New Life Abroad

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Well, we've finally done it ! On 7th April 2006 we started our new life abroad by moving overseas to Turgutreis in Turkey. We landed at Milas Airport with just four suitcases & Charlie our cat in his pet carrier, no-one even bothered to check the paperwork. It made me wonder why I'd gone to all the trouble and expense of form filling and arranging visits to the vet for injections. I don't recommend trying to sneak your pet through without doing everything properly though!

Double check all the details
We'd arranged an airport transfer with a friend who took us to our newly rented house. We arrived just after midnight to be met by very strong winds, only to find there had been a breakdown in communication and we had no keys so ended up staying at our friends apartments for the night. Not a good start to our new life abroad in Turkey!

Read the contract
Next day our hearts sank at the sight of our new house which we had rented for a year. Tatty, in need of decoration and a with very bad smell. Later we found we had no hot water and the electricity went out completely when we used a particular socket. Over the next few days, several conversations and visits from the Estate Agent and site Manager, we were told that we were responsible for any problems and this was the way it worked in Turkey. That was it! We had to move. Despite asking someone to check the contract for us and being told it was just a standard contract, we didn't realise that the Landlord would be responsible for only the very major items. Very different to the way it works in England. After visiting a very helpful English speaking solicitor in Bodrum, we were lucky that the Landlord agreed to refund our deposit, but this was a lesson learned! Lesson:- To make your new life abroad easier, don't assume anything, always get things translated & read the small print yourself.

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Set your criteria
So........... the search for another house had begun. We viewed house after house. Some too expensive, some too small and some with hidden costs which sent us way over our budget. We wasted lots of time being shown places which were totally unsuitable. Too small, too old, too far from where we wanted to live, etc. We quickly learned that we needed to spell out to the agents what our requirements were. For us they were as follows:

  • Fairly new & in good condition
  • Within 15 - 20 minutes walk of town centre & sea
  • Ground floor or exterior stairs so Charlie could get in
  • Use of a swimming pool
  • Air Conditioning
  • Within our budget (including any additional costs such as pool maintenance)

  • Villa-in-Turgutreis-BodrumDespite giving these criteria we were still shown places without a pool, or way over our budget. Several agents couldn't understand why we wanted a pool when the we could swim in the sea. Three or four days & about 15 viewings later, we stumbled across a developers office who gave us two telephone numbers people considering renting out their villa's. We called one of them and arranged a viewing. It was gorgeous and perfect for us with 3 bedrooms and its own swimming pool. We thought it would be way out of our price range, but we were lucky enough that the English couple who owned the house agreed a very reasonable price with us. Many people hold out for high weekly summer rentals with the associated extra costs and sometimes end up with little or no income at all. Our new landlords Don & Elaine however will have the benefit of us looking after their lovely house for them while collecting a modest income. We moved in 3 days later!

    Since moving in, we have been trying to find out our address. Nobody knows it! Its a new road with new houses so there is no road name and no numbers. Family and friends have been asking us what it is to send birthday cards and other items through the post but we cant tell them. Apparently this is not unusual in Turkey with some people have been waiting 3 years to find out their address! We have now decided to go and collect any post from the local Post Office.

    Location, location, location
    Turgutreis, where we have chosen to start our new life abroad, is the second largest town on the Peninsula with people living here all year round. This was important to us as we are not just here for the summer. Turgutreis has everything that you could need for year round living. Four supermarkets, hardware stores, electrical shops and about 7 pharmacies. These are open all year round and are within 10 minutes walking distance of our house.
    new-life-abroadWith it's beautiful sunsets & cooling summer breezes, Turgutreis is an ideal place for our New Life Abroad. It has a touristic yet homely feel to it. We decided to rent before buying, as we were concerned that if we chose a place we didn't like, it would be far more difficult to move if we'd bought the house. At the time of writing this I feel we both still very much feel Turgutreis is the place we want to stay. We are told that during the summer up to 90% of the tourists are British. At the time of writing it is mid May and they have started to dribble through. With the exchange rate now at a very high 2.9 YTL to the Pound, they will be pouring through soon and the season will be well and truly underway.

    Turgutreis-barbequeThe locals are all very friendly and helpful and we have made some very good friends, occasionally going round theirs for dinner or holding BBQ's at our house.

    We are now concentrating on our business of Property Developing in Mumcular. Once this is underway we will be able to do more and build some solid foundations for ourselves in Turkey.

    Our new life abroad in Turkey has presented us with some problems like things we took for granted in the UK, like renting houses and the slower pace of life. However, we are we surrounded by beautiful scenery and do our work by the swimming pool in the sunshine each day. Its hard to think of ever living back in the UK again now. I certainly havent missed it at all, apart from missing family and friends of course.

    I'll talk to you again soon to let you know how we progress. Sign up for our newsletter to be make sure you don't miss the next episode of "New Life Abroad".

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