How to Feel at Home in Austria

Moving to another country can be a scary and exciting thing all in one. Whether you are going it alone or are relocating the whole family, there are many new adventures that lie ahead. How you approach these adventures is generally what makes the biggest difference when arriving in a new place. 

Some of the tips listed below will assist you in your approach to relocating to Austria. 

Create a Home Away from Home

Whether you are renting, looking to buy property or you’re not quite sure where to start, creating a space to settle yourself is generally an important step to feeling at home in a new country. There are an abundance of accommodation options in Austria and new inventive ideas to help you get settled. For example, renting furniture is a great way to ensure you can get settled right away without the hassle of moving all your belongings overseas.

Learn the Language – German

It may sounds easier said then done, but learning the language of a new country is the best way to feel part of the community. Generally you will find that most Austrians are very understanding when you at least try to communicate in their native tongue. With today’s technology there are many online options for learning German or you can try a local language school once you get settled. Although it is a courtesy to at least try to learn the language of a new place, most Austrians today can speak at least some English. You will likely even come across those that really want to speak English to better their vocabulary.

Find other expats from your country/language

These days, the amount of expats relocating to other countries is exceptional. If not for work or other commitments, people are also relocating for their own piece of mind. Whatever your reason is, rest assured that there are always going to be fellow nationals from your home country where you are going. Online forums and expat connection sites can help you find other local nationals that can help make you feel at home.

 

Get outdoors and explore

Austria is an outdoor adventurers playground and it is easy to see why. From the famous alpine regions to the bustling cities, there are all sorts of amazing places to explore. 

Be open to the regional differences and identities – don’t stereotype

Like many countries, Austria has multiple regions and identities, so it is important not to generalise “Austrians” as one specific identity or region. Stereotyping is usually not a great way to make friends anyways, so keep an open mind to the differences of this unique place.


 
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Cost of Living – How to Budget in Austria

The most common question asked when people start thinking about relocating to a new country is “how much will it cost there?” Most expats moving to Europe will be aware that prices are likely different to their home country, especially those moving from the US. It can be overwhelming to understand the cost conversion into Euros and the exchange rate is usually a very big influence on purchasing power. 

What does it cost to live in Austria?

Prices indicated below are based on a monthly average estimate and are subject to fluctuations.

Rent 

Whilst a one bedroom apartment in the city centre costs around 570€, a three bedroom unit could cost about 300€. Outside city centres these prices will likely be considerably less.

Utilities

Basic electricity for an 85m2 home will range from 70- 200€, depending on consumption. The cost of Internet weighs in at a reasonable price of about 20€/month.

Food

Like most countries, the cost of food is greatly reduced when purchased from markets and grocery stores rather than dining out. Generally consumers can find most of their products for under 0€, with simple items such as bread, milk and eggs for all under 5€. Alcohol is quite reasonable, at less than 5€ for a basic bottle of wine and beer at -2€/litre. Eating out in a restaurant is always a nice treat and the cost doesn’t have to break your bank if you want to sample Austria’s cuisine. If you eat out at an inexpensive restaurant the cost per meal is about 8.50€, whilst a three course meal at a mid range eatery could cost around 40.00€ for two people.

Fuel

As in most places around the world, fuel costs can be highly variable. However, in Austria the rough cost of a litre of fuel is about .2€. Like most EU countries, Austria boasts an exceptional public transit system, so most people take advantage of not having to drive everywhere.

Here are some of the tips on being a frugal consumer in Austria. 

  1. Shop at local markets and grocery stores for food, instead of eating out.
  2. Opt for an apartment outside the city centres to save on rent costs.
  3. Rent a smaller apartment to save on utility bills.
  4. Utilise the public transit system rather than driving your vehicle around.
  5. If you dine out, pick an inexpensive place rather than a mid range eatery.
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A Shopaholic's Guide to Graz

If you have never experienced the sheer bliss of a shopping spree in Graz, then you are in for a treat. Whether you are seeking souvenirs, fashion pieces or furniture, Graz has it all. You can even shop after hours, tax-free or select one of the many shopping centres located throughout the city.

Graz is especially known for its exceptional selection of markets. There are farmers markets, flea markets and markets for all seasons in this shopper’s paradise.

If you are new to the city or are just interested in visiting for a weekend or holiday, here are some of the popular shopping streets in Graz:

  • Annenstraße
  • Franziskanerviertel
  • Herrengasse & Hauptplatz
  • Jakominiviertel
  • Lendplatz
  • Murgasse
  • Sackstraße
  • Schmiedgasse
  • Sporgasse
  • Stempfergasse
  • Südtiroler Platz

If you want an all in one shopping experience or if you simply want to escape the winter weather, you can find all you need under one roof at any of these major shopping centres:

  • Centre west Graz
  • City Park Graz
  • Kastner & Ohler
  • Murpark Graz
  • Shopping Nord Graz 

There are an abundance of options if you are looking to find traditional Austrian Tracht clothing as well. You will surely find the perfect Tracht outfit in any of these unique shops: 

  • Loden Furst
  • Seidl Tracht & Mode
  • Mothwurf Shop
  • Trachten Schlossel
  • Lena Hoschek

Whatever your reason is for spoiling yourself to a shopping spree in Graz, you will not be disappointed by this shop-till-you-drop destination. If you need a break from the stores, you can always slip into one of the many international restaurants scattered throughout the city. Or after you find that perfect outfit, you may want to hit the town for the evening to show it off!

 

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Austria's Real Estate Guide

As one of the countries that felt not even a seismic financial ripple in its real estate market, Austria is an investors dream. This is unfortunately the opposite for those looking to get into the Austrian housing market. Expats should be aware that the average prices of homes in Austria are generally more than in their country of origin. 

Urban prices and potential

If you are seeking a dream home in one of the many bustling cities of Austria, then you may want to review each city carefully. Property prices in Vienna are some of the highest in Europe, whilst in smaller cities like Salzburg you will likely find cheaper options.

Types of property

There are two types of property that buyers can purchase in Austria. These include: 

  • Complete – The buyer owns the land and infrastructure on the land, but may not build any additions on the property. 
  • Co-property – The buyer owns the land and infrastructure on the land and has rights to build additions. The owner is responsible for all additions. 

Legal documentation

If you are a non-EU passport holder, then you must obtain a permit from the relevant local authority for the region you want to purchase in. This document is generally ease to get as long as you don’t seem to pose a threat. If you are seeking to purchase forested land in Austria, then you will likely have a few hurdles to jump. If you are planning to change the property’s purpose, then your approval will be more difficult to obtain. This is to ensure public interests in forested land are maintained.

Closing a deal

 

The process of closing a deal in Austria is similar to most countries in which there are the below steps;

  • Buyer makes and offer to purchase
  • Buyers real estate agent drafts the offer and supplies it to the seller
  • Seller either accepts or rejects the offer by signing the drafted documents
  • If offer is accepted, the seller has a cooling off period of 0 days
  • After the cooling off period, a notary will draft the purchase documents and both parties must sign them.
  • The sale is complete and final.

In Austria, most real estate agents take a 3% commission on property sales. [...]

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