How to find an apartment in Gdansk

Originally, I had a series of 6 posts on how to find an apartment in Gdansk. For the sake of simplicity, I merged them into a single one.

Honestly, there is no magic trick. It’s a messy process. Especially when you are not established yet nor have any contacts there. 

Published on: May 24, 2016 @ 00:48
Apartment I
For the past week, I have been looking for apartments in Gdansk (online). 
I joined a Facebook group where current medicine students share the apartments that will be available during this summer.
Most of the apartments published are very central. However, I was a bit shocked at the rental prices. A 35-50 m2 apartment is between 2000-2500 PLN. Depending on the deal you can get it with or without the other bills (electricity + internet + water) included. 
Right now I think I will be better off living alone. I have never lived alone before and I’d love to be living by myself from now on. As they say it ‘My house my rules.’. That would be the best case scenario. It would give me a whole new level of comfort and privacy. Not to talk about the visit of friends or family.
However, I must be realistic and accept the fact that sharing an apartment also has its advantages. Mostly the cut in living expenses.
The big question is whether I want to live very central and pay more or not. The university dorms are not an option for me because one must share a room with another person. Not suitable for me.
I have decided that I am willing to live up to 20-30 minutes away by tram (direct connection) from MUG’s campus. As long I have good connections to the centre and a couple of grocery stores nearby I should be good. 
Agnieszka (a friend I made when I visited Gdansk before) has given me the name of a couple of regions/areas in Gdansk that might be more affordable to rent and still pretty well connected to the centre of the city. Hopefully, I will be able to rent an apartment over 40 m2 for a maximum of 2200 PLN including all the other bills. If I’m lucky I guess.
The whole apartment thing would make me write all night long if I were to make a note of all my thoughts regarding it. After all, I should recall that one can’t control all the variables in such situations. So I better let some of it happen by itself and not overthink every single step. 
I am pretty sure I will have to travel to Gdansk for a couple of days in order to fix my accommodation from the beginning of September. 
I promise that I will keep you updated on the situation. 

Published on: Jul 25, 2016 @ 23:08
Apartment II
Over the last weeks, I have been doing some simple maths. The numbers I am getting do not seem reasonable to me. Perhaps they are. Just not for my wallet.
The apartments (1 bedroom) I’ve found thus far cost an average of 2200 PLN per month (without any extra costs included). In Poland, they have something called administrative costs which vary greatly from one flat to another, and usually one must pay electricity, water and gas according to consumption. Not to mention the internet. 
One can find cheaper deals but always with a catch. Either the location or the standard of the apartment/building. 
Let’s say I go for a 1 bedroom apartment to live by myself. It will cost me somewhere between 2600-3000 PLN. Without any food, clothes, tram tickets, books, etc.
These numbers seem a little extreme to me. Especially when living in Poland. A fixed cost of living in that range would give me a little margin to cover all the other expenses.
What’s the best way to cut the rental cost by 50%? Sharing the apartment with someone else.
It happens that Matilde, my study partner for the entrance exams, is also heading to Gdansk to study medicine. She called me some days ago and we agreed to look for a 2 bedroom apartment. 
Besides cutting the bill by half I think it can be actually nice to live with someone who I get along with. 
Studying will consume so much of our time anyway.
So yeah. I am very positive to be sharing an apartment with Matilde. 
I am travelling to Gdansk on Thursday, the 28th of July, in order to visit some apartments. I’ll give you an update on the situation as soon as I have any news.

Published on: Jul 27, 2016 @ 23:46

Apartment III
Today’s morning was spent at the Espresso House with a Polish friend of mine. While I was drinking coffee and a mango&ginger smoothie, which was absolutely delicious, she was calling all the people who posted apartments to rent in Gdansk. 
A couple of agents have already tried to trick me with extra fees/charges. Annoying. Some say their agency charges 1-month rent in commission if I make a deal with them.  

