Tips to finding a new international home

Trying to find a nice home at your overseas destination country can be anything from a relatively simple matter to a complete nightmare. There are a lot of factors to consider when you need to either rent or own a new flat: the housing market in your destination country; the size of your family; the exTrying to find a nice home at your overseas destination country can be anything from a relatively simple matter to a complete nightmare. There are a lot of factors to consider when you need to either rent or own a new flat: the housing market in your destination country; the size of your family; the expected length of your assignment; costs and allowances.

In most, but not all circumstances, you will probably be looking to rent your new home. The number of rentals in keeping with international standards may be limited, and language and cultural differences may complicate the negotiation of leases. By contrast, you may be entering a well-supplied housing market, where property owners are accustomed to accommodating the requirements of expatriate families.

You can make your experience easier, if you maximize the contacts and resources available to you. Get as much advance information as possible. Ask your employer for contacts, and if possible retain the services of a relocation consultant or destination services provider. The Internet provides an ever-increasing supply of information and resources. Get to know expatriate colleagues who already may be living in your destination country; find out whether there is an established community of foreign residents, who can provide advice and assistance.

Feel free to contact me if you need further advice and if you plan on moving overseas. I can provide you with a list of resources and organizations that you can contact prior to heading across the pond.

Safe moving!

Purchase and know your insurance coverage before crossing the pond

Insurance is one of the most important things you need to take care of and ensure you are covered before you leave overseas. I’m talking about personal insurance for you and all of your family members as well as insurance to protect all of your belongings!
If you are relocating abroad with your home-country employer, check the insurance provisions your employer may have on a corporate basis to cover employees who relocate internationally. Sometimes companies with large numbers of internationally located employees have negotiated group policies. Some of the provisions may be applicable and useful to your circumstances and sometimes, you will need to make your own arrangements to ensure you are covered.
If you are moving overseas for work, be sure to know who is making the insurance arrangements for your personal items. Your employer may provide insurance for some of your household goods but then again, maybe not. Also, if you are shipping pricey items and over-sized belongings which may be excluded from coverage, make sure your employer knows this so that if items need to be insured, either by you or your employer, it will be covered.
Find out if shipping insurance, for example, is being arranged through your corporate office or through an agent abroad, and whom you should contact in the event of a problem. You will also want to know exactly what each policy covers; when coverage begins and ends; and what the claims procedure and the deadlines are.
By taking steps and knowing what your employer will or will not cover, you’ll be in a great position to ensure your items are covered. If you use our international moving service, we will be happy to guide you through the process and provide you with peace-of-mind knowing that everything will be taken care of when you move to your new country.

Safe moving!

Basic tips before you move overseas

When you move overseas, whether for a new job opportunity or for a new adventure in your life, you want to make sure you have your ducks in a row before you say goodbye to the U.S.

An international move can be complicated but since I’m in the moving biz, I’m going to share with you some basic tips but very important tips before you make the leap overseas.

Employment
Yeah, that’s pretty basic but you’ll need work visas or permits to ensure you are working legally in your new country. It’s also helpful just to know the job market there and a basic understanding of the city you are moving to. If it’s for work, no problem, they usually have contacts available for you. If not, contact some organizations that are familiar with your job and get to know one or two people that can be your “guide” so you know how the new city works and operates—safe places to live, good eats etc.

Your finances
You have money coming whether for work or another way of income and you need to make sure it’s in a safe place. Contact some banks there and find out if you can set up an account before you leave. Know what type of fees they might charge and find out how safe your money is. You don’t want to have a lot of cash in your pocket when arriving in your new country and have it either stolen or lost somehow.

Consult with an accountant
One of the smartest things you can do before your move is to know the tax system not only here when you are out of the country, but in your new land. It can be complicated so be sure to contact your accountant or hire a tax professional to ensure you have a plan and meet all of your tax obligations. It will avoid major headaches while leaving abroad, trust me.

Health insurance
This is another basic tip but believe it or not, many people don’t check to find out if they are covered overseas. The last thing you need is to get ill and be hospitalized and find out your insurance doesn’t cover you or your family. Check with your health care provider if you are insured or not and make any adjustments if needed so you are insured.

