Searching for A Safe House in San Salvador on HGTV House Hunters International

Stacey Doyle's picture

Last night on HGTV House Hunters International, a family from Utah searches for a safe San Salvador home that suits their needs in El Salvador.

On Saturday night, HGTV “House Hunters International” showed it was a long journey for a young family to go from Utah to El Salvador. When BenJoe gets a job transfer, the young family realizes it is a golden opportunity to experience other cultures. They decide to start a whole new life and adventure in San Salvador.

Considering San Salvador

Last night on HGTV “House Hunters International” a young family made the major decision to relocate from Ogden, Utah to San Salvador in El Salvador. BenJoe's company asked him to start a call center in the capital of El Salvador. At first his wife Delena was intimidated by the idea of living in a city once known for its civil war violence. Delena was not alone in this thought. One HGTV viewer at GetGlue comments, “Ok, the gated communities in El Salvador that the couple is looking for, does that mean once you leave the community it's not safe? Or are the stores and markets in the gated communities? Barbed wire and guns, a bit scary!” Despite her concerns, Delena and her husband decide to relocate with their two young sons to have a cultural experience in San Salvador.

The family sells nearly everything they own to head to San Salvador. Tucked behind heavily guarded walls they discover lush gardens and lovely homes. Delena is concerned about the presence of security guards and wonders if they will find a safe home in a good community. They are also searching for a furnished home, which is an unfamiliar request in this market. There is sure to be a bit of culture shock for Delena, who has never left the country. The furthest she has ever gone is New York City. Ben Joe has been to San Salvador before so he knows what to expect.

Three San Salvador Homes On A Budget

Julie Bottari is the real estate agent who must find a suitable home for BenJoe, Delena and their sons. She lets them know their request for a furnished home is unusual in this traditional city. BenJoe and Delena realize the move will be a major adjustment and wonder if they would have time or energy to furnish an entire home. They are also working with a budget of $1,300 per month. Bottari promises to do her best to find what they need in San Salvador.

The first home in San Salvador is being rented above their budget at $1,700 per month. However, it contains beautiful furniture so it is move-in ready. It is located in a secure community in an exclusive area of San Salvador. There are high ceilings with plush yellow furniture in the living room. There is a small kitchen and the family room overlooks the living room. Delena is concerned this balcony situation could be dangerous with two young sons. The master bedroom is rather small with two suitable bedrooms for each boy. There is also a bonus great room with wicker furniture and Delena pictures herself spending time there during games of hide and seek. The yard is large and appealing with a nice garden. The couple wonders if the price of the monthly rent is negotiable and Bottari promises to find out.

There are unique details at the second home, which has a negotiable price of $1,500 per month. The house is unfurnished with lots of wood detailing in the entrance and other rooms. There is a large living room but the kitchen is rather dark and enclosed. BenJoe considers how Delena will be able to cook and watch the boys in such a cave-like space. There is a decent sized master bedroom and bath with two additional rooms for the boys. The outdoor patio is ideal for entertaining with a large yard . Delena appreciates the hibiscus plants in the garden.

During the tour of the third home, the couple gets a taste of traditional housing in San Salvador. The house is just $1,100 per month and is located in the oldest part of the city. The utility room has a pila cistern, which is used to wash clothes. Delena immediately protests and the real estate agent tells her she can hire a maid, which is quite affordable in this area. There is also a separate maid's quarters in the home. The house has four bedrooms and one could be used as an office. But the kitchen has no stove or refrigerator and the house is unfurnished. It seems the traditional home might be out of the question, just like the couple searching for a rental home in Tokyo unless Delena is lured by the idea of having a maid.

Choosing An Abode in San Salvador

After seeing three distinctively different homes in San Salvador, the couple had to decide which one would be best for their family. The second home required furniture and appliances. The third home needed furniture, appliances and some work. They decided they did not have time for all that work in a new country and would like to negotiate the cost of the first home. The real estate agent was able to get the monthly rental price down to an affordable $1,400 per month, just $100 over their budget. They got the house they wanted with furniture at a price they could afford.

Just three months later, the family seemed well-adjusted to their new surroundings in San Salvador. There is a park down the street where Delena takes the boys to play. They met another family from the United States to socialize with. The couple is glad they chose a furnished home because they were able to “hit the ground running.” They feel it is a great experience and they are having a good time. While relocating to San Salvador might be a scary thought for some people, it seems to be the ideal situation for this young family.

HGTV House Hunters International airs on weekdays at 10:00 p.m. ET

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by Pacal. votan (not verified) on
I don't think they will get a tru experience with the people of El Salvador . Leaving in upscale area . . Go to the real El Salvador . No to an area designed to please the American market.

Submitted by Eduardo (not verified) on
Wait a minute, do you have kids? I am an El Salvador native and I can surely understand why they were looking in such upscale area. They are new to the country, have small kids, a great job that sounds like is covering their rent expenses. I would be doing the same thing in that situation. I wouldn' want to leave my family in any other area unless I was sure it was a safe and secure area where my kids would feel safe going out to play to a nearby park and safe coming back home!! Just think about it. Good for them and I hope more people are willing to relocate to El Salvador. Our country has a lot to offer!

Submitted by evelyn moreno (not verified) on
It is an excellent story. Good for them to explore beautiful El Salvador!! Can you tell me who can I contact to sell my Beautiful Beach Home in El Salvador? Many thanks, Evelyn Moreno

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