Rent before you buy…we advise you often.
That is to say, when relocating abroad, give yourself a chance to try a new place on for size. Rent short-term (say, 6 to 12 months, preferably through the least-agreeable season) before committing to a real estate purchase.
In fact, depending on your circumstances, you may want to rent indefinitely. Perpetual traveler friends Paul and Vicki Terhorst are also perpetual renters. Paul and Vicki have been retired overseas for more than 20 years. They move around as their wanderlust inspires them…and, in each new place, they rent their accommodation
Meaning they face the challenge of finding suitable rental digs two or three times a year in cities across the globe.
“Paul and I prefer to begin our search after we have arrived at our city of choice,” Vicki explains. “However, before we arrive, we gather as much information as we can about rentals through friends, travel guides, and the Internet.
“We check into a moderately priced hotel, then we head out to the neighborhoods that sounded appealing to us in our research. We check bulletin boards in grocery stores, cafes, English-language churches, and laundromats. We read the local papers and chat with anyone who might have a lead. In small towns, we visit the local tourist office.
“We keep an open mind while, at the same time, remembering what’s important to us.
“In a tropical climate, like Chiang Mai, Thailand, we want a place with an outdoor sitting area. In a big city, like Paris, we want to be close to public transportation and grocery shopping. In a small town, such as Chapala, Mexico, or Boquete, Panama, we want to be in the center of things, living among and like the middle-class locals.
“We always choose places where we can walk to shopping, restaurants, libraries, bus stops, etc.
“We deal only with owners. When a deposit is required, we amortize it over the number of months we intend to rent to give us what could be the real cost of the place if our deposit isn’t returned.
“When eating out is cheap (as in Southeast Asia), we live without a kitchen. Sometimes we decide that our best bet is to stay in a hostel with kitchen privileges, a guesthouse, or a simple apart-hotel rather, than a furnished apartment.
“We often find what we need in a few days. We move in. I set up my nightstand and make a cup of coffee, even if it’s instant with an immersion heater…as long as it’s in my own cup. I sit down, savor the coffee, look out the window at my new view, and relish the moment. I’m home.”