What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
I wish I could have brought a vacuum cleaner (probably buy one here, thought); bed clothes (blankets / mattress cover / sheets); and spices. I know you can't ship food products over, but it is VERY difficult to find all of the spices and cooking products that I am used to having.
I did not need to bring notebooks and consumable office supplies, but that is the only thing right now that I didn't need to bring.
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Take some time and get to know the zones of the city in a preview trip if you can. Do what works for you... unlike the US, you are paying the rental agents at least a month's rent for their services, so call SEVERAL and see what each can find. Be very clear what you are looking to rent, and walk around in the area and call the numbers from the signs in the windows. Be wary of the "too good to be true" and "no renting agent" signs... if you don't speak the language fluently, you will be at risk if there are problems.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
I have been very happy here in my apartment. The housing market is quite dynamic, and you can find apartments very quickly... and I chose to use a rental agent because I wanted the assurances to be legally recognized. I had heard horror stories about renting without a rental agent, and was not going to go through that stress, even though a rental agent is more expensive. I think that apartments are very common expat options for living in Valencia.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
A friend helped me look through the area where I am living and make some calls to rental agents. I like this area, and have a great apartment that is walking distance to the city but very modern and comfortable. There were several zones that I liked, but after viewing a large number of apartments throughout the city, I only found one that was a good price and well-appointed.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
I come from the Atlanta, Georgia, USA, area, and housing costs there are significant, although many of the homes are detached, not apartments. I am paying a very reasonable rent for a 2-bedroom apartment with a garage. The typical range for a good apartment in a modern building is between 400 and 600 Euros, and you pay much more for much less space in the older and more trendy parts of town.