8 Criteria for Picking a House Abroad

This is not an easy one, huh? But it’s one of the most important. Finding and living in a house you love and fits your needs is indeed essential!

Well, then good that you’re here and congratulations on deciding to take a thorough approach, to make sure you make the best choice from the start. You know that guiding principle of ours: do it right the first time! Why? Because it’s such a waste of time, money and energy to move around with all your stuff. Having a mid to long term home is a huge contributor of you and your family feeling stability and peace.

Let’s get to it!

What are the decisions you need to make before even looking for a place to live?

  • Renting vs. buying a place
  • Type: house, townhouse, apartment or other
  • Building age: consider even its seismic degree
  • Number of rooms desired: bedrooms, plus living room, bathroom(s), patio
  • Neighborhoods to exclude
  • Acceptable price range: rent vs. mortgage per month
  • Furnished, partially furnished or not furnished
  • what else is important to you?

OK, phew! That wasn’t that hard. Once the above are decided upon, what are the additional criteria to take into consideration when moving?

  1. Parking: some homes have parking space included, but some don’t; for the ones that don’t, make sure there are other free parking options around the building
  2. Storage: in some countries, you have the options to look for places with extra storage space, which can be very handy
  3. Laundry: it can be in-apartment or shared; it may not include a dryer; when shared, you will probably need to pay every time you use it, either by coins or card. Make sure you are aware of the process around it
  4. Kitchen utilities: in some countries, homes (including the ones for sale) have the stove, refrigerator or dish washer included
  5. Other utilities: the electricity, water, gas, internet, cable, etc. might be included in rent or maintenance costs, depending on the building or municipality
  6. Building restrictions:, e.g. pet-friendly (some buildings don't allow pets), age restrictions (some buildings no kids allowed... believe it or not), other rules, such as those regarding noise (not allowed to listen to loud music after 22:00, so that's it for your parties)
  7. Public transport: connections to other parts of the city
  8. Location (besides neighborhood), i.e. distance to: your work place, kids' schools or daycares, stores, hospital and pharmacy, community centers, restaurants and entertainment, sports facilities, parks & nature, church or other
  9. ... aaand don’t stop here, is there anything else that is of importance to you?

Always feel free to add criteria and items to our checklists or decide that some criteria we've included are non-essential to you. We promise we won't mind :).

The purpose of including as many criteria as possible in our checklists, is that you need to make an informed decision about what is important and what is not to you. You can then avoid surprises, expensive mistakes and disappointment, isn't that what you want?

But things don’t stop here. We need to dig even deeper on the following topics together:

  • Your best sources of information regarding finding a place to live in
  • The market-specific aspects and language you need to be aware of
  • The logistical aspects when renting, respectively buying a place
  • How to choose the perfect neighborhood

These topics will be covered in future posts, so sign up for our newsletter below, as well as in great detail in our wonderful first Master Guide, Moving Abroad: The Essentials, which contain a wealth of information – it’s a must read if you’re moving abroad. Get it here.

We’ve got work to do, Smoovster! Stay tuned for more awesome content. Why should you do that? Because you want a smooth move abroad!

PS: Remember to sign-up for the newsletter. You won't miss out on any article, video or free tools we're creating for you! 


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