Posted by: tabliope | October 20, 2009

House hunting in Athens: a guide

Abridged version: to get the same effect without wasting time flying to Athens just stand in the middle of Picadilly Circus and throw vast amounts of money around whilst trying to have a conversation with someone who is using two mobile phones simultaneously. 

Abridged version No 2: Don't bother.  Stay at home under the duvet and eat crisps.

Abridged version No 3. Expect to shout a lot.

If you insist on going ahead with this then consider the following:

1. You will be shown properties that just about match the criteria that you set out to the agent. The bit that doesn't match will be any or all of the following: size of property; location; price; bathroom last modernised in 1972; kitchen modernised in Victorian age; balcony overlooking railway line.

2. Expect to be shown properties by 2 agents who will be haggling over the commission plus the landlord, his children, his wife, his mistress and quite possible his mother-in-law and several distant relatives who thought it might be a good day out.  Someone will point out various features and then the entire retinue will repeat the said feature in turn.  For instance; door, window, cupboard, bath, tiles and so forth.

3. The rent that has been quoted bears so little relationship to reality that it's quite probably defying the laws of physics.

4. No one, particularly the landlord, will have any idea about the maintenance costs or whether there is local taxation but it will ensue several hours of telephone calls and shouting.

5. At the point that you start to despair the agent will take you to an almost perfect apartment.

6. At this point they tell you that the landlord will do a special deal but you have to take wheelbarrows of money to various people from the president of Greece down to the local street sweeper.  You demur and suggest that you'd just prefer to pay the rent in the normal fashion and banks don't frighten you.

7.  Everyone is horrified by the idea that you want to use a bank account and explain that the landlord cannot conduct business in this way.

8.  After several hours of phone calls the landlord will accept that you want to pay rent in a conventional manner but he insists that the deposit is paid in cash on the table before you leave the country.  You go through pointless explanations about bank accounts. 

I'm not sure how this ends – we are off to a secret location tomorrow with a large amount of cash.  Watch this space.



  1. [this is good] You!  You give foreigners a bad name ;)  Imagine insisting on doing everything above-board…. Glad you’ve found somewhere lovely.  Can’t wait to hear more about it.

  2. You do realise that this is what every single transaction will be like once you move there, from buying a packet of gum to using the pay toilets?

  3. I’ve had to have a little lie-down after just reading that. Good luck on your mission tomorrow.

  4. At least you’ll have lots to keep you occupied when you move there…

  5. At least all that ended with a nearly perfect apartment and excellent blogging material.

  6. Sounds absolutely exhausting.  The landlords for my holiday apartment, on the other hand, had no problem at all with bank accounts – although I did have to transfer over 50% of the rent for the fortnight about a month before the holiday. 
    Good luck!

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