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?
There are no real estate agents on the smaller islands, so be prepared to do the foot work yourself, looking for signs posted. Ask around about what is for sale in each village and don't be shy. Good contacts might be architects, expats already here, lawyers.
Be prepared for climate differences - extreme heat, gale-force winds. We never reach the freezing point here, so have flowers (and bugs) all year round. But we also have roaming goats and sheep and dogs and cats run free. So having a successful garden is a major challenge, even with a fence.
Learn a fair amount of the new language before moving abroad to any country! It's your best bet and opens all sorts of doors for you.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
We bought a 200-year-old farmhouse in a mountain village. It is not so typical, as most expats prefer larger homes and build new. Few rent. Most come here for the long term.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Our costs are considerably lower here. I lived in Germany for 25 years after leaving the States, but before moving here, and our monthly utility costs run less than half of what we paid there. Houses here run from U.S. $15,500 (for slightly falling apart) upwards and you can spend as much as you like if you decide to build a villa.