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Tips for Finding Affordable Housing Abroad as a Gambian Expat Worker

24 Jan 2024

One of the biggest challenges Gambian expatriates have to overcome after going to a foreign land to earn a living to send money to Gambia to support their family is to find affordable accommodation.

Because getting a job abroad does not entail as much and complex challenges as finding accommodation, with the necessary education, skills, and experience, all you have to search for is a thriving and expansive job market that developed countries are replete with. But for accommodation, you have to carve your way out with utmost care as the chances of you getting fleeced run high.

Therefore, it is essential to keep an eye on the basics while trying to find a residence abroad lest you ignore those in the excitement of being in and allurements of the new land.

An IOM UN Migration report said that the Gambia is one of the smallest African countries, with a total population of 2.3 million. About 118,000 Gambian migrants live abroad, the same report said, whose financial contribution through inward remittances equals about 20% of the country’s GDP.

According to a report by the World Bank, the quantum of inward remittances to the Gambia in 2021 was $547 million or $547,051,424.

Imagine the extent to which the country’s economy is weak because, despite that, the remittances serve developing economies as their lifelines, and most countries receive remittances in billions; the Gambia’s are slightly over half a billion, according to the latest estimates.

Let’s take a look at some other quick facts about the Gambian economy to fully appreciate why the Gambians travel abroad to earn a living to support their loved ones through a repetitive money transfer to Gambia.


The Gambian Economy

  • In a report published by the World Bank, the Gambia had a GDP of $2.04 billion in 2021.
  • In another World Bank report, the GDP per capita income of the Gambia in 2021 was projected to be $772.2.

These figures make for a strong case for the Gambians to travel abroad to find jobs with better financial prospects.

Take a look at the Job Opportunities You Can Find Abroad As A Gambian Migrant.

To balance out the gravity of the economic figures stated above, should you not be taking a look at some unique facts about the Gambia?

Well, one does not find a plausible reason to say no!


Quick Interesting Facts About The Gambia

  • The Gambians are spiritual people and staunchly believe in the supernatural.
  • The Gambia is considered heaven for birdwatchers, with hundreds of species of birds available.
  • The Gambia was West Africa’s center for the slave trade.
  • The Kachikally Crocodile Pool in Baku is considered to be a sacred pool with more than 100 predators of different sizes, shapes, and ages.
  • The transition of young boys to men is celebrated across the country as a ritual.

Let’s now get to how you can find suitable accommodation abroad as a Gambian migrant.


Tips For Finding Affordable Housing Abroad As A Gambian Expatriate

The following few tips will help you find the right place to live, as choosing the wrong place will make your stay abroad less enjoyable.


Search Online

You can find many websites that help you search for accommodation in a specific area. Since these websites show pictures and videos of the locality and the property itself, along with the detailed description and other associated details, you can have a good idea about what they look like.


Ask People Around You

Use the contacts you have established or are establishing. Consider the recommendations of the people around you, particularly those with knowledge about the property in your area of interest.


Think About Your Budget

While looking for accommodation abroad, it is easy to put your complete focus on the rent, etc. But remember that you have to commute, feed, and need other life essentials requiring money. So, do consider your budget.


Consider Location

You can either find a residence inside a main city or on the outskirts of it. Each offers its advantages and disadvantages. So, consider location in the context of commuting as a long distance from your workplace will incur charges you will find challenging to manage.

And it is important because you send money to Gambia online since you have, most likely, gone abroad to support your family financially.

In this context, your primary focus is on better financial management.


Consider And Determine Your Exact Needs

You must determine your needs while looking for accommodation abroad, as options are aplenty, including furnished apartments, unfurnished houses, etc. Of course, the costs will vary accordingly. So, before you start finding a residence abroad, determine your exact housing needs first.


Thoroughly Check Lease Terms

After you have decided on a place and are ready to enter the contract, wait a while to avoid rushing. Read each clause of the contract thoroughly, consider the longevity of the contract, and seek clarification if you find ambiguity anywhere in the contract terms.


What NOT To Do While Looking For Residence Abroad?

Make sure to avoid the following mistakes in the process.

  • Not checking out your neighborhood and surroundings properly
  • Not reading the terms of contracts thoroughly
  • Not discussing each clause of the contract at length
  • Not taking photos, not making videos, and not documenting the property before you move in
  • Not negotiating the rent and surrendering to what is asked of you
  • Not insuring your belongings or delaying the process
  • Not taking your partner (if you have one) to see around and check if the property squarely meets their requirements
  • Not jotting down the points to check in and around the property before moving in
  • Not giving a thought to the storage capacity of the said property
  • Not seeking opinions from the people who know the area, and its residents or seeking online opinions
  • Not notifying the maintenance issues to the landlord immediately after they appear

These are some of the mistakes that you must avoid because neglectfulness in this regard can land you in trouble. Wonder why?

Well, because you are an expatriate not fully aware of the laws and other legal complexities.


The Way Forward

One of the challenges for you in your online money transfer to Gambia is to find a service provider that offers you market-competitive exchange rates, speed, safety, and a lot more but charges a low fee.

A few reputable service providers, including ACE Money Transfer, help you surmount this challenge with ease and comfort.


How can Gambian expat workers begin their search for affordable housing in a foreign country?

Start by researching popular expat neighborhoods or areas with lower living costs in your host country. Utilize online real estate platforms, local classifieds, and expat forums to find available rental listings. Connecting with local expat communities can also provide valuable insights into affordable housing options.


What strategies can help Gambian expats negotiate better rental rates or terms for housing abroad?

Negotiation is key. Before signing a lease, try to negotiate the rent and lease terms with the landlord. Understanding the local rental market, being willing to sign longer-term leases, and paying several months' rent upfront may give you leverage to secure more favorable rental rates.


Are there any resources or organizations that can assist Gambian expat workers in finding affordable housing abroad?

Some countries have organizations or agencies that specialize in helping expatriates find affordable housing. Additionally, reaching out to your employer or local Gambian expat associations for guidance on housing options and reliable landlords can be beneficial.


What should Gambian expat workers consider when evaluating the affordability of housing options abroad?

When assessing housing affordability, consider not only the rent but also additional expenses such as utilities, maintenance costs, and transportation to work. Factor in your monthly budget to ensure the housing cost aligns with your financial goals.


How can Gambian expat workers ensure the safety and reliability of affordable housing options in a foreign country?

Research the reputation of landlords and property management companies, read reviews from previous tenants, and inspect the property in person if possible. Understanding local tenant rights and regulations can also help safeguard your housing experience abroad.

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