Education
If you have kids and they are moving with you, make sure your new country can provide a proper or continuing of education that specializes in teaching American citizens. Call some institutions beforehand so your kids or teens have a good school to attend. Feel free to visit the State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools for more information on the best educational opportunities for your kids.

Safe moving!

Should you tip movers?

One of the most hardworking people in the moving industry besides what I do (wink) are the professional movers who pack your belongings in boxes and load your furniture and place them in the moving trucks to get them to your final destination.

Movers are part of the service trade. In other words, they are service professionals and you base your tip on the services performed. Yes, you do tip movers but it’s not expected. Most people will buy them lunch for their tip and or provide cash.

If a mover is late, has a bad attitude and isn’t attentive to ensure your belongings are packed properly, you certainly won’t tip them or provide lunch. However, if the movers job performance was attentive, helpful, professional and packed your items appropriately, then give what you believe is fair.

What is a reasonable tip and fair to give to your movers? Here are some recommendations:
• Offer the movers to buy them lunch especially if it’s at least a half-day move. That’s just as good as a cash tip. Some people do both but it’s not necessary. If you do buy them lunch, don’t assume it should be hamburgers or pizza. Keep in mind, you are not the only one that they are moving your life belongings for. Ask what the movers feel like having.
• Make sure to have small items on hand such as bottled water (easier to carry around than a glass of water), sodas and light snacks. Don’t offer them alcoholic drinks like beer, it’s stereotypical, movers can’t drink on the job and there are liability issues.
• There’s really no percentage amount to give to movers like there is in other service industries such as restaurants where waitresses or waiters receive 20 percent for excellent service. About $10 per person is proper and if it’s a full day, then about $20 or so per mover.
• If you do give a cash tip, don’t give it all to the driver or one person but to each individual. That really recognizes each individual’s efforts and is fair overall.

If your movers are professional, polite and do a good job, reward them like anyone else in the service industry.

Safe moving!

Tips to snail-mail forwarding

Even though many of us receive packages via FedEx or by other means, we still have important snail-mail to collect and when moving overseas, you want to ensure you receive it at your new home or residence. With technology today, you can now actually manage your mail from abroad by using mail forwarding services.

Moving can be stressful especially moving overseas but be sure to select a mail servicing company before heading out so that important letters, correspondences and yes, even bills are still sent to you.

You can choose a variety of features including:
• Mail sent monthly, bi-monthly or as requested
• Add an Internet account so you can view the status of your mail and specify specific shipping dates
• Shipping and customs documents can be handled by the shipping service you choose
• Categorize or select which parcels of mail you want to receive overseas

The U.S. Postal Services regulates commercial receiving agencies (CRMAs) and requires a form to be filled out (you can download it here: https://about.usps.com/forms/ps1583.pdf and have identification documents handy when filling out the form. If you have a significant other and you’re not married, each person will need to fill out a separate form.

Mail-forwarding services eases a lot of worries when heading overseas and this is just another convenient service to use when living in another country.

Safe moving!

If moving overseas, ensure your documents are in order

You have a passport and visa and off you go to move overseas. Not so fast, you need to make sure other documents are in order before leaving. It’s crucial that additional paperwork and important copies of medical insurance, income tax records and the like are with you heading to your host country.

There are not only obligations from your own government here but records of “who you are” are important to have to take with you. Make sure you have copies with you in your briefcase or other hand-carried case on the airplane, don’t put them in your luggage in case it’s lost and certainly don’t ship them away in your belongings heading overseas.

Below is a recommended list of documents to have with you when moving:
• Employment contracts and a letter from your employers stating the terms of your stay. If local host-country authorities need them for some reason or ask to see them.
• Birth certificates of each family member
• Pertinent medical records
• Pertinent dental records
• Driver’s license (if you are planning to drive a vehicle in your host country, you’ll need to apply for a license there)
• Property and vehicle insurance records
• Income tax records
• Wills if Appropriate
• Each member of your family’s passport and other documentation

By making sure you have multiple copies of important documents with you, your overseas move will be so much easier in the event that any of your paperwork is requested while traveling or when you are settling into your new home.

