Apartments In Izmir: My Short List
Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:54 PM
I am coming to Izmir next week to live. I've looked at a variety of places on the web for apartments, and found a few I like. These are the ones I like best. I was just wondering if anyone has any opinions about any of them.
I get quite a large stipend in addition to my salary, and so while some of the apartments are on the expensive side, I will end up paying around $500 a month out of my own pocket for the most expensive.
The plan is to live by myself until February; if at that time I believe I can happily live in Turkey, my husband and our 2 cats will join me. If not, I'll ride out my year long contract and return to the States at the end.
I don't need a lot of space for myself--really, a studio would do--but I do need to be able to have guests, and if my husband ends up coming a 2+1 would be a little small for us, as we are each used to having our own study plus sharing a bedroom. So to have a guest room on top of that would be 4 + 1. I also would much prefer to have two bathrooms, if my husband is with me and his mother comes and lives with us for long visits or we have other guests. We have many people planning on visiting us, and 3 or 4 adults sharing one bathroom is just sort of hard, I think (I admit I may be spoiled in this regard.) So what you see here in my choices sort of spans 3+1 and 4+1 with one or two bathrooms. The most important thing for me overall is to be on at least the 4th floor, to deter thieves, and also the view out the windows. I love green views as much as water views. Any kind of nature or maybe a view of pretty buildings is good. I just don't want to be looking right in the windows of my neighbor's. Like I said, any ideas or advice or opinions are welcome. :-)
This is my first choice from afar:
It only has 3 bedrooms and 1 bath, but it is right by the Kultur Park which is near where I will be working, and I love the view out the windows. It sort of gives me pause that a friend who lives in Izmir strongly urges me not to consider Alsancak--why, I don't know, I wrote her back and asked but she hasn't yet responded. She seems to think Karşıyaka or Mavişehir are much better choices. I know Ken prefers Alsancak, and I do think with it being so close to my job, that seems like the natural place for me to look.
This is the one I probably like the best, but it is the most expensive, and probably a bit more than I want to spend with the aidat, although I noticed today they came down on the rent by 150 TL--previously it was 1800. Also, I don't know if it the traffic would be disagreeable or not. We live on a traditionally very busy street in Chicago, but because the way the stop signs are located it is actually not that bad. Plus we have super-insulated windows, so when the windows and balcony door is closed, we hear nothing. So it could be okay even if it is busy. It is 4 +1, with 2 bathrooms and has a glassed-in balcony so that I could eventually have the cats on the balcony and not worry about their safety. And it's pretty:
This is comparatively cheap, is a 3+1 and has a very nice view. I would actually have money left over from my stipend with this one:
This is my husband's favorite. It's only a 3 +1, but it has two bathrooms and again, I would have money left over from my stipend.
This one has pretty views, an eat-in kitchen, 4+1 and 2 baths
So that's my short list for now. Any thoughts are most appreciated!
Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:06 AM
I've had a look at your list
The first one seems to come unfurnished so you will have the expensive of buying white goods. Its 130 sq, m which is a good size but didn't say how much the aidat was and rent was 1500TL.
The second one was my favorite 170 sq.m and 1650 TL but again don't know how much the aidat will be. It comes furnished, the view is great but is it near where you are going to teach?
I can see why your husband liked number 4 as it had a swimming pool and the apartment is new and modern but it's only 90 sq.m so whilst it would be alright for you, I think it would be too small for both of you.
My thoughts are get somewhere near the school that you like it, will make life less stressful if you don't have to go miles across the city every day. If you do decide to stay, you and your husband can then move and get somewhere else where that suits you both, not forgetting the kitties of course.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:35 AM
I too like the second one and it's not too far from your work.
The last two are across the other side of the bay and you may have to take a bus to the ferry station which would make the journey to work rather long.
You mentioned looking for apartments on the forth floor for security, don't just look at the height, you need to check out what the access is like from adjacent apartments as thieves have been known to swing around balconies and cross rooves.
Posted 15 August 2012 - 05:08 PM
Good luck with your search -- I'm sure you'll find what you want.
Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:26 AM
Sorry for the late response/acknowledgement and thanks for the opinions above; my computer was in the shop since late Tuesday. As an aside, in the last week my computer broke, my wash machine broke, I got a flat, and I found out that my attorney of 12 years, with whom I had planned on working on a will--has been disbarred! This all in the last week before I leave for Turkey! Thus proving the adage, "when it rains it pours." (I can use the smiley icon because with the exception of getting a new lawyer, the three other things have since been fixed. Hopefully I won't die before I can find a new one and maybe take care of the will business on a trip back home.)
I'll put #2 at the top of my list. I was hoping that the rent + aidat would be no more than 1500TL but 1650 + 250 aidat is only 350 more, and when I translate that into US dollars it doesn't seem like much. Abi, the second one did have the aidat listed at 250; the first one didn't, and I ASSUMED (I'm captilizing that here because we all know what happens when one assumes, and yet, I still did/do, which may indeed be a mistake) that if it is listed as just a dash - then the aidat is included.
I had a very disheartening experience with an emlakcı who seemed nice but then told me I would have to pay him in essence almost 2 months rent for his fee. I have checked around and know that that is far in excess to what emlakcıs normally receive--usually at most it is one month's rent. After that, I stopped writing emlakcıs and my friend's relative, who is a judge, has offered to make the calls for me. I'm hoping that being Turkish, from Izmir, and a judge at that that the emlakcıs won't take advantage and say the aidat is not included, for example, when it really is. So we will see.
