ADVERTISEMENT

Thinking of moving to Europe from the US? Here’s why you should or shouldn’t | real state

With shows streaming like Netflix’s “Emily in Paris” or the romantic image of remote working from an Italian villa, American travelers are showing a renewed interest in moving to Europe to see what life would be like in a other country

There are several reasons why an international move to Europe from the United States is more affordable and attractive than ever. For example, the US dollar has been strong against both the euro and the pound. Housing prices in certain countries are more affordable than in big US cities, so it’s affordable to rent an apartment, buy a townhouse or condo, or buy a single-family home in Europe.

European countries such as Portugal, Spain and Italy are considered the hottest areas for US consumers to purchase real estate. According to experts, Americans looking to downsize or renovate a home will find opportunities in these countries, which also benefit from an attractive climate, beautiful scenery, waterfront properties and an overall good quality of life. Portugal also has something known as a retirement visa or passive income visa, which makes it easier to move to America.

Some things to consider when considering a move from the US to Europe:

Some challenges are creating lower real estate prices in some parts of Europe. Housing costs may be lower due to the pandemic-related economic crisis and reduced tourism. Another issue is the war in Ukraine, the uncertainty of which is holding back the European real estate market in general.

With so many variables at play, this may be a good time to consider moving to Europe. With slower real estate sales, finding an affordable rental or a good price on a two- or three-bedroom home comparable to a U.S. residence can be relatively easy to find and finance.

People who have moved to Europe in recent years say there are many pros and cons to consider when making such a big move. Among the advantages are accessible and affordable transport between European cities, which allows for less expensive tourism; a strong exchange rate; more profitable housing prices; and a healthier lifestyle in general, expats say.

Nathan Heinrich married a native Italian and they moved from New York to the Prosecco Valley near Venice in 2020. Heinrich says he tried to research this type of move before they left only to find limited information. So, two years ago, Heinrich debuted his own podcast on the subject, aptly named “I Moved to Italy.”

Heinrich says the exchange rate has been a blessing for his family. “For the first time in the last 20 years, the euro and the US dollar were at a balanced exchange rate last year,” says Heinrich. “Although the euro has recently rebounded against the dollar, the exchange rate remains quite favorable for American tourists or those looking to retire to Europe.”

For Heinrich, his family’s move to Europe led to improvements in his physical and mental health. He also feels that his family’s financial situation has improved, largely because they have full health coverage in Italy, which gives him extra peace of mind when it comes to managing his money.

“Because of the much stricter regulations on food businesses in the EU and Italy in particular, I feel much better about grocery shopping in Italy,” says Heinrich. “Also, I walk everywhere, as many Europeans do. I feel so much better than living in New York’s Hudson Valley, and I’ve lost weight without trying.”

Europe’s lifestyle and smaller homes are a plus for Martha Miller, who moved from San Antonio, Texas to sunny Valencia, Spain in July 2021 with her husband and son teenager

“Downsizing is the bomb. I used to spend a lot of time managing our stuff, but now I have more time to read, walk around a vibrant city, and spend time with my family and new friends,” says Miller.

“We sold our house and car, kept nothing, and only sent away what was really important to us,” says Miller, who wrote a book about her experience called “How We Quit Our Jobs, Give Away our stuff and we moved to Italy,” based on his experience living in Rome from 2001 to 2003.

One last pro: If you’re a pet parent, you’ll love Europe, says Gigi Chow, who runs the travel website Wet Nose Escapades, which documents her travels with her Yorkshire terrier, Roger Wellington. The duo moved from Los Angeles to Barcelona, ​​Spain in January 2020.

She and Roger Wellington paid $1,200 a month for a two-bedroom apartment of about 650 square feet in Gràcia, a quiet neighborhood near the famous Sagrada Família and Park Güell. The duo, who now live in Rio de Janeiro, will return to Europe later in 2023.