Safe moving!

Tips to getting you connected when moving overseas

If you are moving internationally and taking your desktop or laptop with you, you’ll want to be sure to stay connected especially if your move is work-related. There are many things to keep in mind and be aware of before you leave the U.S. so your connection to your computer with the local system is completely compatible. Many countries are not digitally connected yet like here at home.

Here are some important tips and things to consider to ensure you are connected before heading overseas:
• Learn what the country’s voltage is and what type of built-in adapters you need to take with you. Ask if the telephone plugs are hard-wired directly into the wall or is it digital. Digital signals vary and your modem may not work. Purchase a modem and voltage adapter based on the power voltage of your new country of origin.
• To avoid having a full meltdown of your computer if for some reason a power surge occurs and you don’t have a surge protector, find out if the power or electricity is reliable and what specific power protector you should have. Trust me, this will save you a lot of headaches and preserve your desktop information if it isn’t based on the cloud.
• There are some modems that don’t run properly in certain countries. Make sure to find out what type of modem is compatible.
• Before you move, find out what local Internet Service Provider (ISP) to use. Local ISPs for the most part are much cheaper than the granddaddy ones and more reliable too. In general, partake in what the locals do.
• Check to ensure you have all the correct software and programs that are compatible in your new home. In addition, there are some local software packages that makes it easier to use your programs in another country.

It’s easy to take for granted when living in the states how everyone is connected especially with smartphones and smart TVs. Digital has made things more accessible but not every country is up-to-par yet. Do a little research, purchase pertinent adapters and you’ll be able to stay connected before moving out of the country.

Safe moving!

Important questions to ask an international moving company – Part 2

Earlier this week I provided you some questions you need to ask before hiring and deciding on a good overseas mover. This week is part 2 to continue with questions to ask a prospective international moving company so you know that your belongings will be trusted with a reputable organization.

Part 2 – Questions to be sure to ask:
• What and how about shipping my valuable items overseas? – Valuable and delicate items like jewelry, artwork, family heirlooms, electronics and other expensive items need to be pointed out to your assessor. If it’s a good company, they will recommend insurance, note the value of each item and pack it with care so your important items won’t break.
• How will my items be shipped? – You need to know if your belongings will be loaded in crates, if they will be shipped in separate containers or mixed with other people’s items, if they will be transported directly to your final destination and delivered to your door (door-to-door services), etc.
• When will my shipment arrive and any estimated time will it be in Customs? – Find out when to expect your shipment and whether you’ll have to be present for your goods to clear customs, as well as what paperwork you need to prepare.
• Is storage included in the price and storage options? – You may have to put your items into storage for a while until you find an appropriate new home in your new country for example, so you need to know your options and pricing.
• Who will handle my belongings in the destination country? – You need to know from your selected international moving company uses subcontractors who will pick your shipment at the port and deliver it to your new home. That way, you can do research to obtain as much information about them as possible, so that you make sure they are trustworthy and properly licensed professionals. You will need their contact information anyway when you meet them at your destination.
• Should I purchase insurance and what are my options? – – Moving your belongings overseas will put them at a great risk, so it is very important that you purchase more than adequate insurance coverage. Ask your international moving representative about the conditions and the extent of the liability coverage they provide and consider purchasing additional insurance too. He or she should be able to provide you with excellent insurance options.

Lastly, always ask for references and credentials. A reputable company will gladly provide you with this, testimonials and other credentials to demonstrate they are good at what they do. Ask these questions to an international moving company before you make that important decision to have your belongings shipped overseas.

Safe moving!

Important questions to ask an international moving company – Part 1

Last week, I provided you tips on how to find a good and reputable overseas moving company. This week, I’m going to give you tips on what important questions you should ask a potential international mover before hiring their services.

