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Apartment Walk-through Checklist

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Location, tick. Price, tick. Sign, where? Wait, press pause.

The giddy high of finally finding what looks to be the perfect apartment in Bucharest. Though right now, it is

time to slow down and take a careful look. Let’s stay positive, but it is important to make sure

any issues are known, and dealt with now, so that there is less chance for headaches down the

road.

There are some factors that are out of your control, but this moment of going through our

checklist is very much time to take control.

Appliances

Remember now, new does not always mean better, most important is to ensure each appliance

is working. Now is not the time to be shy, do ask to see that all appliances are operating.

  • Make sure the oven works.
  • Ensure each element on the stove is operating correctly.
  • Ensure the oven is connected to the gas supply.
  • Is there an extractor fan above the stove? Is it functional?
  • Is the light in the oven working?
  • Does the fridge light work?
  • Does the washing machine work?
  • If there is a clothes dryer, does it work? If there is not one, allow a moment to consider

where you might dry clothes.

  • You could take note of any energy ratings of the appliances.

Sockets/plugs/electrical outlets

  • Do take along with you your phone charger and try each socket to ensure it is working.
  • Are there enough sockets? Especially on the kitchen worktop for your small appliances.
  • In the bedroom, is there a socket bedside?
  • Is there an outlet where you will have the TV? Which also is time to check the TV

connection is close by.

  • Is there a socket where you want to have the wifi router?

Bathroom

Perhaps one of the first places to check is the bathroom, and specifically the water pressure.

Again, do not be shy, let your eyes do the listening.

  • Run the bath tap, run the shower, make sure the water pressure is sufficient. Seeing is

believing.

  • Do look behind toilets and sinks for any leaks or drips.
  • Look for any gaps in tile grout or around pipes that enter the room.
  • Is there an external window or extractor fan for shower steam?
  • Do check the ceiling, especially in apartment blocks for any water stains. This could

signal that the tenants above have plumbing issues.

  • Does the bath have a bathtub blocker?

Heating/Cooling

The heating system is an important issue in Romania.

  • Does the apartment have its own boiler? Or is the heating system controlled by the

building’s administrator or local council?

A system out of your control can mean the heating coming on only when it is deemed cold

enough by others, the council for example. Then at end of the cool season, the heating may go

off before the warm weather has truly arrived leaving for chilly nights and mornings at home.

  • If you are viewing the property in the summer, think ahead for the winter.
  • Do the radiators/heaters have adjustable temperature controls, do they work?
  • Romania’s hot summers mean most apartments will have air conditioning in at least one

room. Ensure this works.

Romanian Apartment Life

Romania’s climate can be a factor to consider in apartment selection. Though each apartment

block is different despite looking the same, some local knowledge cannot hurt.

  • An apartment on the top floor can be cooler in the winter, the roof may not be insulated.

It can also be very warm in summer.

  • Any ground floor apartment could have cold floors during winter, but has the advantage

of being cooler in summer.

  • The ground floor and perhaps also the 1st floor may have less available natural light

than apartments above.

  • If you do not enjoy lifts, or perhaps you have a young family, the lower floors may

provide easier access.

Windows & Doors

  • Do the windows have insect screens? This is a must for summer when bugs love nothing

more than your bright lights. These screens are often removed in winter, cleaned and

then brought back during spring.

  • Do check all windows and any balcony doors for drafts.
  • Do all windows open and close correctly?
  • Do all doors open and shut smoothly? Are door handles in place and fixed?

Safety

There is a large gap between the safety standards of each residential property in Romania, but

this is an area that is slowly improving.

  • Check for smoke alarms, they are not always found in older apartments.
  • Gas alarm, an area that has improved, new regulations now require this.
  • Fire safety exists, another area that is improving. It is with a sigh of relief to see that the

new apartment blocks being built finally have fire stairs externally. This may be another

factor to consider if you are looking at older block buildings.

  • Do find out what is the fire evacuation plan for any emergency?

Damages

  • This is where photographs can play a key role. You may agree mutually through the

agent or directly with the proprietor that taking photos is the best option. Go through the

property slowly looking for any damages, cracks, marks on the wall, anything broken.

Ensure you keep a copy of any photos before presenting them.

  • Create an inventory or make note of any items left, if any, by the proprietor for tenants

use.

  • This process is likely to be done by the owner or agent when you move out, so cover

yourself now to avoid any future dispute over the deposit/bond.

Parking

Apartment planning of the past did not envision that today there would be so many cars on the

streets of Romania’s cities. From evening until late morning, parking spots are the hottest ticket

in town and can be difficult to find.

  • If you are moving into an apartment block and have a vehicle, do make sure you have a

designated parking space. This will save you numerous rides around your

neighbourhood searching for a space to park your vehicle overnight.

Bills & Contracts

Depending on the apartment block there may be an appointed administrator who manages and

collects the bills from each apartment. This is common in the older style apartment blocks.

  • The fee for the rubbish system is a set amount. It depends on your location as to how

much and how often this needs to be paid. The proprietor may ask you to pay this

directly, or they may organise this and then charge you.

  • Heating and water bills will vary according to the season and how much you use

naturally, but you might be able to ask kindly for an approximate figure.

  • Many lease and rental contracts and arrangements are agreed in the currency of Euros,

rather than the local RON currency. The only factor to consider here is that any currency

value changes could very the amount you might be expected to pay each month.

  • Most apartments have wifi internet installed. If not it is not a difficult process, nor is it

expensive. Do arrange this beforehand though.

Details

‘We think in generalities, but we live in detail’. Alfred North Whitehead.

  • Keep a close eye on any drains, to ensure that water runs quickly, so no sign of blocks

or clogs.

  • Pictures, frames, the touches that can make an empty apartment or house feel like

home. Feel, touch, knock, ask about the walls. Which ones will allow you to mount those

picture frames, and where in the home are they?

  • Is there enough areas for your clothes, is there sufficient wardrobe space?
  • Do you have a bicycle? Is there room on a balcony, or secured safely in a communal

area?

  • Curtains. You might be surprised at how many people miss this. Not so much if there are

any curtains, but do they work? Do they allow privacy in the evening from neighbours

across the way when your lights are on?

  • Do not ignore any musty or damp smells. Check all walls and ceilings for water marks.

Ideally the proprietor will be present for this process, do request this, if possible. Ensure that

after finding any faults, that repairs are made before signing, or moving in.

The rush of the excitement, but the reward for slowing down, in this moment could prevent long

lasting headaches down the line.

Best Fitness Clubs in Bucharest

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worldclass fitness club interior

When it comes to amenities, Bucharest successfully rises to the level of any European capital, and sports and fitness clubs do not disappoint either. From small borough centers to huge arenas, you name it, there are places for all taste. Of course, prices range depending on various factors such as location, other facilities (like swimming pools, saunas, massage) and fitness trainers fame.

World Class

is a sports club with no less than 27 locations in Bucharest, quite convenient, as you can choose one next to your home or work and, therefore, save up precious time.

They offer various sports programs, one of them exclusively created by Les Mills and World Class experts, and their fitness facilities are top notch. One of the best things they have to offer is their personal trainer package: fit package – for people who did not trained for a long period of time/beginners, the perform package – for the ones who started to love fitness and want to take their training to the next level and the transform package – for experienced people that have a performance goal. Your trainer will personalize all your sessions and they do have high-qualified trainers that know their business.

Pescariu Sports&Spa

(District 3, Glodeni St.) started as a tennis club and has now become one of the most appreciated fitness clubs in the capital. They have Technogym equipment, a couple of fitness areas and a wide range of fitness and aerobic classes. Experienced fitness coaches will propose complex fitness sessions and lifestyle changes (nutrition plan, etc.) in order to achieve the best results. They have special areas and sports activities for kids. In addition, you can swim there, dine or have a relaxing massage.

