Finding a new house and accommodation alternatives for expats
December 14, 2021
Finding a new house and accommodation alternatives for expats

Cristina Fuertes

Renting or buying a property can be an excruciating task even at home. But what about when you need to find a new residence as an expat? Finding a new house and accommodation alternatives for expats

Yes, we got you. It can be overwhelming. Keep reading to learn what you have to bear in mind when moving overseas and needing to relocate.  

Considerations before you find a new residence as an expat


Once you discover and finalize new destination as an expat, you will need to start organizing everything to settle in the new city, and one of the most important things is housing. 

Here you have some useful questions you need to ask yourself to decide on which accommodation alternative suits your family best. 

How long are you going to live in the new country? 


It is important that you know how long you will be staying in your destination. Have you been given an assignment or project, and once it’s done, you will return to your country of origin? Or is the job forecast to be long term? This will help you decide whether to rent or buy your new property, or even look for some temporary solution (covered below). 

If you plan to stay abroad for years, or even if you don’t, but you see the opportunity to buy a house to live, and then keep it as an investment, maybe buying a property is your best decision.

What range of salary will you be receiving?


Will you be earning a local salary or maybe you will be paid with your country of origin standards? It is important that you take this range into consideration because it will give you access to different levels of accommodation, whether it is renting it or buying it. 

Is your family coming with you?


If you’re “expating” alone, you can look for an apartment in any neighbourhood, preferably near your work place. 

But if you are relocating with the whole family and you have kids, you may want to take into account where the private schools are, and rent or buy a property near the school area instead of close to the office. 

What supplies are included? 


Whether you’re renting or buying, you need to check which utilities are included in your contract (if you rent) and what suppliers you need to contact (electricity, gas, phone service or internet).

Are communal maintenance or services included?


Some properties, regardless of if you’ve rented or bought them, offer some services such as laundry 

Short term accommodation for expats


One of the best options to get the best property possible is to start with a short term rental. This will give you time in your new city to get to know it well, and prevent you from rushing into some property that does not fit your needs. 

Temporary accommodations can also be a thing when you’re just moving to work abroad for a short period of time (less than six months), and prefer to avoid buying furniture, lots of bureaucracy and want to take pressure off having to find electricity, gas or internet suppliers.

You can find temporary apartments specially targeted at expats, which work similarly to holiday rentals, serviced condos or even rooms.


Short term accommodation for expats in Barcelona


Finding a place to stay for a short time in Barcelona can be a good option if you need to relocate there as an expat. 

Short term rentals in Barcelona are a good option if the work project you’ve been assigned to lasts less than 6 months. 

This will help you too if you prefer to live in the capital of Catalonia for a few weeks before you make a final decision on your accommodation.

Short term accommodation for expats in USA


The real estate market in the United States is more expensive than in Barcelona, Spain. Prices are higher (so are salaries), and the housing supply is at its lowest since the 1970’s decade. 

That’s the reason why short term housing can be a great solution for expats in North America. 

Short term accommodation for expats in Mexico Finding a new house and accommodation alternatives for expats

Finding accommodation in Mexico from your country of origin may be harder than in the USA or Spain. 

Mexico still has the tradition to rent and sell properties through brochures or signs in the streets. This means it’s easier to book an Airbnb or hotel first, and after you’ve done your research, make an informed decision. 


Websites to help you find short term accommodation in Spain, USA and Mexico

Some useful websites for short term residence in Spain, USA and Mexico: 

  • Nestpick. They offer furnished accommodation in Barcelona and other Spanish cities, as well as different American cities and Mexico.
  • Airbnb. They don’t need an introduction. Airbnb is one of the most popular sites for holiday rental, and can be a solution for short term stays.
  • Spotahome. Spotahome offers different types of furnished housing, rooms in shared apartments, or even properties with a live-in landlord in different European cities. 

Long term accommodation for expats

We highly recommend you to start by living short term, if you plan to stay for several years. This way, you can get to know the city and decide which neighbourhood best suits your needs. 

Buying a property as an expat Finding a new house and accommodation alternatives for expats

For long term expats, once you decide which neighbourhood you want to live in, you can also decide to buy your new home instead of renting it. 

Investing in a property can be an interesting and profitable option. This is mainly because the mortgage payment can be lower than the rent you’d be paying for a similar property. 

The only “problem” you may face is having access to credit, as it is a bit tricky to transfer your credit history from your country of origin to the place you are going to live. Thankfully, Xpats enables you to do so in an easy way

You can be the first to benefit from Xpats if you sign up here

If you are about to start your journey as an expat, we highly recommend you do your research on housing in your destination. This will help you make an informed decision, but, the best way to research is being there. 

You can also rely on our expats communities in different countries to help you settle and look for the best neighbourhoods for your needs. 

Interested to meet new expats and find housing solutions? Get your priority access to our platform here.

Write to us on if you’d like us to cover detailed accommodation blog of any specific city.

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