Brussels is a relatively small city and most places are generally easily accessible by car or by the vast forms of public transport. Most expats choose where to live based on their family status, age and interests. Familiy-minded expats tend to live more on the outskirts of the city where there are bigger properties, both houses and apartments, as opposed to closer to the centre where there are mainly apartments. The younger and more party-minded live closer to the centre where there is a large variety of apartments available at different sizes and prices. It is much louder but also more convenient and in the midst of the Brussels social scene. An advantage of Brussels is that anywhere you live, there is a lot of green space. Parks are scattered throughout and in the south and east of the city, easily accessible from the centre, is the Bois de la Cambre, also known as Foret that can be accessed by public transport, car or bike and feels like you are deep in the forest. In reality, however, you haven’t even left the city.
The property prices in the city can be very expensive, in particular larger options (for example, a two-bedroom with a garden). This becomes a major factor when moving to Brussels with a family. The outskirts tend to be cheaper, or for the same cost as the centre, you get more space. As the city is not a very big city, most facilities are easily accessible regardless of where you live and is not really a major point of consideration, particularly for people with a car.
Of more importance will be for families with children who will have to find a balance between distance between work and dropping off children at school as rush hour traffic can become a factor as many cars commute in and out of the city on weekdays. The choice of where to live then will be based on each family’s choice. If your children’s commute is a primary consideration, living either near the centre (European Distrcit, around Schuman), Ixelles, Uccle, Foret and the Woluwe neighborhoods would make the most sense.
Buying or Renting
When you decide to settle down and buy or rent a more permanent home, there are many resources available. In the following sections there is more detailed information, but below are some useful resources available.
To buy or rent a house or an apartment in Brussels it is advisable to have a good real-estate agent http://www.ipi.be/, who will inform you of the process. If you intent to purchase property, it is necessary to use a lawyer or notary as well. Another way of finding houses is from recommendations by colleagues, friends and other expats, and it may be possible to locate a house you like without using an estate agent, though a lawyer will still be necessary for a purchase. The advantages of a dedicated real-estate agent is that they are able to recommend properties and areas given exactly what you are looking for, and will be able to guide you through the process saving yourself a great amount of leg and paper-work. There are numerous agents in the city who can help you look for properties as well as close on them and most advertised properties will have the name and contact details for the agent selling the house. There are many websites to assist in your property search and below are some popular ones;
The sections “Purchasing and Renting” gives a conclusive look at the process involved once you are on the hunt for a property.