“Although there are exceptions, it is the norm in many European countries to allow dogs inside restaurants, bars, farmers’ markets and even in some grocery stores,” says Chow.

Disadvantages include a great distance between you and your family and friends in the US, which makes in-person visits difficult; a different culture that can take some getting used to as “busy” Americans; language and cultural barriers; and increase taxes, as you may have to pay taxes in both the United States and Europe.

“Americans are the kind of people who get things done. But while many European cultures like Italy, France and Spain have some of the best weather, they’re also some of the worst when it comes to getting projects done in a timely manner,” says Heinrich. “Type A personalities, you’ve been warned” .

Oh, and if you move to Europe, you may get regular visits from family and friends in the US, which some may see as a negative, depending on the situation.

Taxes and energy prices can also be more expensive, expats say. Heather Teysko and her husband moved to Spain because they were digital nomads who could work anywhere and were looking for an adventure for their young family, she says. While in Andalusia, the writer who also hosts “The Renaissance English History” podcast, says they loved the lower cost of living, easy travel around Europe and learning about new cultures.

As for challenges, they come in big and small sizes, Teysko says. They also found that energy prices in Europe were higher than expected. “The butane we used in our heater now costs about three times what we paid for it last year thanks to the war in Ukraine,” he says.

The little things add up, too, Teysko says, like finding items at the grocery store. “I’ll never forget the time I spent an hour looking for chocolate chips. They were in the ice cream section. Because of course they were,” he says.

As for taxes, Heinrich says that if you plan to work in Europe, you may find yourself paying taxes in both the U.S. and Europe. “The United States taxes its citizens who have dual citizenship or even those who just live and work abroad,” says Heinrich.

Lara Bianco, a former Chicago native, moved to Italy in 2021. Bianco started the blog “My Dolce Casa” when she moved to Europe to share her experiences and research about moving abroad. Bianco cautions that it can be hard to make friends, and there’s a fair amount of red tape to get through when it comes to stores, restaurants and government agencies in particular.

“It takes time to make real friends in a foreign country, so being away from family, close friends and familiar faces can be very difficult, especially during the holidays,” says Bianco. “Cross-Atlantic trips to cure homesickness can be expensive.”

Bianco’s blog includes a real estate section, where a recent post explored real estate costs in Spain: “The average price of a 2,000-square-foot home in Spain is $386,000, or $193 per square foot. The 2023, property in Spain costs about $5.5% more than housing prices in Italy, where an average house sells for $366,000,” the post says.

“Compared to U.S. home prices, homes in Spain are about 15% more affordable, on average. For this reason and many others, Spanish real estate is in high demand among foreigners, including northern -Americans, looking to buy property in a beautiful, sunny and highly desirable place like Spain.”

Overall, Bianco says moving to Europe was “the best decision of my life.” He chose Italy because of his Italian heritage and because it was easier for him to obtain residency.

Bianco says he loves his lifestyle in Carovigno, Puglia, where he was able to buy a one-bedroom apartment for about $125,000 near the city center. He appreciates the Mediterranean climate and sunny skies, which was a trade-off from Chicago’s snowy winters. The best pro of their move was the travel adventures that living in Europe offers

“When you’re based anywhere in Europe, visiting the continent is incredibly easy and cheap. If you have Paris, London, Iceland or the Greek Islands on your bucket list, they are literally only a couple of hours away on a $100 flight, no matter where you live in Europe,” says Bianco.

“For me, personally, this might be the biggest advantage of moving to Europe. Plus, there’s so much to see in Europe, traveling alone will keep you entertained for years to come.”

One final tip: Residency for US citizens is an important factor when moving to Europe.

“Some countries make things easier for Americans, others don’t. I think that’s why Portugal has grown in popularity in recent years, because of its friendly immigration laws,” says Bianco. “Choosing a country where you can get legal residency is a pro, but it can also be a scam if you choose one where it’s very difficult to become a legal resident.”