If you are working for a major company in Turkey, your employer may provide you with a place to live. This is relatively rare, however, so you will probably end up looking for a place to rent.
Rental properties are plentiful throughout Turkish cities, but are less common in rural areas. Those rentals that are available in rural areas are rarely in very good condition.
Knowing what to expect from the Turkish market will help you find a suitable place to live.
You will probably find the market overwhelming at first. Turkish apartments vary in size and quality, sometimes seemingly without rhyme or reason. In general, you will find newer apartments toward the outer edges of cities and older ones toward the middle.
When looking at older apartments, don´t expect conveniences like elevators. Similarly, don´t be surprised to find major safety issues when visiting some rental properties. It is not uncommon for electrical outlets to spark, or for gas heaters to sit in rooms with poor ventilation.
Take the word “furnished” with a grain of salt when you see it in an ad. “Furnished” could mean nothing more than that an apartment has sinks and bathroom fittings. When visiting “unfurnished” apartments, don´t expect anything: not bed-frames, cabinets, curtains, sinks - in many cases even toilets.
If you need to purchase a lot of furniture or fittings, try negotiating with your landlord to have the cost deducted from your rent. Many landlords will be receptive to such arrangements, it´s a convenient way of renovating their property!
Also, relationships with landlords and neighbours will probably be different than you are used to at home. Turkish neighbours think little of dropping in to see what you are doing, which may be pleasant or amusing at first but gradually grow irritating. Unmarried women in particular should not be surprised to find a regular stream of neighbours dropping by to check up on them.
If you are single and have a habit of bringing strangers home with you, rest assured that your neighbours will be talking about it. Some landlords may disapprove of this behaviour so much that they pull you aside to discuss it. This kind of attitude is becoming less and less common in major cities, but in rural areas some landlords are still known to refuse rentals to unmarried couples.
Whether looking for a rental, dealing with your landlord or meeting your Turkish neighbours, remember that patience, understanding, and good humour will get you through most issues with only a minimal amount of pain.