Austria is the land of rolling hills, Mozart and the Sound of Music and it is known for it’s exorbitant property prices. Currently it is one of the most expensive places to buy property in the world. Aside from its inflated costs, there are significant benefits to purchasing a home in Austria. The processes involved with buying a home are generally orderly, quick and there are no buying restrictions on foreigners.
Properties in Austria are built to last and withstand severe weather conditions. This is why you will find homes that are still standing after generations. Fees associated with buying property in Austria are government regulated and valuations are not commonly required.
In brief the property purchasing strategy is as simple as; selecting a property, making an offer via your estate agent, the vendor has a fixed period to accept or reject your offer and then the date of completion is agreed upon. You will then need to pay about a 10% deposit into a trust account into which funds are transferred to cover purchase and fees. Fees include; legal fees, land registry costs, agency fees and stamp duty and once the contract is signed the notary will pass over the money to the vendor.
The average monthly cost of purchasing an apartment in Austria is dependant on the location. Rural properties are generally half the cost of flats in city centres, but ski resort areas have greater inflated costs as well. An apartment in the city centre will likely be around 4500 Euros per square metre, whereas the price outside cities usually cost about 2500 Euros.
Registration costs are generally 4 – 5% of the property value and the entire process from start to finish can take up to 6 weeks before you finally have a foot on the property ladder in Austria.
A thing most expats face when moving abroad is when the best time to go is. This topic can cause unrest and even argument and the answer is highly subjective to the family or individual. However, there are some things that can be worth thinking over to ease your mind.
If you have decided to relocate to Austria and you have the flexibility to decide when to make the move, then you may want to consider these few things first.
As with any alpine country, Austria’s residents are highly dependant on weather conditions. If you are moving in the summer season you may find the weather very welcoming and mild, however if you relocate in the winter months, be prepared for a frosty greeting.
No matter when you move, there is always a chance of bad weather, so don’t let it get you down if there is a freak snowstorm when you arrive.
Urban or Rural
If you are moving to one of the city centres of Austria, you may want to review the festivals and events that are held in that city. The holiday seasons also influence the number of visitors and population density of Austria’s urban areas. Travel times and delays may be significant if you arrive in the middle of a holiday or festival celebration, so keep these events in mind when you book your flights.
The rural areas can also fluctuate with season and holidays. The alpine regions of Austria have two distinct “peak” seasons – summer and winter. These are flooded with hikers and skiers respectively, so you may want to pick an offseason time to move.
All of the above things considered, the best time to make the move to a new country is when you feel it is right. If you are ready for whatever lies ahead, you will be fine accepting what greets you when you get there!
It is always important to review the visa requirements and documents you will need for your new country of residence. The first step in this journey is to ensure that you have an up to date passport and you know what visa you will apply for.
European citizens do not require a visa to enter, live or work in Austria. Austrian visas that are available for non-EU passport holders include Tourist visa, Schengen visa, working visa or a resident visa. The type of visa you apply for is dependant on your intentions and desired length of stay.
Non-EU passport holders are generally required to obtain a tourist visa to enter into Austria. However, there are a number of countries that are able to enter Austria and stay for up to 90 days without a visa, including Canadian and US citizens.
Austria is a signatory Schengen country and therefore grants Schengen tourist visas to non-EU citizens. This visa allows holders to travel around and visit any of the signatory countries whilst the visa is valid.
Tourist Visa holders are not permitted to work whilst in Austria or any Schengen country.
If you intend to work in Austria, you will need to obtain a work permit before you arrive in the country. You can apply at the Austrian embassy in your country of origin and you will need to allow time for the application procedures.
Your employer will need to confirm your employment and explain why you are a necessary employee over an Austrian citizen.
There are a variety of work permits you can obtain and you can review them all here.
If your plan is to relocate indefinitely to Austria, then you will need to obtain permanent residency status. If you have been living in Austria for a decade, you are eligible to apply for residency. Expats that have lived in Austria for less than 10 years, can still apply for residence by proving that the are making a significant contribution to the country. The contribution is determined based on categories including; economic, scientific, cultural or through financial investment. The contributions may qualify you to utilise the Austrian economic citizenship programme.
The beauty and diversity of Austria is one of the reasons many people relocate to the country. With the awe-inspiring Alps and the vibrant, cultural cities, it is easy to see the attraction. This diversity also raises an important question for many expats relocating to the country – Do I want to live in urban or rural Austria?
I suppose the best way to answer this question is with another question.
What is your reason for relocating to Austria?
If you are retired and you’re relocating to find a slower pace of life, or if you want to take in more natural beauty, then perhaps the rural areas are for you. However, if you are relocating for employment opportunities, or you want to be close to cultural events and festivals, then the city life may prove a perfect fit.
Whatever your reason for relocating, here are two of the top destinations that other expats have chosen.
With a population of over 1.7 million people, Vienna is by far the most popular Austrian destination for visitors and expats. The city boasts more than 25% of the country’s population and a high quality of life rating. The city hosts many festivals and events each year and is bursting with cultural flare. There is a significant expat community in Vienna, so you will likely notice international influences as well.
The province of Tyrol is considered the “greenest” in Austria and is the least populated. Tyrol is at the heart of the Austrian Alps and contains the best ski resorts in the country, with the highest peak of 3797 metres. If you are looking for an outdoor adventure lifestyle with a serene backdrop, then the province of Tyrol will not disappoint.
One of the hardest things about relocating to a new country is deciding what to bring. This rings true for many expats moving abroad, but there are simple solutions that can help you determine what you will really need in your new location.
Know the size of your belongings
When considering what you should bring with you and what is replaceable, it is necessary to consider the size of your items in relation to your new home. This is especially true to appliances and furniture. It is good to know the size of your furnishings before you move them half way around the world, so measurements are key. Also, most counties have a certain standard size to the average home and the sizes can vary greatly when comparing them. For example, homes in the US are generally much larger than those in most EU countries.
Will things be cheaper to replace?
Answering this question may be difficult if you have never visited your new county before. However, there are many online resources that can help you decide what things cost in your new country of residence. Shipping things that are replaceable overseas can be a significant financial burden, so a little bit of research can go a long way.
Renting vs. Buying
If you have not visited your desired country before, it may prove very useful to ease into buying new things once you arrive. Smart expats are increasingly opting to rent before they buy. This applies to renting a new residence or furnishing it too. Renting furniture is a great service that is available in most Austrian cities.
Whether you have visited first, are renting to be smart or you have already bought your new dream home, these tips will help you decide on what things you really need to take with you.
Many expats are faced with the difficult task of not only relocating their family to another country, but also their furry family members too. So how does one approach such a task when they aren’t aware of the regulations of the new country? Here are a few tips for a successful transfer of mans best friend.
Before you leave
Make sure your dog is up to date with any shots or vaccinations required by the relevant authority of your home country. Ensure that you take all documentation with you as proof that your animal is healthy and risk free.
Microchips are required for all pets in Austria, so make sure you have your animal micro chipped according to ISO standard 11784.
You must have your veterinarian fill out a European Certificate of Health, which will be checked by officials when you enter the EU. The certificate is generally valid for 10 days from the time you have it signed by your vet.
To ensure that you have all the relevant documentation with you before you leave, review this checklist:
Once you arrive
After your pet is safe and sound in your new country of residence, make sure you know exactly when any shots or check ups are required in the future. Finding a new veterinarian is a good idea to ensure all members of the family are kept healthy.
If you are unsure if you would like to accomplish these tasks on your own, there are companies that can assist in relocating your animals for you. Some services will handle everything for you entirely, whilst others will provide some of the certificates or guidance for a fee.