Flat Hunting Adventure in Bucharest

Hunting a flat in a new town can be both frustrating and exciting. Arriving to Bucharest on a warm summer day, I entered my shared dorm room near the university. I don’t mind sharing my space, but I do get the itch to have my own space every once in a while. Some friends told me flats are cheap to rent in Bucharest, all you needed to have was a good broker.

And so, the adventure of flat hunting in Bucharest begins.

(Spoiler: I never got a flat in the end and stayed at my dorm room, but I think these stories are too funny to be kept for myself.)

A flat please!
I pissed off a flat owner

Yes. I did piss off a flat owner. I found a broker who found me a flat in the centre of town, not too far from the university. The location was perfect. I just needed to see the flat and seal the deal. I couldn’t believe I already got a flat after the first appointment!

The broker called me endlessly while I was still in class. I rushed after the class, took the metro, got of the wrong stop, got on the metro again, took the wrong exit (LIKE SERIOUSLY?!) and I was happy that I was only 20 minutes late. I finally met my broker, a lady in her mid 40s who looked elegant in her suit, she greeted me and said the worst thing a flat hunter could possibly hear “The owner is very angry that we are late…I’ll try calling him..”.

Minutes later as I gave her a look of despair and hopelessness, “No, he is very angry, he doesn’t want to see you”.

Yikes. Oops. There goes my cute flat in the centre of the city.

The Romanian guy who spoke little English, little German, little Italian…

So my hardworking broker got me another deal. The place was a little bit far from the centre, “but that’s ok, it’s near the metro station” she convinced me. She told me she was out of town, or her daughter came, or whatever the reason was (I think she was secretly still pissed at me for pissing the last owner off) so I was told to directly meet the owner.

I took two of my friends, one will share the flat with me. We took the metro, waited outside for a while and no one came. After a few minutes a guy in an old car came. He asked my name (it was easy to spot us, “find the three foreigners standing in front of the metro station looking lost”).

We shook hands, introduced ourselves, though he only responded with an unconvinced nod then he took the three of us into his car. It was probably not a good idea to trust a stranger and get into his car, but I needed a flat!

In the car he spoke Romanian, which none of us understood. I asked “English?”, he said only a little. “French?”, he shook his head. “Spanish?”, he shook his head. “Italian? German?”, he paused and made a sign with his fingers showing he knew a little. Then he started speaking in an amazing hybrid of languages, mixing German, English and Italian. It was TOO funny because no one understood him, not even sure if he understood himself as he started to laugh too.

We looked at his flat. Between the languages he tried to speak, what I think I got was the guy was recently divorced and he will live on the first floor, while I get the second floor. It was not the perfect arrangement, the flat itself was also not great. I decided to say no.

Still in his hybrid language he tried convincing me, then he gave up, called my broker in Romanian. He soon gave the phone to me, my broker spoke in English translating him, then I spoke in English giving my side of the argument, then the phone was given to the owner so my broker could translate in Romanian – it was like this for at least 30 minutes!

At the end he understood that I didn’t want his flat. Still, he smiled and took us back to the metro station. He was really a nice guy and waved at us while he drove away. It was a very adventurous day!

During the week, my initial broker told me I was now a client of her friend as she had some things to do. Her broker friend was actually a very cute Romanian guy – who was a student of the same university as me, who was also living in the same dorm area as me! Hah! Apparently the broker job was his summer job (as he told me while walking from the metro station to our dorm, wink wink). At the end he couldn’t find me a deal, so a (guy) friend recommended me a “very nice” broker. He means, she’s cute and pretty and sexy.

The lost broker

Seriously, if you’re a broker and showing a client a house, the least you can do is to know the location of the place. This time around I took my friends, both guys, one was the one who recommended me this very nice broker.

We met, I was not surprised my friend called her “very nice” – she was petite, pretty with a nice smile. She said she has the perfect flat in the perfect neighbourhood. We met at a metro station and took the taxi. In the taxi, she was not sure where she was going so she asked the driver in Romanian. We went round and round, and finally found the neighbourhood she wanted. “It’s very near here” she said as we walked between the bushes of someone’s front garden (I’m sure we were trespassing unintentionally).

30 minutes later, we still couldn’t find the flat.

45 minutes later, she asked my friend if he had Google Maps on his phone.

An hour later she said, “Why don’t we take a break and have a beer”.

SERIOUSLY? (My friends nodded enthusiastically while I gave them the “we-are-not-drinking-beer-with-this-pretty-broker-before-I-get-my-damn-flat” face).

Some minutes later (I lost count), I was tired and hungry and was not in the mood to find a flat anymore. She FINALLY found the flat. It was cozy and cute. I loved it. I said yes and will pay tomorrow.

