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5 Reasons to Hire a Property Management Company

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hand holding a house

Initially you may consider yourself a handy-person for property repairs or that you have the time to deal with what you might imagine are the possible requirements of a landlord.  Perhaps also, you live close to the investment property and feel you can respond quickly and effectively to any needs of the property, or tenants. However there are five key factors to consider before you take on this new role. If financial savings and time are valuable to you, it might be helpful to contemplate the following benefits of hiring a Property Management Company.

  1. Savings

Rental Rates

No one is better placed than a property manager to know what the right rental price is. Their deep and thorough knowledge of the area and market mean they are best equipped to find that crucial balance. The word is balance, knowing that price that maximizes monthly income, while also ensuring the property remains occupied. Through experience they are also well placed to be able to anticipate any movement in the local rental market. They also have the tools to conduct an accurate market study.

Collection of payment

Perhaps you are in a situation where your number of income properties is limited for now, perhaps you own one, meaning the payment and arrival of rental funds is crucial to your finances. Perhaps the funds are set up and organized to contribute towards mortgage payments, or similar. Managing the property independently can create in your mind moments where you need to check or might consider if the payment will arrive on time. Perhaps historically, or in sensing the quality and behavior of the tenants, you might consider that payment is not a concern. However instead of being on the frontline of this monthly deadline it might be wise to consider that a property management can take the lead here and take away that itch.

Marketing & Advertising

Huge plus value here for hiring a property management company. With today’s quick and simple use of apps and websites, it can appear an attractive option to handle marketing and the placement of any adverts. However, the elements involved, be it photography, or website choice, the use of language, key words, timing, overall presentation, and tone, might all be best placed in the hands of experts who have a deep understanding of what attracts serious prospective tenants. Long vacancies are the nightmare of any landlord. A good idea might be to know that you have put your best foot forward from the very start.

Charges

Property management companies normally set up their charge as a percentage of the monthly rental rate of your property. Typically fees run anywhere from 10-12%. Normally a contract with a property company might last 12-24 months, with opportunity to extend.

It is important to establish from the outset what services are included. It may be that some maintenance costs are included in the monthly charge, allowing for individual billing of other charges.

  1. Tenants

Finding the right tenants

Instincts are a wonderful tool and there is something to be said for the feeling that leads to a decision of selecting tenants when managing a property independently. However emotions and the like can get the better of our own judgment. A property management company can offer the same initial process as you might, but then through their handling of the screening process that can sift for the best possible tenants. Normally any screening would encompass a criminal record check, security screening, and credit checks. This method allows for the element of surprise to be limited to a much lower percentage.

Managing tenants

Once the tenants are inside the property the more savings and the value of using a property management company are discovered. Property damage, faults, accidents, repairs and all managed at this first point of contact. Management companies are also experienced and prepared to handle any conflicts that arise, as well as having a clear and sound knowledge of the law, and how it might direct any response to matters.

  1. Time

Vendor relationships

Here is another big value area for hiring a management firm. It is practically impossible to compete with a property company in this area where they have an up to date portfolio of trusted maintenance specialists, tradespersons, contractors, vendors and suppliers. Crucially many of these contractors will also prioritise their availability to property companies for obvious relationship building. Property management companies have the added ability to oversee, manage and follow up on your behalf any works. They should also keep on top of which companies can offer the highest quality and cost value in a changing market.

  1. Compliance

Owning numerous or even one investment property will mean you will require a number of calendar or reminder updates throughout the year. To stay compliant with any legal or regulation deadlines, or expiry dates, might be very taxing. Avoid lawsuits, headaches, and have peace in knowing the technical structure of a property management company enables your properties to stay fully complaint with the law.

  1. Geography

Managing your own property might restrict the geography choices you have as a property investor. Using a property management company can allow you to spread your net further. There may be the possibility of an excellent investment opportunity further afield, but the distance from your own location means you chose not to invest. Using a property management company here allows geographic freedom.

Hassles and headaches are inevitable, but using a property management company provides an excellent buffer. No property management company can take away, or eliminate the ultimate responsibility you, the landlord holds, but they can definitely lighten the weight on your shoulders and provide true value.

Apartment Walk-through Checklist

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hand holding pen over paper with checklist

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.

