It started in about October of last year, the hunt. Armed with my trusty iPad I scoured the Internet listings for apartments in Sao Paulo. I viewed hundreds of photos, learned a lot of Portuguese vocabulary as I read the apartment descriptions and discovered the best and worst neighborhoods in this massive city. Once we arrived back from Canada in February, we had appointments to check out several places. I was hoping to be able to move in by the first of March. How naive of me!
While we found a place we really liked in a good part of town, the owner decided in the end to rent it to a friend of hers, so we were back on the hunt again. After an innocent suggestion by my mother in law, we considered looking at a different city, one that is a lot closer to the ministry we are involved with. So...to make a long story short, we are moving to a city called Mogi das Cruzes, east of Sao Paulo.
This long story of ours features lots of visits to different apartments, tossing back the pros and cons of renting a furnished place and many questions from me to David clarifying what the realtor had said (in Portuguese). In the end we settled on a small three bedroom place on the 14th (top) floor. We have an amazing view of the city.
I don't have a lot of experience in renting, the last time David and I had to rent was when we first got married. Living overseas we didn't really have a choice as to where we lived, but we also didn't have to do any of the legwork either! So there were a few things that stood out to me as we embarked on this search.
Getting everything settled with the contracts took a while as we had to scan documents, get a co-signer and witness to sign the contract, have the signatures notarized, send them off to the real estate company to have it forwarded to the owner who also has to go through the same signature process....All in all it felt like quite a long drawn-out process!
But, we finally got our keys and went to show the apartment to friends last Thursday. Imagine our surprise when none of the light bulbs we put in worked. Turns out there were several problems in the wiring that resulted in a short in the circuit for all the lights (and this is a new apartment!)
Another issue we face is switching voltage once again. Sao Paulo is mostly 110 volts, but everything in Mogi is 220. So we'll be calling in an electrician to come doctor up some of our wall sockets. We have to be super careful when plugging things in!
The only thing in our kitchen at the moment is a sink; a nice marble slab with a metal sink, oh, and a tap. It is very weird to me that the renters are responsible for "furnishing" the kitchen. Probably about 80% of the apartments I saw online were being rented this way. So now we are waiting for a few modular kitchen cabinets to be delivered and installed.
Did I mention our place is tiny? Here in Brasil we measure area in square meters and our apartment is about 67; that's about 720 square feet! But it is ours and we are excited about turning it into a home! More to come with photos as the adventure continues...
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