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Finding a rental property in Turkey can be an extremely daunting experience for most people. Even the seasoned ex-pats in Turkey find the dynamics of finding a rental property intimidating process. This is mainly due to the fact that there are many things one needs to take into account and be aware of in order to avoid getting exploited by the landlords and estate agents.
In order for you to avoid any horror cases, we have prepared this blog post giving a general guide on finding a rental property in Turkey so you have the necessary intellectual gamesmanship of the Turkish rental real estate market.
You have two options when finding a rental property in Turkey. You may either use an estate agent or rent it directly from the owner. There are no legal requirements in Turkey for landlords to use estate agents when renting their properties.
Renting Through An Estate Agent In Turkey
Estate agents in Turkey are scattered throughout the entire country. People inside might seem not to be very productive and attentive however estate agents are one of the strong dynamics Turkish real estate market.
One tip you must know is what has been advertised from the agent is the ceiling renting price so please do haggle and try to bring the price down. Also, visit multiple agents to get a rough idea of the average prices in a particular area for properties that have similar attributes. That way you can have a rough idea of the prices in the market.
One benefit to estate agents is the fact that an estate agent will have a great variety of possible places you might rent in a given neighbourhood when compared to attempting to rent directly from the owner you will have most likely to have one place to rent at a given time.
The second benefit of using an estate agent in Turkey is the fact that they will write a legally binding contract between the landlord and the tenant. If you rent a place with a proper legal contract that protects your rights, you will have absolutely no leverage over troublesome landlords who have bad intentions. Most importantly the rent contracts in Turkey are at least for one year so you have the ease of mind knowing that you will be able to produce that contract for proof of residence when applying for a residence permit in Turkey.
Just visit a real estate agent physically and they will be able to take what’s available immediately as they will have the keys for those properties in their office. Also, all estate agents are connected to each other and they will make arrangements for you to be able to see at least two or three flats that are within your budget immediately on that day. Visiting properties will obviously not be the same when you are trying to rent through the owners directly as they will take their time when giving out appointments for you to see the place.
Obviously, just like most things in life, there is an opportunity cost to finding a rental property in Turkey through an estate agent. Once you have decided on a place to rent, you will be expected to pay a finders fee.
The finder’s fee can be either the amount for the first month’s rent or %12 of the one year’s rent. Although over the last 2-3 there has been huge improvements on the standards and licensing of estate agents in Turkey, on the rare occasion, the agent you are dealing with might have bad intentions.
So in order to avoid this, under no circumstance do not exchange any money with the signed paperwork explaining what is being done. The ultimate way to get over these problems is to bring a local with you and let him deal with all the process while you are only concerned with whether you like the flat or not.
The main problem you will come across is the status quo of a typical tenant who the landlords are willing to rent their places. Unfortunately in Turkey, landlords are not too happy to rent out places to students, single people and foreigners.
Please do not be offended by this as it has nothing to do with nationality or religion. It is extremely hard and costly to chase unpaid rent debt once a foreign person has gone back to their own country.
So the landlords just want to make sure they will get their rent on time without dealing with the language barrier and cultural differences. Being persistent is the key to finding your dream rental place in Turkey so please do not be discouraged if the estate agents are not willing to show you the properties that are clearly visible.
The agent is looking for a long term business with the landlord and he or she will be putting their reputation on the line when they are suggesting a particular person to rent the landlord’s property. So in the end it is just business and all parties are looking to mitigate risks.
Renting Directly From The Landlord In Turkey
If you come across advertisements on the balconies of flats saying “sahibinden” on them, that would mean it is marketed directly by the landlord. Please make sure you do not make any financial transactions without signing a contract as you would with the estate agents. We strongly recommend bringing in a local friend to help you with the process. As when landlords see a local with you they will take you more seriously since you have connections.
In big cities like Antalya and Istanbul, there are plenty of landlords who are looking to rent their places only to foreign people. They are in this niche for various reasons like the high probability of the tenants leaving the flats after their contract has finished. In Turkey, tenants have the right to extend their contract on a one-sided basis due to the long term staying rights granted by the government.
These flats tend to come furnished making them perfect for foreigners to rent. They also are able to give you English support as well as management help for calling in builders to fix various broken appliances and equipment. Normally in Turkey, the tenant is responsible for the repairs in the house but most of the time you can negotiate reductions from rent when you have spent money for the upgrades or repairs.
Another advantage of renting directly from the landlords is that you will not be required to pay a finders fee that you would normally pay to the estate agents.
The obvious disadvantage is the fact that your options will be limited as most of the rentals are done through estate agents in Turkey. Also, be aware that landlords will try to charge you higher prices once they realise you are a foreigner. You will need to get a decent amount of options and have a decent knowledge of the prices of similar flats in the area so you are able to point out the unreasonable prices immediately.
Make sure you build a formal business relationship with the landlord. You can do this by making sure that you have a written contract and all the correspondence between you and the landlord has to be written. Use email to communicate even with the smallest things. If you get a negative reaction from them, be persistent and don’t get manipulated into accepting verbal communication. When you are paying a bank, never ever pay in cash, always use bank transfer this way you will have proof of payments and limit the chances of being subject to unreasonable and illegal requests from the landlord as they will hesitate to put such unlawful requests to writing.
Various Sites For Finding a Rental Property in Turkey
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Good Websites For Rentals