Moving to another country is a big thing and one of the most challenging and exciting things you may ever do. When you are moving to Greece, it is always recommended that you do your homework way in advance so that you know exactly what is happening when you arrive in your new home from banking to utilities.
We have tried to put together a simple list of things you need to consider for your new life in Greece.
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There are a number of things to consider when taking on a property in another country. The main factors to consider are whether you are buying or renting:
Renting: If you are renting a property, you will probably want to arrange your property before you leave your home country so that you have your new home ready and waiting when you arrive. With the internet it is now easier than ever to rent a property without viewing, by checking out the property on Google Street view to check out the location, and by looking at the agents/owners photographs of the interior.
We would definitely recommend using an agent if you are going to rent a property without visiting in advance, and would also advise that you do not pay any money upfront unless you have too. If you do pay money upfront, do not use bank transfers, make sure you use a card that offers fraud protection and confirm with your bank in advance to make sure that if anything goes wrong you are covered.
Buying: If you are buying a property overseas you need to take extra precautions as you are potentially handing over a large amount of money, so you need to make sure that you have covered all the legal requirements of the country you are buying in. To do this you need to ensure that you use an English speaking lawyer to manage your affairs. Make sure that they are licenced to represent you in that country and most importantly ensure that they are completely independent and are only representing you. In some cases a lawyer can be representing the buyer and the seller which can create a conflict of interest.
There is some great information available on the gov.uk website on the following link which will answer a lot of your questions around buying a property overseas.
If you are moving abroad, you will more than likely need to earn a living. There are a few things to consider if you plan to work when living in a new country:
Language: Having a grasp on the local lingo is essential if you are planning on living abroad. Make a real effort in the months leading up to your move to have the basics in place, and keep working at it once you are in your new country. The more you practice, the more you will learn and ultimately the better your language is, the more opportunities you can consider. Language is the key that will really open new doors in terms of work in your new country.
Research: With the use of the internet it is now easy to secure a job before you even land in your new country. Make sure you register with the main recruitment sites in the country that you are moving too along with any agencies in your locality. Follow up on vacancies daily and keep in regular contact with your recruitment consultant so that you are on their mind when a vacancy arises. Make yourself available for interviews via Skype so that you can bag your perfect job before you even touch down in your new country.
Flexibility: Being flexible is essential if you are moving to a new country and are looking for work. You need to remember that you may be at a disadvantage to start with due to you being from another country and not as fluent in the language. Consider taking a job in a different field or lower paid to help build your language skills and your network. This could be the stepping stone to a new position that is better paid and more in line with your experience. It is a good approach to take a long term view and work towards what you want to do, maybe that means taking a backwards step to get your foot in the door.
You will need to open a local bank account in your new country which will be required to pay your bills. Some banks will have English speaking staff that will help you open an account. Some banks may cater more for expat customers, so it may be worth visiting expat forums, and researching which are the best banks online before you arrive in your new country. If possible try to apply online which will start the account opening process so that you will have your payment details available for when you get your utilities connected.
Getting connected with gas, electricity, waters and phone companies when you move to your new country is relatively easy, however you may need to make some calls to advise each company that you have moved into your new property and when you want the billing to start. If you do not speak the language, this may prove to be a challenge so you may need to a few calls until you get to speak to someone in the company who speaks English. As an alternative you may have a friend or someone you have met that speaks the language that may be happy to ring the companies on your behalf to get you connected. Another option is to order online, and email the companies direct using a translation program. These are little challenges that you will have to face at the start that you would usually take for granted in your own country, but the more you get to grips with the language, the easier it gets.
If you are moving to another country and have young children you will need to consider enrolling your children into a new school. You will need to consider if you are going to enrol your children in a local non English speaking school or in an English/international school. If your children are young you could consider placing then in a local non English school. This would be a great opportunity for your child to pick up the new language while they are at an age where learning comes naturally.
If your children are older they may be more likely to have trouble integrating in a non-English speaking school, so you may want to consider an English speaking/international school.
To find a school, you can join expat forums and see if anyone who has children in a particular school in your new country can share any advice or recommendations. Possibly join expat groups on Facebook to get advice from people with children who live in your new country. This is a great way to get some first-hand experience and also you may make some friends for when you move to your new country.
You may not have spent too much time thinking about healthcare before your move, but it is something you should definitely plan for, should anything unforeseen happen when you are living in your new country.
Don’t forget your jabs
You may need jabs if you are moving to certain countries so make sure you see a doctor and plan these well in advance of your move.
You can find the latest information on vaccinations check the World Health Organisation website at www.who.int/ith/vaccines/en
Find out where your nearest doctors or medical centre is.
Make sure you know where your nearest doctors or medical centre is in your new country. You should have a plan and know what your emergency procedure is in your new home. Make sure you know where to go, or who to call in an emergency as it will be difficult to locate this information should you be in a stressful situation.
Speak to your doctor about any prescription drugs you take.
Prescription drugs can vary from country to country so speak to your doctor well before you move to see if the drugs you take are available in your new country, and if not make sure you know the names of the new drugs that you will need to take.
Translate your medical history
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions it is advisable to translate your medical history so that you can share this with your new doctor who may not necessarily speak your native language.
Check you have appropriate health insurance
Make sure you have the right health insurance for the country you are moving to so that you are covered if anything happens. Having the wrong insurance can be a costly mistake so make sure you speak to a few companies before your move to look at the range of policies available and carefully compare features to make sure that you are covered fully for any eventuality.