topics
tools
Expatica countries
editor's choice

Checklist for moving to Germany

German immigration and residency regulations

Learning German: Passing the critical stage

Public holidays in Germany for 2012

O’zapft is! German Festivals in 2012

Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home Housing Buying Expatica readers at home: Expatica poll
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size


16/02/2011Expatica readers at home: Expatica poll

Expatica readers at home: Expatica poll The results are in and we’ve found that only about 30 percent of you live in housing similar to what you left behind in your home countries.

February is housing month at Expatica and we’ve been asking our readers about their experience finding housing in their new countries.  We ‘ve had a huge response from you, with most respondents coming to their host countries from the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Austria, India and Canada.

The results are in and we’ve found that only about 30 percent of you live in housing similar to what you left behind in your home countries.  Plus, the majority of you (60 percent) have chosen to rent in your host countries, with a not-too-shabby minority (40 percent) choosing to take the plunge and invest in buying a place instead.

Unsurprisingly, those who decided to buy a home reported that they plan on staying in their host countries much longer than those who rented.  Our renters, with shorter-term assignments and less fixed plans, indicated they plan on staying in their new countries for an average of five years.  Our renters were also often younger expats and drew lower incomes than those who chose to buy a home.

Almost half of those who responded to our survey were between twenty-five and forty years of age and one third were between forty and fifty-five.  More than half were female (60 percent) and most live currently in the Netherlands, Germany, or Belgium.  

Of the 40 percent of our readers who chose to buy a home in their host country, most reported that it was the freedom of ownership that attracted them.  Many others indicated that rental prices were so high that buying became a viable alternative.  Expats in the Netherlands reported that the tax advantages offered were also very attractive inducements to buy.  Nearly all respondents reported that they viewed buying a house in their host country as an investment opportunity and almost a quarter of respondents also own a house in their home country.

We also asked buyers what their top considerations were as they undertook the hunt for that perfect home.  Price, proximity to work or school, and location in a good neighbourhood were top on the list.  Other top priorities included proximity to the town centre, architecture typical of the host country, spaciousness, proximity to water and rural location.

Of those respondents who decided to rent, a whopping 58 percent reported finding rental prices in their host country unreasonable.  The majority found their rental places via the Internet (61 percent), but rental agencies and word of mouth through colleagues and friends also yielded results.  Our respondents offered mixed opinions on rental agencies, with a few horror stories reported.

In contrast to buyers, the vast majority (84 percent) of renters live near work or the centre.  They are also less interested in finding a place with a garden or with architecture typical of the host country.

When we asked what you wish you had known before you made the commitment to rent or buy, we received comments that fell into a few main categories.  We've reprinted a number of these comments below, indicating which country the respondent lives in.

Regarding legislation affecting renters:

I wish I had known about the huurcomissie, which assesses the renting price of a flat and helps the tenant to get their money back if the rent they pay is too high.
-NL
The crazy regulations in Belgium regarding renting. The landlords are hardly responsible for anything, it's all out of the tenant's pocket!
-BE
That squats were available!
-NL

Regarding dishonest landlords, estate agents, and officials:
How the damage deposit return and "normal wear and tear" is determined.
-NL
Honest notaries and how to obtain protection from the malevolence and shrewdness of Bauträger.
-DE
I wish I had known about the dishonesty of agents and local government officials!
-Unknown    
That the surveyor's report would not be worth the paper it is written on!
-NL
The poor state of the apartment and how little my landlord would do about problems.
-ES
The level of dishonesty among estate agents--they tend to steer you to the least favorable contracts. Also …. final inspections are always a drama when you leave a property.  Always ask for an invoice for any supposed damages and have a friend with you as a witness.
-BE


Regarding rental agencies:
That the agency dealing with the issues was not helpful and we were not sure of how to go to get things sorted out. [We] paid an expat premium rent and were not provided with service to assist in the initial time in house/ country.
-NL
Rental agencies really rip you off.
-NL
Rental agencies in NL are scam artists.
-NL

Regarding neighbourhood:
I would have wanted to have more information about the different neighbourhoods.
-NL
More about the demographics of the city
-FR
Future building plans. Traffic situation.
-CH

Regarding kids in Germany:
Most places do not allow children to play outside near the apartments, regardless of space or access for German children. We have had at least 2 different experiences where "foreign" children were prevented from playing in the common space.
-DE
How difficult it is to rent with kids and pets!!!!!!!!
-DE

It is important keep in mind that open responses usually detail more negative experiences.  Many of our respondents wrote that they felt well informed and pleased with the entire process.  Indeed, in the end, over 90 percent of our respondents reported that they were satisfied with their decision to buy or rent in their new countries. 

Erin Russell Thiessen / Expatica

 




1 reaction to this article

chloe brock posted: 2011-12-05 10:14:04

Thanks for sharing these wonderful article nice to read some views of people who have experience moving from other country and finding a home to fit in.

1 reaction to this article

chloe brock posted: 2011-12-05 10:14:04

Thanks for sharing these wonderful article nice to read some views of people who have experience moving from other country and finding a home to fit in.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inside Expatica
The ABCs of the German school system

The ABCs of the German school system

What you need to know about German schools and daycare.

German immigration and residency regulations

German immigration and residency regulations

Want to move to Germany but haven’t figured out the details? Check out Expatica’s overview of the German permit system.

Driving in Berlin: Rules, habits and fines

Driving in Berlin: Rules, habits and fines

In part one of our two part series, we cover the driving culture in Berlin, where to park and buy gas and, most importantly, the laws.

Looking for work in Germany: The in depth version

Looking for work in Germany: The in depth version

Our comprehensive guide includes information on how to find work, recruitment agencies, employment contracts and labour law.