Erasmus Student Accommodation in Bucharest

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three students in a room with big windows

If you decide to spend some time in another country (meet new people, discover another culture) while continuing your studies, it’s good to know that there are over 30 countries where you can go. Romania’s capital, Bucharest, is a great choice to consider. Just contact your university Erasmus bureau and you shall get all necessary info, including application and admission.

You will not be wrong if you consider Bucharest as your Erasmus city, and you must know that the most important universities from Bucharest are enrolled in the European’s Union Erasmus program. At a national level, this exchange program is managed by National Agencies, and by EACEA at the European level.

All universities that are part of the Erasmus program have special bureaus – the Erasmus bureau – that handles and coordinates all Erasmus projects (for students and teachers ) and also counsel all beneficiaries on all issues related to the Erasmus program.

Accommodation for Erasmus Students in Bucharest

In terms of accommodation, it’s more convenient to choose a place next to the university where you are going to study. Mornings are tough, especially after a wild weekend, so better save some precious time in the morning, without needing to spend more than a half-hour to get to classes.

You have two options: either you find a place only for you – if that’s the case, be ready to spend 300 €, depending on the area or, more conveniently and fun, rent a 3-4 rooms apartment and share it with other Erasmus students. After all, that’s the Erasmus spirit! For a 4 rooms apartment, fully and modern furnished, you’ll pay around 1000 €, so 250 €/person and get to live in a central location, enjoying all the best things this city has to offer.

Here are a few options to choose from:

Four rooms apartment for rent next to Victoriei Square

Four rooms apartment for rent next to Romana Square

Three rooms apartment for rent next to Romana Square

Assuming that you are not into cooking, do not worry, there are plenty of delivery or take over places covering all international cuisine and fast food also.

So, let’s see exactly why Bucharest represents a great Erasmus choice, trust us, you’ll not be disappointed.

It’s the largest city of Romania (around 2 millions inhabitants) and its cultural center. It’s divided into six districts, each with its own attractions and charm.
If you’re a nature lover, Bucharest has beautiful parks, King Michael I Park (former Herastrau) being the biggest one (north side of the city). You can jog, join the sports club, have gulf lessons, enjoy the open-air theatre or rent a boat on the Herastrau Lake. You can visit here the Village Museum and the Elisabeta Palace, the current residence of the Romanian Royal family.

From a cultural point of view, the city that beard the name of Little Paris, mainly between the Wars, is waiting to be discovered: elegant architecture, beautiful palaces (Ghica Palace, Catacuzino Palace, Justice Palace), great museums (Antipa, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, George Enescu Museum), cosy bookstores and plenty of art galleries to choose from.

Nightlife, well, it can be a very long discussion, as Bucharest is renowned for its bars, pubs, and clubs, with people partying till morning hours. You’ll find here establishments for all taste and pockets. The most famous area from this point of view is Bucharest’s Old Center, packed with clubs, bars and places to eat, with people teeming all around. There are lots of places to choose from, some with cheap drinks, other more expensive, but don’t worry, we are sure you’ll quickly find your favorite joint.

Another area you should check out is the student campus Regie, with nice coffee shops and big, loud clubs with music for each taste.

Public transportation works well, you can rely on the metro till 23 (it connects quite well the districts) and rely on a taxi or Uber after this hour.

So, after all, why choosing to be part of the Erasmus program? There are plenty of reasons, but we’ll name here the most important ones:

  • Studying abroad enhances your chances to achieve a higher degree compared to other students;
  • Erasmus alumni have better chances to perform in managerial positions;
  • You’ll get the chance to work on your self-confidence, to perfect your inter-personal skills, to learn a new language, to get in touch with a new culture.

Our advice? Check with your university Erasmus bureau and ask about Romania. You will have a great experience, we’re sure about it!

What Are The Safest Areas of Bucharest

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bucharest sectors map

Living in Bucharest can be quite rewarding, as you benefit from all the amenities of a modern capital, but you also need to be prepared to see all the rocks ahead, as, like most big cities, Bucharest has a bright side and a darker one.

But do rest assured that some research can spare you of seeing much of Bucharest’s downside and will help you enjoy a safe stay, no matter if it’ a short or a long one.

