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House hunting in Poland (something didn't feel right)

mcm1 2 | 81
14 Apr 2012 #1
i will start with a little about ourselves first briefly.

I have been travelling to Poland for some 15 years now, my wife has relatives around the Rybnik area mostly.
We starting seriously looking for a property over a year ago, somewhere to retire to.
Having both lived in the UK for the majority of our lives we wanted to start afresh somewhere new and enjoy our retired years, an adventure if you like.

The Polish relatives are in the main very supportive but think we must be mad leaving the comfort and security of the UK.
Our UK relatives just think we are mad full stop!
Reasons vary from language skills, the weather, medical issues, loneliness....the list goes on, I am sure they only have our best interests at heart and in no way do they think 'there goes our inheritance'!

We have no children ourselves (by choice) but plenty of neices and nephews etc..
I will return to the above point later as it is something we will need factual information on=inheritance issues.

We travel to Poland about 3 times a year on average, we bring back the aged In Laws-(FIL is Polish but lives in the UK) as they find travelling and airports in particular confusing. the wife and myself arrange for the relatives to collect the parents from the airport and we have a week or so on our own in Krakow or wherever we fancy before we join them.

Anyway back to the real estate.
It was on one of our trips to Krakow we thought about buying a flat in a new building, just for holiday use by us, this was probably 10 years ago.

From memory they were very reasonably priced with a 2 bedroom apartment going for about £20k.
After a meeting with the developer in their offices they said we needed to pay cash, we had offered our credit card as full payment but was rejected-CASH only!

Something didnt feel right so we walked away from the deal.
That was the beginning of our real estate in Poland experience, seems some things haven't got much better yet.
SeanBM 35 | 5792
14 Apr 2012 #2
What's your question?
OP mcm1 2 | 81
14 Apr 2012 #3
No questions yet, rest assured there will be at some stage.
pip 10 | 1658
14 Apr 2012 #4
there are good developers just as there are bad. anybody that asks for cash up front.....bad. warning signs.

the prices have dropped recently- I don't know Krakow prices- so can't help there. Do your research on the developer before you buy.
OP mcm1 2 | 81
14 Apr 2012 #5
Pip-this was some 10 years ago, I think it would have been an excellent purchase as the buiding was near completeion.

I was just adding to these posts until we get up to the current time, adding the frustrations we have had previously with agents and developers alike.
rybnik 18 | 1453
14 Apr 2012 #6
adding the frustrations we have had previously with agents and developers alike.

what are these problems you alluded to in another thread?

We travel to Poland about 3 times a year on average

how long is your travel time?
pip 10 | 1658
14 Apr 2012 #7
agents are a joke in this country- If you can buy without one- do it. The problem is that there is no exclusivity with listings so they poach off other listings and they don't know their product.

I worked with a developer that had in house agents that were trained for about 6 months and knew every tiny detail no matter how abstract. This is rare- but the builder was also American.

Pip-this was some 10 years ago, I think it would have been an excellent purchase as the buiding was near completeion

no no no!! do not buy an apartment in Poland until the entire thing is built. There are loads of carcasses littering the country from builders that tanked.

What is good for you at this moment is that the market is saturated. There are loads of apartments to choose from- it is not like 10 years ago. Take your time, research the builder---do not rush into it and do not buy until it is built!!
OP mcm1 2 | 81
14 Apr 2012 #8
We usually go to Poland for either 8 days or 16 days, if on the shorter breaks we tend to fly into Katowice and stay for the weekend at our favourite hotel there or for the longer breaks we fly into Krakow and stay in the city for about 4-5 days before moving onto the Rybnik area.

When in Rybnik we stay in the town square hotel for a few nights, they know us by name now and we allways have a great time, just around the corner is one of our favourite Italian retsaurants. We have noticed the service has gone downhill over the years but the food is still excellent.

We have searched the internet for properties before coming over just so we can let the agents know what we like and dont want, as with most things the pictures do not tell the whole story.

There are 3 agents in Rybnik itself that we know off-each has been of no use whatsoever so far. I wont name names as its unfair.

One agent agreed to meet us at a certain time and day to gain acess to a property-we flew over especially as the house looked just what we wanted (over the internet). after waiting for them for over an hour we finally managed to get them on the phone only to be told 'i am busy today, we can try again tomorrow'. The next morning we were flying home early so that wasted our time, how unprofessional.

Agent 2.
We met in their office in the town as agreed. we had previously sent them a list of properties that we wanted further information on as they looked as if they were viable. We were expecting to have a few viewings lined up but they had other ideas, they wanted us to buy some apartments they owned instead.

