What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
All in all, we've really enjoyed our 2 years in Brno and find it a highly "livable" city. It's not the Disneyland that Prague is, but that's what makes it more of a Czech experience.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
We live in a two bedroom apartment on the second floor of a family house on a quiet street, a 5 minute tram ride from downtown.
We don't know too many other expats, but it seems that living in a house rather than an apartment building is standard, as most apartments here are in communist-era buildings and are very, very small and not well maintained. My favorite thing about living here is that the family who owns the house is wonderful and we've become good friends. They have also introduced us to their friends who have shared some of our most memorable experiences in the Czech Republic.
The worst thing about living here is that almost none of the neighbors speak to us. There are two people in the neighborhood who say hello; one who lives across the street, and the other who walks his dog several times a day by our house. Otherwise, even people we see almost every day won't even say hello. Nothing serious, just that feeling of being "other" or "outsider."
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
We spoke with over twenty realtors and saw more than a dozen of them. We found that the only way to see apartments that met standards we were used to was to ask for "luxury apartments." Often realtors are reluctant to show pricier apartments, since they're usually a hard sell - there aren't nearly as many expats here as there are in Prague. Often, they just don't have anything to show you, as there just aren't lots of luxury apartments. However, many beautiful old buildings in the center have been and are being re-done and there are now some lovely, luxury apartments for rent. Keep in mind that luxury here just means very nice - don't expect a doorman or parking garage. Look for listings in the highest price category - right now, anywhere from 18,000-30,000 crowns. Be aware of the price you want to pay and the price listed for the apartment before you go to see it. On more than one occasion, once we saw the apartment and the owner realized we weren't Czech, the price was raised significantly.
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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Our housing costs are less than a third of what they would be at home - at least in Boston or California. The average rent here is about $100 a month for Czechs.
Moving to Prague
Expats have been arriving in Prague in ever increasing numbers for years. It's still regarded as an amazing city for expats, but it's popularity is starting to catch up with it. However, the scare housing and higher cost of living isn't keeping others from making a move to Prague.