posted March 13, 2014 in category Living in Wroclaw
Destination: Wroclaw! New job, studies maybe? Well, you have to find accommodation. How to deal with this problem in a strange city and foreign language? Here is the whole truth (or the half of it) on flat searching in Wroclaw.
Where to start?
Starting with the most popular web browser is the obvious choice. You can do it on your own or ask experts for their assistance. Majority of foreigners who start working or studying in Wroclaw relies on Facebook and newsgroups, as you can always count on some helpful tips there. Probably you know it by now, but you should check Gumtree.pl and Tablica.pl, as these are the most common advert portals, and you can find some offers in English there. Chaotic? You can post also your own advert and wait for landlords to contact you. What’s next? How does the whole procedure look like? What to expect?
I am looking for a flat in Wroclaw - how it really looks like
Experienced searchers have a lot to say about the topic, but what you usually hear is that you should count on good luck. It is easy if you know exactly what you are looking for, which part of Wroclaw you want to live in, and you have a specific flat in mind. Then you just call, make an appointment, and show up with the set of documents and the security deposit in your wallet. Unfortunately, this is not what usually happens.
The reality is that you go through hundreds of adverts; spend a day on the phone just to show up on a ‘beauty parade’ - provided you know how to read the map.
Even if you are willing to live in an average standard apartment located in some god-forsaken suburbs, and pay 1.5 of your salary for it, it may not be enough. First of all, you need an official approval of your future flatmates. Remember: it is the ‘apartment’ that is looking for YOU, not the other way round!
Here is the next chapter of this story: you’ll be made to sit down on somebody else’s couch, you’ll answer all the questions about your job, origin, weekend travels, wake-up hours, and how often you plan to have guests of opposite sex. You’ll do that just to be sent-off with a job interview-like line: Thank you; we’ll get back to you next week. (This is a true story, I actually won the casting, but fortunately, I could turn down the offer).
New apartment: how to?
The more questions you ask before actually visiting the place, the smaller the risk of disappointment. Make sure to check whether your flatmates will not be bothered by your lifestyle. And don’t pretend that you are willing to adjust to their rules, if you think they are irrational. Sometimes the first thing you learn about the ‘social rules’ is that bedtime means quiet time, and guests are not allowed in the apartment (yes, I heard something like that) - just ask about everything at the very beginning.
A smart way of flat renting is if YOU rent the whole apartment yourself, and then look for flatmates – as the chairman of the flat jury. If you are already browsing the Internet, make sure to visit newsgroups and forums. Flatmatefinder is a good example of such – just post who you are looking for, and where and with whom you want to live.
Range of choice
You should be prepared to choose between the so-called large-panel block of flat and a tenement-house. It is possible to find flats for rent in newly constructed buildings - the prices do not differ that much - but the location may be a problem (far from the city center). New apartment blocks are usually situated in the suburbs, or in parts of Wroclaw with more difficult access to the center.
What do you really need to know? A tenement-house usually costs more: the heating may be electric or gas. On the other hand, these types of apartments are more spacious, nicer and quiet. Block of flat - although warmer and cheaper - is your chance for a closer encounter with your neighbors. So you can count on the traditional and very Polish sound of mashing cutlets for Sunday dinner, and you can repay by waking them brutally up while trying to get home after the late-night party.
Block of flats definitely has a unique atmosphere - the one that’s worth experiencing. I strongly advise you to visit Popowice - the district where pensioners and students get on like a house on fire with one another. A lot of green areas, you shop with your slippers on (just like everybody else), the post office is probably in the neighboring building, next to the hairdresser shop, or the kindergarten. In addition to that, the nearest pub with Czech beer is a 3-min walk (in the same slippers) away, and all the trams which pass by your building go straight to the city center.
There is one more possibility: you can have a separate apartment in a detached house. There are such offers for housings located in Karłowice, near the Faculty of Social Sciences of Wroclaw University, and in the vicinity of Psie Pole. You can rent your own place, with a private bathroom, kitchen, and access. The landlords aren’t usually a problem, so it may be a good idea, if you don’t mind living far from the Main Square.
Looking for housing to rent is always stressful, and if you need to deal with this problem in a foreign country, the best you can do is ask your friends for help and tips. And, well… what are we here for? Each of us took part in the flatmate ‘casting’ procedure repeatedly, we gathered the ‘living experience’ for probably all possible Wroclaw’s locations, and if we were to tell all our stories about the landlords, we would probably get Polityka’s Passport Prize or at least a nomination for Nike award for a fine piece of adventure fiction. We know the real estate market inside out, and we understand how you feel when you start your life in a stranger country. We are also experts on Wroclaw’s social life, so let us introduce you to it!
So, how does searching for an apartment with RentingZone.pl sound like?
Author: Katarzyna Bugryn