Setting up a new home is a daunting task, and getting your own place overseas seems even more so. Here are some tips to help make the transition smoother:
1. Recognize this isn’t your country
It’s easy to forget in the search for a home that a new country means completely new rules for finding a home. People looking at apartment blocks through American companies might be shocked to see they get a credit check (sometimes even an immigration check!). In Australia, I was required to give a certain amount of proof of who I am.
There will be different rules in terms of legality, what you as a tenant are allowed, your rights, a landlord’s rights, payments… the list is extensive, so make sure you read the lease agreement VERY carefully. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask again if you don’t understand.
2. Research requirements for obtaining a place beforehand
Countries have different requirements to allow tenants to rent. Some places require a huge deposit upfront. Others require your weekly rental only be a certain percentage of your income, or else they won’t allow it. Some places actually require a bribe to get a good place, lest the rental agent steer you towards something more unsafe. Make sure you’ll be allowed to rent in said country and make sure you ‘re prepared for what they’re going to ask you for/to do.
3. Ask the natives how they find apartments
In the US, I never would have checked with a realty company for rental listings, but that’s exactly what I had to do in Australia. Just because your country may always use the newspaper, or perhaps the newspaper is a defunct dinosaur doesn’t mean it is where you now live.
And even with what they tell you, don’t be afraid to get creative. Sometimes rent in a new place can be so expensive you may need to consider renting a room or splitting a place with a few mates.
4. Don’t compromise
If you feel unsafe or deeply unhappy with a place, don’t pick it. If a place you love is a bit more expensive, don’t be afraid to apply for that option, as long as it’s affordable. A happy home when you’re away from home is important. Make sure you have some place you can call yours that you’re happy to come home to.
Marisol Dunham has been a freelance writer since 2007, and now lives with her once long-distance boyfriend in Australia. An American wandering the bush, she writes about her life and writing ventures on her blog at http://www.madunham.com/. You can find her on Twitter at @maridunham.