Thanks for the tip about access from other apartments, Sunny. And Meral, thanks for the search tip. Abi had given me some good websites in the past, so I've been using those, but every good tip helps. And Abi, I know: now it's only three full days away, I leave on the fourth. Got the last of my shopping done today, and packed another bag. Am continuing to pack up the house so my husband doesn't have to deal with everything and also giving things away/throwing things away. It feels good to move forward.
Thanks for the great comments and opinions--I really appreciate them!
Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:33 AM
With regard to aidat, if it's a small block of flats maybe they won't charge anything as is sometimes the case, because there isn't a kapaci so no wages for him and you would be responsible for washing the stairs down in your section and everyone shares the electric bill for the common parts of the block. The aidat seems a little high, does that include communal heating in the winter? The kapaci should also come around every day to take your rubbish away, do all the cleaning of common parts plus general maintenance. But in any case always ask what it covers, having said I'm sure you would anyway. Rent is normally paid into the bank and make sure you keep all receipts. I expect the lease will be just standard but as your relative is a Judge she will obviously look through it to make sure it is alright.
Yes, some emlaks can be bandits when dealing with yabanci and 1 months rent is normal, so it would be better to have one of your relatives make first contact and sort out all the details before they are aware of you.
If you drive down that street you will probably find there are other apartments that are the same for rent, they are easy to spot as they have big signs on the window.
Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:21 AM
As you like swimming, I'd go for the one with the pool!
BUT, being close to school is really good too.
I was also going say to check what is/isn't included in the rent.
Really - ask the dumbest of most obvious questions - NEVER presume when it comes to renting/emlaks/money!!
But at least you've got your friend to help with details.
Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:23 AM
Rent is normally paid into the bank and make sure you keep all receipts.
I will second that. Our landlord lives in Holland most of the year and in Alanya for the rest of the year. We have been here for nearly 3 years and he has never increased the rent. Last week he called us and wanted to talk (so we knew this meant a rent increase!). Business is bad in Europe and he told us he needed money. And then told us that we were 1 month late for the rent, he had checked and we hadn't paid the rent for the month of November 2010! Except that was the first month and and that time we didn't have his bank account details, we'd paid his cousin cash and got a receipt signed off with 2 witnesses. So I was able to go into my files and bring out the chit. He knew that we'd paid it, he was just trying it on because he was short of cash. So hold on to every receipt, get everything on paper and keep it all filed and safe.
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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:54 AM
Posted 17 August 2012 - 04:51 PM
Abi and Ahududu, I actually would not have known to ask those questions, so it's very helpful. (The judge is a relative of my friend, btw, not my relative. I'm so grateful for the contact.)
Vic, that is incredible that the landlord would try to pull something like that! I will be sure to keep each and every receipt. that is really mind-boggling--expecting you to hand over money because business in Europe is bad! Any trust or good will that I might have had would be sorely tested. Did he end up raising it much?
Sunny, thanks for the info about Karşıyaka; I had been meaning to ask how long the ferry ride was. Yes, that would put the commute over an hour, and is something I want to avoid. I don't know why so many people recommend Karşıyaka. My boss recommended it and said a large number of the staff live over there. One of my friends who lives there also recommended it. Among our friends here who have ties to Izmir, they all seemed to like it very much, and Alsancak very much less so. I asked one about this and he said that there were parts of Alsancak that are very nice, but they would be among the most expensive in the city, and other parts that, at least in years past, were not very nice. He was the most articulate of all; others just get an unpleasant look on their face when I bring up the posibility of Alsancak (like: nah. . . .) and shake their heads.
Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:28 PM
Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:11 AM
Posted 18 August 2012 - 06:33 PM
Sunny I'm very curious why you think Karsiyaka is a nicer place than Alsancak to live. Ken had mentioned that Alsancak had that European, cafe kind of vibe, which seems very pleasant. But everyone else seems to agree that Karsiyaka is a nicer place to live. I'm wondering what it is about Karsiyaka that makes it nicer?
Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:28 PM
I haven't lived there for 20 years but people still seem to like it, but the best thing for you to do is to have a walk around the various areas so that you can get the feel of them before taking the plunge. Also go at different times of day as the noise and ambience will change.
Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:48 PM
Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:38 AM
Well, I'm here in Izmir. The first day we saw three apartments, including the one that looked so nice in the advertisement. It was awful. It was advertised as having four rooms, but one had no windows, and was used as a storage room! I've since learned that this room is not normally considered an "oda." Plus another "oda" looks out onto an airshaft! That first day, I was somewhat downhearted because I had slated that apartment as the nicest, and as the "gold standard" for nice apartments. It was also a bit more than I wanted to spend. So then I was thinking: how much do I have to pay if 1800TL buys a hovel? Happily, we expanded our search to other neighborhoods yesterday. I think Mavi şehir is our mahalle. I know it is low on the charm factor, but I love the layouts of the apartments I saw there. The one we are thinking of getting is a 4+1. One room to use as a bedroom, one as a guest room, one as a home office for my husband, and one for an art studio for me. There's also a storage room, which is nice to put luggage, mops, brooms. buckets, vacuum cleaner, etc. And it has a pretty sea view from the living room, three of the other rooms, and it has an enclosed balcony that will be safe for the kitties. The price isn't terrible: 1500 although the aidat add another couple hundred. There's a 10-minute bus ride to the Bostanlı ferry station. I don't mind taking the ferry to work--I grew up in Washington State and grew up taking the ferry from the pennisula to Seattle. And then it's just a short walk to work. So I'm very happy. Things seem to be working out. :-)
Thanks for all your help and advice. I will update you as to what we eventually end up doing. We'll probably see more places today, just to make sure. :-)
Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:51 AM
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Posted 25 August 2012 - 09:04 AM
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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:29 PM
Good luck and happy hunting
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