Thursday, November 15, 2012

Buying a Property in Eastern Europe: Researching the Market - Using the Internet

The Internet can be a great way to find out a little about the property market in a particular area relatively quickly from the comfort of your own home.

Hundreds of Web sites offer (or claim to offer) comprehensive details on property in Eastern and Central Europe. While the Internet is a useful starting point for your research, do not consider it the end of your process. As you search online, you're sure to encounter many sites promoting proper- ties off plan, which means that building work may well not even have started and a completed apartment or villa may be years away.
Often off-plan Internet sites show a convincing computer image of the property on offer and invite you to 'reserve' your villa or apartment for a mere £500, usually payable online using your credit card. You must understand that you are getting absolutely nothing concrete for your money and that you have little chance of recovering any investment if the property is not completed for years or – worse – never completed.
The following Internet property sites cover most of the countries I include in this guide. However, this is not an exhaustive list; sites come and go all the time.

  • is a portal with links to about 60 brokers selling property throughout Europe.
  • accepts registration from any individual or agent who has property to sell or let, both residential and commercial. The site lists more then 9,000 properties in countries including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, and Turkey.
  • was launched in 2001 by a consortium of more than 200 leading independent estate agents across the UK who wanted to be in the vanguard of online property marketing. In 2006, the company was bought by Daily Mail & General Holdings Limited as part of its further expansion into the online business sector. The site’s international section carries more than 50,000 properties from estate agents in more than 40 countries, including Cyprus, Croatia, and Bulgaria. The site has a search engine for filtering property by country, price, and for sale or for rent.  
  • has links to 270,000 properties for sale or rent, covering all the countries in this book.  
  • (which is not to be confused with the less helpful offers strong listings, primarily in Turkey and Cyprus, but its scope is extending fast.  
  • is a family-run business set up by Les Calvert and features more than 28,000 properties in more than 42 countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Turkey.  
  • was founded in 1999 by Dan Johnson. The site started life as a simple guide to the buying procedures for residential properties in the UK, but with 200 partners it now covers buying guides and property listings for nearly 100 countries, including all the countries this book talks about. The site has an amazing filter allowing you to pre-select properties to view by a host of specialized criteria, including ski property, golf property, renovation projects, and commercial property.  
  • is a franchised estate agent network with 5,400 offices in more than 50 countries, including all the nations covered in this book.  
  • currently has more than 6,300 listings in countries that include Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine.  
  • carries 700 properties including those from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic Hungary, Malta, and Turkey.

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