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10 Tips for Expats to Find Accommodations

Updated on January 24, 2012

Being an expat moving into a foreign country is probably one of the most stressful events that you will experience. Not only do you have to deal with being in an entirely different country you have to be able to live and work in this country, as well. So, the first thing as an expat you are probably going to do is to find the perfect accommodations. This can be a challenge in any country and a lot of similar things will apply. But, some things will be different, so here is a top ten list of things you can do to help find yourself the perfect accommodations in any country.

1. Check with embassy

The first thing you should do in your country you are moving to is register with the local embassy. They can usually provide you a list of temporary accommodations that you can stay in while you are searching for the perfect home.

2. Location, Location, Location

You want to get to know the area where you are looking fairly well. One convenient way to do this as an expat is to use some of the local services. Some of the services available to expats in many countries, to help them get to know the areas are there local embassy, tour guides, and even just taking a taxi ride around. This gives you a general idea of what areas are like. You may even want to walk around a bit, to make sure you feel safe in your new location. Some questions you may want to ask your self about your location are

a. How far are you from your work?

b. What is the commute time to embassy, stores, or entertainment

c. Are there other Expats that live in the area

3. Budget

The next thing you want to keep in mind is your budget. You want to be able to keep the accommodations you choose whether it is a house or an apartment. So, make sure that you are budgeting no more than one-third of your income to your housing expenses. With this in mind, it can also help you avoid areas that are to rich or to poor.

4. Facilities

Many people that are expats are looking for something extremely specific. But, in a foreign country some of the things you were use to may not be available. So, a compromise may be needed on your part, to be bale to find the perfect location with the right facilities nearby. A lot of apartments or homes may not have a super market nearby, or a gym to work out every morning so make sure you take that into consideration when locating a place to live.

5. Amenities

Living in a foreign country means that you may have to forgo some of the common amenities that you may be use to. This includes washer dryers in your home, a pool, 24 hour maintenance. Some of these things are just not available depending on the country you are moving to. So, keep in mind that you may have to work a little harder to make sure you have everything that you want.

6. Local Language and Customs

When you are new to a country, nothing is worse then not able to communicate with the locals. So, make sure before you decide to live someplace that you have at least a pretty decent firm knowledge on the local language. Understand traditional customs and other necessities before you even move.

7. Contact a Real Estate in the Area

Sometimes when moving to a new country, the locals will already know by your appearance you are not from there. This can make a little light bulb go off in there head, which will want them to take advantage of you. So, if you are not comfortable with negotiating a reasonable price or familiar with the local laws it is a terrific idea to get someone who is. There are a list of real estate agents and apartment hunters available at most local embassies of people who you can work with to find the perfect place. Using a local to work out the contract deal will get you the best possible price.

8. Expat Cities

Many countries also have what is known as Expat cities. These small or sometimes large communities are specifically made up of expats from all over the world. They have come together in a common interest to have the familiarity of some of their old country but the benefits of a new. These locations are perfect for new expats they can help you find accommodations, culture references and things to do.

9. Utilities

Finding out about the local utilities is also notable. Some countries many not have the infrastructure in place to provide certain services if you are in an area. So check with your local real estate agent as well as your embassy they can help you locate the perfect sweet spot to have internet, phone, and TV if that is something you desire.

10. Be happy, as with any moving experience being an expat can make you an isolationist. Not knowing anyone or being able to communicate will make some expats shut themselves in. So make sure this is exactly what you want and stick to it. It is life changing experiences make sure you have something to do. Meet new people, go to the market. Keep yourself active and your expat experience will be that much more full-filling.


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