Location, location and location. The only three valid criteria for looking for the place to live – everything else can be fixed. This is valid probably to all countries except for Finland where land ownership and pretty hefty costs of repairs – not to mention the dreaded and expensive putkiremontti, aka go and eff yourselves for 3 months while we replace the water pipes in your building for no obvious reason – mean that you might, actually, give in after a while. But if you are looking for the gorgeous city apartment, try applying the following for narrowing down your search criteria:
– check locations along the tram line – the trams typically serve the once residential quarters which in today’s speak mean liveable places close to the centre and with decent traffic connections.
– check locations on the train line(s) – and by that I don’t mean the underground, look for the real, hardcore suburban train. You might find really interesting spots minutes from the city centre. The bus is for plebs and the underground smells of fat and pee.
– check locations close to the water – river, sea, fake lake. Just do, even when you don’t think you care that much. The current urban development trend is to build on anything solid, but you can still count on the fact that building on water surface remains technically… difficult.
– don’t look at the number of rooms, that is totally misleading. You can always divide or unite the space – and actually, even the number of square metres is for orientation purposes only. Look at the dispositions, the number and location of doors, etc.
– when you considering buying a place, enjoy a short meal or a coffee there. Ignore the looks of the estate agent or the owner, just, well, see how it feels to be there when you are relaxed and occupy your mind with something else than thoughts about the technical and financial questions. This might sound superstrange, and it kind of is unusual, I admit. Women take hours shopping for their wedding dress, so why should your rush buying a flat? Word of warning: when you chuckle at the tasteless colour scheme the previous tenant left the flat in, try not to be that loud.
– don’t lose hope. You can always rent – and wait. There are housing bubbles in many of European capitals. They will burst one day.