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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Expats turn to the internet to furnish homes abroad

Deciding what to take with you when relocating to another country can be tough, but as a general rule it is best to pack light and put the majority of items into storage for when you return.

This then leaves the issue of furnishing a house or apartment in a new country, which can be an expensive business. Many expatriates turn to second hand items, especially if they only intend to live abroad for a few years.

While many people might automatically look to eBay to pick up furniture and other pieces, an article in the Telegraph recently explained the shortcomings in this approach.

The auction site does not have the same standing in every country, as different cultures go about things in their own way. For example, in Asia people prefer to see an item for themselves before buying it.

Local eBay sites actually include many brand new pieces that are shipped from abroad, meaning you won't save much cash in the long run.

Gene Cleckley, a spokesman for eBay, told the news provider: "The majority of what we sell are new products. In fact, about 70 per cent of our sales are for new merchandise, which is very different from our past."

Instead, it is best to look at the internet sites that locals use, as these are likely to have a much better choice and within a more defined geographical area.

You may even be able to skip postage and delivery fees altogether by going and picking up the items yourself. This has the added benefit allowing you to inspect them before taking them away.

If you have moved to the US or Canada then your first ports of call should be buysellcommunity and craigslist. Meanwhile anyone living in Hong Kong is recommended to check out GeoExpat and quicksales.com, while eBid.net is the best option in Australia.

Buying second hand items in good condition can save you as much as 35 per cent on the retail price, and if you look after them you will be able to sell them on again when you leave and get the majority of your money back.

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