The Hungarian Guide - Investing and retiring in Hungary

  • A stunning capital with unique setting A stunning capital with unique setting
  • walking and birdwatching paradise walking and birdwatching paradise
  • undisturbed nature rich in rare species undisturbed nature rich in rare species
  • enjoy the 144 mile lakeside cycle track enjoy the 144 mile lakeside cycle track
  • Teeming with History Teeming with History
  • over 300 Thermal Health Spas and warm lakes over 300 Thermal Health Spas and warm lakes
  • picturesque lakes with Carp weighing over 100 lb picturesque lakes with Carp weighing over 100 lb
  • Feast on delicious sunripened local fruit Feast on delicious sunripened local fruit
  • Lake Balaton gets as warm as the Caribbean in the summer Lake Balaton gets as warm as the Caribbean in the summer
  • Tranquil Lake Balaton Tranquil Lake Balaton
  • Lush rolling hills of western Hungary Lush rolling hills of western Hungary
  • buy a thatched cottage for under £30 000.. buy a thatched cottage for under £30 000..
  • horsemen and nature lovers paradise horsemen and nature lovers paradise
  • Europe's second largest freshwater lake Europe's second largest freshwater lake
  • A paradise for watersport enthusiasts A paradise for watersport enthusiasts
  • Tihany peninsula- a pearl of history and nature Tihany peninsula- a pearl of history and nature

Renovating a property

Many of us dream about living in self built home just like this couple (who chose to stay anonymous) did. In the UK they found it difficult to find the right property / plot and when they did the prices quoted were far too expensive. The high cost of labour and materials in the UK frustrated them even further. They decided to buy a camper van instead and as retirement approached they were considering touring Europe.
Here is a blog from her……
‘What a difference a day makes’ or so the saying goes!  And that is exactly what happened for us in February 2013 when we visited the Caravan and Motorhome  show at the NEC in Birmingham.  That was when we first met Steve Davies. We were looking for a Stand which sold televisions for our camper van when we ‘stumbled by accident’ across a stand which was promoting plots of land & properties for sale around Lake Balaton Hungary.  My husband and I had no intention what so ever of buying a house in Hungary, or planning a trip there in the near future but were intrigued so decided to check the stand out!  
Steve the man on the stand casually talked about properties around Lake Balaton and Hungary and about it being a perfect base to travel from and it being “Europe’s Hidden Jewel” with no hard sell or persuasion to buy.  The offer of Bed and Breakfast for 3 nights and one evening meal on their Viewing Trip for just £69 sounded appealing and an ideal opportunity to visit a country that we had never thought of before.  So, without hesitation, we agreed to go!    
We booked our flights for August 2013 because we had already got other commitments for the months in between.  However in the meantime, Steve invited us to meet with other Yorkshire based Hungarian property owners in March 2013 at a venue close to the motorway, which was a thoughtful consideration for those travelling a distance.  I did say to my husband that we should go because it will give us another insight as to who are the type of people who are buying out there and if it really is for us!  The meeting went well and we were introduced to some lovely people, who were all keen to say how pleased they were with buying property in Hungary.  
And so …….
In August 2013 we spent 3 very busy days/nights in Hungary, viewing plots and properties around Lake Balaton, taking into consideration the amount we wanted to spend initially and how much land we wanted with the house.  People from the estate agents, were more than happy to take us to wherever we wanted to go and to look at however many properties we wanted to.  When we first decided to go and check things out we had already decided to extend our time there by 3 more days so we could have a look around the area and the estate agent still continued to look after us with no pressure at all into buying. There were both English and Hungarian staff with us.  We were so impressed by their friendliness and willingness, to support us during our visit. The fact that at no point during our stay did we feel pressured at all, was so reassuring.    
During our visit in August, it was explained that property prices and plot prices vary depending on how close they are to the main tourist attraction which is Lake Balaton – situated approx 58 miles south west of Budapest. The nearer the lake the more expensive they are. We looked at about 12 different houses and plots which varied in price, from £12,000 with a few acres of land and a dwelling on it that needed a lot of renovating , to properties that were much closer to Lake Balaton in the region of £55,000+ that didn’t need much doing to them at all. A property with half an acre of land ready to move into with an outbuilding and small vineyard approx 30 mins drive from the main tourist attraction Lake Balaton  could be bought for £30,000.   
We fell in love with a property that was somewhere between the two extremes above –  a single storey house on a third of an acre of land with some outbuildings.  This was our ’dream house’!  We knew if we bought it, there would be a lot of work to be done and more money spent, to make it ‘our vision’ as we would like.  We came away from that trip saying we would think about it, as I was waiting for results of an MRI scan.  Again, there was no pressure whatsoever, to try and make a sale.  All we received from the people we had met was compassion and understanding of our situation and circumstances at that time.
In November 2013 we returned to Siofok near Lake Balaton, Hungary and met with the estate agents, who again looked after us brilliantly throughout our stay.  We bought our ‘dream home’ in a beautiful rural village, on the south side of the lake.  Whilst we were there, we met with the builder and project manager who would work with other tradesmen, on the renovation of our house.  We discussed our ideas with them and within a few weeks we were in touch by email regarding costs, plans and dates for when the work would begin.  
During 2014 we visited Hungary on 3 occasions to see how the work was progressing.  In August 2014 we were able to stay in our beautiful house, which had central heating, running water and a beautiful bathroom.    
All this has been possible because of the support we have had from Steve Davies, the Hungarian staff at the estate agency, an English couple who now live in Hungary and have become valued friends, Julie and Rob, Hazel and Steve and other English Hungarian property owners.  Of course not forgetting our Hungarian project manager Ishty, who without his patience, knowledge, skills of being able to speak and understand English, comprehend my emails and more so my humour, none of this would have even been imaginable!!  Ishty once said to me “Anything is possible” and he is so right!!      
In March 2015, my husband retired and we have spent most of 2015 over in Hungary, using our house as a base to travel to other countries, far and near, as well as take in all the beauty Hungary has to offer with Lake Balaton most definitely  ‘Europe’s Hidden Jewel!   What a difference that day made, when we first met Steve at the NEC, Birmingham!!   
Over the next few pages are some photos we have taken to show how ‘our vision’ has taken shape to become ‘a reality’ and our beautiful ‘dream house’ in such a short time!!!”  
This couple opted to undertake a major renovation project which was custom designed for their particular family’s needs. Having parents, children and grand children also keen to enjoy what Hungary has to offer they decided to renovate outbuildings and create garden areas perfect for outdoor living. Many families make modest changes whilst others do nothing at all. Properties can be found to suite most people’s requirements.
But let the pictures tell you this amazing story:
under renovation:
IMG_0844 IMG_0843
and finished: