Coming Soon for a visit and need advice

My husband and I are looking to retire to PR in a year and will be down to visit the island next month. I'm a new member here and need advice on good real estate agents (for house rental) and the best locations to consider near the San Juan area. We would like to stay near SJ as the VA Caribbean Heathcare System is there and my husband is a veteran.

Thanks for any advice you may have.

renwilson :

My husband and I are looking to retire to PR in a year and will be down to visit the island next month. I'm a new member here and need advice on good real estate agents (for house rental) and the best locations to consider near the San Juan area. We would like to stay near SJ as the VA Caribbean Heathcare System is there and my husband is a veteran.

Thanks for any advice you may have.

I can recommend a good realtor but you could also use the classifieds
What sort of place are you looking for and how much you need to be sorounded by other mainlanders?
You can click on my avatar and send me a private message if you prefer.
Best location is relative, it depends on what you are looking for

Here are come questions to consider, just think about them, no need to answer them here, these are things to consider, you have a year.
Do you want to live in the Old San Juan?
Do you want to live in a gated community?
Do you need a pool in the community or your house?
Do you want a condo or a house?
Do you need a fenced yard?
Do you have kids that need to go to school?
How far is too far for you to drive to the VA hospital?
How is your Spanish?
Do you want a house where next door they have dogs outside all day that bark?
Do you want to grow some fruits and plants?
What sort of activities you like that you need to be close to?
Why do you want to live in San Juan area, what you think you get there that attracts you so much?
Do you want to be close to the beach? Maybe at the beach, maybe a few street away, maybe 15 minutes by car?
Will you own a boat and need a marina?
Do you scuba or snorkel or like to surf? - Are you willing to travel for those activities?

Crime is greater in the metro areas, most of it is is either drug related or crimes of opportunity (leave something in the car and somebody breaks in, or walking alone in deserted area).

Living in the metro area may or may not be best for you, start thinking about the above questions, they will help you narrow down what sort of place will make you happy.

Also think about your budget, most rentals do not include uilities or furniture, they mostly include a stove and refrigerator, sometimes a washer. Check the contract well, you may not be able to break the lease if there is something you dont like. If not in the contrAct then it does not mater what you were told. The contract is the law, renters rights are minimal.
Not sure how familiar you are with PR and the metro area, you may consider coming for an extended vacation and get a guide to show you different comunities and what is there.
Most realtors will not show you places unless you are ready to rent, you will be in PR in a month but not renting for close to a year.

I can maybe find a guide for you if interested, He will likely charge by the day.

I agree with Rey; clasificados is a great resource! If you cannot read Spanish, use the Google Chrome browser, it has a great right click (anywhere on the page) translate to English.  Read previous posts, and ask away!

Maybe I should not be concerned, but I am.

The poster renwilson, may or may not be familiar with PR, this is their first and only post. They could easily end up renting in the wrong side of town or end up paying a lot of money for additional security that may not be needed.

People need to be well informed or end up making costly mistakes, that is why I suggested an extended vacation and a guide.

I can not know what the medical issues are or how often they will need to seek help at the VA hospital, but if only once or twice a month I would recommend an hour or two drive and live in a nicer place where their money goes further and their safety is better.

We have people in Rincon for example that use the VA that is about 2 hours away, so it is doable to live farther from the hospital and have great quality of life.Many places in the area are 45 minutes to an hour away that are very desirable locations.

Unfortunately I have not heard from renwilson yet so it is hard to properly advice them, maybe they like the hustle and bustle of the metro area and want to be around a lot of expats, I do not know.

The VA is also in Ponce and Guayama. Maybe other sites that I do not know.  Puerto Rico is big and varied.  Come, meet with some of us, look at different parts of the island. Contact me if you want to see where I live, which is in Palmas del Mar in Humacao, on the east coast.

Thank you all for your responses. My husband does not go to the VA but a few times yearly. We are considering moving to PR as it is part of the US so there will be no extensive need for visa status etc. I am unsure as to what is the best area to consider. Research has told me Condado, Dorado, Rincon and Carolina are great, safe areas to consider. We are will be there this week to visit the island to see if we enjoy the culture and the area and plan to rent a car to check some rental properties. So far I have spoken with Estella Ramirez through zillow rentals to look at some properties from classificados.  I know some spanish and can read it (for the most part), but what I don't recognize I translate through Google. We would like to be no more than an hour from the VA hospital and maybe 20-30 mins from the beach area.

Thanks again for the info so far.

Condado is safe, and the beach is right there. You can walk to just about everything. Old Town is 2 miles away, or you can ride the free trolley that goes back and forth from Candado to Old Town. My apartment in VSJ will be available for rent next month. It's 2 bedroom plus den and has a 180 degree view of the ocean.

Carolina I would not consider safe. I lived there for many years and has gotten worst and overcrowded.
I grew up in some of the worst areas of Hato Rey and Santurce with gangs in scools and the area.

Condado is nice but exxpensive, Dorado is Nice. Rincon is about two hours to VA, but a nice place to live, getting a little crowded with so many Mainlanders, most busnesses cater mostly to mainlanders, spectacular sunsets as the sun sinks into the sea. PR surfing competitions there, reminds me of California in many ways.

Old San Juan is very quaint, historic and a lot of night life, a little noisy. Lots of festivals, dancing places and restaurants.

78 towns in PR, each has its own feel

Thanks! I will check out the link.

Okay so some time has past since our trip to PR as well. As first timers we opted to stay at the Wyndham in Isle Verde, Carolina. We had a car rental and met up with a realtor who we followed to a condo in Fajardo. It was decent and we liked the area. The next place she showed us was an apartment in Carolina. It was a multi-family unit with the 3 BD, 2 BA upstairs. It was okay but the houses were really close together. The last place we saw on our own and just happen to find it. It was in Aguadilla, a multi-family unit completely for sale. We completely fell in love with that one as it had investment opps too. However, driving past public housing would not fit into the idea we had for the idea of vacation rental ops for others. We loved visiting Arecibo, Aguadilla, and Isabella. Upon returning home, we have decided to take a year to handle all financial details: sale our house, sale items, etc. and we'll need to settle on one of these areas to find an English speaking private HS for our daughter who'll be with us. Our plan is to get a yr. house rental before purchasing

Hey renwilson,
Over all sounds like you have a good plan. The only possible twist is to ensure you rent close to the school and in the general area of where you may decide to buy. Kids don't like changing schools multiple times and having to make new friends over and over again.

Stay away from. Public housing complexes.

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