So many of my readers expressed their dreams/wishes to move abroad whenever I’ve written about my personal experiences living abroad as an expat. I think nowadays the idea of moving abroad isn’t as crazy as it used to be, so many people move to a different country or continent for various different reasons whether it’s for work, education or to simply start their lives all over again.
It can be pretty daunting to move to a new country all by yourself if you don’t know anyone that’s the reason why I wanted to write this post and share with you some tips in terms of finding a home/rent (that I’ve gathered along the way). Obviously, I’ll be mentioning information that will be helpful if you are looking to move to the UK or France but I’m pretty sure the information mentioned in this post will be somewhat similar in any countries from Europe. Without further a do, let’s jump into the post!
Related: Moving & Living Abroad
Unless you know for a fact that you are moving to a specific country, I really think it’s important that you have 3 to 4 options if you decide to move/settle down abroad. If you are deciding to move abroad for the rest of your life or only for a number of years, I would advise to research and take into consideration multiple factors before making the big move. Think if you can fit into the culture, ask yourself if you are willing to learn a new language, think about the food, etc.
Another thing worth thinking is if you can see yourself starting a family there or raising your children there. Do you see yourself settling down there or living there temporarily? As silly as it sounds, even watching a film set or made in that country will give you some sort of insight of the environment and people there.
In addition, note any pros and cons of each country from your personal point of view. Remember that your experience & situation will differ from each individual that’s why it’s essential that you research before making any drastic decision.
LOOK AT YOUR OPTIONS
If you are moving for further education – check if there are any exchange programs available at your university. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a semester or a year, this will give you the opportunity to live in that country and experience life there. In some cases, there are opportunities where you might even apply to continue your undergraduate or postgraduate course in that university so don’t think that you don’t have the option to stay a bit longer.
If you are moving due to work then I’m pretty sure you already know where you are moving which is a thousand times easier when dealing with paper work/legal things. If you are moving to a country without knowing anyone there which is not the ideal situation but you can obviously still make it work, contact your council or embassy for information. They will gladly help you and guide you in the right direction in terms of finding a job, accommodation, etc.
THINK ABOUT THE PROCESS
The next step is to find a place to live but before we jump into that process, you have to remember that the cost of living will differ from each city/town. It will be very expensive to live near or in the capital compared to living in a city farther away. Unfortunately, there might be times when you will have to live in a temporary place before moving to a place that you see yourself living at least for a couple of years. Just be prepared for anything.
If you are moving due to an exchange program, the university in question might provide you accommodation whether it’s a flat, dorm, hall, etc. It might be the same case for work as well depending on your company otherwise you’ll have to find a place by yourself.
This is the time to think about what type of property you want to reside which is obviously up to your preference. Everyone has different requirements, some people don’t want a flat on the ground floor whereas others prefer a detached house. Make sure to note all the requirements you want and the ones that you are willing to compromise or adjust which includes the type of property, rent, number of rooms, condition of the property, etc.
There are so many property/real estate websites available (such as Rightmove and Zoopla in the UK) where you can filter and find properties based on your requirements. I would say it’s a great start if you want to get an idea on how properties look in a specific city/town you are looking for. You can find pictures and the letting agents details in order to contact them.
If you are interested about a property, I would highly recommend to go in person instead of emailing or calling the agency. It will be much more effective and you’ll definitely get a response as opposed to sending an email. I know if you are not in that country, it will be much harder to go in person or contact and it’s times like this, you wish you had a loved one or even an acquaintance to help you.
Contact the letting agency beforehand and share all your information whether it’s your proof of income, savings, requirements of the property you are looking for, list of properties you are interested, etc. and then go there for a couple of days to meet them & visit those properties. Obviously, this is something that you can only do if you have the time and budget for it but I would at least recommend to try if you can do it.
VISIT THE PLACE IN PERSON
This ones ties with the previous point and I cannot stress how important it is to go visit the property/place you are going to live in person before making any transactions or signing any documents. Unless you are going to stay temporarily at an Airbnb or trustworthy place, I wouldn’t recommend to sign or do anything if you haven’t looked at the place yourself.
When I say things can go downhill, I literally mean it! Once again, it’s only something you can do if you have the money for it but if you are thinking about settling down abroad, you need to make sure that it’s worth spending the money. Look at it as an investment instead of expenditure.
There are so many things that people forget when it comes to moving, even the smallest things like hiring a removal company. Do your research before booking, paying or making any decisions. For instance in some cases, you might need to translate your certificates which might be much cheaper to translate in your country compared to the country you are moving to.
I know it’s the case for most countries but you’ll need a guarantor to sign the tenancy agreement otherwise you won’t be able to move or get that property. A guarantor is literally a loved one or simply a person who agrees to pay your rent if you don’t pay it. You don’t want to miss any important information. In addition, you need to pay the first month’s rent as well as the deposit before you get the keys.
After you’ve moved, make sure you do everything properly in order to settle down. Open a bank account, inform the embassy/council, register to a GP/dentist, contact your energy supplier, etc. Your job literally doesn’t stop after moving, you will still have a lot of things to do!
I know I haven’t covered so many things but I’m planning on doing a series around this topic. If you are interested around this subject, please let me know what information you would like to know and I would write a post about it!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING!