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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Make Real Estate Arrangements


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  • If not using a realtor and/or property manager, advertise for and interview tenants, conduct credit checks, and ar­range for rent payments.
  • Be sure leases include a "diplomatic clause" or "Foreign Service clause" in case you need to return unexpectedly.
  • Arrange for periodic inspec­tions (termite, furnace/AC checks) and lawn service, if needed.
  • Make a list of your preferred contractors, in case repairs need to be made on your property while you are away. 
  • Change your policy from homeowner's insur­ance to a fire dwelling policy including owners', landlords', and tenants' liability. See Chapter 6 Insurance of the Foreign Service Assignment Notebook: What Do I Do Now? 
  • Gather together manuals on appliances, special instructions, and anything else tenants or property managers need to know.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check on the property for you from time to time, even if using a property manager.  Leave your next door neighbors with your contact information, in case of an emergency situation with your property.
  • Foreign Service personnel may list their rental property with the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW). AAFSW operates a Housing Office at the Department of State main building (Room 1252) on C. Street in Washington, DC.  Staffed by volunteers, the office maintains a listing of rental properties which DOS employees wish to rent. For more information about the Housing Office, email housing@aafsw.org or call 202-647-3573 or 202-647-3086.

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