About buying our home in Poland
We sold the flat in London and bought the loghouse last year. How was the process different?
Well, selling and buying a home in England is pretty scary – not only a huge amount of money at offer and actually buying the house (or taking an offer and selling one) can mean some scope for gazumping and gazundering – meaning you pay more or get less than agreed, or lose the deal altogether.
Our sale went fairly smoothly. The estate agents listed the flat at the beginning of December and we had a lot of viewings in the first two weeks, by the end of which we’d had some offers and accepted one. It then took three months of anxious waiting before we exchanged contracts, with a completion date of late-March.
So almost four months, the odd heart-stopping moment and the money was in the bank.
Meanwhile, of course, we’d been making plans and looking at properties on the internet, so as soon as we exchanged, we were off.
We found the house in Kamionka Wielka after a lot of houses failing to suit one or both of us. Until we saw KW24, John’s favourite was the schoolhouse in Lysina (too much time to renovate it, but that 1,000 mile view was to die for) while Rajmund’s was way down south of there, close to the Slovak border, half way up one mountain and facing another. The problem with Rajmund’s favourite was that the road to it stopped considerably lower down the mountain – on that viewing, we were really glad we had four-wheel drive!
Rajmund’s truck – neither nippy nor economical!
The day we saw KW24 we agreed an acceptable price with the vendor. The estate agent was informed and the next week we returned to the house to sign the contracts. The agent had been putting together the pack of documents for the sale and the vendor was one short, so it was another two weeks before we met in the offices of the Notary in Krakow, translator in tow, and cash in hand. We left with the keys and vacant possession.
The previous owner hunted – the skulls and skins are no more!
The missing paper was the only delaying factor in the buying process. Were it not for that, and the snow which had stopped the agent attending for the viewing, we’d have had the keys sooner.
Because the agent is working for you as well as the vendor, you both pay him a %, plus the fees of the notary, the translator and taxes. Our 260,000zl purchase came in at a bit under 300,000zl.
Points to note:
- If you’re a citizen of the EEA you can buy most property in Poland without needing to get permission
- As a non-Pole, there are restrictions on/permits required for the purchase of farmland, foresty and land and buildings close to the borders, until 2016
- New and recently-built property attracts VAT
- There’s a re-sale tax if you sell property within five years, unless the proceeds are re-invested in another Polish property
- If you settle in Poland, you’ll be liable for Polish taxes
- You’ll need medical insurance – the local government system is ZUS, but you may want arrange a private contract too – John’s LuxMed costs about £500 a year
Not ALL Polish builders are in the UK. But we got an Italian one to turn the shower/loo into a fully tiled wetroom. He managed to fit everything so that the water would have had to run uphill to the drain. When you visit, you’ll notice the consequent small step into the shower.
Maciek, of whom you’ve heard, and whose work we’ll be showing you in the next week or two, fitted the bathroom with lovely dark wood shelves and worktop, plus a huge mirror and lighting. Claudio plumbed in the designer sink and waterfall tap. Maciek also made our stainless steel and dark wood kitchen. Meanwhile, local carpenters made the new porch steps and a set of mosquetiers – mesh over-windows to keep the bugs out when you’ve got your windows open.
The world seen through a mosquetier (and a very young Edward)
All that took another few weeks. We spent them at the Hotel Krak in Myslenice – a very nice little hotel – where we ran up a bill of 7,500zl for six weeks. So factor that into your costs, along with food and the fuel to run back and forwards to the house. Of course we had to arrange insurance to cover us from the day we got the keys, fix things with the power company, figure out the local refuse collection, meet the neighbours (much wódka!), and so on, and so on.
Would we do it again?
We have a beautiful more-than-100 year-old log house on .27ha of beautiful land with lots of trees and our own pond, a view that changes throughout the day and the year – beautiful in summer, like an Xmas card in the winter.
And we have our animals. Instead of a flat in a not-terribly-good part of London, with less than half the internal space we have here, a knife-wielding downstairs single mother with several drug-using boyfriends, a horrible commute, a train line less than 50 feet away … Would we do it again? Hell, yes!