- Download our Moving to Egypt Guide (PDF)
Many expats moving to Egypt do so for work, with Cairo being the country's most popular city for expats. Some of the companies or schools that host expats will supply accommodation in Egypt or provide an allowance as part of the agreed salary. This is something to consider negotiating into a contract if it is not already included.
Those without assistance from their employer in finding accommodation should consider hiring a real-estate agent to navigate the language barrier and the local property market in order to find the perfect home in Egypt. Alternatively, one could go it alone. Make sure to being someone along to translate if need be.
Types of accommodation in Egypt
There is a range of property options for expats moving to Egypt. Most find homes in dedicated expat areas, either in the form of apartments or villas.
There are many benefits that come with living close to other expats. Having someone to ask for advice and being around others who have experienced the same challenges make it easier to adjust to life in the country as it's likely to be culturally different to an expat's own.
Expats tend to earn higher salaries than the local community, and hence live in more affluent areas. In these areas, one can expect a wide range of amenities.
Finding accommodation in Egypt
Egypt is a word-of-mouth society. A recommendation goes a long way and is the best way to find a good service provider. The many expat forums and blogs on the internet make it easy to get advice before even moving to Egypt.
Real-estate agents vary in their resourcefulness and ability. The companies with the most employees are not necessarily the best or the most reliable. We recommend expats ask around within the expat community for a few names and numbers of agents that have proved to be responsible and professional and stick to those. This can also help to avoid companies that are known to rip off expats.
Renting accommodation in Egypt
Leases in Egypt can be anywhere between one month and a couple of years in length. Expats should shop around to find the best deal that works for them.
It is important that expats renting property in Egypt have a proper written contract and never make a verbal agreement. Expats should insist that a contract is written in English. Reputable estate agents will ensure any Arabic documents are duly translated into English.
Expats may find that rental contracts in Egypt differ quite markedly from the standard contracts they would be accustomed to in their home country. It is possible that a rental agreement may stipulate what types of visitors the tenant is allowed to entertain and whether overnight guests are permitted.
Some landlords forbid the free mixing of men and women in their properties overnight and there have been instances of expats finding themselves in breach of these terms unintentionally. It's therefore quite important that expats read the contract carefully and fully understand their responsibilities and those of the landlord or agent. Expats can ask that any ambiguous elements of the contract be clarified.
In order to secure a rental home, expats may be obligated to pay a number of months' rent upfront in addition to a deposit, which is generally at least one month's rent. Expats should therefore ensure they have sufficient funds available, and should also take appropriate security precautions to avoid being scammed. Reputable estate agents can be helpful in this regard. In addition, expats should always view properties in person before making payment.
The agent and landlord may require expats to pay an agency fee equivalent to one month’s rent. Some agents do not charge this fee but expats should find this out before using their services.
Utility bills are nearly always the responsibility of the tenant in Egypt and will be an additional expense on top of monthly rental costs. Be sure to enquire as to the approximate costs and keep them in mind while budgeting. Hold onto all invoices, bills and receipts as proof that these have been paid in case it is requested by the landlord.
►For help with budgeting, see Cost of Living in Egypt
"Standard of housing is great. There are many options. Often when you come to a city as an expat, there will be a real-estate company hired to help you find an apartment. Avoid these companies at all costs. Their goal is to put you in the most expensive home possible so they can get a slightly higher commission, while you are left paying astronomical prices all year. When you get there, make sure to take your time. Go out and see some houses on your own." Read more about Marc, a Canadian expat, and his move to Egypt in his interview.
Are you an expat living in Egypt?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Egypt. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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