We went house hunting this week. I called the local Century 21 office and we sent around with an agent. Her name is Claudia and she spoke very good English. The first house we looked at was huge and beautiful. It is located downtown and has a large wall around the entire thing. It has a yard with an outdoor dining area and grass (something of a rarity down here). The house had 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. There was a separate maids housing out back and two additional bathrooms outside. They are wanting 17,000 pesos (about $1,500 USD per month). This is out of our budget, but I wanted to see the house anyway. The agent finally admitted that she thought the house was overpriced and that we could get something similar for around $900 per month. She told us if we were interested we could make an offer and see what happens. The house is hard to see from the photo because it is surrounded by a wall. Since there were people living there, I didn't feel right snapping photos inside.
We looked at a few other houses. There was another huge house on the mountain that was going for about $900 USD per month. It looked nice but when we started to go in a large friendly German Shepard mix greeted us at the gate. Our agent was deathly afraid of dogs, so I suggested we come back and see that house later when when the dog wasn't at home. The view from this house would have been spectacular. Unfortunately the mountain has more scorpions than the other areas, so we'd have to have it sprayed or something. $900 USD is still more than what we want to pay, but since we had an agent I wanted to get an idea of what different places went for. I couldn't get back far enough to get a good photo of the front of the house (without falling off the mountain), it has a large yard and parking up behind what you see in this photo.
There was another place we looked at that was near the foot of the mountain for about $450 per month. It was nice, but not really in the location we want. It is probably more along the lines of what we'll want to get if we can find one closer to downtown. It had 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths plus one in the maid's quarters. It was also located in a place where there were scorpions, but other than that the neighborhood looked nice and safe.
There is a neighborhood near our friends where we go walking hoping to find a house for rent. The agent said there was a house going to be available in that neighborhood in the next few days. It is near downtown, but on streets that don't go all the way through (less traffic). Most of the houses look very nice and well taken care of. She is going to call us when we can go see it.
Going with an agent is much more expensive that gong with individuals Based on what I can see, I think the prices are about 50% more with agent listed houses. However, it is much easier to get a feel for what is available when an agent can take you around and show you a bunch of houses at one time. Our friends rent their place for $200 per month. If we could find something similar that would be great.