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BLOG Things to Consider before Moving to Turkey - what and how?

25 January 2016 / Lifestyle

Moving to Turkey permanently with all the pros and cons that needs to be considered and more. You can find here brief guide for this popular topic.

Many people ask us if moving to Turkey is a good idea? Mainly because their first holiday was the start of an enticing dream to live permanently in the country. They fell in love with the laidback lifestyle, healthy Mediterranean diets, local hospitality and of course, the vibrant summer months. While some storybooks and travel guides advocate selling up and moving to the place of your dreams on a whim it is harder than that.

Some expats tell stories of selling up lock, stock, and barrel and everything goes to plan, others still maintain strong roots in the UK by keeping property there or splitting time between the two countries. To make the right choices, this is an ideal time to be self-aware and make decisions based on your lifestyle rather than what others have done. While it is helpful to learn from other people’s relocating experiences, every decision made should be a personal choice and not a necessity.

For the last five years, Turkey has seen drastic changes in the cost of living and lifestyle preferences. These changes look set to continue as the country steams forward to forging more international connections, so be prepared to accept change and adapt. To prevent financial mistakes and unsuitable lifestyle choices, taking a step back from the dream to answer important and vital questions relating to a planned move is a wise decision. After all, good planning and research will pay off to make the transition from country to country as smooth as possible.

Advice on Moving to Turkey

1: Before Moving: Know Your Reasons Why

If memories of a fantastic two-week holiday are your reasons for coming back, be careful because not only is sustaining a holiday lifestyle expensive but it is also a false perception of reality. Anyone who moves here must inevitably deal with laws, regulations, and requirements such as residency permits, financial budgeting, electricity, gas, neighbourly relationships, and health insurance. Tales of expats sitting on the beach everyday drinking afternoon cocktails are exaggerated and living a permanent holiday lifestyle is also extremely unhealthy. It quickly leads to mental and physical burn-out. Move because you have fond memories of the country, but base expectations firmly on the future, not the past.


2: Expats with Open Minds

Depending on the area of Turkey, you move to, an understanding of Turkish culture and religion will help. Multi-culture practices are evident in places like central Istanbul or cosmopolitan Izmir but look closely into any local neighbourhood to discover certain practices you are not used to. For example, the circumcision parades or Kurban Bayram also called the sacrifice feast. It is the annual ritual of slaughtering an animal for religious purposes. Some expats have never seen it happen because, in recent years, rules have tightened up, but every expat will meet people or make new friends that believe in this religious festival. Likewise, some parents still actively choose their children’s marriage partner and neighbours often knock on each other’s doors to visit unannounced in some areas.

Stereotyping the culture is hard because every region is different, and sometimes Turkish culture conflicts with your own emotions or points of view. The red tape and bureaucracy of offices is one example. Expats have a well-known joke that the left-hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Long-winded processes and ad-hoc communication often frustrate even the most patient of people. The government tries to streamline operations, but it takes time, so getting angry and demanding good customer service does not help—tact and diplomacy in situations that do not always make sense, go a long way instead.

3: Maintaining Family Ties

Every family is different, and while some are happy for mum or dad to live out their days in the sun, other people miss their grandchildren or resent the fact they cannot just hop on a bus to see them. From the UK to Turkey, it is roughly a four-hour flight and ticket prices have increased in recent years. Sit down with close family members to discuss how the move will affect everyone. This ensures everyone is sure of what to expect, and family arguments are minimal.

4: Long Term Financial Management

For many years, expats in Turkey have put money into savings accounts and withdrawn the monthly interest as a means of income. For the long-term expats, though, this had a knock-on effect on their net worth when exchange rates rose, therefore, diminishing the amount of UK pounds they originally had. This, in turn, has delayed any plans to return to the UK, as they wait to recoup as much of their savings as possible. Likewise, the exchange rate now is at an all-time high and expats in Turkey who receive a monthly UK pension are now wealthier than before, but exchange rates can and probably will go down. Have a safety net in place or some leeway to lose money during currency exchange trends.


5: Where to Live in Turkey

This is a personal choice, but the decision should consider factors such as how well you speak Turkish, and what is your budget for buying property and monthly living? Do you want to make friends with other expats, and how do you plan to spend your days? Golfing enthusiasts should choose the Antalya region because this is the golfing capital while resorts such as Didim offer excellent property prices. A move to places in the Black Sea or Southeast would be extremely hard for non-Turkish speakers who want westernised practises because they are more conservative than other towns. As mentioned before, if buying property based on an area you often use for summer holidays, visit it in the winter. Many of the seaside resorts close then, and life is drastically different without the summer sun. Our article on the best place to live in Turkey will help you decide.


6: Living in Turkey: Pros and Cons

One thing that might help decide whether the move is good for you is to draw up a list of benefits, and the downsides. Our expat guide to living in Turkey discusses them all including banking, language, residency permits, nationalities of expats like Brits, working, the cost of living and more.

About Us: We are Turkey Homes, a property investment agent with offices all around the country, including Istanbul, Bodrum, Fethiye, and Antalya. We have helped many buyers who dreamt of moving to Turkey to find their perfect home and settle into expat life. If you want to buy an apartment or villa in the country, to move here permanently, call or email us today and speak with a local agent. Alternatively, see our property listings here. Each one contains all the information, including price, location, home features, and contact details to find out more via email or arrange a viewing.

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