It’s that dream that we all have at some point, we want to own property. A little piece of somewhere that we can call ours. I was lucky enough to be able to do this back in 2014 when I bought a 100 year old miner’s cottage about an hour outside of Krakow. It was not an easy process for sure, and even less easy for my wife who did the majority of the work.
While anyone from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway can buy an apartment easily and without any regulation (currently), it’s a bit more complicated when you begin to look at buying a house or land. From what I understand, this has recently become even more complex due to changes in the laws. I’m no expert so I’m not going to attempt to give advice and you should always check with someone with the right qualifications, as it’s important and you can’t always trust the internet for everything!
When my wife & I started to think about getting out of rental accommodation, we knew we wanted out of apartments and out of Krakow. We originally thought about building a house from scratch as we had been offered some land near Krakow and it initially looked great. It was up on a hill with views over Niepolomice forest and the surrounding areas. There was only 1 neighbour, which was a riding school about 0.5km away. However, the plot didn’t have any services connected.
So, we started to look into it and it turned out that it would cost a fortune to get the services connected, then there was all the paperwork involved, the bureaucracy is just ridiculous. The final nail in the coffin was when a surveyor had a look and basically said “you can build a house here, but it will probably slide down the hill”. So the ground wasn’t stable and that would have cost even more to make right. We may end up with a house that looks like a well-known building in the seaside town of Sopot.
Building a house was out the window, so we started to look at buying a house which someone else had built already, thinking it would be easier. Ultimately, it was easier but still incredibly frustrating.
We found that most of the “houses” we went to view had actually only been half built by someone. For some reason, the housing market in Poland seems to consist of half built houses, apparently it’s so that you can finish it however you like, but to me it’s still not right. If I wanted to finish it how I like, I’d build the whole damn thing how I like! So we actually spent a lot of time looking for a complete house, with a roof, and windows and hopefully some doors!
We went through multiple realtors, and they all had us sign a contract with them before they showed us the house, which was us agreeing to pay their exorbitant fees and various other clauses. If you plan to buy a property in Poland, through a realtor please double check what you are signing with them!
It was getting really annoying and beginning to feel like we wouldn’t ever find a house which would keep the wind and rain out, until one day my wife was looking at Gumtree and came across a lovely looking house in Bochnia, about an hour from Krakow and close to Targowisko. Even better, it seemed to be an offer directly from the owners, so there were no 100 page contracts to sign with realtors and their numerous hidden clauses. Excellent, let’s go and have a look!