Expat adviser: Tips on finding a house overseas
 
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Q: My wife and I wish to move to Umbria, Italy, next year. We want to lease a country house for up to a year. Do you have any Web sites to recommend for moving, and some home hunting tips in and around Spoleto?
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- George Hackler
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A: If you visit a search engine such as Google and type in various keywords, you will find sites such as www.umbria-rentals.com. There is a section of the site that focuses on long-term rentals.
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During your Web surfing, keep in mind that just because long-term rentals are not mentioned on a rental agency's site, that does not necessarily mean that they are not available. It's worth a call or an e-mail to the agencies that have short-term homes that suit your needs to find out if any of the owners of the properties would consider renting for the long haul.
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For some general tips on making the move, try visiting www.expatsinitaly.com. One of the best features of this Web site is the lively forums area, where you can seek advice from others who have made the move to Italy.
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Discussion topics range from property questions to Italian-style bureaucracy to meatier matters such as food and wine.
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If you're interested in some more tangible tips, there are several books on making the move, such as "Living, studying and working in Italy" by Monica Larner and Travis Neighbor Ward, which you can find on Amazon.com by searching for "Living in Italy."
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A long list of agencies that rent and sell houses in various regions of Italy can be found on Yahoo: http://dir.yahoo.com/business_and_economy/shopping_and_services/real_estate/by_region/countries/italy/complete_list/.
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Q: I am a first-generation Slovak-American who wishes to move permanently to the Poprad region of Slovakia in a year's time. What Internet sources will help me with aspects of the move such as establishing residency, getting citizenship and finding land to build a home? I have not received replies from the consulates and embassies I have contacted.
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- Helen C. Hanecak Noel
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A: The site for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Slovakia is a good starting place. Their English language version is at: http://www.foreign.gov.sk/En. Here you can find numerous phone numbers, e-mail addresses and links to other Slovak government agencies that should help you in your efforts to get a reply to more specific questions.
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The site for the Ministry of Interior has some basic information on temporary and permanent residence and citizenship. Phone, fax and e-mail contacts are also listed: www.minv.sk/en.
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A Bratislava-based company, Relocation Ltd., offers help with moving to Slovakia, from work and residence permits to finding a home. Its Web site: www.relo.sk.
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The Slovak Spectator, at www.slovakspectator.sk, is a weekly English-language publication that has some general news and information, including a series of articles titled "Surviving Slovakia." It also publishes the "Green Pages," (http://www.greenpages.sk/), a business directory of hundreds of Slovak companies divided into categories such as real estate, moving and shipping, accounting and tax advice. There is also a real estate guide that can be ordered from the site.
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