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.
Really, I wish we had not shipped anything. The process was a nightmare and cost three times as much as the original quote. After sharing stories with other expats it seems that the entire overseas shipping business is one big bait and switch. You are given a quote and after they pick up your shipment they up the price by half or more. What can you do? Nothing, they have all your things and the "full price" of shipping that you already paid!
I wish we had left all kitchen glassware, most of the DVDs, and a lot of the books. Leave most of the things of sentimental value.
I wish the 2 boxes that were lost in transit made it. Take unique art pieces, special kitchenware (antique cast iron) and favorite music if you must.
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Do your research! What are your priorities? Food, wine and weather were ours! Keep in mind that whatever your guess/estimate is it will cost 2-3 times as much as you think and will take as much more time than you think.
Find a good realtor and attorney in your new country. Go there and look around and see what feels right. Trust your gut but know your parameters.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
We rent a condo. Yes, most of our expat friends have done the same, although, as it turns out, our landlords are also expats who own several condos and a single family house that they live in!
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
By cost and internet posts on Idealista. I had 10 days to get an address. Price was a big concern. I looked at 3 listings, 1 in Porto and 2 in neighboring Gaia. I chose the bigger place in Gaia. It was the right size and price. I was lucky that the Remax agent was honest and super helpful and spoke English! It is a good place in a nice neighborhood. Do your research beforehand and have representation, preferable an honest attorney.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Housing cost is less than half of what we were paying in Denver, Colorado. Depending on the size of place you need and location, $700-1200/month can be average. Porto is more affordable than Lisbon and Vila Nova de Gaia, which is a 10 minute drive from Porto, across the river can be several hundred dollars cheaper than Porto. Neighboring smaller cities are even more affordable.