your cost of housing.

Maybe you're thinking about renting a house instead of an apartment? Prices here range from $250 per month on up to $1300 or more. The same factors play into price: LOCATION, number of rooms, amenities, age of the building, furnishings, and more but also the size of the yard or courtyard if there is one.

Whether an apartment or a house, landlords will want a deposit along with the first month's rent. Some will expect the deposit to be one month, some will insist on two month's worth. Leases are commonly for one year with the option to renew for one additional year. Note that if you decide to leave at the end of your first year then you must provide 90 days notice to the landlord. Also, if the landlord intends to raise your rent after one year then they must provide you with 90 days notice. Otherwise, the lease simply renews for that second year unchanged.

In some cities (for example, Cuenca) it can be difficult to get your deposit back. I don't think that is so much the case here in Loja but landlords may reduce the deposit by the amount of damages you leave behind. Best advice? Negotiate at the beginning to have your deposit be for no more than one month's rent and then be happy if you get some or all of it back.

Utility costs will depend on your living style and number of residents occupying the space, but (for two people) monthly electric bills could be around $10, water around $10, internet from $20 and up, gas (for cooking or hot water) under $10, and a landline phone under $10. Most places do not have (or need) air conditioning or central heat but if you have those then your utility costs will be higher. Also, size of family will make a difference - how many teenagers are taking long showers every day?

You see, the numbers here are only to give you a sense of an average cost of living for a rental situation in the city of Loja. Your mileage may vary.

Jonathan Poma
BEST ADVICE: Get help. Even if your Spanish is excellent or you've lived in other parts of Latin America, having a local person show you around and represent you in negotiating prices and lease details can make a big difference in the final outcome. A local can steer you toward better barrios, make initial contacts with landlords and "feel them out," help find deals on appliances and furniture, assist in arranging for Internet and other utilities, and in many other ways help you find and settle into a place you'll be happy to call home. Hiring a bilingual personal assistant can result in big savings in the long run. Email me, or call or message on WhatsApp to 593-098-674-5994 and let's chat.

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