- 12 Oct 2012 9:00 AM
For those of you who are looking to buy a property, either as a holiday home or as a long term investment; the following is a list of some of the things you might want to take into consideration before you buy:
Location, Location, Location. This is always an important consideration when purchasing a property, which is just as valid in Hungary as it is anywhere else in the world.
Some of the points you may wish to consider are as follows:
• Are you near any major towns or tourist attractions? Do remember a lot of tourist attractions in Hungary are seasonal and are only open during the summer. What was a buzzing place in the summer months can quickly turn into a ghost town come winter.
• Is there good access to motorways etc.? Important if you want quick access to the capital or the nearest airports.
• Do any of the local towns or villages have good infrastructure (shops, schools etc.)?
• Are there any English speakers in the area (this is important if you do not have a good grasp of Hungarian, as outside of major cities, English speakers are few and far between)?
These may become important factors should you wish to live in the property for any length of time. That quaint cottage in the middle of nowhere may soon become a burden if you have no adequate means of transport, or there is no real infrastructure nearby to rely upon. A location that you may think is ideal due to its beautiful natural surroundings may quickly become unfeasible in practice, So think carefully as to what exactly your criteria is before you buy, and try to stick to it.
Type of house. That traditional Hungarian farmhouse going for a song may have some ’hidden extras’. Some houses in Hungary are of traditional build and made out of loam (also known as cob/adobe). These are fantastic insulators in the winter and are cool in the summer. However, if left for many years without protection from the elements, especially the rain, repairing them can be costly and labour intensive. Check to ensure there is a gutter all around the property and unless you are an eco-builder, ensure you get specialist advice before you buy.
Land. A lot of properties in rural areas come with a plot of land. Unless you are going to actively use the land or become self-sufficient and grow your own food, then think twice before purchasing a large plot. There are rules and regulations in place and you can be fined if things get a little out of hand and overgrown. The beautiful field with the stunning view can quickly become chock full of ragweed come the summer unless you actively maintain it.
Utilities. Is there proper drainage in place? A lot of older properties have a cess pit and are not yet connected to the mains. Also, what electricity amperage is available? Again, older properties sometimes have very little amperage. This means that you may find you need to buy extra and have the property completely rewired so that it can cope with modern appliances.
Internet. It is always good idea to check what coverage is available, if any. Although Hungary has very good internet coverage and the latest technological advances in place, some of the more remote villages do not have internet access. This is fine if you really want to get away from it all, not so good if you want to keep in touch with friends and family or if your work depends on it.
Tax. Currently, unless you hold the property for more than five years, you attract capital gains tax on the sale of the property. After five years there is a sliding scale applied until ten years has been reached. However you can offset the tax against any improvements you have made on the property - so ensure you keep all receipts of work done. There is also a tax payable on the purchase of the property. These regulations are subject to change so make sure you check before you buy.
Tradesmen/Builders It is normal practice to get a quote before any work is done. Usually the cost of materials and cost of labour is listed separately and you may even have to pay some of the material costs upfront. It would be wise to get two or three quotes if possible, as quality and price can differ.
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By Eleanor Goold © 2012 for XpatLoop.com