Arena Sports

(District 6, Rusetu St.) also has a Technogym equipment, personal trainers that you can hire for as long as you want and family subscription packages that include fitness sessions for yourself and all sorts of activities for the kids + free sauna. Moreover, they offer kinetotherapy sessions, very helpful in case of several medical issues.

With 5 locations all around Bucharest (Vitan, Pantelimon, Tei, Cocor and Titulescu neighbourhoods) you can check out Stay Fit Gym. They have H.I.T.T, metabolic training, circuit sessions, and pump training. Also, a team of professionals can personalize your fitness sessions. They have a great subscription offer these days as for each 3 months subscription you’ll get one month free.

Fitness Zone

is located in Bucurestii Noi and has 2 fitness and bodybuilding areas, with last generation fitness and cardio equipment. It has a more intimate and cozy feeling, with long-term clients and dedicated employees.

Of course, besides the fitness clubs mentioned above, there are others to discover and try in Bucharest, it all depends on what’s your idea of a perfect fitness club and on how much time and money are you willing to spend on it.

Renting a House vs Apartment in Bucharest

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modern house vs modern apartment building

There are several factors you need to take under considerations when renting in Bucharest beside your own desires and expectations to live in a house or an apartment. Both choices come with their specific benefits and drawbacks and we will try to offer you some guiding lines to help you made up your mind.

Let’s take, for example, Bucharest District 1 (Herastrau, Aviatorilor, Primaverii, Dorobanti), an expensive area with a poor offer in terms of houses renting, too much demand and not enough supply because many people prefer being in the center of things, where you can benefit from all facilities of the big city. Depending on the surface, houses renting prices go from 1400 euros and up. You’ll have a terrace, a courtyard and a parking space, it can be furnished or not, depending on what you want.

You will fully enjoy the yard, have plenty of space for the family and friends gatherings and have no problems regarding your privacy. The downside comes with rental and maintenance costs as houses surfaces suppose bigger expenses for heating, electricity, lawn nurturing. And if the house does not come with an alarm system, you need to consider buying one, because most robberies tend to happen in houses, as they are more isolated and also more appealing to thieves than apartments are.

In the same District 1, you can choose renting a 3 or 4 rooms spacious apartment (130-170 sq m). Some have quite big terraces and garages and, with prices starting from 1400 up to 2500 euros, you’ll get a lot of comfort without the need to worry about the outside maintenance that a house involves. You can meet people more easilly, take the pulse of the inhabitants and also feel more secure. Of course, there is the risk of annoying and noisy neighbors and you may feel a little cramped, even dream of a barbecue sometimes, but you can get over it going out and exploring your surroundings.

There’s also the choice of avoiding the crowd of the central area by migrating to the outskirts of the city. The north side has become one of the favorite for people who enjoy a more quite area and want to be a little close to nature. Here, the developers offer bigger surfaces and lots of green spaces, within buildings that are new or recently built. With prices starting from 600 euros for a 3 rooms apartment with 2 terraces,  you will have your own parking lot, a full time security guard, kids playgrounds and the vicinity of the forest, where you can take long walks and enjoy fresh air. Most apartments are part of residential districts so be prepared to face your many neighbors each day, play by the rules and share the facilities with the other co-residents, facts that will hurt your need for privacy.

Choosing a house or a villa instead can offer lots of space (on the inside and outside also), a pool, the advantages of a secluded household. In this part of the city you can rent spacious villas with prices starting from 900 euros for a 4 rooms one and feel like you’re living in a vacation house

But being a little far from the city center will definitively have a saying on this because you need to consider all the precious time you’ll be spending in the horrific traffic, count the gas money, think of all the times when you’ll be inclined to say no to an invitation or an event in the heart of the city simply because, well, it’s to far away.

