Expat guide for moving in Buenos Aires
Purchase Homeowner Insurance
It’s a good idea to purchase homeowners insurance; for new properties it may be a requirement. If you are purchasing a condo in a building, the building will have insurance in case of a fire that will be included in your monthly fees (known as ‘expensas’). This covers the common areas such as hallways, entrance, elevators, etc. of the building, but not your actual unit. You will need to purchase a separate insurance policy for your unit. These can be purchased from the main local banks such as Santander Rio or HSBC, or from a local trusted insurance company like Mapfre or Allianz.
If you are renting a furnished apartment from a management company (such as Apartments BA), you won’t need to purchase separate insurance for the unit, as the responsibility falls on the owner. If, however, you want to insure your personal property inside the home, you will need to purchase a separate policy. The rental policies are sold in six-month terms from the same companies previously mentioned.
Gas, electricity, and water are quite inexpensive due to government subsidies. They should cost only a few pesos per month. If you are renting a furnished apartment from a management company, the utilities will be included and that will be specified in the lease contract. If you are purchasing or renting an unfurnished property, you’ll need to set up your own gas, electricity, and water. Most companies require a deposit of anywhere between AR$100-200, which is non-refundable. This covers the basic set-up costs, but if a technician has to come to your residence you’ll be charged an additional $80-90. The companies bill monthly, typically, but you can set up your account to be billed in two-month increments. Bills can be paid via personal checks or credit card. Rapipago is a service that allows bill payments via telephone and at hundreds of physical locations around the city (mainly pharmacies and supermarkets).
You will receive separate billing for gas, electricity, and water. Below are listed the companies and their websites.
Metrogas is the lone gas provider in the city. The website is in Spanish, and you’ll most likely have to navigate the process in Spanish. Ask your realtor for help with this, as the reputable ones who are used to dealing with foreigners include this in part of their services.
Nucleoelectrica Argentina is an electricity provider. The website is in Spanish, but ask your realtor for help in this arena.
Edesur is an electricity provider. The website is also in Spanish.
Edenor is another electricity provider. The website is in English.
Aysa is the water provider for Buenos Aires. The website is in Spanish.
The Argentina postal service is Correo Argentino, and there are locations throughout the city. The main location is the Correo Central, located at Antartida Argentina 1900, in the Retiro area. The hours of the different branches are from Monday-Friday, 10am-8pm, and on Saturday 10am-1pm.
From any location you can set up your mail by taking your DNI (or passport), as well as your lease contract or purchase contract, which lists your name and the address where you wish to receive your mail. You will have to go to an actual location to do this because you actually register your address through the Registro Civil, which has windows inside the correos. As of now, there is no way to register your address (or change your mailing address) through either website.
You can ship internationally through Correo Argentino, DHL (website in English), FedEx(website in English), or UPS (website in English). The latter three are significantly more expensive, but much more reliable.