The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Real Estate  % width posts: 30

Renovating a house in janikowo....


Nanabaum 1 | 3
8 Oct 2013  #1
Hi, my partner and I (she is polish... The queen of my heart) are to be 'gifted' an old house in poland behind her family home. Her grandmother keeps chickens in it (chickens!!! Old school granny) just now. It is two floored but I don't think it has a water mains or direct electric supply.. They are all feed from the main house. Her father and uncle said they will do the manual labour gig as I'm a hippy chef type, though do enjoy abit of DIY .. and well, they are kinda village old school and this seems a big job.I'm assuming there is a B&Q polish equivalent but I don't know where to start. We are by no means very rich but we aren't broke. We work hard and want to turn this into a holiday home.. Possibly a polish base. Any advise? Anybody down this before?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
8 Oct 2013  #2
My advice is to run as fast as you can away from such a thing. Generally speaking, people in the old school villages are not as friendly as those in the cities.
OP Nanabaum 1 | 3
8 Oct 2013  #3
No way, we have been together for over 5 years and I have been to her home town to see her family countless times. Put it this way, we all trust each other. We are both gonna stay in Scotland as we own a business here but I'm clueless when it comes to renovating. Her family (though old school) are totally brand new as in good folk. She is the only daughter out of a family with 4 boys so it is why she was gifted this house. Ps. I'd trust village folk before city pretensions anytime.
enkidu 7 | 623
8 Oct 2013  #4
My advice is to run as fast as you can away from such a thing.

Ditto.
And I am Polish.
RUN!!!
cjj - | 281
8 Oct 2013  #5
Does the house exist in any official capacity eg registered with Gmina ?
Do anyone have permission to live in it ?
Why are the water and power feeds from some other building ?
I've seen situations where a replacement dwelling ... without permission ... quietly replaced an old cottage which then continued without any formal, official existence. All ok for chickens, but not somewhere you could register yourself as occupant.

Maybe it doesn't matter for a 'few weeks in the summer' visits, but I don't understand how you would have anything to own at the end of this.

As for DIY - sure. There are various chain stores like B&Q ... and builders yards aplenty.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
8 Oct 2013  #6
Hey, who deleted my post?

Put it this way, we all trust each other.

I don't know how to explain this in a way that isn't offensive, but I would be very very careful if I were you. They may seem trustworthy, but they will also see you for what you are - a guy who owns a successful business in Scotland and who has money to spend.

but I'm clueless when it comes to renovating.

This is your clue. If you can afford to, perhaps it might make sense to pay for someone to be there to manage the project of renovation - including keeping a very close eye on materials and money spent. I've heard of similar situations where the family made a complete mess of things - much of the materials went 'missing' (or in reality, sold) - and the project ended up costing a lot more than it would've elsewhere. I simply wouldn't trust Polish villagers to do the right thing here.

Ps. I'd trust village folk before city pretensions anytime.

Experience tells me that village people have far more motivation when it comes to things 'vanishing'.

You need to ask yourself one question : are you able to supervise the project properly, and if so, are you willing to risk problems with the family?
DominicB - | 2,672
8 Oct 2013  #7
Her father and uncle said they will do the manual labour gig as I'm a hippy chef type, though do enjoy abit of DIY .. and well, they are kinda village old school and this seems a big job.

but I'm clueless when it comes to renovating.

If that's the case, the wisest, and by far the least expensive, option would be to bring in a qualified and experienced professional to evaluate, plan and execute the project. Sorry, but successful large-scale construction projects are practically never carried out by unqualified dabblers and DIYers, and renovation is a much tougher nut to crack than new construction. It might turn out that it would be more cost effective to tear down the existing structure and erect a new one. Those renovation projects you see on TV shows are all carried out by a whole team of highly qualified and highly experienced experts, all using cutting-edge professional equiptment and materials. Whatever it takes them 1 hour and 100 pounds to do without breaking into a sweat will take you ten or more hours of backbreaking labor at a significantly higher cost. A professional builder may cost ten times more than one of the village idiots, but he is going to get a heck of a lot more accomplished for the same money in a fraction of the time. And what he builds will be standing for decades or even centuries, whereas what the village idiot builds may not remain standing longer than a few weeks or months.

Also contact a lawyer, in a professional capacity, to clarify and settle all matters connected with ownership and building and use permits. If you don't have uncontestable title to the property, there isn't much point in doing anything at all with it.

