Loved and lost – the misadventures in real estate

17 10 2009

I expected the process of finding an apartment to be stressful (knowing my proclivity for perfection), I just did not count on having my heart broken.  Twice.

The very first place we saw, we went gaga over – super location, spectacular views,  French country decor and the price was right.  Our hearts sang – yes, we’ll take it!  The agent ( freshly baked, by-the-rule young lady), informed us that the lease has to be signed – in person! – by both owners of the property. First obstacle – the owners live in the south of Poland.  She placed a call to the owner, to relay the happy news. She reached her in a sanatorium, recovering from a procedure (read:  face lift) and the owner assured us, that if we can only wait a couple of weeks, her husband will fly them (in their private jet) to Gdynia to do the deal.  If the weather is fine.  And if she feels OK.  And the plane is back from being serviced.  Yes, I know, the bells should have gone off, but I was so drunk with the vision of me on the balcony, feeding the seagulls and breathing in the salty Baltic air – I was not thinking straight.  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  After 2 weeks of restless nights, living in limbo and stalling our current landlord, the young agent called to inform us that the owner changed her mind – she wants to sell her property rather than rent it.  In this market?  Well, now we know for sure we were dealing with someone just a few french fries short of a Happy Meal.

Second heartbreak came a month later.  We were still making our rounds of the real estate offices and viewing many apartments in the center of Gdynia, our target area.  Many of them totally remodeled, well furnished and quite reasonably priced.  However, most of the buildings in the center of town go back to the middle of the last century and it shows.  So even if the apartments inside are  testament to the new wealth of the Poles, the outside and the common areas (especially the entrance and the stairs) are in disrepair, with broken elevators (if any) and reeking of urine.  Not all, but most.


Grand Hotel, Sopot

And then we saw an ad on classified: Center city, new luxury building – are you ready? – penthouse apartment.  With a circular terrace overlooking entire city of Gdynia.  And the Baltic Sea!  We contacted the listing agent and literally ran over there in the pouring rain to check it out.  The owner we met at the apartment – young business type – wasted no time telling us that being independently wealthy, he did not need to rent out this apartment.  Well, that should have been our first clue.  After agreeing on the price and him supplying some extra furnishings (there were no closets in the entire place!), he walked us to the door saying:  “I’ll sleep on it and let you know tomorrow”.  Clue #2.  We waited an entire day, finally contacted the agent.  “Yes, I spoke to him.  He needs more time to decide – he really loves that place!”  Clue #3.  Well, after 2 more days of stalling, he finally decided to take it off the market.

Is it us?  Or are the Polish nouveaux riches plum crazy?




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