Choosing where to stay when you’re planning to visit a country for a couple of weeks or even a month isn’t too much of a challenge because it doesn’t really matter if you don’t end up in your dream home for the short time you’re there – but picking a long term rental overseas where you want to live for a while is a different animal. However, as long as you go into it with the right mindset and a sensible budget, you can’t go far wrong – and we’ve put together a few tips to help you on your way to choosing the right place.
- Get everything else sorted out first
There is no point picking a great apartment if it turns out it has no parking, it’s miles away from public transport or it’s nowhere near your new job.
Making sure you have everything else lined up first will make it a lot easier to choose an apartment because it will give you a clear set of guidelines on what you’re looking for. Is your job in the east of the city? Your apartment shouldn’t be in the west. Will your job require driving? Then you need to find somewhere with parking. Is your job in healthcare? Then you’ll need on-site laundry facilities. Are you remote-working? You need somewhere with reliable wifi that you’re happy to spend a lot of time in.
Having these kinds of things in mind will automatically narrow down your choices.
- Do your research before working out your budget
Wherever you’re living now, it’s likely that the renting market is entirely different price-wise where you’re headed, and you should research this before you set down your budget.
Deciding you don’t want to spend any more than you are now on rent only to discover that the same amount will barely afford you someone’s cupboard under the stairs abroad can throw a bit of a spanner in the works.
Similarly, it’s possible that renting is a lot cheaper where you’re going, and while that could mean you can afford a really nice apartment without spending any more, it might also mean you could save a lot of money while living somewhere just as nice as you are now.
- Decide what would suit your needs before looking
It’s easy to be tempted by a low price or a great location, but if you end up in accommodation that doesn’t suit your needs then you won’t be happy with your choice.
If you know you hate living in studio apartments or using shared laundry facilities, then it won’t be worth the saving in rent, as you’ll have to spend extra on external facilities or you’ll simply spend more money going out because you don’t enjoy being in your apartment. Knowing your limits will go a long way to helping you choose the right place.
- Research the ex-pat community
Even if you’re bilingual or just want to get a real taste for your destination culture and feel like a local, it never hurts to know what the ex-pat community is like and find out if there are certain areas of the city that are particularly popular.
There’s feeling like a local and feeling like an outsider, and knowing that you can meet up with other foreigners without traversing the city is actually likely to make you feel more at home, and not less. Ex-pat neighborhoods of a city are also likely to be safer and more affluent areas.
- Stay out there while you look
If it’s at all possible, the best way to choose a long term rental is to go and look around in person rather than trying to guess based on photos and online information. It’s impossible to correctly judge the size of a place just from pictures, and even harder to get a feel for the neighborhood or building.
Go and stay in your destination city in temporary accommodation for a month before your planned move-in date, and visit places in person. You can also get to know the area better in general during this time, so you’ll already feel more at home when you move in.
- Don’t rule out holiday rentals
Airbnb and other similar sites are often thought of as just short-stay accommodation sites, but they do offer long term rentals too – and even if they don’t, hosts are often open to negotiating rates for a long term stay. This can be a great option as it opens up many more possibilities than the dedicated renting market, and can also offer a lot more flexibility as there’s no need to commit to a contract.
Choosing a long term rental overseas is a big commitment and can be challenging – as everyone knows, disliking your accommodation can ruin the experience of a destination as it can make you feel anything from unsafe to lonely. However, keeping a few simple tips in mind such as visiting prospective apartments in person and letting your needs dictate your budget rather than the other way around means that even if you don’t find the absolute perfect rental, you won’t be far off.