a rich history from before the communist days with beautiful architecture.
But what really
won our hearts over are the Spas, a great way to stay and/or get well.
Spas are a
naturally ingrained health tradition in Slovakia.
are highly trained, actually so are most people we met, being engineers,
chemists, doctors, since education was free for everybody in the communist
to solving health problems is a natural and more sustainable one. Instead
of chemical medication, one goes to a Spa and spends a few days or weeks
depending on your health problem. Every Spa has a specialty: like skin,
heart or respiratory problems. Prices which include room, board and treatments
are very affordable indeed.
What a great
way to stay or get well again, this together with the clean air and beautiful
surroundings of the locations of the Spa, the body and mind gets an enormous
health boost. After spending a day in a Spa we felt this would be a great
country to settle.
will convert to the euro currency in 3 years, so prices are sure to go
up. Slovakia has the fastest economic growth in Europe, exceeding
expectations, despite the general European slowdown.
from a shortage of properties - there are 359 properties for every 1,000
inhabitants; which, after exclusion of cottages, vacation houses (i.e.
properties not suitable for year round residency) and uninhabitable properties,
means just 317 housing units for 1,000 inhabitants.
number of properties in Europe is 400 per 1,000 inhabitants. Slovakia's
long term plan is to achieve the European average.
current new housing construction of 12-13,000 new properties a year, it
would take more than 20 years to achieve this goal. At present there is
a shortage of over 220,000 housing units and also number of existing properties
(from the communist days) will become uninhabitable in the medium to long
property market continues to offer some of Europe's best opportunities
with low prices and healthy and solid growth (for the right type of property
in the right area). And, of one thing you can be sure: as virtually all
property sales are sold to locals, and 95% are owner occupiers in their
(family) apartment or house, so you will always be able to sell your property
on to a Slovak buyer, ensuring a safe exit.
real estate agents are a relative new phenomena, since people are used
to selling and buying their property by themselves, which is also a factor
that is making prices more than reasonable. But of course the language
is a barrier.
So far finding
an English speaking agent has been an exception, especially in area's that
are not too touristy yet, like the mid south western part, near the Hungarian
Levice we ran into a perfectly English speaking real estate agent, not
too eager, but very pleasant who had some houses that might be of interest
We found a
small white L-shaped farm with 5000 m2 land with a well, un interrupted
view on forested mountains, including a piece of forest that caught our
interest. However it had no modern heating or plumbing. But nothing beats
the charm of an old farm house with stone walls 60 cm thick and old beams,
situated in a small village of 100 people and on the Route Magistrala (an
international hiking route that goes through Slovakia and with the prospect
of a ski lift in the near future, we got even more interested.
It was situated
16 km from historic tourist places like Banska Stiavinica and in a UNESCO
world heritage protected area, making it an very interesting property with
investment potential well worthy of further investigate.
Of course we
were unsure about the general condition of the house, but a contractor
was happy to come with us the next day and made a very detailed quote and
description of the labour and time involved. We were constantly pleasantly
surprised by the "yes" attitude we encountered with everything and
every question we had, even by civil servants our questions were immediately
taken and dealt with seriously, an attitude so unlike we encountered in
countries like France.
in Slovakia are in good shape and the cost of renovation is very do-able.
The average labour cost is (still) very low compared to other EU-countries.
Bureaucracy has been almost not existent so far. After the quote we got,
we decided to buy and our offer was accepted. We paid a small deposit,
the same day we went to the notary, paid a small fee and signed all the
papers with the real-estate agent. He took care of the paperwork with the
Kadaster for a small fee (the seller pays all costs) and 2 weeks
later we got the officially signed and stamped papers in our mail. The
smoothest sale we could imagine.