Moving to a different location? It’s better to rent first!
There is a general advice given to expats; before you buy, rent for a year. I am a living proof that it holds true! We’ve moved from New York to Istanbul, Turkey about a year ago. Istanbul is a major city with a 14 million+ population. It is a great city with its history, culture, fast-paced life style, etc. It has great places to visit as a tourist; such as Topkapi Palace, The Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Süleymaniye Mosque, Galata Tower, Grand Bazaar, Princes’ Islands, etc. To give you a general idea, Istanbul’s climate and economical life is exactly like New York’s.
As with all big cities, Istanbul offers better job opportunities than any other cities in Turkey. There are great cultural events, many reputable universities, sports teams’ stadiums, etc. Kids as well as adults can greatly broaden their horizons in Istanbul.
Unfortunately, visiting a place as a tourist is one thing, but living in it is totally another thing, it turns out. With 14+ million people, the traffic is a major headache and a time sucker, not to mention that driving is a challenge here, since not everyone fully respects the traffic laws. People are too busy and are always rushing from one place to another. It is somewhat expensive as well. I feel that local Real Estate values have risen perhaps somewhat unsustainably.
What really disappointed us living in Istanbul was the lack of a community feeling. People seem to become more self-centric, somewhat showoff. Locals are categorizing themselves with gated communities they live in. Once desired neighborly relationships seem to be lost; I bet many people don’t even know his/her next door neighbor or never set a foot in their apartment. I know for one that my next door neighbor did not!
So, what we have decided is to move to a smaller sea town in the South of Turkey. It is like moving from New York to Florida so there is no snow in winter but there will be a bit of extra heat in summer. Since we work from home, lack of better jobs in this city is not an issue for us. One of the main reasons of this move is to have that community feeling. We want our two kids to experience it first-hand. Lower cost of living is of course a plus. Having our apartment a few hundred yards away from the beach doesn’t hurt either.
Let’s see how this experience turns out.