Romanian Culture and Lifestyle

The Romanian culture is rich in complexity culture and traditions. The distinctive culture of Romania is a result of its historical evolution. The culture has been imbibed from the Dacians, who had occupied the area in the past. One way in which the people of Romania showcase their brightly coloured ornaments and costumes is during the traditional dance during the major festivals. Beautiful traditional woven carpets, wood hand carvings, pottery and clothing are just some of the elements of traditional Romanian culture. Intricately decorated Easter eggs, painted glass and Icons painted on wood substrates art are among the special folk arts of Romania. These items can also be found in many shops, street markets and vendors near tourist attractions throughout the country. Continue reading

Mysterious places to visit in Romania – part 1

Gugu Peak 

Gugu Peak is located in the Godeanu Mountains, close to Retezat Mountain national park, (altitude of 2291 meters, 25 km from Poiana Mărului).   Tourists come every year to visit the area, which is one of the strangest in Romania.   It is said that at certain times of day, the parts of mountain disappear and in addition, unusual phenomena happens.

Legends say that this on mountain once resided Zamolxe and therefore, the mountain was a holy place.  Here it also believed that Decebal hid part of his treasure, believing that the spirit of the High Priest will hold back the plague of time. Inhabitants of the mountain are called Gugulani and are known for their longevity of life.  They put everything to the fact that the area is full of energy. Many tourists say they have also seen the mountain tip disappearing and even explosions of light shooting out of the mountain. Continue reading

Expat Accommodation costs in Bucharest – by area

The capital city Bucharest is rich in its history with beautiful Art-Deco, Art-Nouveau, Baroque, Byzantine and Bauhaus structures lining the cobble streets. If you want to live in Bucharest then this article will point you in the right direction.

Accommodation in Bucharest comes in a variety of forms and will suit all types of Expat. Certain neighborhoods appeal more than others for Expats and are characterised by price, population density, proximity to nature, shopping, transport or nightlife. The old city in the centre is the most famous place for party nights. The more upmarket northern area is perhaps better suited to the more outdoorsy type with many parks nearby. The Northern Suburbs have several new housing constructions and being further out from the city, is ideal for those who enjoy quieter neighborhoods. The central area is perhaps the most popular by volume of requests and offers good value for money, while the central east is more working class but still desirable. The central west is far less preferred. Continue reading

More Greenfield residence shannanigans

On the agenda yesterday were two Greenfield Residence jobs. Same apartment type, same ex property (mis)manager, same missing rent payments, same history with stolen keys and documents. The Brief: get them secured, repaired, cleaned and rented out quickly. In fact, these are the 8th & 9th of this format!

Dirty business

The one thing about this job is it is never dull. My day started by taking 2 cleaning ladies through the morning gridlock to go clean, what can only be described as a semi-trashed apartment in Greenfield’s Topaz block.  The history of this apartment is that it is owned by a British guy from Derbyshire, who hired the services of D*S Property Management, a by now infamously famous dishonest agent who simply pockets rent each month & avoids contact with owners until they give up & move on. When you consider that they have managed as many as 40 or 50 Greenfield apartments, you can see such rent runs into enough to buy a new car each month if simply pocketed.

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Press Release: White Mountain Property reaches its 7th Birthday.

white-mountain-property-2014-logo.jpgWhite Mountain Property – Renowned and Reliable Real Estate Agency for Property Management, Sales, Rentals and Renovation – Bucharest, Aug 11th 2014.

“The management of Romanian property has never been so easy before White Mountain Property started its operation 7 years ago in Brasov and now it has opened a new office in Bucharest to celebrate its 7th Inauguration Day in August. White Mountain Property is apparently the only real estate company in Romania that manage property from as far as Brasov, Bran, Bucharest, Sibiu to Constanta and offer real estate rental, sales, renovation work and now even landscape gardening of personal and commercial properties.”

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The real cost of using a real estate agent to find a rental property

Real Estate Agents in Bucharest – a helping hand or a source of frustration?

I read on many so called help sites that all agents, or the majority should be avoided or simply cheat client’s, or provide no added value. They go on to advise people to go direct to the advertising sites such as OLX. Imobiliare etc and to deal with owners directly.

I speak as an expat myself, a professional landlord with a personal property portfolio, a property manager for over 6m euros of other people’s property and in addition, as a manger of agents in this domain.

Yes, some agents and in particular, in Bucharest do indeed deserve to be avoided. But so do some landlords and so do tome tenants.

Let us speak about landlords. When a property owner advertises directly, they may be doing so without any advice on how much to charge for his offering, nor what quality level to provide, not what should be included in the contract. Continue reading

European Fair of Castles to premiere in Romania

Romanian Real EstateThe first European fair of castles to be held in Romania will take place next year at Corvinilor Castle in Hunedoara between May 1 and May 13, 2015, Agerpres reports. The event, hosted by the Hunedoara Town Hall, is aimed at promoting the touristic potential of the old continent’s historical monuments.
Organizers of ‘The European Fair of Castles’ have already launched the first invitations to museums, castles, palaces, and fortresses throughout Europe. At the fair, exhibitors will present their offers and advertise the major points of touristic and historic attraction for the visitors.“Corvinilor Castle, the host of this event, is one of the most important Gothic architecture monuments in Romania and one of the first fairy-tale castles in Europe, which bestows certain prestige upon this event. This prestige will be strengthened in time as more and more exhibitors and visitors join our efforts and increase the event’s popularity,” Costin Tinca, director of Corvinilor Castle Museum, stated. Continue reading

IAR Brasov to build Airbus Super Puma helicopters

Friday, July 25, 2014

The shareholders of IAR Brasov, a company controlled by the state, decided to lay at the disposal of Vadstena, a company registered by Airbus Helicopters in Romania, a piece of land of 15,000 square meters, for the manufacture of Super Puma helicopters in Romania, as well as the indirect participation of Airbus Helicopters Romania to shareholding, a company report sent to Bucharest Stock Exchange shows.  On that land Vadstena will build an industrial warehouse of 8,550 sq.m., for the manufacture of Super Puma MK1 in Romania.The shareholders entrusted the Administration Board of IAR and the executive directors to negotiate the land contract.The land will be laid at Vadstena’s disposal during the carrying out of the project for the manufacture of Super Puma MK1 helicopters in Romania but no more than 99 years, while the price must be at least equal to the one established by an authorized evaluation company.

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Hey, the Romanians are coming! LEACH & LANG EXPERIENCE

White Mountain team visits Poland (13)I am a great believer in benchmarking. Why reinvent the wheel if someone has beaten you to it.  Also, you don’t have to wait for competition to arrive before you sharpen your processes. With this in mind, I contacted Tom Leach at the much respected Leach & Land property company in Poland a few years ago & we kicked around ideas to help each of our companies learn form each other, to improve for the benefit of our clients.  We stayed in touch & this June, 2 of our crack team at White Mountain made the epic 1000km drive to Krakow to spend a week in the company of the team at Leach & Lang.
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DIY SoS / Client SoS

A quarter past midnight. Just finished carrying a washing machine to the 5th floor.  I’m jotting this down before a 4am departure for my 6am red eye flight to London so I don’t forget. Why am I sharing this story? Because this piece of work defines the sort of team we have & the lengths we go to when up against adversity, to assist clients.

3 months ago an Irish client came to me to ask me to sell his property at 20% below market value because he was exhausted by continually being burned in his Romanian real estate venture. In this case partially at the hands of a locally based Irish property management company & partly at the hands of bad tenants.  After 5 years of ownership he remained with a run down, tired & broken apartment in Dimitrie Cantemir street, off Unirii Blvd with the most horrible quality & poor condition furniture you could ever imagine.  Continue reading

LONDON — They’re portrayed as pickpockets stealing British jobs…

LONDON — They’re portrayed as pickpockets who will steal British jobs. There are predictions they will beg, the unruly young ones will stir up riots, and some will even try to sell babies.

For months, Britain’s tabloids have repeatedly warned of the horrors they believed would ensue after Jan. 1, when work restrictions were lifted across the European Union for migrants from Romania and Bulgaria — two of the trading bloc’s newest members. Those changes, the papers claim, will unleash a mass exodus of the poor and unemployed from the two eastern European countries to Britain. Continue reading

Bad property manangement experience at Greenfields or Sydney Residence, Bucharest

 

We have helped numerous clients in recent months at both Sydney Residence and Greenfields in Bucharest as there previous property management company has gone into free fall collapse. The range of issues has been pretty diverse but all include missing rent, missing furniture, unpaid taxes, unregistered contracts etc etc. Continue reading

Discover Transylvania

Mystical Transylvania is brimming with history, from its Gothic castles and medieval towns to its multi-ethnic heritage. Here you can experience German and Hungarian roots, through music, culture and costumes, and these are brought vibrantly to life in the festivals that take place throughout the year. Transylvania is surrounded by mountains that are teaming with rare wildlife and impressive glaciers, and you will be stunned by the natural beauty of the area. As more visitors are drawn to Romania, many of them decide to settle in the fascinating region of Transylvania and explore its cultural heritage and many attractions whilst benefiting from the economy.