Tomorrow came, my broker called me and said the owner increased the price of the flat by 50%.

No thanks.

Oh Bucharest!

Finding a flat in Bucharest was a definite challenge for me. My friend, on the other hand, seemed to found his flat in a matter of second. Bad luck? I guess I was just meant to stay at the extraordinary dorm in my university complex (which I guess was not super bad). I love these stories and always find myself smiling when I think back at them.

Have you ever had a funny/annoying story on flat hunting, especially in Bucharest? Share them with me!

29 Comment

  1. Aaahh flat hunting … I remember when I did my flat hunting in Singapore, as I had to move 3 times during my time there! Lol …

    1. I know in Singapore is quite hard to fin a flat as I found out from my sister, did you have any weird experience like me though?

      1. Not as weird as u were … It’s just a normal flat hunting experience haha!
        I think u were meant to stay in your dorm at that time 😉

        1. The dorm experience is probably another blog post in itself muahahaha

          1. I think it’s going to be a blog post series, not enough for one blog post only! lol …

  2. Sorry you had bad luck with your flat hunt. It can be tricky sometimes but it seems the universe really didn’t want that to happen for you. I mean who raises the rent 50% after you view it? that’s just rude and greedy.

    1. It was a fun adventure to sum it all up 😉 yea they raised it because they knew we came with Euro! Sad truth!

  3. These are such funny and random flat hunting stories! Sorry you didn’t find anywhere and stayed in the dorm, but at least you always smile when you think back to your flat finding adventures, even if they were doomed to fail!

    1. I never thought I would have such interesting experience, it was my first time hunting a flat! Hope next time I look for a flat I don’t fail so much LOL!

  4. Haha, I live in Bucharest and as I bought an apartment last summer, I can confirm it can be quite a challenge. There were times where I felt like screaming “this is NOT what 40 square meters look like!” or “IS THIS A KITCHEN FOR HUMANS OR DWARVES?!”. I also met with a pretty broker who seemed to be lost. I wonder if it was the same one 🙂

    1. Congratulations! I know it’s a very tiring effort to be able to say you own a flat in Bucharest. Hmm, I wander if it’s the same broker, I can never forget her face 🙂

  5. After flat hunting in London more times than I’d like to remember I feel your pain! I must have seen so many places that were completely different to the description, and in some cases the photos. Makes for good stories though, and hope you have better luck next time!

    1. Oh the photos! I almost forgot about those. Most of the photos looked absolutely horrible and most of the places I looked at didn’t even have a decent picture! I hope to have more luck in the future 😉

  6. Funny story indeed! I’ve never had to search for a flat in a foreign country before. At least you searched with humour.

    1. Well Andrea, I had to keep my heart light with a high sense of humour otherwise I would be very pissed :))

  7. Too funny! I hate searching for apartments even in the U.S. (but seem to be doing it every year since I move around so much!) I imagine it’s much trickier in Romania!

    1. So much trickier that’s true especially when I didn’t know the language and only needed to stay for several months 😉

  8. I laughed aloud when I read the bit about the angry flat owner. His loss!

    1. Haha I know his loss (and mine :p as his flat was really pretty, from the pics anyway!)

  9. tough luck with the flats yeah. but the last one was really classic. take a break and have a beer before she done her deal. Hahaha… Now you know what a guy means when they say the girl is very nice! 😀

    1. Boys will be boys huh?! Should never take two boys for a flat hunt with a pretty broker 😉

  10. I love that he tried to speak in a hybrid of languages. That’s pretty much me anywhere. I actually spoke Spanish when in Italy one time. It just seemed natural at the time.

    1. Haha it’s funny what happens in moments of desperation but at least he tried his best!

  11. Hilarious! Gotta love a broker who knows when it’s time to take a break a get a beer. Well, you might not have found a flat, but it gave you a great story to share with the rest of us.

    1. My moment of disappointment only lasted a few minutes as I had these funny stories pocketed! Honestly, I was only half annoyed at the broker who offered a break and beer!

  12. This is entirely too funny, because everyone, myself included, is writing similar posts for places like NYC, where finding the right apartment is like finding your soulmate, i.e. a very hard task 🙂 never knew it would be so “adventurous” to find one in my hometown, Bucharest, but then again, I am not surprised either 🙂

    1. Oh I have so many funny stories while I lived in Bucharest, so far it’s one of the highlights of my life! However these stories are definitely the funniest out of them all 🙂 glad you enjoyed them Monica!

  13. It’s nice to see that you’re not sugar-coating your experience. Not everything about travel is glamorous. I’ve had my share of adventures when renting apartment – they always make for good stories a while later. 🙂

    1. That’s so true Pola! Not everything about travel is glamourous, but sometimes it’s those experiences that stick to my head!

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