I also have to agree with the others about being wary about trusting Polish village dwellers. The mentality is a lot different than you'll encounter in villages in the UK. There's nothing whatsoever "romantic" about village life in Poland. There's nothing "idyllic" or "bucolic". More like "idiotic" and "bubonic". It's a harsh, brutal, substandard and prospectless environment that breeds desperation, distrust and, sadly all too often, downright despicable behavior. Whether you want to admit it or not, they most definitely do look upon you as a potentitial cash cow.

Furthermore, unless the village in question is very, very close to a major urban center, it is likely that the value of your property will depreciate for the forseeable future. Poles are abandoning villages in droves, so the rural housing market is collapsing. There are hundreds of villages in Poland, especially in the eastern half of the country, inhabited solely by people over sixty or seventy years old. All the younger people have escaped, especially those with any intelligence or ability. It's very unwise to invest in areas devastated by brain-drain.

You have a lot of serious thinking to do here, without your rose-tinted lenses, and a lot of consultation ahead of you with professionals who know what they are talking about.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
8 Oct 2013  #8
And I would go further and say that the wisest option would be to find someone that isn't from Poland to do the job.

Also contact a lawyer, in a professional capacity, to clarify and settle all matters connected with ownership and building and use permits.

I'd go further and say that if he is to sink cash into it, then he absolutely needs to make sure that he has some sort of guarantee there. I'd be looking at something along the lines of having the sole ownership of the garden next to the property or similar - something that will make sure that they won't try any funny business. Wouldn't be the first time that some seemingly genuine people screwed over their own family...

I also have to agree with the others about being wary about trusting Polish village dwellers.

Brutal, but I doubt many people would disagree with you on here.

The risk for me is pretty simple here - he wants to put money into something that he has no experience of, in an environment where screwing the rich foreigner may mean not having to worry about heating bills for a few years. For people in such an environment, could you blame them?

You have a lot of serious thinking to do here

At the end of the day, is it worth falling out with the in-laws because of a renovation project?

Something also seems fishy to me - why would a Polish family give something to a daughter when such society has always valued the men more than the women?

Seems to me that they might know that the property is worthless and that they're hoping that he will spend the cash on it so they don't get forced to take it down.
OP Nanabaum 1 | 3
9 Oct 2013  #9
Holy moly, you guys seem worse than lawyers.. It was gifted to us as its a piece of ****, it will only be ours after the grand mother dies. The house/shell would be given to my partner as her brothers are married and work else where, only daughter and youngest child at that. I looking at this more as an investment than a family home. Janikowo isn't really a **** backwards village in polish terms maybe in uk terms. This was all an informal conversation anyway. As far as being a cash cow, we both own our business and both know the financial side of each other. We are both cash cows.. To each other.
DominicB - | 2,672
9 Oct 2013  #10
And I would go further and say that the wisest option would be to find someone that isn't from Poland to do the job.

I'd have to disagree with that. Polish professionals are not all that bad. Knowledge of local conditions would help as well.

We are both gonna stay in Scotland as we own a business here

If you have money to invest, invest it back into your own business or on continuing your educations than on some hare-brained renovation project in rural Poland. You describe yourself as a "hippie chef". That seems a far cry from international investor.

At the end of the day, is it worth falling out with the in-laws because of a renovation project?

That's a very good point. The best recipe for success in dealing with Polish in-laws is keeping them at a comfortable, but polite, distance and not to commit yourself to much, especially financially. If things go sour financially, there are very few things on this planet that can compete in nastiness and sheer spite than a pist-off Polish mother-in-law, and the last place on earth you would want to own property is next door to her. Always leave several avenues of easy exit for yourself.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
9 Oct 2013  #11
I'd have to disagree with that. Polish professionals are not all that bad. Knowledge of local conditions would help as well.

The problem is that he wouldn't be on site, so he would be trusting a professional blindly. But absolutely, knowledge of local conditions would be a must.

Holy moly, you guys seem worse than lawyers

Probably because we live here and see the gulf between the people that live in urban areas versus those who are part of village life.

It was gifted to us as its a piece of ****, it will only be ours after the grand mother dies.

Ouch - you want to invest money into something that isn't even yours legally? That seems like a recipe for disaster, especially given inheritance laws...

The house/shell would be given to my partner as her brothers are married and work else where, only daughter and youngest child at that.

I wouldn't put a penny into the property until it's clear that you have joint ownership of the property. If it's your money, then I'd be also making sure that a small, yet important piece of land is only in your name to prevent any abusive situations emerging. I'm also not convinced that she would actually get the property to herself, especially if the brothers realise that there's a nicely renovated house to get their hands on.

As far as being a cash cow, we both own our business and both know the financial side of each other. We are both cash cows.. To each other.

