In searching for your new home abroad there are often huge cultural differences between each country that can affect how residential property is sourced, rented and managed. Here is some general advice to help you get started and set you on the way to a peaceful and successful move.
The process of relocating to a foreign country can be challenging, but it can also be fun and rewarding if it's done correctly. In order to make a successful transition you have to cover all aspects of the relocation process meticulously. The secret is good planning before your move and this continues even after you have arrived and settled into your new environment, especially if you have accompanying family.
Assuming that you are moving with your company, the first step will be your HR department who will explain your relocation package and procedures. Most companies will generally follow a 'like for like' policy; for instance if you live in a four bedroomed detached house with a garden and two garages they will aim to offer a similar home when abroad. However, this may not be a viable option in your new location either because such a beast may just not exist or it may be prohibitively expensive. Be clear about your requirements and budget before your posting and, if possible, research your host country as far as possible so you are more prepared for what to expect before you arrive.
There are certain things to look out for in choosing a home abroad. Proximity of home to work and also your children's school is very important in a capital city. Traffic can be bumper-to-bumper and journey times out of proportion to distance so try to make sure your work, school and home are within close proximity of each other. The location of shops, sport clubs etc can also significantly improve your quality of life. Keep in mind the safety and security of yourself and your family and use local knowledge to choose the areas most suitable.
If you are moving with your family, your choice of school will often dictate the area where you live. Visit all the schools that you have short-listed and compare the curriculums to make sure they offer the quality and facilities you are expecting.
The Internet is an extremely useful tool - it has become a truly multi-listing environment. Look for websites that are updated daily to give you the most accurate information and those that allow you to register online to receive notification of new properties that match your requirements. Information provided is normally brief but you can expect details on the number and types of rooms, the price and usually a photograph. Some sites also provide additional useful information such as location maps and area guides as well as links to other expatriate websites.
Relocation Agents / Corporate Management and Home Search departments
Your company may want to engage the services of a relocation/home search agent on your behalf. These agents have a wealth of knowledge about your chosen area and many have been expatriates themselves so understand the relocation process first hand. They will assist you to find a property and negotiate the rental and tenancy agreement on your behalf. They also often offer facilities such as orientation tours, removals, school search services and more.
Visiting an Agent
This is the most traditional method. Discuss your requirements face to face with your agent who will match these against available properties and arrange for you to receive regular updates. Recommendations are always an effective way of finding a good agent so ask HR, friends, relatives and colleagues to let you know which offer the best service. It is important to look for an agent who is a member of ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) to ensure the most professional and knowledgeable service as well as financial security. Remember that the landlord is the agent's client, not you.
- Ask your employer for advice on their home search procedure
- Do your research before you arrive
- Look at listings to get a feel for the market and prices
- Work with your relocation/home search agent to find the right property.
- Enjoy the experience!
Hamptons International Corporate Management - providers of corporate home search & tenancy management services for relocating company expatriates.