So, if you decide to buy or rent a place in the capital, you may want to analyze some important info about the safest areas of the city.

There are plenty of studies and statistics regarding crime rates, offering an objective assessment of crime incidence. And they all reveal some bad areas and some safe ones.

According to these studies, the Northern part of Bucharest is the safer one. We are talking about Primăverii, Floreasca, Herăstrău, Aviaţiei, Băneasa, with an extension in the northwest, to 1 Mai and Cotroceni. Aviaţiei and Cotroceni are also valued as the most tranquil areas of the city, so they are to be considered especially if you’re moving in with your family.

The most common risk when living in one of these areas is thieves, attracted to break in the houses of what seems to be known as the wealthiest areas of Bucharest. But there are a lot of precaution measures taken by most house developers meant to improve safety and discourage thieves (alarm systems, security agents, and video surveillance). Aside from that, these are the areas where you can walk at nighttime with no worries. Of course, like almost everywhere on Earth, you need to be reasonable and realize that there is still a possibility for bad things to happen. Not being naive is a must for every big city inhabitant.

Besides a lower rate of major crimes, these are also probably the most recommended areas to live in due to their vicinity to parks, metro lines, shopping areas, international schools, and all sorts of recreational facilities that Bucharest has to offer. Also, the real estate offer is so rich and diversified that it is practically impossible to not find something to your taste and wallet size.

Let’s see now which are those Bucharest areas that are better to be avoided, so you can make the best moving decision if you’re not yet convinced or have a liking for the Northern side of the city (although these are, for good reasons, the best-seller areas for Romanians and ex-pats equally). And this is one of those instances when it is better to bet on most people opinion.

So, the worst places to live in Bucharest due to major crimes rate are in District 5 – Rahova and Ferentari neighborhoods. Famous for their skilled pickpockets, car robberies, and organized crime clans, these two do not excel from an architectural point of view neither. An eclectic style, unfortunately with a negative connotation, has gained momentum and seems unstoppable. It is not very clean either and there are beggars at every turn.

Pantelimon and Giuleşti are also notorious each in its own way: Pantelimon for the gangs and Giuleşti for the stray dogs and lame streets condition (plenty of potholes, unaccommodating sidewalks, and trash in plain sight).

These are pretty much the good and bad areas of Bucharest. But the overall good news is that, statistically, Bucharest is one of Europe’s safest capital.

How to Secure Your Apartment From Burglary

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bulglar tries to brake window

As a responsible owner or a wise rental, you must take into consideration all your options in order to secure your property against burglars. Fortunately, there are ways and security measures that will set at rest this serious problem and provide you with tranquillity and safety.

Here are some security tips that we are advising you to consider if you are living in Bucharest:

  1. Use a security system. It’s the most efficient way to defend your apartment. It will instantly detect any act of intrusion. You can choose from setting in a surveillance camera, using a wireless security system that you can access from your mobile phone, install motion detectors.

Moreover, you can sign a contract with a specialized firm that deals with home’s security and offers an incident response team. How does this work? It’s a method of combining tech and humans. Basically, the firm will install door and windows sensors, webcams, motion sensors, a siren or an alarm (all these depend on what you want or need), and a control panel. All security items installed will communicate with the control panel – a computer that deals with all items and can arm and disarm the system. It also sends info to the security firm.

BGS is a renowned security company that offers alarm systems and monitoring-intervention services. They will cover your problem from scratch. It will all start with the consultancy part (what exactly do you need, the area you live in, apartment’s surface, ways of entry, and which alarm items are suited for you). They will continue with installing this personalized alarm system that will finally be connected to BGS Dispatch and will monitor potential burglary events. Their intervention agents are said to be among the most feared among burglars, and very well equipped and prompt.

NEI is another company offering solutions to security-related problems. They have monitoring and intervention services. It all happens in their system dispatching center, where all alarms are taken over and efficiently assigned to the team located in the proximity of your apartment. They will also notify the police and retain the suspect until the arrival of the officers. Even better, depending on the type of contracted services, one of NEI’s agents will randomly (day/night, different hours) supervise the area of the apartment.