Attractions

Bran Castle is situated near Brasov and is linked with Prince Vlad Tepes, who inspired the Dracula legend. Locals have a strong bond with the story and the 15th Century Prince who resided here makes a compelling focus for visitors. Brasov itself is a well-preserved town from medieval times with impressive Old Saxon buildings and ruins. Sighisoara features a citadel with spectacular views, a 14th Century tower and secret passageways that wind their way through the town, whilst Sibiu is renowned for its pastel houses and quaint, cobblestone streets to enchant visitors. Continue reading

Struggling with your unresponsive Bucharest property manager?

We have had a number of clients come to us in total desparation in 2012 & many more in 2013 having had a terrible experience with their Bucharest property manager, to use the term generously.  I have so far avoided writing this post as I do not wish to publically discredit competitors. The good ones do not deserve that treatment & the bad ones do it to themselves. Continue reading

Looking for the ideal place to retire or live in harmony?…try Romania

Many people dismiss Romania as a destination of choice, but anyone with travel experience of the region know this to be a great option to consider. Romania is an excellent choice for an affordable getaway place to live & live very well.  There are many towns & villages in Romania that make it a great choice to consider for relocation if you want to escape the sadly all too many decaying societies in the west. From ASBO’s to muggings, to street crime, to anti social behaviour, once highly desirable locations are becomgin increasingly less desirable.

As the so called first world economy goes from one downturn to the next, with emergency special measures employed such as ‘quatative easing’ used to prevent meltdown through economic chaos, so called ‘natural’ disasters & social decay, now is perhaps a good time to consider investing in real estate to protect your hard earned money from negative growth.  But before you invest, plan ahead a little. Where could you compfotably live out your days in peace & tranquility, where your hard earned money goes further?  Pensions are not performing as expected and the stock market is not predictable. You cannot beat bricks and mortar for long term stability. So where to live? Continue reading

A big welcome to our Erasmus students from around the world.

Welcome to our beautiful city. Brasov.

To enjoy it, you need not only a great University, but the nicest places to live.

We at White Mountain Property take great pride in looking after our very welcome Erasmus guests and are committed to doing our best to finding you a safe, warm, affordable quality place to live.

We were students once so we know how you feel, esepcially so far from home. So come have a coffee, steal our wifi signal! relax in our warm office while the team show you what we have available.

As an example though, we have

  • a flat share for one person for 120e,
  • a studio for 200, a premium studio for a couple for 225,
  • a Piata Sfatului loft apartment for 300e
  • a multiple room house for 500e.

We do not have a limitless supply, but we do have some of the best accomodation in town at the best prices. Just look at our website, www.whitemountain.ro to read genuine testimonials from previous clients, or google us.

Look forward to seeing you / Va Așteptăm

The White Mountain team

All Change at the base of the Mountain!

It’s with regret but well wishes that we say fairwell to Property Manager Lavinia & Office Administrator Ioana, as they out grow White Mountain to form a new company specialising in tasks such as company administration for foreigners, company set up, closure etc.

It’s an unfortunate paradox that in having such a strong, educated, honest and capable team that inevitably they develop, grow and fourish to much bigger things than Property Admin. If the job does not expand around them, as Property Management cannot, they are likely to outgrow it at some point.  Over the years we have had bright team members, who have gone on to do great things, in Romania, Italy, Germany, Spain, UK, Ireland and I respect them all for that. From small acorns grow oak trees.  Ambition goes hand in hand with skill and ability in this property business.

White Mountain however remains as rooted as a mountain to meet the requirements of its customers.

We will continue work with both Lavinia and Ioana on a number of projects on a consultancy basis and they will remain in Brasov, so some of you will still have dealings with them through White Mountain as there are a number of projects that would suit this arrangement very well, for all concerned.  For example, if a client wants to parcel up a large plot of land to sell as small building plots, apply for utilities and planning permission, this is something best handled by a stand alone project team. It is cheaper than a lawyer doing it, and faster.

