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6 tips for choosing your home abroad

  • Finding a new home
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You wish to make a home away from home, but what you should consider when choosing your house abroad? Many criteria such as the city's or town's cost of living, quality of housing, rent prices, neighbourhoods, etc. have to be taken into account – whether you're moving alone or with your family. Here are some useful tips to help you make the right housing choice.

The cost of living

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You're lucky if you have just landed a job contract abroad with housing as part of your expat package. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you've got things sorted out. The cost of living in your host country or city can be a challenge, even if you feel that it's the best destination for your finances.

In case you have to find housing on your own, you better choose according to your needs and budget, especially if you're moving with your family. Taking into account that you will have to pay rent and cover your water, electricity, and heating bills, and spend on food, transport, school fees, etc., it might be a good idea to settle in a more affordable city or neighborhood. Another suggestion to help you decide is to look into what matters the most to you – outdoors and social life or a nice home with all the amenities.

Quality of housing

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While you're now planning your new life abroad, you're likely to have an idealistic approach – moving to a big city, living in a modern, fully furnished and equipped flat with all desirable facilities such as a concierge, security system, etc.. But have you actually thought whether a flat or a detached house with a small garden would suit you better? What does your family say?

If you are moving alone, flat sharing can be the ideal option. Students and young professionals are more likely to opt for flat sharing not only to pay less rent but also to meet new people and learn new cultures while staying under the same roof.

Also, keep in mind that rent prices do not necessarily reflect the quality of housing. In city centres, for example, you're more likely to find modern and luxury flats that are incredibly pricey. As you move further from the city centre, but, not necessarily in the outskirts, you might find some beautiful detached houses with a garden – which are better for families with young children.

One more thing to keep in mind is the neighbourhood's popularity. Some upscale neighbourhoods might be more sought after and therefore more expensive than others – which makes them less accessible to average budgets. But you can still find convenient and affordable housing in some cool neighbourhoods if you're patient enough to do an extensive research.

Access to amenities

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Choosing the right neighbourhood is another part of the process of finding your new home. To avoid stressing with all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you would probably prefer to stay close to all amenities and the public transport network including buses, tram, subway, or taxi. In many big European cities, cycling is more a lifestyle than a sport. You might even consider biking to work if it's not too far away, of course!

No one enjoys losing time in traffic congestion, which is quite likely to happen if you live far from your workplace. And what if the nearest post office or shopping mall was miles away? Could you make your shopping at the small grocery store down the street?

Schooling and childcare

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If you're moving abroad with your family, the schooling and childcare will be one of your main concerns. It's a good idea to find a school or childcare service which is close to your new home. Most major cities host international schools, as well as public and private nurseries, kindergartens, and schools. In smaller cities and the countryside, finding the right school might be a bigger challenge due to limited options. Keep in mind that your kids will also have to adapt to a brand new life abroad – which is why you rather take into account their wellbeing when choosing your new home.

Security

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Some neighbourhoods are safer than others, and this is a fact in all cities around the world. The best thing to do is to inquire about the security level of the different cities or neighbourhoods in which you're interested in, especially if you're a night owl! Women moving alone are particularly advised to make sure the neighbourhood in which they are planning to live is safe. It is important to feel safe in your new environment.

At the same time, choosing to live in a neighbourhood where you won't find it difficult to adapt, especially when it comes to ethnic diversity and sexual orientation will only increase your well-being. Expatriates usually prefer to remain close to expat communities on which they can rely in times of hardship. You might do that as well if you'd rather opt for a comfort zone.

Leisure

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Of course, you're not likely to be spending most of your free time at home. Finding housing in a place where cafes, bars, restaurants, as well as leisure activities such as parks, concerts, and other artistic and cultural events are accessible is a good idea. Whenever you don't feel like making dinner, you can just try that new restaurant down the street or order a pizza. Why not end the day with a walk in the nearby park or watch the latest movie premiere featuring your favourite star?

If you would like to share any additional piece of advice with our readers, feel free to post your comments below.

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