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What should you consider when looking for a place to live?

When you first arrive in Egypt, you will probably be living in temporary accommodation. You will soon be looking for a permanent place to live. The cost of setting up your first home may be more expensive than you expected. Finding a place to live can take several Days. Think of the search as three separate tasks:

  • Deciding how much you can afford to pay, how many rooms you need and where you want to live.
  • Finding the apartment or house you want.
  • Completing the legal contract to rent or buy.

Will finding a place to live be the same everywhere in Egypt?

Not entirely. Prices are different from city to city.

How much do houses and apartments cost?

Prices depend on the location, age and condition of the apartment or house, and the local housing market. Some cities and provinces control how much landlords can charge for rent.
When you are budgeting for your housing costs, you may have to allow as much as 10 to 25 percent of your income. This should include the costs for such things as heating, utilities and laundry.
The table below gives a good idea of average costs for a particular year.
Many houses are bought and sold in the spring and early summer, and prices might be higher then, although there will probably be a greater choice.

Housing Price
City Average Price*


Cairo 1 - Maadi 2 - Zamalek 3 - Dokki 4 - Mohandseen 5 - New Cairo 6 - 6th of October - Zayed 7 - Helioplis 8 - Nasr city 9 - Down town 10 -
* Based on a March 2009 survey of residential average prices by LandMark Real Estate.

How do you find an apartment to rent?

Your main sources of information are the classified advertisements in local newspapers and what you hear from other people. Once you decide on a price range, size, and preferred location, you should be able to identify several possible apartments. Normally, you telephone for an appointment to see the apartments.
Look for convenient parking, nearby bus routes, shopping, schools, and laundry facilities.
Ask the landlord or the person renting the apartment what facilities are included in the rent, such as parking, whether or not you can keep a pet and how many people can live in the apartment.
The landlord will hold the apartment for you after you pay a deposit (which will be applied to the rent) and you both sign an offer to rent the apartment.

What can you expect in a rented apartment?

Every apartment should have:
its own door, which can be locked, to a common hallway or to the street; a kitchen with a sink and hot and cold water, countertop, shelves or cupboards and appliances such as a stove and a refrigerator; closets and storage space a private bathroom with a sink, toilet and bath or shower.
Your apartment will be equipped with several essential utilities, including:
a heating system; light and electricity; hot and cold water; telephone lines; and sewage pipes.
You should find out if the costs of electricity, gas, heat and water are included in the rent, or whether you will be charged directly by the utility companies.
Property taxes are paid by the landlord. You must pay the costs of telephone and cable television connection and the monthly bills for those services. Furnished apartments should include beds, chairs, tables, floor covering, light fixtures, curtains, basic kitchen equipment in addition to utilities, a stove and a refrigerator.

What legal arrangements are involved in renting?

In general there is a standard rental agreement, or lease, that both you and your landlord sign. This is a printed document of two up to five pages which specifies the Description of premises, payment tears, Duration of contract, Annual increase, Deposit, Maintenance, termination of contract, utilities and options such as parking Read it carefully before signing. Be sure the owner is in title to rent the property and be sure you understand which utilities you will pay, which will be paid by the landlord and what penalty you may have to pay if you leave before the lease is over.
The lease will most likely be for at least one year, and you will have to make an initial payment, possibly the first and last month's rent. You may also be asked for a damage deposit, which will be returned to you when you leave if you have not caused any damage to the property beyond normal use. For this reason it is important to note any damage and tell your landlord before you move in.

How do you rent a house?

Renting a Villa is the same process as renting an apartment. There may be more option, such as Garden and Pool. The tenant usually pays for utilities.

How do you buy a house?

Your main sources of information are friends and neighbours, real estate agents and classified advertisements in the local newspapers.

What legal arrangements are involved in buying a house?

Property law is complicated. You should hire a lawyer When you have decided on which house you wish to buy, you usually make a legal written offer, often with the condition that the house passes a professional inspection of its condition and structure. The offer normally includes a deposit. Usually, the buyer and the seller will bargain on price, in writing. If the seller accepts an offer, the offer becomes an agreement to purchase.
You will probably want to arrange financing (a mortgage) with a bank or trust company. The down payment is usually at least 10 per cent of the total price, although first-time home buyers may be eligible for a five percent down payment. Mortgages can be paid over a period as long as 20 years, with interest rates fixed for terms.

Are there other types of accommodation?

Yes. In addition to furnished and unfurnished apartments, there are also Ground floor with garden, penthouse with roof and villa. Also there is villas in closed compound.

Transportations
Are there car rental companies in Cairo? Do I have to rent with a driver or can I drive myself? Are there any other alternatives to get around?

There are several car rental companies in Cairo. Most of them have offices in Cairo International Airport and in most of Cairo's bigger hotels. You can rent a car and drive it yourself on condition you have an international driving license, held for at least one year. The cheapest of the big agencies rents cars at $50 per day, in addition to $7 daily accident waiver and 12 percent tax. However, Most of companies offer a reasonably priced option of renting cars with drivers. As a first time traveler I advise you to go for this option. Average rates for a driver are around $15 for a 10-hour day in addition to $2 for each extra hour of driving time.
Local taxis (black and white cabs) are another alternative. They will be cheaper, but none have air- conditioning. When taking a taxi it is best to negotiate the price with the driver in advance. Fares are determined by market rates rather than by meters. Cairenes normally pay LE5-10 for a downtown hop (for example, Tahrir Square to Zamalek or Mohandessin) and more if heading further out especially to a prosperous area (LE10-15 to Heliopolis, for example). Though foreigners can get away with local rates, drivers expect you to pay over the odds – LE10 minimum, LE10-15 across downtown or the Nile and LE20-30 for journeys further out.
If you don't mind public transportation, I recommend two options: the underground metro and air-conditioned buses. Metro trains run every few minutes from 6am to midnight and cover almost all of Cairo at a cost of LE1 for all lines. There are two lines; one connects the northeastern suburb of Al-Marg with the southern industrial district of Helwan; the other Shobra in the north to Giza. Via the metro you can easily access the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, Old Cairo, including the Hanging Church, Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque, Ben Ezra Synagogue and the Coptic Museum, Sayeda Zeinab Mosque, Cairo Opera House in Gezira, the Petrified Forest in Maadi, and other interesting sites. I advise, however, newcomers to Cairo to avoid using the metro in rush hours (7-9.30am and 2.30- 5pm).
If you want to travel in comfort and avoid the crowds, air-conditioned buses are an excellent option, though they are slow and they often get stuck in traffic. There are many lines that cover most of Cairo, including the Pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza for LE2. There are terminals in Ahmed Helmi Street, adjacent to Ramsis Square and in Abdel-Moneim Riad Street, near to Tahrir Square, besides other terminals scattered all over the city.

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