Team Guard will install all sorts of security sensors– glass break, vibration, magnetic contact or infrared barrier sensors. They also have a general dispatch where all alarm signals are received and then allocated to specialized intervention teams.

Other highly rated security companies in Bucharest are R.P.G Security, G4S Secure Solutions, or Civitas. They all offer monitoring&intervention packages, but prices may vary from one company to another.

  1. Although you can safely let specialized companies deal with eventual burglars, there still are some steps that you can take as an act of prevention:
  • invest in high-quality door looks and solid doors;
  • do not store valuable goods in the apartment, you’ll suffer less in the eventuality of a burglary; if you choose to do so, secure your valuable goods in a home safe or lockbox;
  • install a motion sensor lighting at the door – spotlight may intimidate potential intruders;
  • be an involved neighbor – get to know everybody, suggest adding more light on your street. Being part of a community with well-lit streets means increased protection
  1. Don’t be naive and/or negligent – try to put yourself in the shoes of a burglar and spot all your apartment’s weaknesses. Also, do not make the mistake of hiding your spare keys under the doormat or advertising your vacation on Facebook.

The Importance of Apartment Insurance

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contract signing

Although there are many things to say about apartment insurances, their overall benefits are undeniable, just compare it with your car insurance, think of all the troubles you can get in the case of not having it insured and that’s one viable reason why you should consider looking into insuring your apartment. Because it’s not only about what you can do wrong, but also about your neighbors, natural calamities and so on, things and facts that are not at all under your control.

So let’s see here the main types of damage and lost usually covered by apartment insurances:

– natural calamities (earthquake, flooding and silt, collapse, drift, atmospheric phenomenons, land subsidence, weight of ice, snow or sleet);

– additional risks (plumbing defects, socio-political events, breaking and entering, robbery, acts of vandalism);

– other types: fire, lightning, explosion, smoke, gas, fumes.

Be aware that in Romania each owner needs to have a PAD insurance – a compulsory insurance against natural disasters – so you are allowed to purchase an optional insurance only if you make proof of the PAD one first. Check with your apartment owner or with the seller to make sure everything is alright.

So, in the unfortunate case of some type of lost or damage, you can rely on your insurance to protect you and to help you move forward.

Romania’s insurance market is quite rich and you can choose from multiple insurance companies, insurance plans, a wide range of prices, depending on your needs and on how much are you willing to pay for it.

In summary, the insurance premiums are somewhere between 0,1-0,4% of the apartment value and of your personal goods. For example, for a 60000 euros apartment you will pay an annual insurance premium of 60-240 euros, the exact amount depending on the type of construction (if it’s a new or old building, external and internal finishes, floor space) and on the covered risque package that you choose.

Generaly Romania has a big insurance portfolio, starting with a classic package offering coverage against natural calamities, fire, lightning, explosion, smoke, gas and fumes and the Completa package and Completa Plus one, where you can add all sorts of additional risks, plus special goods to be covered, such as things of value and/or heating plants.

Allianz Tiriac has the Armonia Plus package which, besides the coverage of the main types of damage and lost, has two optional special clauses: the extended warranty clause (offering technical assistance for repairing or replacing appliances and electronics that are no longer covered by their producer warranty) and the electrical phenomena clause (offering technical assistance for repairing or replacing appliances and electronics damaged by electrical surge, short-circuit, interruptions in the power grid).

Viva Casa package from Omniasig Insurance Group offers coverage against all types of risks, four types of personal goods insurance and on-site technical assistance for appliances, electronics and other damages.

The insurance premiums payment system varies from one company to another, offering discounts for advance payment of the insurance (for the entire insured period) or all sort of payment in installments plans.

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.

Apartment Heating in Bucharest

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house with fireplace

Boiler vs Central Heating.

Advantages and disadvantages of each and how it effects apartment price.

As far as the heating of your house goes, you must take into consideration several things that will directly hit your budget: type of heating, surface of your home and type and quality of the layer of insulating material utilized. As first step you may want to check with the constructor or with the real estate agency the detailed specs regarding this issue.

