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Gregg O. Courtad
New member
Username: Greggo

Post Number: 1
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, November 17, 2006 - 10:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'll write this in both Spanish and English because I really need some advice. I recently purchased a studio apartment in an ordinary middle-class building from the 1960s in Barrio Norte. I had planned to rehab it, but the architect is telling me that it is going to be very expensive because costs have gone up in Argentina and it almost costs as much to rehab in Buenos Aires as it does in the U.S. Is this true? Also, he told me to bring traveler's checks from the U.S. to pay him because I can easily cash them in the exchange houses and pay him in cash, but I've heard that it's difficult to cash traveler's checks in Argentina. Keep in mind that I don't think he's trying to overcharge me--I think he just isn't impressed with the building and really doesn't want the job. At any rate, I really need those two questions answered.

Yo compre un departamento en Barrio Norte en un edificio normal. Lo compre porque queria refaccionarlo, pero ahora el arquitecto me dice que los gastos de materiales y la mano de obra han subido tanto que cuesta casi lo que cuesta refaccionar en EE.UU. Tambien, me dijo que va a ser muy facil cobrar un cheque de viajero estadounidense en las casas de cambio en Buenos Aires. No creo que me quiera robar--creo que no le gusta la categoria de mi edificio y no quiere el trabajo. Sin embargo, necesito saber si es verdad que los gastos de hacer refacciones han subido increiblemente y si es facil cobrar un cheque de viajero en la Argentina.

Gracias,

Greggo
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Riyad Anabtawi
Intermediate Member
Username: Riyada

Post Number: 124
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 9:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Greggo
For starters try to get another more honest arquitect. This one doesn't seem to be honest with you. Not very common to cash travelers checks. But they are doable in few places.. You have to look around.
Don't know about materials. Prices have gone up, but I dont think they have reached US levels.
Definitely labor is way cheaper than the US.
Riyad
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 865
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 3:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Welcome!

1) Is this true? depends (see below).
2) I have no experience with travellers but the unanimous opinion at the forum seems to be "don't".

If you are currently living in BA and have the will and desire to look for handymen that could also get you the needed materials, recycling an apartment should be *very* inexpensive for the basic stuff (painting, carpeting, flooring, plumbing, lights, etc.). But if you are thinking on a designer type of remodeling, this can be costly. However, I can't imagine this costing the same as in the US.
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Riyad Anabtawi
Intermediate Member
Username: Riyada

Post Number: 125
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 3:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Roberto:
I would never ever go with handymen again here in Arg. As the proverb says here : "Lo barato es siempre caro".
Tons of big time "Chantas" here..
I would go with a professional construction company..
And if anything goes wrong with the construction company you can always resort to the Consumer Defense Agency; the best this country has to offer, and for free!
Believe me.. These words come from an experienced soul.
Riyad
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Tom
Advanced Member
Username: Diverdown48

Post Number: 282
Registered: 6-2006


Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2006 - 6:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

you can cash American Express travelers checks at the American Express office in Buenos Aires. there is a fee if you want dollars but, if I remember corectly, if you take pesos there is not a fee. you should be able to find out what it is when you buy the travelers checks.

As far as paying anyone who does remodeling work or building a new structure, you should never pay for it all up front. It is the accepted way in the US and in Argentina to pay in increments as the job is done. I remodeled my Argentina home by adding an upstairs loft and paid in partial payments as progress was made.

Anyone not willing to do this would not get my business. There are plenty of contractors in Buenos Aires that will do it the right way.
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Gregg O. Courtad
New member
Username: Greggo

Post Number: 2
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 2:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Does anyone know what limit the American Express office by San Martin Square has for cashing traveler's checks?

Or should I just transfer the money to my bank account in Baires to pay the architect? (All my assets are in the U.S. but I also have a bank account in Argentina, which I opened before the new rules considering foreigners went into effect.) If so, how much can I transfer from the U.S. to Buenos Aires without having to pay taxes? I am not currently a legal resident.

I very much appreciate the advice that the members of the forum have given me. You've helped me reach a decision. For now, I'm just going to have the architect get the apartment habitable in my absence, and then, when I return, I'll evaluate the situation, but I won't start anything major just yet.

Gracias!

Greggo

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