As we write our latest article for our blog, we are sat in self-isolation, in line with the latest UK government guidelines. Each member of our fabulous team is now working remotely from the safety of their own home. Thank goodness for the internet!
As this is what life will be like until the government advises us otherwise, we’ve considered what can be done to keep our lives moving in the meantime. What can we do to ensure that once the danger has passed, we can pick up where we left off? Or, even better, prepare ourselves to take the next step we’ve been dreaming of.
For many of our readers, this will be purchasing a home abroad and starting a new life as an expat. Whether this will be your first time moving outside of the UK or simply a change from expat life in one country to another, we’ve thought about what this could involve. You can give these suggestions a try to pass the time whilst in self-isolation or even to make the most of the free time you’ve gained.
1. Learn a new language using an app
Whether this is just a plan to learn a few keywords or a goal to become fluent, all you need is a computer, tablet or smartphone. There are plenty of apps available that provide content for free, with the option to pay for more in-depth lessons.
I’m currently using ‘Mondly’ to learn Finnish and I’ve found that the one lesson a day I receive has been a great start.
2. Go to social media to look for inspiring accounts
Find relevant accounts to follow on Instagram (or any other social media you prefer). We like Instagram for the visual aspect, as we love to tease ourselves with beautiful images of destinations that we can’t wait to arrive in. You’ll also find quite a few expats sharing their own adventures.
You can look up local restaurants and tourist attractions to find out what other visitors experienced.
Pinterest is another option, handy for collecting ideas together from wherever you find them. You create a virtual pinboard of ideas made up of photos and links to where you found them.
3. Head to TripAdvisor for candid reviews
This is another great resource to find out more about what to expect when you start your expat adventure. It’s worth paying attention to the comments written in the language of the country the attraction is in, to gather insight from the locals.
4. Look for virtual property tours
This option is becoming more available, as the days and weeks of social distancing go by. There’s no reason why the property market has to come to a complete stop as the technology to view a home and discuss business remotely is readily available.
5. Work on your culinary skills
Whether you’ve found yourself with more free time due to your workplace closing or the lack of commute because of working from home, now is the time to pick up a new hobby. Start by researching your chosen country’s cuisine and then give it a go! If you already have set plans to relocate, then it hopefully won’t be long before you’re buying fresh ingredients to make an authentic local dish.
6. List what you want in a new life abroad
Are you at the beginning of your expat journey? Then now is the time to get planning. Create a detailed list of everything you’ll want. Think about the type of property you’re after, how many rooms, how spacious it needs to be, and so on. What about the location, local amenities and transport options? Plan it well and you’ll hit less bumps along the way.
7. Do some property market research
Once you have decided which area is right for you, have a look at what you can get for your money. You may find your dream home but you’ll want to make sure you’re not overpaying. This will put you in a better position to negotiate.
8. Create a plan for internal and external design
Another list (we love them)! Do you plan on purchasing a home with a garden? Then there is some thought to be had on landscaping. Do you want a swimming pool, grass, patio and/or decking? And what will you use the rooms for inside your new home?
For inside and outside you will need to have a think about furniture, even if it’s just the basics to get you started.
(This one would work well with our Instagram/Pinterest suggestion!)
9. Undertake mortgage research
Options you find now may have changed by the time you go to apply, but it will give you a realistic view of what you are looking at. It helps to be prepared and you could later enquire about any past offers or a similar alternative.
10. Research what help you’ll need when purchasing a property
When buying a home abroad, language barriers can be a problem. Finding yourself a solicitor who is fluent in English will remove some of the stress of such a massive overseas purchase. The same goes for the estate agency you are buying from. You need to make sure that you have received and understood every detail about the property.
For the same reason, Insure My Villa is here to help. We provide British expats reassurance that they will receive all documents for our Overseas Property Insurance policy written in English.
Our Nottingham-based team are here to help via email or phone, or LiveChat on our Vasek Insurance website. Visit our contact page for more information.