Aug 25, 2011

Settling in to Budapest

Finally arranged your move to Budapest? Read these tips on settling in. Learn about setting up utilities with your landlord, handling tax payments on rent, furnishing your home, and finding staff to help with child care and cleaning. At Home Budapest Real Estate is committed to helping you settle in with ease. If you have additional questions, please send them along. Better yet, post them in the comments or on our Facebook page so that others may benefit from your inquiries.

You’ll want to stipulate details of the utilities in the preparation of your rental contract. Utilities usually remain in the name of the landlord and bills are mailed to the residence of either the landlord or the tenant. If the landlord receives bills and makes payments, tenants may either combine utility and rental payments or submit payment by a particular deadline as agreed with the landlord. If the bill is delivered to the residence of the tenants, the tenant is responsible for making payments directly to the utility company.

Utility payments are based on meter readings in the apartment and can be calculated in two ways:
1) Every month (within a few-day window), the tenant reports the meter reading to the utility company by e-mail or phone. Payment is then calculated based on usage in the given month.
2) The tenant pays an average monthly utility bill. Upon the end of their lease period, the meter reading is used to calculate actual usage. The tenant is either credited or debited the difference between actual usage charges and their payments during the lease period.

Ensure that your contract states:
-Who will pay utilities?
-If any fees are shared, how will they be calculated?
-What, if any deadlines are there in paying utilities?
-In whose name will the account be set up?

When paying directly to the utility company, the most convenient method is by arranging electronic, automatic withdrawals directly from your bank account. Electronic payments can also be made one-at-a-time. If you’re not comfortable with this option, you can bring your bill to any post office and submit payment there. Just head for the window that says “Pénzbefizetés” and be prepared to wait.

Renters generally do not have to pay VAT (ÁFA in Hungarian) on their rental payments; however property owners have the right to request VAT in addition to monthly rent. Every year, a landlord has the option to apply for a VAT number from the government. In this case, they will collect VAT from their tenants. In property advertisements, rental prices indicate when VAT must be paid. Buyers of newly built property are also subject to VAT.

As with any VAT payment, foreigners can claim reimbursement. Agreements between Hungary and particular countries dictate the repayment scheme; check with your embassy about VAT reimbursement rules in Hungary. All diplomats have the right to claim VAT. Typically, there is a minimum purchase value required.

When paying VAT, arrange in advance to receive an invoice with every payment. Store them in a safe place and bring them to the customs desk at the airport upon departure. 

Furnishing and Decorating
Once the administration is out of the way, it’s time to focus your attention on making your new house a home. For those seeking ease and a quick settling-in, there are loads of refined, modern and comfortable furnished apartments in Budapest.

If you’re eager to make your own mark on your home, or if you have the opportunity to take some furniture home with you after your stay in Hungary, then seek out the variety of furnishing and décor shops in the city. You can also find luxury furniture, art, jewelry and antiques in Budapest's auction houses.

See a list of auction houses in Budapest
See a list of furniture shops in Budapest

Arranging Childcare and Cleaning Services
Babysitting, Child Care
While daycare centers in offices are a rarity in Budapest, families have a variety of safe, reliable childcare options. For babysitters and nannies, ask for a recommendation from your child’s teacher or place an advertisement in the school’s newsletter or bulletin boards. Call some of the embassies and ask if they have a newsletter in which you could advertise your request. Head to a meeting of the International Women’s Club or the North American Women’s club and ask for personal recommendations. Finally, check popular expat forums and websites such as, and, and’s Marketplace. 

Cleaning Services
Ask for recommendations from your real estate agent, colleagues at your company or neighbors. Conduct an interview or (if communication is an issue) arrange for a trial day. Agree on:
-who pays for cleaning supplies?
-an hourly wage and schedule
-expectations of both you and the cleaning person

Still looking for property in Budapest? Contact At Home Budapest 

1 comment:

  1. I started using Electronic Payments a couple months ago and it really make everything easier to keep track off.