But we have already welcomed on board 2 new bright, enthusiastic starters into the team, Calina and Andra, to pick up the mantle and thank Lavinia for 2 years of consistenly full-on effort in managing many a complex problem, from frozen pipes to frozen companies, and to Ioana for keeping WM’s engine room in good order, assisting with sales and rental and various property issues along the way.

Both Lavinia and Ioana have worked hard, honestly, passionately, have learned a great deal, developed enormously, professionally speaking and it is in their best interest that they pursue their own potential through their very own consultancy.

Most of the 55 clients properties we now manage are all fully sorted now, with only the odd small issue for one or 2 still to be bottomed out, so we are in good shape to regroup and await the next crisis-case property to rectify.  In some ways the team is now a little stronger because we have 5, not 3 people to call on for property or project matters. In addition, with change comes new skills, new ideas, whilst retaining all our years of experience.

So please join me in wishing Lavinia and Ioana well in their exciting future venture and lets hope the change is positive for everyone concerned, even if it forces us all to work harder in adapting to something new rather than the comfortable slippers that is the daily routine we have been used to.

I expect hicups, mistakes and mis-communication along the way, but our clients can continue to be assured that White Mountain stands by our committment to meet  and manage all of your property needs, a mantra we have had from day one which remains unaltered.

Damian Galvin

Director.

 

 

 

 

Top five rental problems and how to solve them

Tenants who don’t pay their rent
Its a common problem in Romania that a large % off all rents are paid late or not at all and that many tenants are in arrears of more than two months, so to avoid becoming a part of this statistic it’s essential landlords obtain references from prospective tenants before they move in. But if a tenant does get into arrears and informal channels fail to work then it may be time to start the eviction process.

Tenants who leave a property in a mess when they move out
When tenants move out having left it very untidy or just trashed it there is very little a landlord can do to chase them for compensation. The only way to prevent this costly scenario is to have a comprehensive inventory drawn up and agreed before a tenant moves in – backed by a deposit held in Tenant Deposit Scheme.

Tenants who complain about noisy neighbours
Tenants have a habit of expecting landlords to solve their every problem and noisy neighbours is one of them, but what can you do? Don’t get involved – just offer some advice, which can include suggesting an informal approach (talk to their neighbours!); contacting their neighbour’s landlord (if they are tenants too); using an officially-approved local mediators to sort matters out; complaining to your local council and, as last resort, taking them to court.

Garden is not being maintained
It is fairly standard for residential rental agreements to state that the upkeep of a garden is the responsibility of the tenant and not the landlord – and yet few tenants do any gardening. Several tactics can be employed to remedy this. Firstly, provide tenants with the gardening tools they will need as it means they will be more likely to get stuck in. Secondly, consider adding the cost of a gardener or handyman to the rent; something responsible tenants are likely to think a small expense in return for a pretty garden.

An outgoing tenant hasn’t paid their utility bills
The whole point of these is that, should a tenant not pay their utility bills before moving out, then once it’s been proved money is owed the appropriate sum will be deducted from their original deposit. You can do checks on utility bills some weeks before to get an indicative reading if you suspect there will be a large bill to pay.

 

Race for Comarnic-Brasov motorway contract is on

April 2013 – From the Print Edition

The Romanian National Company of Motorways and National Roads (CNADNR) has received four bids for the building works on the motorway linking Comarnic to Brasov, including an offer from the Vinci (France)-Aktor (Greece) joint venture, which had been chosen to build the motorway stretch in 2009, but subsequently pulled out, according to Mediafax.
Tenders have also been submitted by the Vinci-Aktor-Strabag (Austria) joint venture, state-owned Chinese Communications Construction Company (CCCC), all-Romanian Spedition UMB-Tehnostrade JV and Italian Impregilo-Salini JV.
The tender contract for the construction of the Brasov-Comarnic motorway will be signed by September 30, with works to begin in October, said the deputy minister for infrastructure projects of national interest and foreign investments Dan Sova.
This tendering attempt for the Comarnic-Brasov motorway follows two previous failed efforts. The last attempt took place in 2010 when the winner of the auction, the Vinci-Aktor joint venture, backed out of the contract.
The Greek-based group Ellaktor, which includes the Aktor company, announced that it was annulling the contract for the construction of the highway because the Romanian state had not accepted certain terms, which made it impossible to secure financing.
Tan Lu, representative of the CCCC group, said it was also interested in other tender projects from the Romanian state. “In fact, we are interested in any transport infrastructure project,” he added.

Owning Romanian property, renting Romanian property, advice, news, insider tips & your stories on property and living in Romania!