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Holidays on the Adriatic: this client bought a sea-view flat in Montenegro

A second home in Montenegro is very affordable

Tranio client Eugenia bought herself a piece of paradise along the Adriatic so she would always have somewhere to go on holidays. In this interview, she told us how she gets along with locals and how having an agent can come in handy even after the sale.

— Eugenia, when did you first go to Montenegro and why did you choose to buy property there?

— I first went to Montenegro in 2013 and by then, I was already thinking about buying an apartment. I’d only heard good things about the country, the nature and climate, because the previous years I’d been to Croatia, which is just next door.

Then, in 2013, I stayed in Becici (Montenegro), went on several trips and walked along the coast to Budva several times. I liked the country a lot and started to make preparations to buy property there in 2014. It all worked out as planned.

— Why did you choose Budva?

— The terrain is relatively flat in Budva: residential blocks gradually rise up away from the bay, unlike other towns on the coast, where the incline is pretty steep — straight up from the coast. I have little grandchildren and I thought that it would be better for them. The infrastructure in Budva is good as well.

The best infrastructure on the coast in Montenegro is in Budva

— How did you find suitable property?

— I started by looking online, then one of my relatives, head of a real estate brokerage, advised me to contact Tranio. Your manager, Natalia Latikova, instantly sent me essential information about several apartments in Budva and we discussed a number of options with Tranio’s partner agency in Montenegro.

When I flew in for viewings, an agency manager met me and we visited the Budva Riviera and towns around the Bay of Kotor. When I was in Moscow, I picked about ten apartments, one of those I eventually bought.

I really liked the attention that Tranio’s partner paid to my request. I liked one apartment in Petrovac, but the manager told me a house was going to be built and block the view to the sea, so I decided not to go with that option. My house in Budva is located on a hill so nothing can block the view over the sea and the town.

— What were you looking for in a flat?

— I have a big family — three kids and grandkids — so I wanted a place where at least two families could comfortably stay at the same time. That is why I was looking for a two-bedroom apartment. My flat also has a kitchen/living room and a terrace. The building is new, but the previous owner did not use the apartment, so I got it undecorated. The private garden hasn’t really been landscaped because the building is in a new district. However, when all the work is done, I am sure it will be very beautiful here.

— Tell us how did you straighten up the apartment? Did you manage the process remotely?

— Tranio’s partner helped me sort out minor renovations and furnish the place. The manager took me around the local shops and I ordered everything all the basics, furniture and kitchen cabinets. It took two weeks to put everything in order, get the wiring done, tile the kitchen, etc. The agency also helped us organise the maintenance. We made a service contract: once a month their representative visits the place, airs the rooms, checks electric appliances, pays the bills and sends me a report via email.

— Does that mean it’s hard to get by without help if you don’t speak the language?

— Not necessarily. Once I saw an ad for a fireplace and decided to go to the shop and pre-order. I used Russian, English and gestures but they understood me all right. However, when the fireplace wasn’t delivered on time, I had to call the place to find out what happened. Gestures don’t work on the phone, naturally, but I found a way: I went to the nearest shop where employees spoke Russian and Montenegrin. They helped me to work things out. People here are very pleasant and friendly.

— Why did you need a fireplace? Was it cold in the apartment?

— No, it was more for decoration, I haven’t used it since. Winters in Montenegro are warm in comparison to home: in December 2014 it was +20°C there. I got electric radiators put in the bedrooms that I turn on for one night when I arrive to get rid of the humidity. After that, I don’t need them. I haven’t seen it get very cold in Budva yet.

Winter on the Adriatic coast is mild, up to +20ºС in December

— How much do utility bills cost?

— I have lived there for two and a half months in total. Utilities in Montenegro are paid on a strictly per meter basis, there are no recurring fees, so the only expenses in my absence are internet bills (€6 per month if I’m not there, €15 if I am). Maintenance services from the agency cost me about €430, and then about €600 for utilities.

— Have there been any unpleasant surprises since you bought the flat?

— There was a slight “speedbump”. I bought the apartment in July, and in September my friends went to stay there. They called me and said: “Your wall is drenched”. The thing is that my apartment is on the second last floor. There’s an attic with an open balcony above it. Turned out that the drainpipes were blocked and after heavy rain, water got into the apartment. It ended well, though: the developer solved the problem (sent people to fix the drainage) and compensated me for the damage — after the wall dried, they painted it.

Marina Filichkina Marina Filichkina,
director of sales at Tranio

Guarantees from the developer are one of the advantages of buying new property overseas — it says developers are liable and must fix defects and damages during a certain time after the building is completed. The term varies from 5 to 15 years, depending on the developer and is set in a contract. The same contract states what defects and damages are covered by the guarantee, as well as terms and conditions for fixing them.

Generally, the following is not included:

— wear and tear and defects connected with the useful life of the building.
— unintended use of common areas and property.
— improper installation and usage of electric appliances and plumbing.
— failure of heating systems, water pipes and sewerage, occurred at the fault of the buyer and/or third persons.
— unintended use of apartment.

— How often do you manage to come to Montenegro? What do you usually do on holiday?

— I was only there three times in 2015. My favourite pastime is walking along the coast, the whole Budva Bay to Becici and Rafailovici, every morning. It’s at least 11km on foot. It is a great pleasure for me — just walking and enjoying the sea. Besides that, I take all my guests to the mountains to see river canyons. They are incredibly beautiful places.

I like that in Budva the atmosphere is very cosy and neighbourly. People greet each other when they go outside. I have already gotten famous among neighbours with my pies and made friends with the owner of the local appliance shop, even if we don’t speak the same language, yet.

A great pleasure — just walking and enjoying the sea

— Could you move there permanently?

— No, not yet, I like it here in Moscow, my family and friends are here, but I definitely come and go from Montenegro with equal pleasure.

Anna Bugaeva, Tranio