To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad

When you move to another country, there can be one of two ways of doing so. It is that you are moving with a company (employment relocation) or that you are doing it yourself, on your own, or with your family (such as retirement).

In the case of employment relocation, more often than not, your traveling and moving, expenses are covered by the company and your lodging is acquired by them as well. So it is not a concern for you. But when making the move on your own, to buy or to rent deserves your full attention.

It is a very good idea to visit the country you have chosen at least twice before moving. The first time, go for fun; explore and look at everything, talk to people, discover as much as you can. If you are not sure of the area you would like to settle in, then you rent. But if you know exactly what you want and where, research both rentals and real estate. Thanks to the internet, research is quite easy, although it is time consuming. There are many online resources such as:

~ Forums geared to specific countries, or ‘expat’ forums where all countries are discussed. There are many out there but not all are good. When entering a forum, look for the stats, which will tell you the number of members, visitors etc. Next find out if the forum is active (lots of posters and daily interactions) by reading through the threads menu and specific threads.

~ Real estate and rental websites (hundreds, if not thousands, to browse through!)

~ Government website to look up ownership, immigration and other laws

~ Blogs (like this one) from people living abroad, or who have lived abroad, and share their experiences. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to use the ‘comment’ field. Bloggers love corresponding with their readers!

~ Tourist/vacation related websites have lots of info about the country in general.

Before you buy, here are some things you need to know, or be able to answer:

► Real estate market. What kind of prices am I looking at.
► Laws (different countries mean different laws)
► Expat ownership laws (which in some countries may vary from laws that apply to locals)
► Purchasing procedures, requirements and time frame. What are the extra fees beyond and above the property price itself.
► Do I use a realtor, a real estate broker, an attorney… It is very important to find someone you can trust with your transaction and money. Ask for references.
► Political and economical state of the country. Semi to long term investment value.
► Will I have clear title of my property?
► Am I allowed to remain in the country for as long as I own? What are the immigration laws and different programs for expats?

Once you are familiar with those points, it is then time for your second visit to meet with the contacts you have made during your research and view the properties that have peeked your interest. You can then safely make your purchase and feel confident about it.

TropiCat

Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
5 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
6 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
7 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
8 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
9 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
10 ~ Living in Paradise! But, Where Is It?
11 ~ Solar Panel Placement & Sun Chart Creator
12 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
13 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
14 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
15 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2

Health Issues When Living Abroad

The number one question we get from prospect buyers is “why are you selling?”. This is a reasonable question that all of us always ask ourselves when looking at purchasing a property. It comes from wondering if there’s something wrong with the place, and also it is just plain curiosity! Our first reason for selling is regarding health.

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Picture copyright of Blue Buddies

Before making the “big move”, don’t forget to spend some time researching and exploring all that is health related.
1- How am I doing personally?
2-
Do I have insurance that will cover me abroad?
3-
What health care is available in the country I am moving to?

If you currently have insurance, you need to ensure that they provide ‘worldwide’ or ‘overseas’ coverage. Many insurance companies do not offer it, or have different range of restrictions and exclusions. They might tell you you’re covered, but for how long? Many policies will cover you abroad but they have a maximum length of time that you are allowed out of the country until the coverage stops.

If you don’t have insurance, it is easily available to purchase online. Take time to do some research and there are good resources over the internet. A site I like is Insurance To Go as they give you a comparison table of their different plans, coverage, premiums, limits and deductibles. Many other websites out there will also give you that information.

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Now be ready for the questionnaire people. This is 2008 and it shows! On one questionnaire, they asked; “Have you ever had a headache. If yes, explain below”. Now, can anyone answer ‘no’ to that? So here it is… if you answered ‘no’, you lied and that can be used for refusing to cover/pay a claim. Now if you answered ‘yes’, that can be used for refusing to cover/pay a claim on the grounds of ’pre-existing condition’! Here’s another one; “Do you have any tattoos? If yes, provide size and location”. Hmmm, pretty hard to lie there! So if you do, I imagine any type of blood related illnesses or diseases could be ‘rejected’! And on that questionnaire, they also asked about piercings! But that questionnaire seemed to be unusual. Health insurance applications are generally pretty standard.

