expat network

Property Options In America

property options
When moving to America there are a number of options for where you are going to be living and in what type of accommodation.   While you explore the options it is often necessary to find temporary accommodation while you decide where you want to live long-term. 

While you find the solution there are a number of options:

  • Traditional hotels– This can be an option if only needed for the short term.  However, when the entire family arrives together this can be expensive and can create problems where there is no privacy available in separate areas for relaxation and study. Eating out every night, while initially attractive, can soon lose its appeal.
  • Extended-stay hotels– In most US cities multi-room suites are available with one or two bedrooms, a living area including basic kitchen facilities and limited hotel facilities. This gives the option of self-catering to keep costs down and some separate rooms to give a degree of privacy. These can be a viable alternative if it will take a month or so before moving into longer term accommodation.
  • Serviced accommodation– This is a popular solution and widely available in citiesa round America. There is a wide range of options available in America from deluxe solutions through to more basic options available that are appropriate for those with smaller budgets.


Accommodation Choices

When you are deciding where you are going to live longer-term during your stay in America  your choice will depend on a number of factors: the expected length of stay; market factors; whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or as a family; available budget; whether you are financing the cost yourself or being provided by your employer as part of a package.

There are generally a number of options:

Serviced apartment – The advantages of this option have already been covered and for some it is a very attractive lifestyle with all the facilities provided and an active community of like-minded people in the building.

Purchase – When expats are on a defined stay it can be a high-risk strategy to purchase. The key risk is that if you have to leave at a defined time you may be forced to sell at a disadvantageous time in the market. There is also the risk that you will be forced by circumstances to return to your home country sooner than expected. If you are staying for a longer period or have moved with the specific intention of investing in property as part of a change in lifestyle you will need to ensure that you understand the market and the risks and opportunities you face. If you are planning to buy in America see Chris Nye’s guide to the buying process in America below.

Rented accommodation – For most, a rental property is the most popular choice. In different parts of America there will be choices to suit most situations. You will generally be able to choose between furnished and unfurnished and identify the most appropriate residential area in the centre of the city or further out. The advantages of renting include the ability to match the term of the rental to the length of your expected stay and not having to deal with maintenance and equipment faults.  Most houses are rented unfurnished, but furnished are available in some areas.

You should be able to find a Realtor who will take you round available properties as they will generally share the commission with the listing agent.

Most cities have a standard minimum lease term of one year, although in some areas you can agree a minimum lease term of six months.  A deposit will be payable and this varies from city to city, but will be at least one month and generally two month’s rent.  Agents commission is generally paid by the landlord, but in some cities, such as New York, it can be charged to the tenant.

It varies from city to city whether it is generally possible to negotiate a break clause and the terms of this is dependent on where you are renting.

Going-There produce a useful Global Leasing Report bi-annually, which shows the typical rents and the terms available in different cities around America (and around the world).