Guide - choosing your apartment in 8 steps

Apartment buying guide

8 simple steps

Buying an apartment can be a great experience to enjoy and to see as a big step forward or a mountain of stress, worries and fears. This experience is made by you, is influenced by mindset, by how you want it to be, by how you see things. We suggest you to enjoy the moment and turn something, which for most Romanians is difficult, hard, complicated, into a great experience.

Okay, so we set how we start, super optimistic and positive. Now you must know something else. The choices in our life, especially the important ones, are made emotionally, not rationally. It is good to involve reason into this process (to measure, to make lists, to calculate), but even more important is to set your emotional part free and listen to your heart, the flair as well in a way that is as conscious as possible. That will help you enjoy the process.

Let’s start! Where do you begin the search? What suits you best? How do you choose between hundreds of offers?

Here are 8 steps to guide you in choosing the perfect apartment:

1. How does the perfect house look like for you?

Stop, take time, analyze, write down.

Everything begins with an introspection. Think about what the dream apartment looks like for you. Consider every aspect from the number and layout of the rooms, up to what facilities you need. After you activated the emotional part, try to get to the rational one. Make a list and take time to complete it. This is not a process that can be done in a day, but a long-term analysis. It is vital to have patience and give importance to each aspect. How big is your family today. How about 5 or 10 years from now. What are the important areas of the city for you. What passions you have, and how they connect with the place where you live. What needs you will have with the coming and raising of children. Try to think as broadly as possible.

After this step you should have a sketch of your new apartment:

  • areas of interest
  • size – number of rooms
  • apartment compartmentation – plan
  • technical elements that are important to you (e.g. district heating plant, wool insulation, tall windows, sound insulation between floors, etc.)

2. How much you can afford to invest?

Once step one is completed, it is time to analyze your budget.

You are not sure which is the best option for you? Go to several banks and run simulations. This way you can find out what is the amount of money you can borrow and what is the amount of the installments you have to pay monthly. Accountant experts say that you shouldn’t allocate more than 30% of your income to pay installments. After you managed to set a budget, it is time to go to the next step. Pay attention to VAT. There is a law project that proposes the growth of the value for the application for reduced VAT up to 5% for amounts smaller than 750 000 lei. The difference of 14% VAT means 105.000 lei for an apartment of 750.000 lei. Also in this process it is good to think about the size of the apartment, the number of rooms.

3. Where will you live?

By setting the area you will gain time, if you narrow the search area you will be able to focus on fewer new developments.

Think where would you like to live. Consider the distance to work and the means of transport. If you have children, analyze what schools/kindergartens are in the area and how much time you will spend in traffic. Once you have chosen an area, run a simulation on a GPS app and see how much time it takes to get to work during rush hours.  Don’t forget about your passions and how they connect with the place where you will live.

4. It is time to start the search

Our suggestion is to search for a new built neighborhood. You have many reasons to do that.

This way you will have safety and comfort standards that are superior to those of the old neighborhoods. Make a list with the new developments in the area chosen in step 3. Write down the strengths and weaknesses. A generous list will probably result, so simplify. Refer to the budget you have and how you imagined “home” will look like and exclude the apartments that do not fall within the parameters set by you.

5. Simplify

Simplify, like that it will be easier to get to a result.

In this stage you still have many options to choose from. Simplify the list. Consider the facilities that the complex offers: what kind of parking lot it has and how much it costs, what level of safety it offers (cameras, closed neighborhood, gate-keeper), materials used for construction, suppliers, who is the developer and what had he build before, what means of transport you have at hand. After this step, your list should narrow.

6. Discover residents' experiences

Experiences are subjective, but they will show you the reality with a greater transparency.

In order to be able to narrow more the list it is good to search the residents’ opinions about the neighborhoods you have chosen. If there aren’t residents yet, the development is at an early stage, search information about the developer, about his experience and the quality standards he is committed to. This process could help you narrow down the list even more. It is very useful to speak with the residents. Like that you can find out if the walls are sound insulated or if there are any problems with the apartments or the parking lots, how big are the maintenance costs, who solves the eventual problems.

7. Visit

The moment of visit is essential, it is your moment. You have to ask many questions and pay attention to every detail. We have prepared a list with 33 points to keep them in mind.

After the list had been simplified and you have reached a final number of apartments, it is time to book a visit. Go beyond the aesthetic part and go deep. What is the general feeling the apartment gives you when you go inside for the first time? Do you see yourself living there? Does it look comfortable? Does if follow your criteria? Ask as many questions to the agent presenting the apartment. It is important to find out all the details about your future house.

8. How do you decide?

Our choices are emotional. Now it is time to find a balance between emotion and reason.

The happy scenario is the one in which you simply validate an apartment. You actually resonate with that place, it gives you a feeling of well-being, you feel like home. And that without checking a list of criteria. You just know that there it is home. That happens when the emotional part has been sufficiently involved without being hijacked by reason and the fear of choosing.

Let’s get back. Now that you have all the data, all you have to do is to make a decision. For most of the people this is the most difficult moment. That happens when the reason is involved too much at the expense of the emotional. Everything will come down to lists, comparisons, and implicitly the fear of choosing wrong. If that happens, take time, don’t hurry this process. Think in which of the apartments you visited you see yourself living, in which did you feel like “home”. Now try to involve more the emotional part. Everything will become more simple and the fear of making a decision will disappear. It is a happy moment, you are closer to your new house, to your dream, enjoy it!!

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