Overseas property

More is more: meet the Tranio client who bought three flats in Budapest

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Oleg, a businessman from Kiev, can hardly be called a first-timer buyer. At the end of last year, he added three apartments in Budapest, Hungary, to his portfolio of overseas property. In his interview with Tranio.com, Oleg explains his investment strategy and expected profits from these apartments in the historic Hungarian capital.

Oleg, when did you first decide to buy property abroad?

My family and I travel around Europe a lot and we had been thinking about buying property for the last three years. Following the political events in our country, we decided to take action on this idea.

Please, tell us about your first purchase.

First we bought two seaside resort apartments in Bulgaria. We keep one for ourselves and the second one earns us some small profits from renting it out through a management company.

Still, you didn’t stop at that and bought property in Hungary as well — not even one but three flats. How did you come to this decision?

My family and I were returning from a holiday in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic). We were travelling by car as usual and decided spontaneously to stay in Budapest for a few days. We spent three days walking the old streets, meeting smiling people, enjoying the weather and admiring the architecture. The Hungarian capital charmed us and I asked my wife if we should see how much real estate costs here. We started looking online and almost instantly found Tranio.com.

-> Falling prices attract foreign buyers to Czech spa town, Karlovy Vary

At any time, there are nearly twice as many tourists in Budapest than locals

Did it really only take one trip to make up your mind about Budapest?

Let’s say it helped us make the decision final. We had been already looked into real estate in there before. It’s conveniently located: Budapest is only 1,170 km from Kiev. First, it only takes a day’s drive or an hour and a half flight to get there. Plus, the ticket is only $60 if you buy it in advance. Secondly, I think that property for sale in Hungary is undervalued. Even in Romania, prices are higher, while in neighbouring Slovakia and Austria apartments are way more expensive. I suppose that property prices in Hungary will continue growing, meaning that an apartment here is a good investment to maintain my capital.

-> Hungary makes top 5 European countries to buy property in 2016

Do you have any advice on choosing an apartment to rent out?

If you want to buy an apartment to rent out, you should be looking for property that is in demand and easy to sell in the historic city centre where there are many tourists. All three apartments we bought in Budapest are in District V. There are many bars and restaurants close to pedestrian streets and tourist areas. Apartment buildings date back to the 19th century and each flat cost about €150,000. The apartments themselves are not big, 40–50 sq m on average, but each of them has a bedroom and a living room. The first apartment we bought upon getting permission from the Hungarian authorities was quick to furnish and is ready to be rented out. The other two are next.

Budapest Parliament building, a leading landmark, is located in District V

What will you remember from working with Tranio.com and our partners?

First, it’s their professionalism and care. I would like to highlight the work of Tranio’s partners in Hungary. They have solved every issue, even those issues that were not within their scope of services. Need a bank account? Good exchange rate? A management company? The partner did everything to a very high standard.

Did you look into getting a residence permit in Hungary?

We haven’t completely overlooked the opportunity, but the requirements are stricter due to the inflow of migrants. We do not need a Hungarian residence permit at the moment while we still have jobs and it is relatively calm in Kiev.

Do you plan on renting out the apartments from Kiev?

Yes, my wife and I have a business at home so we cannot properly concentrate on renting out our property in Budapest. We are planning on finding a management company; there are many of those in Hungary. Besides, choosing three apartments in one city was not solely because we love the place so much but because it is convenient to maintain and manage the property: just imagine the stress of juggling several apartments in different cities in different countries.

-> Short-term rentals: the affordable and profitable overseas investment

What income do you expect to earn?

Given all the expenses, we are counting on a net profit of €800–1,000 per month. But for us it is mainly a way to safeguard our capital: an apartment in Europe is easy to sell and in demand, especially compared to the Ukraine. Since our first purchase in November 2015, property prices in Budapest gained 10% by February 2016 and, as I said before, are still growing.

Did you consider other types of investments?

No, securities and currency require certain knowledge and luck, while real estate is something fundamental that will always have value. For example, the Ukrainian currency lost 3.5 times its value in two years. Property prices are not subject to such fluctuations.

What about commercial property?

It seems to me that commercial property requires more attention and personal time. Besides, it needs a completely different approach to choosing property and location as well as a bigger budget. Therefore, this option is not really interesting to me personally.

Do you plan on buying more residential property?

We want to see what comes out of our Budapest venture. We monitor the prices on real estate in Hungary and regularly communicate with friends and relatives who live there. We are generally happy with our purchase but we will see what comes out of it.

Ivan Chepizhko, Tranio

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    Marina Filichkina
    Head of Sales Tranio Thailand, Europe
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