It's not her that I'd worry about, it's the family. They will see her earning GBP and think "hmm, how can we get some of that?". It's the village mentality, unfortunately. There's a good reason why educated people don't tend to return to the villages they come from, after all.

If things go sour financially, there are very few things on this planet that can compete in nastiness and sheer spite than a pist-off Polish mother-in-law, and the last place on earth you would want to own property is next door to her.

Especially a property that appears to be entirely dependent on the mother-in-law's house. Let's say he sinks 200,000zl into the property - what's it going to be worth if the media connections have been severed and access to the property denied?
OP Nanabaum 1 | 3
9 Oct 2013  #12
It's is not as screwed up as you guys might think, after further questioning I have discovered that it does have water and electricity as it was a house many many moons ago. It is also off the Main Street on land owned by her family so right of occupation isn't an issue. My girlfriend probably thinks I'm in the Gestapo now though. 8) I understand the brain drain conundrum but to be honest I think 10 20 years its a good long term investment as long as the ownership papers are in order. Some positivity guys!! I was looking more for advice about the material for renovation than the legal crap.
DominicB - | 2,672
9 Oct 2013  #13
I was looking more for advice about the material for renovation than the legal crap.

Actually, the advice I gavve you about finding a qualified and experienced professional to evaluate, plan and execute the project is by far the best advice you will receive. Forget about DIY. You've made it abundantly clear that his project is more than you and your relatives can handle. Like I said, restoration is a whole different kettle of fish than new construction.

The legal advice you received was very valuable. The fact that the property is on your wife's family's property is cold comfort. You are not protected at all against claims from your wife's brothers should her parents pass on. Make sure that you and your wife have full and sole ownership of the property and a sizable enough yard around it. Don't bother putting a dime into it unless you do.

As for Janikowo, I've checked it out. Close enough to Toruń and Bydgoszcz to conceivably commute. You might want to check rush hour commute times to and from the city centers of both those cities. If it's more than an hour, that won't help you very much. Population has been relatively stable for the last twenty years. Village, yes, but not a hopeless hole. I still think that investing the money back into your own business or expanding your education would still be a wiser choice.

Unless they build a major industrial park around Inowrocław, I don't see property values in the area appreciating much. Also, planned industrial parks mean absolutely nothing. Only actually existing ones do. The city of Janikowo is spending A LOT on PR. Be careful and take anything you hear from them with a large grain of salt. Pie-in-the-sky plans do nothing for property values.

The "negativity" you are complaining about is coming from two foreigners who have lived a long time in Poland and from a native Pole, so we know what we're talking about. I've been here eleven years myself, and spent the first four in a village. You're coming across as naive and over-optimistic, and over-trusting, as well. Not good qualities to have for surviving in a Polish village environment, or a Polish investment environment.

You definitely haven't thought this out by a long shot. Do your research and consult qualified professional experts so that you don't wind up sinking your retirement fund in a white elephant boondangle that you won't be able to liquidate without taking a substantial loss. Even if everything turns out OK, and you do get clear title to the land, you're taking about a year or more before any actual work takes place. Take your time, and think over everything twice, together with your wife and your professional experts.

You're not even close to the stage where you have to worry about buying materials yet. The professional builder you chose will take care of that, anyway.
cjj - | 281
9 Oct 2013  #14
The Happy Path in this situation could be very happy indeed: your in-laws get the chance to see more of their daughter and grandchild(ren), and you (and your partner) have a self-contained base for visits so you aren't living with said in-laws and falling over them at every turn.

For B&Q look-a-likes, you can search for Castorama, LeroyMerlin, Praktiker (those are the ones we have in Gdansk – there may be different ones in the area you're talking about).

For building supplies like cement, sand, etc -- there will be local builders' supplies.

What happens when you move off the Happy Path (or indeed to understand just how narrow it is) is the real value you will get from the guys here. You mightn't want to hear their blunt comments – and some of their views of the future might be more pessimistic than they need to be – but with the amount of bureaucracy in Poland, and with the real likelihood of something going wrong and costing you in the future, it's probably safer to be more than a little cautious here.

But please be careful about what you're getting yourself into. If you can get by with some plaster, a few windows, a new toilet, some cheerful paint and no need to change the roof it's one thing. Add a roof, major window renovations, wall stabilisation, thermal isolation improvements, new doors, new floor, rework of the wiring/plumbling/heating because of Gmina bureaucracy, difficulties registering it in your name, claims from suddenly-present brothers, maintenance during the winter, etc etc etc ... and suddenly the fun has left the project.

As for other details -- PM me if you want. We've built a house on the north coast. argh.