When studying coverage, do not waste time with little things like a broken arm. Something like that can be fixed pretty much anywhere and paying for it won’t ruin you! Instead concentrate on more important issues such as ’Emergency Air Evacuation’ to the nearest facility in your country and/or their network. In case of such as a car wreck, a heart attack that leaves you immobilized, you might be in need of urgent and special (expensive) care that is not available in the country where you live. Coverage to look more into are those that can ruin you financially such as cancer, liver disease, anything that would require long term and specialized treatments. So don’t fret about a broken leg or a tooth cavity!

And very important, don’t forget to “always” carry your insurance card with you in case you are alone and unconscious. That can save your life as with this card the medical attendants can immediately call the right place.

As for us this being a reason for selling, we have found out we are uninsurable! Well, they will let us pay the premium, but due to some pre-existing conditions it seemed to us that there would be very few things that they would cover. Being in our mid-forties, we have decided that it is something to consider seriously and relocating back to Canada is our safest bet. The other important reason to relocate has to do with telecommunication problems when living in a 3rd world country.

TropiCat

Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
5 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
6 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
7 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
8 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
9 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
10 ~ Living in Paradise! But, Where Is It?
11 ~ Solar Panel Placement & Sun Chart Creator
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2

How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country

After having lived as an expat for the last 22 years in 5 different countries, I am starting to get the idea!

There are rules expats should always live by, no matter where they’re from and where they now live. Those rules are simple and basic but so very important. First, picture the expats that live in your own town or city and ask yourself what you expect of them.

-Learn the language
-Respect the culture(s)
-Do not criticize (as you would think of an expat in your city that dislikes and criticizes everything… if you don’t like it, then leave!)
-Adapt (you don’t have to lose your own culture, but there are times when you must adapt or back off. As an example for me, I live in a Mennonite community, therefore when I walk on the road or go to my neighbors’ house, I cover myself below the knees, below the elbows and no cleavage…
-Be open minded whether it is cuisine, traditions etc.
-Be aware of the laws and respect them
-Be aware of the way you make yourself portrayed

Then, simply apply those rules to yourself!

As an expat you will stand out. You can be disliked quickly (remember, there is no second chance to make a “first impression”) and it can be hard to recover. So approach your new life slowly, be reserved, listen and observe more than speak at first. This will help you understand the people and their culture, and will prevent you to judge too quickly.

Depending on where you are moving to, the language is often the most difficult thing to conquer. If you only speak English and are not inclined to learn, then it would be wise to choose an English speaking country. But if you wish to learn a language, immersion beats any school, books, CDs etc. Immersion is, as far as I’m concerned, the best way to learn. You need to be patient at first as it will be slow going. But once you are starting to be able to communicate you will learn faster and faster. Again, don’t get discourage as it will slow at first, which is totally normal.

Your main tool is your dictionary. Start by making a thorough list of keywords (I suggest about 50 to start with) and learn them. So if you are going to build a house for example, your list should include such words as; hammer, saw, pliers, wrench, pick ax, screwdriver, nails, screws, feet, inches, wood, cement… To learn these words, set a reasonable goal for yourself. You can start with 5 words per day and adjust as you go.

You also need a list of the main verbs; have, doing, to be, need, looking for, how much, going, to go…

You then integrate a verb with a word. Let’s take “need” and “hammer”. With only those 2 words you can safely go to a hardware store and ask for a hammer!

As time goes, you learn more words from the people around you and eventually, by listening, you can start making sentences. Shyness is the biggest deterrent and you should not be. You will make mistakes for sure (it is impossible not to), but the local people will appreciate your efforts and will eventually become your best teachers! And what better way to make friends than those people who are enthralled to help and coach you.

And remember that every day is a new learning experience, especially in a foreign country!

TropiCat

Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
5 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
6 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
7 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
8 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
9 ~ Living in Paradise! But… Where Is It?
10 ~ Solar Panels Placement & Sun Chart Creator
11 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2