Changing your current life and where you reside for a brand-new future in another part of the world is a momentous decision to make. Without doubt moving to a new strange country can be a great adventure but it also brings challenges that must be considered before you try and re-locate.
As with anything that you are not certain of, it is best to be as prepared as you possibly can. The reason for your change of habitat will be a big decider to where you decide to go, as it may be a relocation for your job or a move to join family and friends. But if you have just decided to change your life then perhaps you should consider these factors.
What Country? What City?
Trying to work out where to go for your new life abroad is the most important challenge that faces you. Some people spend months and even years in their research, and going online and chatting to other expats that have made their move can give you valuable information. If you have the money then it is obviously a good thing to visit the places that you have drawn up on your short list. Some people simply want to live in a country that they have already been to on holiday, and while this can give you great insight, remember living in an alien country is very different from being on vacation.
Keep in mind that your choice, whatever it is, will never be perfect, and there is no definitive way of how to become an expert as everybody is different. Sometimes it can be a good idea to dip your toes in a new country by spending half the year there before fully committing, but some people just dive straight in and take the plunge wholeheartedly.
Rent or Buy?
Once you have selected your new country you must decide whether to buy or rent your accommodation. This largely depends on the town or city you have selected to live in, as the financial implications vary considerably from place to place. Generally though when you first arrive the sound advice is to rent first. This way you have not fully committed yourself financially and had to go through all the legal implications of buying property abroad.
Renting also gives you the opportunity to see if you really like the area that you have chosen to live in. It is not until you stay in a place that you really get to know it.
Is the neighborhood safe at night? Are transport links good? Are your neighbors noisy?
There are many factors that can make your life a misery and you need to make sure none of these will affect you.
Real estate agents are sometimes not the best people to turn to for advice about which property you should go for. Talk to other foreigners and neighbors, as often they can give you the most accurate local information that is not swayed by commission. When you do decide to buy a property ensure you have good legal representation. Property laws change from country to country and you may even find that you have bought the property but not the land it sits on. In part two of this blog we look at even more challenges you may face by becoming an expat.