In the meanwhile, I have talked to some Polish people and apparently, this is not the rule. Agencies usually charge the owner/landlord of the apartment. Not the client. But since you are a foreigner and don’t even speak the language… Why not try to get some extra money? 

The interesting part is that nobody mentions such commissions on the phone. They only write about it via email. 

So if you are looking for an apartment in Gdansk make sure you don’t fall into such a trap. 

Moving on… The areas I am focusing on are called Focha and Old Town. The former is located 10-15 minutes away from the medical campus – sort of behind it – and the latter is basically the city centre.  

If everything goes according to plan I will have someone showing me as many apartments as possible during the next days. 
I will probably meet 3 different agents/owners in total. 
I think it will all come down to the apartment features. Matilde and I would like an apartment with 2 big bedrooms (which is hard to find). Even if that means sacrificing space in the kitchen or living room. Good standard. A functional and somewhat modern kitchen is a plus. Preferably with some sunlight and close to public transportation. 
Tomorrow will be a long day. I will be on my own during the trip. So I will ask to film the apartments and send the videos to my friend via WhatsApp. Later on, we’ll talk about it and decide which apartment we will go for. 
Good luck to us!

Published on: Aug 2, 2016 @ 23:06

Apartment IV

I am back from the trip to Gdansk. 
The last days were really warm there. I can’t recall a day of my life in Norway when I sweated as much as I did the past few days.
I visited 5 apartments. 3 in Focha and 2 in Old Town. 
After discussing all the options with my future flatmate we have decided to live in Old Town during our first-year. 
I have not closed a deal with the owner yet because I wasn’t able to see the apartment. Only from the outside. She had rented it out to tourists through an agency. Therefore she couldn’t show me the apartment unless nobody was inside.
However, she showed me pictures and informed me about all the details regarding our future deal. 
We will not have to pay rent during the summer. A storage room will be provided and we can leave our belongings there until we come back for the next school year. 
In addition, the apartment is fully equipped. So no need to buy furniture.
If everything goes according to plan I will receive a video of the apartment tomorrow and based on it we can accept or reject the offer. Hopefully, we will like it and then we will call the owner and negotiate everything. Price, the takeover date, etc. Everything goes through my contact in Poland – a young lady who helps international students find apartments and talks to the owners. 
The first 2 days of the trip were quite stressful as I had to literally run from point to point in the city. The last 2 were way more relaxed and actually a lot more fun since I met a couple of cool travellers. 
I guess I will have more info on the apartment by tomorrow night. 
Fingers crossed!

Published on: Aug 9, 2016 @ 00:28

Apartment V

The video was received the day after just as promised. And it was disappointing. 

The common area – which is only the kitchen since the total size of the apartment is 50 m2 – seems so small. The bedrooms look nice though. 

However, I think I can get a much better apartment in that price range – 3200 PLN. So this one is a no go. 

This afternoon I contacted one of the agents who showed me a beautiful apartment also in Old Town. There we would have to pay 3600 PLN per month but the apartment has 67 m2. It has 2 bedrooms which do not stand side by side, a separate kitchen and a separate living room. Great! 

The deal is about to be closed but there is a small detail that we haven’t agreed upon yet. So we will keep on waiting. 

Patience is a necessary tool in these situations. So no rush.
I would love to be done with the apartment hunt as soon as possible but things not always go the way I want them to go. I just have to accept that. 

Published on: Aug 9, 2016 @ 13:31
Apartment VI
I’ve come to the conclusion that one bird in the hand is better than ten flying. 
The contract is being prepared as we speak – or so I believe. Our agent works for Dom&House in Gdansk (you can find it easily on Google) at the Szafarnia office.
These are the terms.
  • Monthly rent: 3600 PLN (all the costs included).
  • Deposit: 2500 PLN.
  • Agency commission: 2300 PLN.
The commission is the most difficult part for me to swallow. So much money for nothing. But we believe the apartment is worth the investment. It’s a really nice apartment! 
Luckily, we are two students sharing the costs so the burden is cut in half.

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