A good place to start looking for a property online is on the Real Estate Hungary site.
That is where Tünde found our apartment. The website is very good at filtering searches.
Give permission to your property lawyer and let them handle everything on your behalf. That is what we did.
In Hungary a Property Lawyer can set up your Utility Bills, Land Registry paperwork and much more.
An estate agent can relay your bids and terms of purchase with the apartment seller, even when you are not in Hungary.
Home & People were great - Very fast and professional, but more importantly negotiated a good price for my apartment.
OFFI Hungarian TranslatorsOFFI is the official Hungarian agency that deals with Hungarian/English translation/interpreter work.
OFFI offer voice-over services as well as written document work.
Assuming you have found a way to transfer your money across to Hungary for property purposes, such as lawyer fees and property deposit, the next step is to find a property; as well as a property lawyer and possibly a Hungarian interpreter/translator.
Although you could check local newspapers/classifieds for property and visit an estate agent straight away, even though you might not read/speak Hungarian and they might not read/speak English, these days the internet is the best place to start looking for property; for many reasons - You can use Google Translate WebsiteGoogle Translate, Google Maps WebsiteGoogle Maps, Google Mail WebsiteGMail and other tools to help you understand more about the property you are viewing.
You should also take a good look around Hungary, in person, in terms of its Budapest Districts ExplainedDistricts (to see what it has to offer as a property owner and landlord) and Considerations Before Buying A PropertyGeneral, Out Of Season, Considerations.
A good place to start looking for property is on the Real Estate Hungary WebsiteReal Estate Hungary property website or on the Capital Real Estate WebsiteCapital Real Estate estate agent website, among others (Ingatlan WebsiteIngatlan, Clarke & White WebsiteClarke & White, Ingatlannet WebsiteIngatlannet and Ingatlanbazar WebsiteIngatlanbazar). If you are looking to rent a property only, perhaps for 6 months while considering whether or not to buy a property, Albérlet WebsiteAlbérlet is a good place to start.
As you are looking at the listed properties, and more precisely apartments, look at the concrete exterior, paintwork, any doubled glazed-windows, shutter blinds and air-cons within any uploaded photographs because those features play a big part in a property’s ﬁnal purchase price. More information about this can be found within the The Housing Situation In HungaryHousing Situation In Hungary and Housing Prices In HungaryHousing Prices In Hungary sections of this Property category along with property size descriptions.
One of the best ways to find a property lawyer is to buy a property through an estate agent as they should know of a trusted property lawyer they know of, use and/or at least recommend all the time. They will normally know of a Hungarian interpreter/translator too. However, you normally need to buy property through them first!
One way around this dilemma is to e-mail them as a potential buyer and ask them who they use/recommend. The good estate agents will tell you. I did this with Capital Real Estate WebsiteCapital Real Estate (Budapest) and they told me they recommend Dr. Tünde Harron - Dr. Tünde Harron WebsiteHarron Law Office. In Szeged I used Dr Ábrahám Klára (Tünde's lawyer). Both of these lawyers are listed on the Ugyved lawyers' website.
The only other two ways you are going to find a trustworthy property lawyer is 1) by searching the internet property forums/websites and expat forums/websites for recommendations (such as the recommended hg.org lawyer website) and 2) by word of mouth from a Hungarian friend who has already used a property lawyer (such as Tünde's property lawyer, who can be found on Ugyved.net). Other than that, it is pot-luck.
Whatever you decide, always check the lawyer's credentials first. A good place to start is the Lawyers WebsiteLawyers Network website, which is equivalent to the UK website SRA WebsiteSolicitors Regulation Authority. If a lawyer is listed on the Lawyers Network they should be safe enough to use, but do not take my word for it; go and do your own investigations.
Expect to pay a property lawyer between 1% and 1.5%, plus 27% V.A.T, of the property sale price; which is the standard property lawyer fee in Hungary. I paid 1.4% to Dr Ábrahám Klára (Tünde's property lawyer), now my property lawyer, when I bought my apartment in Szeged. Dr. Tünde Harron in Budapest charges 1.5%.
Hungarian interpreter's/translator's fees vary a lot. Some individuals and companies charge per word or per A4 page (with 70% being text) while others charge per hour or per job. So expect to pay around £1 per 5 words or £25-£40 per A4 sheet. This is based on fees from the internet where an officially recognised stamp is not needed (i.e. personal translation of a title deed or landlord's tenancy agreement).
Even if an internet based translator company stamps your paperwork with their company stamp, that company must be recognised by Hungarian government officials.
In cases where you do need an officially recognised stamp on your translated paperwork, you will need to use a Hungarian lawyer or OFFI WebsiteOFFI - Certain types of document can only be interpreted/translated and therefore certified by OFFI (the official government company for Hungarian translation) because you need their recognised/certified OFFI Stamp on your OFFI interpreted/translated paperwork. My Hungarian girlfriend's sister recently had five A4 sheets done by OFFI whereby she paid OFFI £130 in total.
If you find the right estate agent, they may be able to help you with everything regarding your property and its utilities. An all-in-one package. As mentioned above, I contacted Capital Real Estate whereby I received this replay:
I would like to give you some general information about the costs associated with investment into Budapest. Our agency operates as a "buyer's agent". We take our clients through the whole
buying process and introduce them to lawyers, accountants, management companies, accompany them to banks, to the notary and any other office where our help is needed in connection with
their property investment.
Bear in mind that as the agent that represents you it is my job to negotiate on the price of any potential property and get you the best possible deal. I represent you and you alone and
am here to give you professional property investment advice and impartially look after your interests. This applies prior, during and after any potential investment has been made. For
this comprehensive service we charge 3% + VAT of the purchase price.
The total acquisition costs are all together about 10% + VAT of the purchase price which breaks down as follows:
Please note that it takes 30 to 60 days to get the permit, it is also standard to include in the contract that if you are refused a permit that you will purchase as a company. In the 10
years since we have been dealing with international clients not one permit has been refused.
Disclaimer: The above message was the reply from an e-mail. I, John Cairns, am not affiliated in any way, shape or form with Capital Real Estate, have never used their services and therefore I neither recommend them nor discourage them. If you wish to try their services, it is up to you to contact Capital Real Estate to see if they are the right company for you.