Finding a place to live is always at the top of the agenda when you move to a new location. Through my own experiences as an expat and now working a destination consultant I know it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. That rootless in-between limbo when you’re living out of suitcases in a hotel or temporary apartment is not much fun, but before you make a hasty decision, consider. . .
What can you afford? If you’re being transferred for work it’s essential that you research accommodation costs before you accept the new job offer. If your employer is offering to provide accommodation, find out exactly what’s being offered and where.
Don’t get fixated on reproducing your last home in the new location. If you’re moving from a small community to a bustling metropolis, or from a modern city to an ancient one, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find the same type of home or neighbourhood. So keep an open mind, try a new lifestyle, you might surprise yourself and enjoy it.
Where does everybody else live?
I’m not suggesting you try and keep up with the Jones or live in an expat ghetto, but do check out where other people in your company or others in similar expat jobs are living. They may have a lot of useful information and experiences to share with you and may help you avoid costly mistakes.
No one likes a long commute to work or school. We always said, “Where’s the office?” “Where’s school?” and then tried to find accommodation as close a possible to both. Why spend time in traffic when there are so many more interesting ways to spend your free time, exploring your new location and making friends?
Rent, don’t buy
If you do make a mistake and don’t like where you live, it’s usually much easier and less costly to move if you’re renting. Some corporate transferees are encouraged to sell their homes and buy in the new location, but consider investing your money and taking your time to make such an important decision. What would happen if your job came to an end; could you legally stay without work? Rent for the first few months, or even the first year, if you can.