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Posts by Maximilian  

Joined: 24 Nov 2014 / Male ♂
Last Post: 8 Jan 2016
Threads: 2
Posts: 5
From: UK
Speaks Polish?: Beginner level, aiming for fluency
Interests: Weight-training, travel, languages, martial arts, wall-climbing, nutrition/healthy lifestyle, cooking

Displayed posts: 7
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24 Nov 2014
Real Estate / Contemplating moving to Poland with the intention of buying a property out-right and living there [36]

Questions about moving to Poland

Hello to all and thank you very much for viewing this thread written by a total newbie to this forum, even more so if you succeed reading the entire post to the end! I know it is pretty poor practice (and manners) to just sign up to a forum with what looks like quite a vibrant and `rich community and just ask a bunch of questions in his first post. I hope you will forgive me for this but I was recommended by a friend of a friend that I stand a chance as good as any in becoming more enlightened regarding the questions I am about to ask in this forum.

Essentially I am strongly considering moving to Poland with the intention of buying a property out-right and living there for the foreseeable future. The reasons for this are complicated and pertain mostly to my great enjoyment of the culture of Poland and her people - considerably more than where I currently live in Britain. In addition, a lot of it lies in the financial side of things (I have to spend a LOT of money renting in an expensive British city). I do not wish to spend the next 2-3 decades enslaved to a mortgage. I work offshore for oil and gas and am currently saving as much as I possibly can to accumulate enough capital to outright buy a property (and all the hidden costs of which I am very uneducated that go with it). Please don't get me wrong - I am not earning a massive salary like you might imagine in this line of profession - £35 approx grand/annum pre-tax is more on the mark. It is advantageous however in that I could live mostly wherever I want by virtue of not having to work in an office and that I can be dispatched to work from wherever. I'd of course be continuing this line of work for the foreseeable future (and employment would be based in the UK).

I am aiming to find a small(ish) 2 bedroom apartment ideally close to the city center (in a place that is not dangerous, is furnished at least in the sense of gas/electricity/floor tiles etc.) in either the Tricity, Krakow, Warsaw or Wroclaw. I also enjoyed Rzeszow quite a lot. I have not spent a great deal of time in each city but based on the vibes I picked up, the people I met and the overall feel of the culture I decided that Szczecin, Poznan, Lublin, Bydgoszcz just weren't for me. My knowledge about every relevant question concerning this notion of moving to Poland is very sparse and if members would be so kind to link me specifically to where I can find an answer to these questions if they cannot or wish not to give their own answer, I would be supremely obliged.

ONE) What sort of budget should I expect to have if I wanted to buy such a property in the aforementioned cities? I've searched all kind of property websites but don't have a clue which ones are legit. Some people say one can find a 2 bedroom apartment in the Tricity (near the centre of whichever of the 3 cities) for £30,000 total (many Polish people I work with from Gdynia, Gdansk confirm that at this moment in time it is not far off the mark). It sounds too good to be true of course - so what kind of budget are we really talking about? If it is more like £100,000 for a small, 2 bedroom place in a not-so dangerous part of one of those cities then it would take me 3 years at least to reach such a sum (£30 grand thereabouts is my budget right now).

TWO) Poland might adopt the euro in the near future (within 5 years?) In your educated opinion(s) what sort of impact might that have with regards to property? Would it be advisable to try and buy a place before the euro comes into adoption? Would the prices then skyrocket? If one had bought a property (outright) does that mean the value would simply skyrocket? I am not well-versed in economics as you can see and if you know any dummy guides pertaining to Poland in this regard I can peruse online please feel free.

THREE) What is the true attitude to foreigners (Brits in this case) buying property in Poland. Somehow I cannot imagine that being positive because of the typical wages of most Poles and the relatively high prices. Would there be a lot of difficulty in the process of actually buying a property? What sort of things would foreigners face that locals necessarily would not? Indeed are there any legal criteria I need to meet as a foreigner (not yet a citizen) wanting to buy a property in Poland. I know I sound so stupid asking these questions. I'm guessing there is some equivalent of stamp duty, state or city taxes etc? I am also guessing you need a Polish lawyer (translator too) for the conveyance (as it is called in UK). I suppose there is a council tax of some kind that is paid monthly. Surveyors for checking the apartment to ensure no hidden defects in property? Do flats tend to be freehold or with a long lease so no-one can claim it back within a certain time period?

