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Key Things to Know About Securing a Home When Moving Abroad

by James Cummings on Nov 7, 2018

If you’re planning to make the big leap and move abroad, you will very likely feel excited and daunted at the same time.  It’s never an easy process, but you will have an awesome time being in a new country and learning some new things. To have the best experience, it’s wise not to overlook some important issues about emigrating, especially about housing.

Before you pack up your passport, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind, and securing good accommodation should be top of your list. You may have some nice friends who’ll keep you comfortable with their couches or you may choose to lodge in a hotel or youth hostel. But except you’re staying for just a couple of weeks, you’ll soon start feeling homeless in a new country!

So the first thing to do is to do good research on standard and affordable places to stay in your new country of abode. You’ll need to look up ads, classified, online resources, or contact local agencies who can help you find the best places to stay.  

While you may think of getting nice and affordable accommodation in a big city and close to landmark sights in your new country of permanent residence will be easy, this isn’t often the reality. Typically, those are often choice areas and are often pricey, so you may have to be a bit more flexible on the best place to live within your budget.  

Here are a few things to note about housing when emigrating:  

1. You may be required to pay the first and sometimes the second months of rent, plus a security deposit before you sign your lease.

Find out from your home account if you’ll be able to write a cheque, if you can withdraw the required amount for the rent, or if there’s a better way of settling the fee. Normally, just putting a phone call through to your local bank asking them to temporarily remove the withdrawal limit is enough to cash out the money from your checking account.

2. Have enough savings to cover some advance costs.

This will ensure you don’t get yourself in a tight situation and need to wait for your first paycheck before securing a convenient accommodation.

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3. Figure out all you need to know about basic home amenities, costs, and maintenance

Get yourself familiar with the country’s unique requirements on standards and use of some small home essentials such as water and the plumbing system, electricity, waste bin collection and disposal, and internet subscription.

It is also important to ensure all plumbing and electrical fittings and connections meet the minimum regulatory standard of your destination country, as technical requirements for design and installation may slightly differ from your home country.  For example, if you're moving to somewhere new, you may be required by law to work with a licensed contractor only who will guarantee that the water is clean and safe for human use, that the plumbing fitting allows for easy maintenance and detection of leakage and can protect against damage or freezing.

4. Find a helpful and friendly local to assist you with organizing your housing

This is doubly important if in the country you’re moving to, they speak a different language from yours. The local’s insider knowledge will prove invaluable as you try to negotiate your way with problems that may come with the language barrier. Your local friend will also prove helpful with issues like buying a few home appliances and accessories in the local market, finding an honest workman to fix them, and generally avoiding scams or needing to pay some fraudulent extra fees. He will also help you in locating a good neighborhood to settle in and if the local friend is a personal friend who genuinely cares about you, then you’re in luck.

A word of advice: don’t rely on Craigslist to find a new apartment in your destination country. It rarely ends well. Don’t send money upfront to anyone, no matter how friendly they seem online. Most will try to cajole you into transferring cash by offering you unbelievable good deals. But the truth is, good deals are hardly unbelievably cheap.  

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