In the end, all that matters is to know how to balance your needs with your wallet and expectations.

Tips for Relocating to Bucharest

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So, if you`re about to move to Bucharest, here are some useful facts that you should know and that can help you start your new life in Romania.

First of all, consider arranging as much as you possibly can before you actually relocate to Bucharest, as it will be easier for you to just deal with your new house/apartment and getting around in the city.

So, first move: find yourself a real estate agency that shall take care of finding the right place for you.

Second of all, depending on your needs and purpose of your stay in Romania, you need to know the formalities about establishing of your domicile (temporary or not) in Bucharest.

The General Inspectorate for Immigration deals with such matters, being the competent authority. Depending on your stay and on your plans, you may need a long stay visa for employment purposes or a visa for deployment (necessary documents for obtaining this type of visa: a copy of the work permit issued by the General Inspectorate for Immigration, a proof of financial means for the entire period of the visa, criminal record certificate and a medical insurance valid through your visa duration; for deployment-copy of the posting permit, a proof of financial means for the entire period of the visa, criminal record certificate and a medical insurance valid through your visa duration). You must pay a 120 EUR visa fee in the country where you make the request and is granted for 90 days (one or more trips).

But if you want to establish a long-term residence in Romania and receive a 10-year residence permit, you must follow these steps: make a long-term residence request at the General Inspectorate for Immigration Bucharest and wait for their answer. If it`s positive you may then submit the following documents: application form, ID documents, proof of social health insurance, proof of financial means of support, criminal record certificate and civil status document. The main condition for obtaining this visa is that you must have had a continuous stay in Romania during the last 5 years.

Obtaining the work permit is your employer task so you don`t need to worry about it.

If you`re relocating for business purposes, apart from the documents mentioned for the long stay visa for employment purposes, you initially need to obtain approval of the Ministry of Energy and Medium Enterprises and Business Environment and then register with ANAF service from your specific District (Public Finance Administration) to obtain a fiscal code and pay your revenue taxes,

After obtaining a visa, you must now submit several documents (maximum 30 days before your visa expiration date) and obtain a residence permit and, good news, this step can be done online at: https://portaligi.mai.gov.ro/portaligi/  . All residence permits can be extended. With your residence permit comes your PIN, that will identify you an all Romania`s territory.

Once you have your permit you can benefit from free Romanian language courses and accommodation sessions (for details visit  http://igi.mai.gov.ro/ro/content/programul-de-integrare).

To benefit from Romania`s national health care system, you need to submit a request and start paying the contributions to the Casa Judeteana de Asigurari de Sanatate Municipiul Bucuresti (National Health Insurance Fund).

If you need to get a Romanian driving license you need to have a residence permit and then apply to Directia Regim Permise de Conducere si Inmatriculare a Vehiculelor Bucuresti (Driving License and Vehicle Registration Service Bucharest) and take a written exam and a driving test or, if your origin country has a special agreement with Romania, just change your driving license with a Romanian one. You can find the list of the Viena agreement here: Romanian Driving Licence Permit Exchange Countries List

You also can get a full price monthly metro pass with unlimited trips, or a bus, tram, and trolleybus Activ Card, use the taxi or the Uber.

Romania`s educational system accepts foreigners and, in order to register a child for school, you first need to submit an equivalency request at Inspectoratul Scolar Bucuresti (Bucharest School Inspectorate) and then register your kid at a school from your District. Keep in mind that Bucharest has several International Schools, so you may find useful information about the scholar system right there.

Maybe you`ll love Romania and wish to obtain Romanian citizenship… if that`s the case, the law stipulates that you need to have been living in Romania for at least 8 years (or be married with a Romanian for at least 5 years),  prove a decent living, own a spotless criminal record certificate, speak a basic Romanian language and have knowledge about Romania`s history, geography, constitution and national anthem. If you`re good to go, the Commission for citizenship will reward you.

Welcome to Romania!

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