NOTE I have been learning Polish most of this year and of course I have found it very hard. I did a 3 week intensive course focusing on grammar and my vocabulary is increasing every day and the idea is to keep taking lessons in combination with self-study to reach the B1/B2 level at least. I chat with Polish workers offshore quite a bit for practice.
25 Nov 2014
Real Estate / Contemplating moving to Poland with the intention of buying a property out-right and living there [36]

@ Monitor @ moniq

Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to answer my questions, I am extremely grateful. I am serious about moving, yes and of course when you don't fully understand what the score is, it seems like a giant minefield which one is poorly equipped to navigate without the appropriate tools. My greatest fear is the bureaucracy which most Poles I know (rightfully) complain about and needless to say I'll need the enlist the help of a Pole who knows property law inside out. I'm a little stuck on that front as most of my Polish friends (not many at this stage of course) don't know much about law in general. My current gf actually is finishing up a masters degree in law but sadly it doesn't cover property at all ;-) It looks like the prices are way higher than what I have been led to believe and as my father always says, if it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is 100% of the time (he is a wise man but one who is extremely supportive of my moving to Poland - his grandparents on both sides were all Polish!!!)

Bureaucracy seems to be the only major problem I would encounter and of course I am prepared for it. Some things I take for granted in the UK such as simple things like adhering to queues when lining up for a bus don't exist it seems hahahaa. And of course I am a 26 year old British male - the stereotypical demographic for binge-drinking and rowdy displays of antisocial behaviour and stag doos (I engage of none of these activities by the way) - I worry about how people will perceive me upon first impression (especially older people). I know the grass is always greener and it is easy to conjure up some imaginary image of what one wants a country to be like and then be brought down to earth when it comes to the nitty gritty. However, I would trade the few shortfalls for the things I cannot stand about where I stay in Britain - hoodie culture and violence, binge drinking culture, miserable rain any day of the year, political correctness and difficulty finding a compatible girlfriend.

When am I planning to move to Poland? Really, as soon as possible. It is only a matter of how much money I require. At present maybe over £30k (can take loans in UK if necessary to get more) is my budget but of course if I need to save up over the next 2-3 years to reach the £100k mark then that is what I am willing to do. I spend 90% of all my time (when I am not working offshore which is 180-200 days a year) in Poland usually staying in hostels and what not over various cities. It is terrible from an economic standpoint as I am paying huge rent and bills in the UK where I spend very little time now. If all goes to plan and I manage to buy a place outright, the cheaper bills will mean I will be able to work 1/3 of the year offshore instead of 1/2-2/3 which is a very lovely prospect also!


Thank you for your kind words. If I am successful I'm going to make a blog maybe about it (there is a guy who has done this already actually!!)
26 Nov 2014
Real Estate / Contemplating moving to Poland with the intention of buying a property out-right and living there [36]

Hey guys. It looks like there has been some very interesting discussion here :P

@ Monitor

I'm not sure if I could get Polish citizenship this way, all my grandparents are dead and I doubt there is any evidence I could use now.

As I said in my first post I have some skill in the Polish language - I learned vocabulary religiously (and am still learning), I did a 3 week course focusing on grammar. I don't know what level I am at - my grammar is terrible and this is what I focus on during my one-on-one lessons. I am hoping to eventually reach the B2 level at least - it is an excruciatingly hard language but I study every day so I can only ever get better. Plus its in my genes to speak the language hahaha))

As far as people perceive me - I find most hostility I have ever faced has been from older people who assume I am a troublesome stag-doo happy Brit although more often than not there is a look of shock on their face when they see I have an ok grasp of the narzednik case :D I also face some trouble from Polish men in nightlife settings (which I always grew to despise anyway in the UK because of the highly primitive atmosphere) which is funny because I am as useless with girls there as I am in UK night-life settings.

