Although it is possible for foreigners to buy property and housing, chances are you will rent. There are three ways to find a house for rent: through newspaper ads, Real Estate Agencies (check the yellow pages), or friends.
Perhaps the most straightforward way to rent a house or apartment is to use the services of a real estate agency. Most of the larger agencies (the ones advertised in the English language newspaper Turkish Daily News) are professional and have experience dealing with foreigners and their often-unique set of needs. If your budget is modest however, you would be better off scouting out the neighborhood that you want to live in and approaching the smaller real estate agencies (Emlakçý) in that area.
It is common practice to pay a commission to the agent; however this fee is negotiable in most instances. Foreign tenants mean Dollars (and lots of them) to almost every homeowner in Turkey. If your rent will be in a foreign currency, bargain hard – if you don’t have the negotiation skills, find someone does. It will be well worth the effort and can safe you bundle.
As you may well know, Istanbul is located on the North Anatolian fault and is considered to be an earthquake prone area. Therefore while renting or purchasing a house, it is a good idea to ask for a report on the building’s ground study issued by a university. Moreover, since Istanbul was quite “injured” during the August 17, 1999 earthquake, some buildings have “seen” or “unseen” damages, and for that reason it is highly recommended to request a report about the status of the building from the Yönetici (the person responsible for the administrative works, such as collecting monthly expenses of the building etc.).