Accommodation in Turkey
Expatriates moving to Turkey can rest assured that finding suitable, well-priced accommodation will be a relatively pain-free, straightforward process. Expat accommodation in Turkey is widespread and varied, with many great deals to be found. It is also a feasible and popular option for expats to buy houses in Turkey, as property rates are much lower than in many other European states.
Types of accommodation in Turkey
There are many types of accommodation available in Turkey, from flats and apartments, to houses, condominiums and luxury villas. The price of property in Turkey varies greatly according to the type and quality of the residence, its location, the date of its construction, and whether or not it has parking facilities (parking space is at a premium in Turkish cities, especially Istanbul). As to be expected, property prices are generally higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
There are no designated 'expat areas' in Turkey – although expats moving to Istanbul might want to check out the districts of Nişantaşı, Teşvikiye and Cihangir, as these all offer a good range of accommodation options, while at the same time being interesting parts of the city in which to live.
Renting property in Turkey
Expats will need to engage the services of a reputable real estate agent when looking for a place to rent in Turkey. The vast majority of Turkish estate agencies will have a dedicated rentals division – and in all likelihood, the agent will be experienced in dealing with expats and can speak English. They will have a range of accommodation options, which one can view, before signing a lease agreement.
Leases in Turkey are generally signed on a year-long basis, and are usually paid in advance – although, luckily, this can be negotiated if you're an expat, and you should be able to pay your rent in monthly instalments. Note that bargaining is a common and accepted practice in Turkey – if you lack the stomach or the skills to do it yourself, you should ask your real estate agent to negotiate a favourable monthly rental fee on your behalf. Agents will also charge a fee for their services, which is also normally negotiable, and it's likely that you'll have to pay at least one month's rent as deposit to secure your new apartment.
Expats are urged to request a written lease agreement before committing to the rental, and to read it thoroughly. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions laid out in the contract, and if there are any clauses that prohibit you from using the accommodation in the manner in which you intend, get these sorted out and amended before signing anything.
Whether or not you are liable for your utility bills in Turkey will depend on the agreement you reach with your landlord: sometimes these costs are included in the monthly rental price, sometimes not.
Buying property in Turkey
It is possible for expats of most nationalities to buy property in Turkey. In fact, buying property in Turkey is a popular option for expats, with many foreigners looking to capitalise on the relatively low (by European standards) house prices in the country.
The following conditions apply to expats looking to buy property in Turkey:
- Mutual reciprocity: expats are only allowed to purchase property in Turkey if Turkish citizens are permitted to purchase property in the expat's country of origin. Citizens of Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States are, therefore, permitted to purchase property in Turkey.
- Expats who qualify under mutual reciprocity agreements still MAY NOT purchase property within village areas, or within designated military zones.
- Expats looking to buy property outside of village areas and exceeding 74 acres in size, must obtain special permission from the Turkish government.