/cj
cms 9 | 1,272
9 Oct 2013  #15
Some puzzling advice here which seems more like rants about your temerity in accepting a house for free.

I would say the opposite - if you trust the lady involved and her family unit seems stable then go for it. the worst you will be is about 30.000 quid down. The upside is large - free wholesome holidays for ever and a bit of real estate even if in a remote area that can be used if ever things go badly wrong in the UK.

I did a similar thing in 2002 - it tooo us about 5 years to finish, most work being done by family but speicialists for some things. Cost was about 1.000 zloty per square meter and it is surprizing how much good material you can get second hand or from buildings that are going to be detroyed or renovated. Roof and windows were most difficult.

Bit of advice as above is to make sure title is secure, get one room finished first so that you can stay in it while you finsih the rest of the house and and don't get too upset by small setbacks.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
9 Oct 2013  #16
is also off the Main Street on land owned by her family so right of occupation isn't an issue.

Are you certain? A renovated house on the parents property may become very attractive for a brother who hasn't been around for a while. He may suddenly remember that he actually wanted to live there - and the parents (especially in a society like Poland where old attitudes die hard) might take pity on him as he would live there and "help' the parents. Or they may propose that he stays there when you're not using it - which is fine and well until you discover that he's treating the place like his own.

What we're trying to tell you is that if you don't have ownership of the property along with something that secures your interest in the property - then you're open to all sorts of tricks and games.

as long as the ownership papers are in order.

Are they proposing to transfer the title of the property to you, along with an access corridor to the house?
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
9 Oct 2013  #17
I wouldnt be at all surprised if you and your good woman spent your useful pounds or euros or whatever you earn making this place habitable and found a brother or two had moved in, not surprised at all.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
9 Oct 2013  #18
. I looking at this more as an investment than a family home.

You want other

You may think people are being negative but if you think about it logically it doesn't make much sense.

You think people in another country spending your money renovating a chicken coop and then you have to wait until a lady is dead before it is yours is really a good investment?

How much money are you going to spend on making this chicken coop habitable? do you even have a quote?

Let's say you do it, you work in Scotland and have a house in Poland so you will have to let it out especially during the winter or you would have to pay bills and maintenance for a house that you do not live in (winters are much

colder here) so you let her family stay there, are you going to throw them out when you come over, do you think that will go down well?

I wish you all the best but you could just accept the gift and do nothing.
Harry
9 Oct 2013  #19
it will only be ours after the grand mother dies.

If it isn't legally yours, don't spend a penny on it. You are not family and so have zero legal claim on the property. Do you know all of your girlfriend's cousins? Trust them all?

its a good long term investment

Would you invest your money in a bank account which can be emptied by your girlfriend's parents, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins?

you could just accept the gift and do nothing.

I think you're almost right there. The smart move is to accept the gift and then slowly start checking everything out (is the building legal, can the land be split, what's the score with electricity and water, etc), then have legal title to the house and land (with an access corridor, or at least a right of easement for vehicular access and the placing of pipes and cables) transferred to you and then do nothing. Most certainly do nothing until at least a couple of years after the granny has died.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
9 Oct 2013  #20
It's only my observation, but it seems to me that this "gift" is actually being intended in a rather different way. What Polish family is going to sit and look after a nicely renovated house for 48 weeks a year when Cousin Tomek who just got married needs a place to stay so he doesn't have to live with his parents? It seems far too suspicious (given the Polish mentality) for a daughter to be gifted a house when the brothers are going without - unless of course, they see a chance for the house to be nicely renovated.

It's frequently said by people that Polish people think in a different way - and certainly the mentality in villages is far more family orientated than in the UK. I'd almost certainly place bets on a random relative turning up once the place is renovated.
Harry
9 Oct 2013  #21
this "gift" is actually being intended in a rather different way.

I don't know whether it is being intended in a different way, but I am sure that it will over time become that way.

What Polish family is going to sit and look after a nicely renovated house for 48 weeks a year when Cousin Tomek who just got married needs a place to stay so he doesn't have to live with his parents?

Very very few families in the countryside. And looking at it from their point of view, cousin Tomek is family, unlike the Englishman (or is the OP a Scot?), and cousin Tomek's father actually did the renovation work!
Ant63 11 | 403
9 Oct 2013  #22
Yep Never look a gift horse in the mouth is especially pertinent in Poland. Its going to bite you back. We were gifted a house, and I saw the consequences. My partner didn't. Its now the back stabbers ball.
Terry Zazoff
10 Oct 2013  #23
This rule will serve you well if you stick to it resolutely.
Do not buy any type of property in Poland unless you are going to live in it yourself.