I looked up this "dres" and I see they are basically the Polish equivalent to "neds" you find here in Scotland. Essentially my least favourite type of human being - I absolutely despise thugs and wee neds/chavs. I feel lucky that I have not encountered them thus far (except in Bydgoszcz). I presume they are all over the place in Warsaw. The tricity, Wroclaw and Krakow I didn't see any and I hope that doesn't change)

As far as money being a condition. First of all, all my belongings (and I mean all, my parent's forced me to take every item I own with me) are in my current flat and to take all my things with me to Poland will be a huge and expensive operation - one I would rather undertake once I own my own house rather than a rented flat. Also, it is complicated by the fact the company I work for are not happy about me being "based" in Poland. So obviously the idea is to become an "agency/dayrate" worker where this no longer becomes an issue - however it is risky as there is no salary and one is subject to the highs and lows of the oil and gas market. It wouldn't be an issue if I owned a house in Poland however as the cheap bills mean I wouldn't have to spend such a copious proportion of time offshore.

@inWroclaw, @Monitor @Moniq

I don't own in any property in the UK so as far as tax is concerned there is no issue. The only issue I can see is employment income tax. The 183 day seafarer's tax loophole allows a relevant worker to claim back all of his/her income tax as long as the vessel is outwith the 12 mile uk zone and meets the appropriate critera (type of ship etc). It is actually very complex as there are countless exceptions and rules and most sensible would-be claimers employ an accountant to help them out. I personally don't bother claiming it back because of all the hassle plus I am a salary worker who is sent where-ever the company desires. But anyway, as far as where i would be paying tax if I lived in Poland is concerned - I don't have a scooby. For sure I would need to see a proper accountant. It may be that because I am paid out of the UK, I pay tax in the UK and because of the double-tax law (that means you don't pay tax twice) that exists in Poland that should be the end of it. Or maybe I pay in Poland.

I thought food was cheaper in Poland - certainly my experience so far. I wouldn't rent an apartment for the long term (long term being a year plus) - I currently live in either hostels or university dorms (£100/month thereabouts) in the south/southeast region of Poland (because of my current relationship). I would much rather buy a property. I am a driver and I do plan to drive.

Reflecting on staying in a city for a year. For sure, it is good advice. It is hard to actually decide where to live out of the cities I mentioned. My initial idea was to spend a couple of months in each city and after 2 years decide which is best for me. Truth be told I don't have many friends in Poland yet. Not close ones for sure. I do however find I have SIGNIFICANTLY, exceedingly more choice when it comes to finding a girlfriend. Within one month I was able to find a wonderful girl which happened so naturally (this meeting was quite easily the happiest moment in my life so far - or at least the happiest I have been since I can remember). I have literally spend years single in the UK (I am rather introverted, short and not naturally good looking may have something to do with it but honestly there is a myriad of factors). In Poland it is far easier for me and if I am brutally honest here, it may be my number 1 reason for moving to Poland :) Judge that how you will. Keeping in touch with my friends in the UK wouldn't be too hard (cheap ryanair flights direct to Glasgow from most cities).

edited for typos
21 Mar 2015
Real Estate / Contemplating moving to Poland with the intention of buying a property out-right and living there [36]

Hey guys,

I've been saving away since I last posted on this thread that I started. So far I am at the £32,000 mark and I estimate by 2016 I should have reached the £60,000 mark. I'm not sure if this is even close to enough to buy a place outright in one of the cities I mentioned but that is certainly what I am aiming for. I was talking to this guy who lives in Gdansk who is British. He reckons if you are registered in the UK then you can have a holiday home abroad (assuming you buy outright - mortgage requires you are based and registered in Poland).

Because the company he works for is based in the UK he is taxed in the UK and because of the double tax agreement - when the Polish authorities ask him to pay tax (he is registered in Poland) - he makes this clear and it seems to be ok (although they harrass him quite a bit). For myself I would still be registered in the UK and as I work offshore 180-200 days a year essentially I would be out of the UK and Poland more than half the year so I could choose to remain registered in the UK and probably be able to claim my tax back due to seafarer's agreement (as long as it lasts which may not be for much longer) or to be registered in Poland and be able to claim my tax back for the same reason. Hell, apparently it is easier to claim it back in Poland because you simply need to be out of the country for 6 months period, whereas in the UK it is very complicated (days in hand blah blah)...