You will definitely will receive peace-of-mind when you have all of your questions answered but please, don’t ever hesitate to ask your international movers and packers about anything you don’t understand or are not sure about. As NBC says, “the more you know,” it’s obviously better.

Some questions to be sure to ask:
• How long have you been in business and provide specific experiences of moving customers overseas? – You need to confirm and know about their experiences in moving overseas.
• Are you licensed for international moves? – Obtain the company’s name and address, check with the International Association of Movers (www.iamovers.org) or FIDI (www.fidi.org) that represents accredited international movers throughout the world. You can also check testimonials and other information at www.consumeraffairs.com.

• What services are included in the price and are there other services that cost extra? – International moving costs are based on the weight and volume of the shipped goods and the actual distance to the final destination. There are many other factors that also come into play when estimating the final price (complexity of the job, special handling or transportation requirements, specific laws and regulations in your new country, etc.). Request to have an assessor or your sales representative come to your home to get an accurate assessment and discuss the details of your overseas move.
• Are there any items that the movers won’t take? – Request your international moving company to provide you with a list of items not allowed, so that you don’t waste time and effort preparing them for shipment (and have enough time to decide what to do with them as well). It is also advisable to contact the embassy of your future country and ask about any specific items that are not allowed to be imported in the country.
• Should I pack my items myself? – Nope, your best decision when moving abroad is to have your belongings packed by the professional international mover you’ve hired for your relocation needs. Like Rainier Overseas, they will have specialized packing materials, will know how to ensure the safety of your items and how to pack them with maximum speed and efficiency, will assume liability for everything they have packed themselves, etc. only if you purchase moving insurance which I always recommend.

More about that next week in part 2.

Safe moving!

Securing your home after you move

When you move to a new home whether overseas or just across the country, statistics show that a home is almost twice more likely to be burgled in the first year after a residential move than in any other. It is so important that you mitigate possible risks and take adequate precautionary measures to prevent property crime and unfortunate accidents as soon as you settle into your new home.

One of the very first things to do after moving into your new home is to take some simple and easy steps to secure your new home from burglars and intruders shortly after you have moved in. Here are some easy but vital steps to take:
1. Change all locks – You have no idea how many people have had access to your new property, so it is essential to change the locks immediately after your move. This applies to all the exterior locks in your new home – not only the front door, but also windows, garage doors, patio doors, etc. always good to remember to never leave a spare key in the mailbox or under the doormat, or at any other place commonly used for that purpose.
2. Install a security system – Installing a burglar alarm system is one of the best ways to secure your home. Not only will it immediately warn you (and inform emergency authorities) of any potential dangers, but its mere presence on the property may be enough to discourage an intruder from attempting a break-in. Make sure to install video cameras at key places around your home including the front and back doors or anywhere there is a susceptible area easily for intruders to get in. Don’t use stickers of the name of your security system, use only generic ones. Burglars are good at knowing how to get around systems vulnerabilities.
3. Secure doors and windows – Install deadbolts on all doors; install metal bars on all windows, sliding glass doors; use interior hinges, not exterior ones that intruders can easily remove the pins; secure pet doors; and avoid glass doors or glass panels that can easily be broken into.
4. Add exterior lights – A well-lit house is a much safer house than a poor lighted house. State-of-the-art home security equipment, such as motion sensor floodlight or infrared detectors that automatically turn on when someone is in the area, will effectively deter break-in attempts at night.
5. Keep outside of your home secure – Keep your fence strong and secure at all times; avoid tall shrubs around your windows and doors; don’t leave equipment outside, tools or a ladder that can be used to get into your home. You would be surprised how many homes have pertinent things burglars like to gain access to that are easily available outside of homes.
6. Get a big dog – In addition to security systems, dogs are one of the best deterrents to keep intruders out. Burglars will pass on houses that have big dogs in the home.
7. Know your area – Before you move in, do your research of the area. You can easily go to the nearest police department and find out if there is a high burglary rate in your area and any police tips they might have. A neighborhood crime watch is also an idea to create or join getting to know your neighbors at the same time.

Take these simple steps to ensure your home is safe and secure after you move.

Safe moving!