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5 Surefire Ways To Protect Yourself Against Romanian "Property Vampires"
If you plan on buying property in Romania, it can be as secure as buying in RomfordÖ but it rarely is. There are a number of steps you must take before signing on the line for an apparently genuine purchase
1. Do your market research and donít pay over the odds One of the costliest mistakes you can make is not ensuring that you are buying at the genuine market price for the location, type, finishing and size of property. An unprepared and inexperienced foreigner is one of the easiest preys for people looking to get more money for their property than justified. This is an unfortunate occurrence and it can happen in any country in the world where you are viewed as a foreigner. It is even more likely to happen in Romania, where the estate agents are not regulated and most agents donít display clear, genuine price for their properties. This is one of the characteristics of emerging markets in Eastern Europe and you must guard yourself against its dangers by knowing the market price per square metre of property in the location you are interested in. This can be found out from a number of sources such as the internet, reputable international or local agents, local newspapers and magazines.
2. Have all the important documents checked and donít overlook anything. This may sound like basic investment advice, but so many people have paid a costly price for not observing this absolute rule adequately. Title deeds, charges against the property, building permits, plans for urbanisation are a few of the documents absolutely mandatory to have complete confidence over. Whilst now it is rare for people to build without the appropriate authorisations, prior to 2004 many individuals built properties first a sought approvals later. Many of them didnít get it but nevertheless finished and sold their buildings. You must ensure that you or your reputable solicitor performs the appropriate due diligence for your type of purchase and my advice is not to spare any money when it comes to this fundamental step.
3. Make sure you or a solicitor you trust have read and understood the entire contract with all the annexes. It may again sound like obvious advice, but most of the people that are taken advantage of when buying in Romania have ignored or overlooked this extremely important rule. A solicitor you can trust will often be worth their fees many times over. Whether they are UK or Romania based, they can be your guardian angels. If itís a Romanian solicitor, try to find one recommended by a trusted source. In any case, most contracts you sign must be in Romanian language to be valid under Romanian law, and of course you need to have everything translated and stamped by an authorized translator.
4. Donít let the sellers take you on a price escalator Often when you think you have agreed price on a property, you can find out that suddenly the sellers request more money or they will pull out of the deal. This can happen especially when buying from private sellers, but occasionally from large developers as well. The solution for this type of scenario is to have a contract signed which stipulates that once prices and payment terms have been agreed, the seller is not allowed to change the agreed price and will have to pay a substantial financial penalty for pulling out of the deal.
5. Donít believe the hype Many properties may be promoted to you as extraordinary investments for a variety of reasons. Check the claims of the seller especially when it comes to things such as:
∑ specific location
∑ distance to city centre
∑ distance to amenities
∑ access to public transport
∑ built and usable areas of the property
∑ common spaces
∑ car parking
∑ finishing and furnishing
These are all important aspects to know accurately when making an investment decision or even when buying for personal use. If you travel to Romania, verify them yourself, otherwise ask your legal advisers or agent to confirm (in writing) these details.
Alex Pintea is Romanian born and has lived in the UK for over 12 years. He is an experienced property investor both in the UK and Romania. He co-founded Anglo-Romanian Development in 2004 to be a catalyst and guide for UK buyers looking to invest in the rapidly evolving property market in Romania. Alex's aim is to break the barriers of access to the market and to provide reliable information to property investors. Buy his book An Insider's Guide: Buying Property in Romania here: http://www.bookshaker.com/product_info.php?products_id=185
About the Author: Alex Pintea is Romanian born and has lived in the UK for over 12 years. He is an experienced property investor both in the UK and Romania. He co-founded Anglo-Romanian Development in 2004 to be a catalyst and guide for UK buyers looking to invest in the rapidly evolving property market in Romania. Alex's aim is to break the barriers of access to the market and to provide reliable information to property investors. Buy his book An Insider's Guide: Buying Property in Romania here: http://www.bookshaker.com/product_info.php?products_id=185