FAQ & Practicalities
How much does a property cost? Property cost varies by location and apartment size. In Bodrum, Didim and Kusadasi an apartment can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 and a villa $60,000 to over a million.
We offer only apartments we can certify are safe (24 hour security) and in good condition. Most of our apartments are one and two bedroom, and average $40,000-$80,000. Our three and four bedroom villas average $90,000-$160,000. We also sell land, and can work individually with owners to build a personalized property.
For specific information on apartment costs, please visit Milan Estate Agent’s listings here: http://www.milanestateagents.com/property-list and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much will I spend on maintenance, taxes and dues? We only select and sell properties that we have checked and can certify are in good condition. Thus, if you buy a property through Milan, your maintenance costs should be minimal. Maintenance costs will of course be higher for single-family detached residences, and lower for apartments and condominiums. Furthermore, monthly fees in many communities cover most maintenance costs. Monthly fees are usually about $20-$30. If something should break, expect to pay 30-40% the rate in the US for repairs. Local property tax runs about 0.1-0.2% of property value per year.
How much should I expect to spend every month? How much you spend depends on how you spend your time. Groceries, basic items, eating out, and public transportation are all quite cheap compared to the US and Europe. Many British pensioners enjoy a comfortable life – including taking day trips and eating out several times a week – on around $1700 a month for a couple or $2,000 for a family of three. By living a simpler lifestyle – eating out less often and using only public transportation – you can spend much less. It is possible to live – and live comfortably – off of your social security. It’s also possible to spend much more. How much you spend is of course determined by the lifestyle you choose to lead (though most people find they can enjoy a better-quality lifestyle on the same income, or the same lifestyle on less income). Check back for a blog post breaking down different monthly budgets in Turkey.
How long can I legally stay in Turkey? The Turkish government values the role of tourism and foreign purchases in the local economy and does not try to bar foreigners, particularly retirees with purchased property, from staying in the country. For most nationals, without a residence permit, you may stay in the country visa-free for ninety days. An entry permit (stamp visa) may be purchased at the airport or online. See our blog on getting a visa in Turkey here. For information on obtaining a residence permit, look at your home country’s Turkish embassy website, or the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ section on visas here, as requirements differ by nationality.
I’ve never lived abroad before. Can I adjust? Will it be hard? This truly depends on you. Turkey is a different country, and things do run on a different system, which will take some time to figure out (though the same is true of different communities in the US and different corners of the UK). However, people are generally patient and willing to help out. Locals are used to dealing with English-speaking expats, and many businesses cater to their habits and needs. There is also a large community of retired expats, especially around Didim and Fethiye. You can find weekly English newspapers (Didim’s Voices) and online forums (Absolutely Altinkum, Expat Focus). Internations and other expat organizations have chapters in many Turkish cities. If you have any questions, there’s certainly someone who has been through it before and can help you sort things out, or just figure out the bus schedule. For a thoughtful take on life as an expat, check out this post here.
As for creature comforts, you may not find all the same brands in the grocery store, but you will find familiar products and everything you might need for daily life. Who knows? You may even find something new you really like – and can’t live without back in your home country!
Many foreigners first visiting Turkey comment on how surprisingly similar it feels.
What if I’m not sure? Come and experience Turkey before you buy! We offer apartment rentals by the day or week, so you can come and ‘try out’ living in the country. Once you are ready to buy, we can arrange visiting tours, where we find properties fitting your criteria and schedule visits. Property visiting tours usually last 3-4 days and if you purchase a property though us we will cover most in-country costs including transportation and accommodation.
What if I only want to live in Turkey for part of the year? Turkey is a popular vacation spot for people from all over Europe. We can help you rent out your apartment while you are away, including arranging for cleaning and checking to make sure everything is in place and proper condition. Landlords make an average of 50-80 Euro a day for a mid-sized apartment in tourist season. Some people use their rental income to cover their expenses while living in Turkey.
I have an existing medical condition. Can I get care? Will my health insurance cover medical costs? Turkey has a modern healthcare system with high standards and many specialty hospitals. Half way between Didim and Kusadasi is Soke International Hospital offering both in-patient and out-patient care. Nearby Bodrum also has a branch of the Acibadem Hospitals. If you do not have insurance, you can get medical care, or even a daily medical assistant, for a fraction of the cost in the US or Europe. You can also pay a base yearly price to the Turkish government to participate in national health care coverage (SGK). The monthly premium is ~$125 for a couple and any dependents under age 18. Unlike American health insurance, this will guarantee free healthcare covering most problems in all state hospitals and clinics, and a discount at most private clinics. If you have an American heath insurance provider and do not wish to switch, talk to them to see whether and what medical costs they will cover overseas.
Will my family come and visit me if I live so far away? From the US to Istanbul it is a 10-12 hour flight, and from Istanbul to Izmir or Bodrum it is only a one hour flight. The first flight may seem long, but can be made overnight – and without any layovers from JFK or O’Hare. If you are coming from Europe, there are direct flights between most major European cities (and even many smaller cities) and almost every commercial airport from Istanbul to Adana. Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is a safe and fun place for children to spend their holidays, and so you can justify the longer flight by spending longer periods of time with your family, or use Turkey as a base for exploring the rest of Europe. While flight tickets to Turkey may be more expensive, remind your family and friends that in-country costs are considerably lower than those for vacations within North America. Also, you can use ITA Matrix to find the best-priced tickets – roundtrip from JFK to Istanbul can go for as low as $520. See our post on finding the best airfare options here.
Is Turkey safe? What about the recent political problems and riots? Like the US, political issues or crime in one part of the country don’t make the whole country unsafe. The Mediterranean and Aegean coast region from Antalya to Izmir is safe, stable and politically liberal. It is not a refugee destination, nor the site of ethnic or religious unrest. Many local economies depend on the tourists and retirees and, as such, respect their way of life. Violence against or harassment of foreigners is quite rare, as is petty crime in public. This is especially true of retirees, as Turkish culture emphasizes honoring and helping elders. Watch your purse in touristy and crowded areas, especially in Istanbul, and use your good judgement when taking offers or assessing situations and you should be fine. For more information, see our post here.
Isn’t Turkey a Muslim country? How will I feel comfortable? Degree of religious beliefs and conservative leanings vary across the country, with the East being generally more conservative and the West, especially along the coast, being more liberal. Turks take great pride in their culture, including their Islamic heritage. They hope foreigners will respect their culture, but don’t expect them to adhere to it. You will see some women conservatively dressed, but even older women can feel comfortable wearing bikinis on the beach, and alcohol is sold openly in restaurants and shops. Most people will find that habits and clothing considered acceptable in the US and Europe will not bring them any harassment around the Mediterranean region. Read an older posts about bikinis, body and flesh-perception in Bodrum here. If you’re concerned with safety, please read this post.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to send me a message, or leave your question in the comments section, and I’ll address it a soon as I can.