In simple terms there are two groups of people who normally move overseas, those who want to relocate forever and those who move for employment purposes. A new discussion has been opened on the Japan thread which covers the subject of furnishing your apartment. This may sound like a very simple choice, to ship in or to buy from new, but there is quite a bit more to it than that.
Background to the post
A gentleman is relocating to Japan with this company and is looking to rent a fully furnished apartment near Roppongi. However, there appear to be two very different trains of thought with regards to furnishing an apartment in Japan. Firstly there is the service apartment sector which effectively offers fully furnished apartments for those looking to move in straight away. Secondly there is the option of shipping over your own furniture and equipment from your homeland.
So what are the pros and cons of furnishing from new or shipping over your old furnishings?
While we say there are two options to consider there are in fact potentially more than two options to consider which include: -
Shipping over your own furniture
At the end of the day, when moving to a new country many of us will be forced to leave behind friends and family at least for a time. However, it can be difficult choice as to whether you ship over your own furniture to your new homeland or indeed start again. The cost of shipping obviously differs from country to country but the general opinion is that shipping to Japan can be very expensive. So what other options are available?
As we touched on above, service apartments are in effect the luxury end of the apartment market whereby furnishings are all ready when you move in. As you may guess, the luxury end of the market is not cheap and many companies who move their staff overseas to Japan will not have a budget that can stretch that far. There is highly likely to be various accommodation allowances, travel allowances and possibly shipping allowances but the luxury end of the market, to many people who move to Japan (whether for a short time or a prolonged period), is well out of bounds.
As you may guess, furnishing your new apartment from scratch can be very expensive and if you were only staying for a relatively short period of time is it really cost effective?
Many people who do decide to furnish their apartment from local retailers will normally only buy the bare essentials to cut back on cost and cut back on wastage. If you’re only there for one year or even less then there is no point in spending thousands of yen on furnishings which may not be economical to ship back to your homeland when you finally return.
This is a very interesting option which the vast majority people may not be aware of. The ability to lease furnishings on a fixed term at a fixed price is a very interesting and economically sound option. Whether you go for the luxury end of the leased furniture market, or perhaps save a few yen for yourself, is a decision which individuals need to take themselves. Interestingly, there is a suggestion in the post that once your lease period is up you may be able to acquire what is in effect second-hand furniture at bargain basement prices.
For those who have a tight budget and perhaps don’t know how long they may well reside in a foreign land there is the option to acquire second-hand furniture as they go along. Initially you would need to acquire the bare essentials to make your life bearable and then add various second-hand furniture items as you can afford them and as they become available. There is a suggestion that many expats in the area who are leaving for pastures new may well be looking to dispose of their own furniture at reasonable prices.
For those looking to move to Japan for work reasons, as the poster of this thread is, everything may seem very clear and concise as their plans take shape. However, there’s a very interesting comment on the thread in relation to the fact that it is highly likely that the first apartment you live in will not be the last one. As you get to know areas better, see better value for money opportunities and perhaps better regions you may decide to change your accommodation.
As a consequence one of the posters has suggested that, if you’re looking to ship your own furniture to Japan, you wait until you are settled and more comfortable with your surroundings. This is an interesting tip which many of us may never have thought of and it could save time, money and stress.
Looking to your employer
If you are being relocated by your employer, wherever that may be, it is vital that you ensure you are catered for especially in the early days. There are various allowances, services and options open to you and while many companies will offer you as much assistance as possible, a number will try to reduce their own costs by offering you the bare minimum. It is vital that you stick up for your rights and remember that in many cases it is you who are doing your employer a favour by moving lock stock and barrel overseas.
Some of the best posts in the expat forum are the ones which ask simple questions but often give answers you have never thought of. Second-hand furniture, leasing furniture and delaying any potential purchases until you are settled are three very interesting options which can make your early days in a foreign land that little bit less stressful.
You may read about areas on the Internet, your employer may tell you where to go but at the end of the day it is you who lives there and you need to feel comfortable and at home. Whether this means shipping over your own furniture at some stage, or making alternative arrangements, ultimately it is down to you to decide what you can and cannot afford both from a financial point of view and for your comfort.