In part 1 of this article we spoke about locating apartments for rent (or flats to let if you wish to be “proper”). We discussed both the positives and negatives of using estate agents in Bucharest and hopefully addressed any concerns you may have.
For the second part of this article we’ll be discussing what we’ve found when locating apartments on your own.
There are three main ways to begin finding your rental without an estate agent.
You can begin your search via the internet with the main short term lodging options from the US, such as www.vrbo.com. I have had some success with this site as you are dealing directly with property owners. Sometimes Bucharest listings can be sparse on this site. Also check out the hot international expat sites such as viviun.com and escapeartist.com. Sometimes these are all hit or miss, but worth a check before hand. We also have a growing classified section on this website as well. The largest problem with searching for rentals in Bucharest, Romania via google or yahoo is the abundance of agencies that pop up. It is extremely difficult to find a source that is solely the property owner advertising his or her available unit.
The second way is to grab yourself some bottles of good beer or wine and start offering them as handouts to the security guards and building administrators residing at the building you’ve “targeted” as a potential candidate for where you’d like to live. Sometimes a little gift upon introduction goes a long way in conversation. bring someone to assist you in the language if your Romanian skills just aren’t that great. You may be amazed that these individuals will quite often have the “inside track” as to which units may or may not be available… and sometimes even how to get ahold of the owners. Try it out and see what happens.
The third and final way is possibly the best as well. Get in your car (rent one if you don’t have one), a taxi won’t suffice in this instance. Start driving around your target areas for a rental. Your looking for the signs and banners that people hang on their balconies or windows. You’ll start to notice patterns, and be able to identify the home made signs versus the (sometimes very obvious) corporate and agency banners. We began by making a list of all the phone numbers and addresses of the apartments we had looked at prior to picking up the phone and calling, but have since decided its much simpler to just park the car and make the call that moment. Quite often the owners are immediately available to permit you access to the unit and show you around. This ended up saving some time in the long run. So again, this is the most productive way to find a rental in Bucharest. Drive around and make some calls.
All in all we feel that one can be extremely successful in locating rentals that are available directly from the owners if you try these simple steps. You’ll meet some new people along the way, but best of all you’ll be able to enter in a unanimously agreeable contract and bypass the agents’ commission and sometimes even negotiate a small deposit and flexible terms.