Remember even if you do live in it, every relative and his dog will feel a sense of entitlement regarding staying there anyway.
Put up boundaries, stick to your guns, don;t worry about what relatives think of you, they're going to think it anyway.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
10 Oct 2013  #24
Its now the back stabbers ball.

No surprise there.

It's fine and well if there's no family involved - for instance, the only granddaughter is getting gifted a house. But with brothers and probably other grandchildren in the way, I'd be shocked if there wasn't a problem. I imagine Cousin Tomek (who needs a place to live) would have no qualms about convincing Babcia to give the house to him instead once it's nicely renovated.
Terry Zazoff
10 Oct 2013  #25
Even Poles who have lived abroad in Western countries for several years will tell you that their relatives view them and more importantly their access to moneys in a different light.

To be blunt their attitudes are never altruistic and often downright plebian, particularly in the country.
cms 9 | 1,272
10 Oct 2013  #26
Jesus. The lack of trust people have in their fellow man is horrible.

As i said, i was in a similar position 10 years ago, put it in my girlfriends name and crossed my fingers. We are now married and for about 25.000 euro outlay and the same for renovation its one of the best investments of my life.

Why would babcia gift it with no strings attached ? That would not make sense in any society. But this deal - she gives the land and shell and he renovates seems fair enough.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
10 Oct 2013  #27
Jesus. The lack of trust people have in their fellow man is horrible.

I guess I've heard the same story too many times.

As i said, i was in a similar position 10 years ago, put it in my girlfriends name and crossed my fingers. We are now married and for about 25.000 euro outlay and the same for renovation its one of the best investments of my life.

That's the thing though - you're even admitting to having crossed your fingers. Were you able to check the property regularly during renovation?

Why would babcia gift it with no strings attached ?

Well, if it's a total wreck - the logic will be that the renovated property will also be good for other people to stay in.

But this deal - she gives the land and shell and he renovates seems fair enough.

Is that really the deal, though? Like others have said on this thread - probably Cousin Tomek will turn up needing a place to live, or perhaps Brother Zbigniew will return from Germany - and the family will see this nice house sitting empty most of the year. The daughter (living abroad anyway) will be pressured to agree, and the OP - not having much choice - will agree. And then the arguments will start, especially when Tomek or Zibby start treating it as their own.

On paper, it's a great deal - but given Polish village mentality and the much, much, much stronger family bonds here?

The real problem for me is if it's on the family land, then without access from the main road (or access rights) - the family can easily turn the screw whenever they want.
Terry Zazoff
10 Oct 2013  #28
It will end up being like that soup that Americans make, I think it's called Gumbo.
Is has anything and everything in it and it;s not particularly healthy.
Nor will this arrangement be.
Harry
10 Oct 2013  #29
I guess I've heard the same story too many times.

Same here. And it goes one way quite a lot more often than it goes the other.

put it in my girlfriends name and crossed my fingers. We are now married and for about 25.000 euro outlay and the same for renovation its one of the best investments of my life.

You're one of the lucky ones. But not everybody is in a position where they can invest that kind of money and then when they've lost the lot walk away saying 'Oh well, it was only a cheeky fifty grand'.

Like others have said on this thread - probably Cousin Tomek will turn up needing a place to live, or perhaps Brother Zbigniew will return from Germany - and the family will see this nice house sitting empty most of the year. The daughter (living abroad anyway) will be pressured to agree, and the OP - not having much choice - will agree.

I really wouldn't use the word 'probably' in that sentence.

Do not buy any type of property in Poland unless you are going to live in it yourself.

And even then if you would be happy to live in it full time. A bloke I know from Warsaw was gifted a crappy old house by his in-laws with the idea that it could be done up and used as a summer house by him & his wife meaning they wouldn't have to stay with the in-laws whenever they came down to visit (it was on their land). He pointed out to father-in-law that the house was so bad they may as well pull it down and build a little summer house. So they did, he'd provide the funds, his Mrs would do the design and father-in-law would project manage (i.e. make sure the workers didn't steal everything). And so it was that a planned three-room summer house had, by the first time he saw it, grown into a 300 metre year-round family home. Even worse, his Mrs fairly soon went from being a happy city woman with a career and a couple of kids to wanting to go live in small town Polska B, on the basis that that was where they had a big house and the schools were better there anyway.
Arhsub - | 5
22 Oct 2013  #30
Would you like to exchange the home? I think it is a good option. Sell the existing home and buy your new home of your own choice.


Home / Real Estate / Renovating a house in janikowo....
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.