Heating your house with RADET (Romania`s main thermic energy supplier) central heating system was (and still is up to the point where it will be no longer subsidized by the Government and by the local city halls) the best option when it comes to the price/gigacalory (around 163,03 RON for individual consumers). But your place must come with new heating vents and pipes as the old buildings have all sorts of problems because of the ancient pipes system so if the building has this part sorted out you may not have to wait until the hot water climbs up to your level. Yet, the worst part comes from the fact that sometimes, due to various reparations to their main thermic points, RADET may leave you in the cold, for some time, right in the middle of the winter. It`s not often, but you may find this unacceptable.

So, the strength of the central heating is definitively the price, especially for the bigger apartments (with 3 or 4 rooms) for which, compared with a boiler type of heating, you can save approximately 1300 RON/year.

If you want to be independent from this point of view and not depend on the central heating system, you will choose a boiler type of heating that will provide you both heat and hot water. I will suppose that you will just buy/rent the place and not deal with all the steps for this type of heating (the project, the pipes and heater acquisition, the maintenance). The boiler will make all the difference, because there are ones that are highly performant and can make a huge difference on your annually bill. For gas-fired plants the average price is around 355,74/gigacalory for a 2 rooms apartment and around 331,32/gigacalory for a 3-4 rooms apartment. Is it more expensive than what you can get with the central heating? It is, but this choice comes with the advantage of literally being the king of your castle, as you can decide for your own which is the inside temperature you most feel comfortable with, adjust your consumption or choose a payment plan according to your needs.

As you see, it all depends on what your priorities are, so make sure you`ll take all facts into consideration before making a choice.

Bucharest Real Estate Market in 2017

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The real estate market has been shaken after the 2009 recession and Romania’s capital was one of the locations that suffered a lot from it. However, in time, thanks to the speedy recovery of Romania’s economy, the real estate market grew and grew to the point where it achieved the highest increase in the past 5-7 years. The many sectors of the market, from office buildings to the industry have developed and continue to do so, making it a haven for new and old investors.

  1. Shopping centers

One of the first indicators of a healthy real estate market is how many buildings were built and are now being used for commercial purposes in a city. The shopping centers in Bucharest occupy more than three million square meters in 2017, which is a huge increase from the past. In 2016, two new shopping centers were opened in the Romanian capital, Parklake Plaza and Veranda. Parklake Plaza covers a total surface of 70,000 square meters, whereas Veranda covers about 30,000 square meters. The country as a whole has 129 schemes, with 31 existing in the capital city alone.

Parklake Plaza has one low ground floor, a ground floor and a first floor. It is the largest shopping center opened in Bucharest in the past five years and it has spaces dedicated to leisure activities, fashion and a cinema area that boasts 14 screens. It is important to note because the opening of this particular place shows how healthy the real estate market is in Bucharest.

  1. Offices

Another indicator of the health of the Bucharest real estate market is the number of offices that were built in the capital. An entire area, the Barbu Vacarescu area, is now a host to 371,000 square meters in office space, most of which was built after 2009. Before 2009, Barbu Vacarescu was a regular location in Bucharest, but after 2009 it became the area with the most office spaces in the entire capital. At the same time, an addition 265,000 square meters in office space was built and is now in use in the capital city, which it a record in the past 7 years. The Northern part of the capital hosts the most buildings with office spaces, followed by the south and then the western part.

Another record was noted in terms of places that were leased or whose contracts were renewed. Bucharest noted a 37% increase in the demand for new office spaces and a 33% increase in the new leases that were signed all over the city. Another 30% increase was noted in the renewals category, as well as an 11% increase in expansions. All of these pointed to another record in the development of the real estate market.

Renault-Dacia, the famed vehicle developer and BCR, the Romanian Commercial Bank, were the two corporations that leased the most office space in Bucharest.

  1. The Industrial Sector

The industrial sector in Bucharest has been doing well for quite some time so it is no surprise that in 2017, it is still going strong. In Bucharest, 190,000 square meters were built for industrial purposes in 2016-2017, which is much higher than the entire volume that was built during the 2009-2015 period of time. Granted, the real estate crisis that began in 2009 has shaken the real estate market in the entire world, but this increase in 2017 shows that it has healed quite well.

In 2016, the amount of space built for the industrial sector was higher by 7% than that in the previous years. In total, the capital has registered 55% of the total space built in the entire country.