So from what I can see the only issue is how much money I actually need to cover everything but I imagine I am right in thinking that £60,000 is barely enough to buy a so-so 2 bedroom not tiny flat that is not TBS and not falling apart in a so-so district in the Tri-city for example. The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that £60,000 in Glasgow would be enough for a fair-sized deposit should I decide to buy to let (something I would rather not get into because it is VERY hard to get a buy to let if it is your FIRST buy and the issues of keeping tenants in the flat so I am always breaking even and indeed tenants who will actually pay) whereas in Poland I COULD buy a flat with that sum. The advantage of going down this route however is: If I decided to do that, I would rent in Poland for a longer period of time and I would focus on trying to pay that mortgage in Glasgow off so that when it is, I will have a property which i could sell for a MUCH greater price (stupid tax sucks though) and could ultimately buy a better place in Poland. I would also have spent more time in Poland to know where I really want to live....It could be many years though if I have difficulty with fines for trying to pay off mortgage early...

What do you think of this alternative plan? Sensible or stupid or somewhere in between...?
9 Nov 2015
Real Estate / Contemplating moving to Poland with the intention of buying a property out-right and living there [36]

So I am spending a lot of time in Warsaw and I can easily see myself buying a place here one day but we will see.

One question regarding tax. I am a resident of the UK and I pay tax to the UK through my UK company. Judging by the horror stories I have hard about the Polish tax authorities it is ESSENTIAL that I don't eff up here. So Jon, and other wonderful contributors to this thread:

If you rent an apartment in Poland it is no problem as far as tax is concerned assuming I am always out of Poland more than 183 days in a year? So if for example I rented a place for a year (the situation I inevitably have to face until I have enough money for buying an apartment) I would need to ensure that I am offshore for at least 6 months (and of course spend time in the UK or elsewhere if I am getting edgy)? Is this the kind of thing I will need to see an accountant about or is it reasonably straight-forward?
10 Nov 2015
Food / Vegetables in Warsaw cheaper than Carrefour [10]

I know food is very cheap for some foreigners but I am wondering if anyone knows where in Warsaw you can buy groceries (especially vegetables) cheaper than Carrefour for instance. I am not necessarily looking for organic cream of the crop veggies but if I can find them at a similar price or cheaper to the ones in Carrefour I'd love to hear about it. I have visited quite a few other medium/large grocery stores (Freshmarket, delikitasy etc). but none seem the fit the bill - I tend to go to Carrefour just because of it's size and convenience.
8 Jan 2016
Real Estate / Contemplating moving to Poland with the intention of buying a property out-right and living there [36]

I have decided this is the year for making the big decision although I've had to rethink many things.
I'm strongly considering a place in central Warsaw only I won't buy outright. I will buy a place with a £20-25k deposit so there will be a mortgage to pay off. This is because it will be another 2 years to earn the money to buy a place outright and when I do I'd be out of pocket.

The plan would be to rent one of the rooms Air B and B style to help offset the mortgage payments every month.

I am still working offshore which means that I am outside both the UK and Poland 183 days a year (and I keep a strict log to prove this continuously). However, because I am essentially going to be living in Poland (and I don't plan to work offshore for much longer anyway) I think it is plausible to become a tax resident here so that when I do quit offshore and end up staying more than 183 days there will be no troubles. I want to do everything 100% legal no questions asked. Eventually I am going to change career and become an English teacher (or something else) at least for a few years (I'll go back to offshore eventually). Someone told me that teaching English in Poland is tax free for the first 2 years but I can't any source to verify this.

So my question is - what would be the proper procedure for doing this? I am of course paid into a British bank account and taxed in the UK (my UK based company deals with the tax). I am guessing I would need to hire a really good accountant in the UK to deal with transferring my tax paying over to Poland? Would I need to have a Polish bank account? I am guessing there isn't much choice because I'd have to keep transferring my money over from my British account to my Polish and getting currency charges (although i do have a 0% charge halifax credit card which I use abroad? Someone told me that I would need a bank account to buy a property anyway.

As for buying a property - I'd need to find a good bilingual lawyer to do the deed and buy the place right but after I've dealt with all the tax stuff?