Moving house is stressful enough – add in a couple of plane trips and a new country, and you can quickly start to feel overwhelmed. However, with more and more people deciding to uproot their lives and make the transition abroad, moving overseas might not be as difficult as you first thought.
If you didn’t already know, there is a lot to organise before you jet off, including your passport, visa, a new bank account and a new job. In addition to all that, having a place to sleep when you arrive is something that also requires your attention. So, to make organising accommodation easier, here are a few things that you need to know about finding somewhere to live internationally:
Find a place before you leave – Use a property website
To help narrow your property search, decide on the area you want to live in (perhaps somewhere close to family or work) and the features you want in a home, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. While you may have dreams of living right in the big city, this might be too expensive. Have a look at rentals outside of the city center and although this might mean more travel time, your wallet will thank you for it.
If you know that your big move is going to be permanent, do some research into the property market before you leave. Websites like Realestate.com.au and Century21 list properties internationally, so jump on to get a feel for how much you’ll be forking out for your dream home. Airbnb is also great for short-term rental options. If you’re not keen on living alone, Co-Living lists apartments you can share with other housemates (meaning it’s a cheaper option too).
Major cities usually have a Facebook group for people looking to find accommodation in the area. Joining one of these groups can put you in contact with other expats who have been through the moving experience and can offer advice. You’ll also be able to read reviews about certain rentals. If people have been ripped off or were disappointed with a particular place, Facebook is a great way for them to share these experiences.
If you can’t find somewhere straight away, go for some temporary accommodation until you find your feet
If you aren’t happy with your property search so far, don’t despair – there are other options. Sometimes, organising some temporary accommodation at the outset will allow you to get a feel for the place before you commit to a long-term rental. Signing a lease for a property that you haven’t seen yet could end in disaster, as the photos of the property might not reveal hidden horrors – like the adjacent smelly sewerage station next door (for example). Be patient, it will pay off.
Home Away and House Trip are two sites that list accommodation aimed at holiday makers, however, you can find some short-term residential options on here too. You could also consider staying in a hostel for the first few weeks, or signing up for a homestay with a local family. Trusted sites, like Housesitters and MindMyHouse, also list places available for house sitting all over the world.
Your first place doesn’t have to be permanent, so stick it out for six months and then move
If you’ve signed up for a rental, and it’s not as good as you’d hoped, don’t jump on a plane and move back home just yet. Like most things in life, the first property you live in probably won’t be your last. As you spend more time in the new area, you’ll discover the ins and outs of your new city. During this time, you can decide on where your next abode will be. Chatting to the locals is not only a great way to make new friends, but can also help you scope out the local property market. This might help you get an idea of what a fair price is and which areas are best to move to. Sometimes it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know!
When you’re overseas, remember to expect the unexpected – things can go wrong for even the most experienced travellers. Make sure you’ve purchased travel insurance before you leave to cover any unexpected costs. Travel insurance isn’t just for holiday makers; there are policies available for expats who live internationally. Travel insurance can protect you if something happens and your accommodation falls through. Do your research and find a policy that will provide you with the best cover at the best price.
Move your savings to your new country of residence
If you’re going to live in a different country, you may have a chunk of savings you want to take with you to access from a local bank account. Unless you can open one before you arrive, this should be one of the first things you do after you touch down.
To transfer money from your home country to your current destination, make sure you send it through a specialist currency transfer provider – like WorldFirst – instead of your bank.
Many people don’t realise they can lose a significant amount on their transfer through bad exchange rates and hidden fees, all because they’re sending money overseas with their bank.
For more information on how you can secure rates up to seven times cheaper than the big 4 banks, visit the WorldFirst website today, or give the team a call on 1800 835 506.
Starting a new chapter in your life and making the big move overseas is an exciting time! As long as you start researching your new property market early, and keep an open mind, finding a place to live won’t be as stressful as you might think.
This guest post was written by Richard Laycock, Insurance Expert at Finder.
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