  1. The residential sector

The residential sector did experience 10% price increase, and other factors that affect it have changed so it may raise even more in the future. The salaries have increased, the demand is higher than in the previous years and the interest rates have decreased so there is hope that the number of residential houses that will be built in the future will increase. However, this does not mean that the residential sector has stagnated in 2017. On the contrary, over 10,000 new units were built.

Buildings With Seismic Risk in Bucharest

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Romania has not experienced high level earthquakes in the past few years, with the most devastating one taking place in the 70s, but a recent discovery made by the authorities has shown that almost 400 buildings are under a seismic risk in the city alone. Bucharest is known as one of the capitals with historical buildings everywhere, with a few locations thriving upon this (the Old Town as an example).

Upon an evaluation performed in the last few months, almost 400 buildings need to be consolidated because they are under a seismic risk. For this purpose, the government has decided to send $10 million euros to save at least a part of these buildings. As some may know, because of the latest regulations regarding seismic risk buildings, one of the biggest restaurants in the Old Town has been shut down. According to new regulations, restaurants, clubs and any other commercial businesses cannot function in buildings with a seismic risk, which has prompted many businesses to close shop. The Nottara theater in Bucharest, one of the most widely recognized theaters in the capital has also been affected by the new regulations and starting with November 23rd, the organizers decided to cancel all the shows that were supposed to take place in the original location because of the seismic risk the building was under.

Here are some facts about the buildings with seismic risk in Bucharest:

  1. The Red Stamp

The red stamp is used to signal to the public the buildings that are currently under a seismic risk. Every building in the capital city has been analyzed: from blacks of flats, to restaurants and theaters and other buildings that are currently used one way or another by the people. If you see a red stamp anywhere, you should remember that the writing on it states that “This building has been analyzed technically and placed on a First Class list of buildings with a high seismic risk”.

This list of buildings with a high seismic risk contains 183 buildings all over the capital. The first class risk means there is a very high chance of them collapsing should an earthquake happen in the city.

  1. Bucharest – the most vulnerable capital

According to the statistics, the buildings in Bucharest have been majorly affected by the previous earthquakes that took place in the 1940s, 1977, 1986 and 1990. They have affected their structure and even though they have not collapsed, there is no guarantee that they will not do so during the next earthquake.

Even though Romania is not a country with a high level of seismic risk like Japan for instance, the possibility of an earthquake happening here is not that farfetched. Bucharest is located at about 100-170 km from Vrancea, the area with the most earthquakes in Romania. At the same time, many buildings were built before 1940 using bricks as a base. Because of the weather conditions, the time since they were built and the previous earthquakes, they are in grave danger of collapsing.

  1. The administration’s plan

The plan to modernize the buildings in Bucharest and save those who are currently under a seismic risk involves three steps. 10 million euros have been dedicated to these steps.

The first step involves continuing the building process for 4 buildings that are currently being constructed. The second step is starting the reinforcement process for 29 other buildings. The last step involves analyzing 24 other buildings and developing technical projects regarding 29 other buildings.

Moreover, the same administration approved an extra 735,000 euros for seven buildings for social houses and houses for homeless young people. Three of them are currently located in sector 5, two of them in sector 4, one in sector 2 and one in sector 3. 15 more millions of euros will be spent on projects that involve developing buildings for medical companies (Romania’s medical system is one of the poorest in Europe) and another 21.4 million euros will be spent on multifunctional complexes or buildings that can be used by multiple companies at the same time. These complexes will house schools and other didactic activities and most of them will be built inside or near schools and high schools that already exist in an attempt to boost the educational system as well.

On top of these projects, in 2018 the administration will also focus on:

  • Building five new buildings for kindergartens in Bucharest (in sector 2 mainly);
  • Rehabilitating and modernizing one of the most popular kindergartens in Bucharest (Kindergarten no. 30), a project that will cost an additional 4 million euros;
  • Building 12 gyms, 7 of which will also have a swimming area for students to be able to perform these activities inside their schools and not be forced to go somewhere else. This project will also cost a bit over half a million euros (517,000 euros);

Modernizing and restoring M. Flamaropol, one of the most popular artificial skating rinks in the capital. Once again, the administration will pay an additional 5.4 million euros for this alone;

Buildings With Seismic Risk in Bucharest

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