I reiterated that we had come out especially to view certain properties or if they felt something else might suit we were prepared to listen, what we didn't ask for at any time was a flat.!

They asked us to come back the next day at 9am and they would in the meantime search for what we had asked for in the first place.

We arrived the next day at the agreed time, they had prepared a list of houses this time for us to view on the computer screen. Not one of our prefered choices was in their list.

We discounted certain houses as not suitable but found 2 that would be worth looking at.
We were told that we would have to come back the following day and they would show us around the houses chosen, why they couldn't arrange it for that day they wouldn't answer.

We duly arrived at 9am the next day only to be told they had not made any appointments for viewing yet but we should look at their own appartments once again.

I am sorry to say that I was seriously pixxed off now and made it known to them. They offered to make things right but we would have to wait another day for them to actually make appointments.

We decided to give them one last chance so arranged to meet again the next morning.
Yep you've guessed it, 9am next day they still hadn't made any appointments. We left making it known how absolutely bloody useless they were.

During the days we started making inroads into getting paperwork in order, bank account s opened, residency permits stamped etc..
We were frequent visitors to Rybnik City Hall (just a few steps from the estate agent). As our Polish is very limited they found someone who spoke perfect English, we were asked that any time we wanted help to ask for this man. What struck us was how very friendly the staff were to us both. Whenever we walked into the reception area they recognised us and phoned for 'our man; to come down and deal with whatever needed doing. We made him aware of our ongoing frustrations with the agent and he offered to walk with us to their offices to try and find out what was going on, now that is above anyones call of duty. We declined his offer but he gave us his own personal mobile number and said he would find another estate agent for us and would help in any way he could.

Stephen-you were an absolute star and we WILL take you to dinner or lunch on our next visit, no excuses from you next time.
13 Apr 2013 #9
Reading your post I can see the clash of cultures.

The seller wants you to have cash when you go to the notary public for transfer of title.

You don't want to take cash because you believe you are going to get ripped off.

Maybe no-one has explained to you before a notarial act in Poland is sacred territory and must always be dealt with in cleared funds, showing him your credit card he was really trusting you.A credit card is not cleared funds, you could have cancelled the transaction with your card issuer immediately after the notarial act.

You must have bought one to many timeshare ...

We were expecting to have a few viewings lined up but they had other ideas, they wanted us to buy some apartments they owned instead.


Below is a company in Krakow they may be able to find you property, there is a decent chap there by the name of Alex he is good and know the market.
oi_oi_saveloy - | 1
13 Apr 2013 #10
have a look on website - if u see anything interesting let me know, good friend of mine is a director there based in Krakow, so I could contact him and help you.
OP mcm1 2 | 81
13 Apr 2013 #11
The seller wants you to have cash when you go to the notary public for transfer of title.

What nonsence, where have I said we were at the 'notary public'.
We were at the agents office, if they wanted they could have taken the c.card (as one of their own agents suggested to us) and when the funds had cleared we could have proceeded.

Who in their right minds walks about with £20k in cash in their pocket, nothing to do with us being 'ripped off', just a gut feeling something wasnt quite right.

Anyway we have finally found a property we like, payed a sizable deposit and within 2 months hope to sign the final paperwork. All these transactions have been accepted using bank transfers, according to your belief they aren't allowed either..cleared funds you see.
13 Apr 2013 #12
I was thrown by the

was some 10 years ago

Its a very different way of doing business in 2013.

Rightly so I would never give money to an agent, agents asking for a fixed deposit screams of their commission fee, I dislike Polish real estate agents on the same levels as Pip.

Back in the day many have walked around with more that £20k in PLN cash. If you dealt with elderly sellers they only believed in green notes.

Success with the relocation.
OP mcm1 2 | 81
13 Apr 2013 #13
Thanks we are looking forward as well.

On a slightly different do you actually know you are dealing with a legal notary and not just an estate agent or indeed can an estate agent do the legal paperwork correctly?
delphiandomine 87 | 18070
13 Apr 2013 #14
They're all listed online - I don't have the link to hand, but you can check it online. No-one would risk pretending to be one - the consequences would be incredibly severe.

As you're the buyer, you have the right to choose one. Don't let the seller dictate to you - as you have to pay the fees to the Notary, then you should certainly shop around. If you haven't done this part, then expect to feel completely ripped off.
OP mcm1 2 | 81
13 Apr 2013 #15
My wife thinks everything is OK. I have a niggling doubt so would like to double check the number he has given actually belongs to him.
14 Apr 2013 #16
OK. I have a niggling doubt so would like to double check the number he has given actually belongs to him.

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