Sponsored By: Bob Wolfe of Coldwell Banker
The lure of moving abroad: living in a place where the sea breezes kiss the mainland or listening to the birds in the cloud-forest and life is simpler, cheaper, and less hectic. Who hasn’t dreamed of such a scenario?
There are a variety of reasons why moving abroad might be tempting. Maybe you’re a “digital nomad,” someone who can work anywhere as long as you’re close to a computer, or you’re retiring and want to reduce your cost of living. Or maybe a job transfer makes it possible for you to sample living in a different country.
Bob Wolfe, associate with Coldwell Banker, has 12 years experience living in Central and South America and Southeast Asia. In that time, Wolfe says, “I learned a lot. The rewards are incredible – the people you meet, the experiences you would not otherwise have. People take the plunge; get there and there is a blank canvas on which they can paint the rest of their life. But there can be pitfalls. There may be difficulties learning a new language, or shopping opportunities may not be what they were at home.”
A lot of anxiety can be reduced or eliminated, Wolfe says, if individuals take these 4 steps before making the big move.
1.Do your research
The country you’re moving to may have customs and values very different from your own. So research key information like immigration and property ownership laws, health and education systems and public transportation. A lot of this information can be found online, but there are some sites that paint a glossy picture that is inaccurate, feeding their own hidden agenda.
“Guidance helps in all of this, and guidance that comes from experience helps more than anything,” says Wolfe.
2.Do a trial period before committing
The reality of living in a place can differ significantly from vacationing there. Before you move, take the time to get to know the country as a local does. A trial period is a good idea, Wolfe says. “You can see how well you function and talk to some of the other expats. Open yourself to the experiences.”
3. Learn to speak the language – at least a little
Communication is key if you want to be secure and comfortable once you are living in a new country. Learn basic phrases, numbers, colors, and names of common objects. “If you at least try, most of the time locals will work with you,” Wolfe said. “You don’t need to master the language.”
“There’s a lot of ways people can get tripped up,” says Wolfe. “Once they get out of the country, people will often believe anyone if they speak English. The “gringo-sharks” know that, so it can become a kind of trap.”
4. Know why you are there
This may seem simplistic, but are you there to retire and enjoy life, or will you continue to work or be involved in volunteer projects? Do you want to “go native” and avoid other expats, or are you looking for a community of expats and new experiences? Will you be there full-time or part-time?
Avoid a negative move, for example, to ‘get away from something,’ whether it is politics or a mother-in-law. Keep your focus positive.
Whether you’re planning a move locally or abroad, avail yourself of a free consultation from Bob Wolfe of Coldwell Banker. He can offer you practical advice backed by years of experience as both a Realtor and a former expat. There is no cost or obligation.
To learn the other 14 cardinal rules of a successful overseas move, call Bob Wolfe at 843-642-5588.