An expat's guide to moving in Turkey

Moving house is an art form in Turkey. You can either hire a moving company for a fee or try to handle packing and moving your stuff yourself, which may not be an easy task.
Moving house is an art form in Turkey. You can either hire a moving company for a fee or try to handle packing and moving your stuff yourself, which may not be an easy task.

Moving home, regardless of time and place, can always be a grueling task, but there are certain tricks and insider knowledge that can help make the whole process a lot easier

When trying to locate your future home, as is most likely the case anywhere, if you go through a realtor you may be able to find a place quicker but more often than not you will also be subject to paying a finder's fee. The fee is somewhat flexible and can be bargained on, but general understanding is that you may have to fork up an amount equivalent to one month's rent for the assistance. Therefore, those who have the time and inclination may want to go the route of seeking out homes directly from the owner.

Simply walking around in the neighborhood you want to reside in is a sure bet as you will see signs hung on the windows of flats and houses that are available. Keep in mind that many signs will be advertisements by real estate agents, however sometimes, if you're lucky, you can find signs that read "sahibinden," which translates to "from the owner." In the meantime, don't hesitate to ask the local markets, referred to as "bakkal." If you are in a rural area, you can ask the "muhtar," the headman or visit the local "kahves."

The key here is to go local, ask around and try to use the power of word of mouth. To put it simply tell everyone what you are looking for, as this still remains the most effective and most relevant way of house hunting in Turkey, where people boasts a hospitable characteristic and certainly do not lack in social skills.

There is actually a much more convenient way to look for flat these days and you can do so using your computer or phone from anywhere in the world. You can use Turkey's largest classifieds website, For housing just head over to its "Konut" section, but keep in mind that despite the name, many of the ads on the site are put up by real estate agents.

What to ask before signing on

The way to wade through potential places and ensure you have all of the comforts, utilities and amenities you will need to start by asking about the basic elements, like if the apartment or house is heated? If so how? How is the water pressure? Or whether there is any "aidat," or monthly payments to keep everything up and running.

When signing the contract, keep in mind, you may have to pay at least a months' rent up front and/or an equivalent amount as a deposit, in addition to the real estate agent's fee, if applicable.

Have all payments registered in the contract and if possible secure what the next year's rent will be. The rate is generally 10 percent yet tends to fluctuate annually according to the consumer price index. Do not under any circumstances refrain from signing a contract, which you can easily purchase from any local stationery shops, as you will need it to have the utilities transferred to your name and for various other unforeseen reasons.

Time for the move

Turkey has finely tuned the transportation of household items into an art form. When it comes to moving your stuff, furniture and boxes, there are a vast number of movers and methods. The most hassle-free but pricey experience would be going to a professional mover. They would come into your house, photograph it as it is, then packs everything up in boxes only to move everything to your new home and then lay it out in the very same set up you had to begin with. This, of course, may cost you a pretty penny but it is certainly the most painless.

The next option is to pack your own stuff and just have movers do the heavy lifting. For this, you may need to find clean big boxes that we all tend to throw out under normal circumstances yet in times of moving seek out like predators. If paying for empty cardboard boxes rubs you the wrong way, you can seek out pristine boxes, referred to as "koli" in Turkish, by asking for them from supermarkets, many of which will kindly abide.

Once packed up, you will still need movers for the transport, referred to as "nakliyat" in Turkish. There is an extremely helpful website, conveniently called, where you can enter the number of items you have to move, the distance they will be moved and how many stories the movers will have to climb before a pool of moving companies bid for your job and you can pick the one you prefer.

Moving in Turkey can be a serious endeavor, so don't be shocked if suddenly a crane shows up to carry your bed to your new high-rise apartment through the window or balcony. It can be quite the spectacle, especially when they use ropes and your couch is literally in the sky, so just take deep breaths and realize that the Turks can find a solution for almost everything and they have certainly done this before.

Taking the easy route

If all this still remains a daunting task, then Turkey Relocation Management Services is a reputable relocating service that was started up by two Turkish female entrepreneurs and has been written up about in countless publications, including the local periodical for expats, Time Out.

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