Planning to Buy a Dirt Cheap Romanian Village House? Learn from My Mistakes!

Living in a village in Romania comes with plenty of challenges. I know that since I have plenty of first-hand experience with village life in Romania.

Sometime in 2012, we have purchased an old house in a small village here in Romania, just 35 kilometers (22 miles) away from our city.

I was surfing the internet and stumbled upon this add from a person selling the house and a lot of land for just 5,000 Euros.

Even back then, this sounded like an amazing deal, the “once in a lifetime” opportunity. You can still buy very cheap houses in Romania, but there are things you should consider.

Especially when it comes to village life.

In other words, learn from our mistakes and prepare for what Romanian village life has to offer before you decide to act on your “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

We bought a house in Romania for 5,000 Euros!

Here’s how our 5,000 Euros house looked like:

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The main house and a 1982-made Dacia 1310. You don’t get to see a lot of those anymore!
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Small porch to enjoy the nature. I personally love those columns!
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A small front yard, perfect for Wife Romanian’s flowers
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Way to the back yard. No ideas what to do with this space 🙂
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The back of the house: the open barn and two more tiny rooms that we plan to use as storage. Oh, and another Dacia 1310!
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The back yard. It feels actually a bit bigger than it looks like here, but usually you could expect way more from a Romanian village house

Doesn’t really look like a dream house, right? Well, we are always able to see the potential, as we did when we bought our Romanian apartment and managed to turn it into our dream home.

Here is what the 5,000 Euros got us in Rural Romania:

– The house has two small rooms and a small hallway. We weren’t planning to live there long term, just visit over the weekends and during the summer, so it should be enough.

– Extremely important is the fact that it has a bathroom and a kitchen and running water. Most villages in Romania don’t have running water, and outhouses are the norm. Horrible!

– The electrical wires were all changed and updated, again something that you rarely get from a village house.

– It has a small basement and a huge attic.

– It has an open barn and two more tiny rooms at the back. In extreme circumstances, they could be turned into bedrooms, but we plan to use them as storage rooms because animals were grown there and getting the smell out would probably be too much of a challenge.

– The yard is not too big and unfortunately divided in two: a small area in front of the house where Wife Romanian has plans for a flower garden; and the back area where I plan to soon plant some veggies and start learning how to grow my own food.

All these things seemed OK when we bought it. There was a bit of work to be done, but nothing too bad.

Well… we were WRONG!

Looking back at our “too good to be true deal”, it wasn’t exactly that.

The running water? It was actually just a pipe coming up to the yard. The house itself wasn’t connected and doing so would’ve costed us a fortune.

The bathroom? Yes, there was a room, properly equipped with a toilet, sink and a nice looking bathtub. But apart from the fact that there was no running water, there was no sewage either.

We had to do that again, which would’ve costed more than the house itself.

Another amazing deal that we got with the house? 5,000 square meters (1.2 acres) of land on a nearby hill. Perfect for growing grape wines and earning a fortune.

Well… not really!

We were actually told by our neighbors that we can’t grow anything there because it’s where the villagers take their sheep and they would destroy anything.

Fencing the area would be one way to approach this, but we were also told that most likely the fence will be either destroyed by the villagers or stolen. Plus, it would also cost a little fortune.

Buying a cheap village house in Romania is risky

When we bought this house, both my wife and I were young and inexperienced. I had a dream of having this idyllic house in a village, being able to enjoy the silence over the weekend and relaxing… but no real life knowledge when it came to being able to spot problems.

Well… that didn’t happen.

Apart from the problems mentioned above, others popped up, like finding out that our house was actually providing accommodation to a large clan of rats; getting the neighbor whose cars you can see above was also a years-long process.

He was used to grow animals and crops there (because nobody had lived in the place for years), as well as deposit all his crap and whenever we told him to take everything away, he just shrugged telling us there’s no place to take them.

Plus, there are plenty of other problems when it comes to village life and I encourage you to check my article out when you’re done reading this one, as those problems alone can be a deal breaker for many.

The main lesson one should know about living in a Romanian village – or anywhere in the world, actually – is that if an offer seems to good to be true, there is a catch, most likely.

Close inspection of everything (from promised amenities to neighbors) is essential. Otherwise, you might run into plenty of unpleasant surprises.

It’s not always bad, fortunately. We had a reader share their amazing experience living in a Transylvanian village, and there are definitely great choices in Romania.

Just be careful with what you buy and make sure you’re ready for all the challenges. Or at least for those you can anticipate, because there will always be more challenges than you expect.

You can still buy a great cheap house in a Romanian village!

Our Village House - Featured
Our new village house

While our initial purchase was definitely a failure, we did not quit our dream of having a (functional) village house where we can relax every now and then.

Now, with more experience under our belts, we purchased a house in a different village. It’s closer to home, but most importantly, the house was move-in ready, had running water, sewers and everything else that we needed.

I wrote in depth about our new, dream village house in Romania (which still needed some love and care, but where we lived for months already).

How much did it cost us? 30,000 Euros. We fortunately managed to sell the first house (for a small profit, at 5,500 Euros!) to make things better.

Still cheap for a house, but not as dirt cheap as our first purchase.

The main rule here is that you can’t expect to pay nothing and get a ton in return, even in Romania.

While getting a 5k fixer-upper and investing 30k to really make it yours, and exactly as you want it, is probably going to be even better, as you do end up with a house that’s as perfect as possible, we simply didn’t have the time for that.

(And I still decided to make some renovations and changes – but that’s another story).

There are so many beautiful things about village life, things that I don’t get here in the city: the air is incredibly clean, the silence is amazing and you have nature all around you.

Birds chirping all the time, everything is extremely slow paced there, nobody is in a hurry and you feel a lot more relaxed.

Unless you’re really unlucky (as we were with the first dirt cheap house we got), your neighbors will be great, they will come over and help you with different chores, bring you all sorts of home-grown goodies (make sure to reciprocate – for some, a bottle of cooking oil, some flour and sugar can mean a lot!) and you will build true relationships.

Plus it gives one a chance to grow their own vegetables and fruit and work for their healthy harvest at the end of the summer – something that does require a lot of work, but is also very rewarding.

Bottom line

If you’re planning to “follow the dream” and get a house in a village in Romania, make sure to double check everything and NEVER trust what the seller is promising.

Test the water to see if it’s running, inspect anything and everything, make a list before you get there and talk to some neighbors too – maybe even take a trip to the city hall and learn more about the property itself.

There are many things that us, city folks, won’t even know to look out for. So always be prepared for challenges and problems.

But if this REALLY is your dream, kit can definitely become reality – even more so in Romania, where property prices are still cheap. I wrote about the best places to search for property in Romania here – make sure to give them a spin.

And after you do, after you’re past the challenges and unexpected twists, after the dust settles and you finally sit down on an old wooden chair on your house’s porch, taking it all in… then you will be truly happy.

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6 thoughts on “Planning to Buy a Dirt Cheap Romanian Village House? Learn from My Mistakes!”

  1. Hi there.
    You think i could live in a village like that one for around 500euros a month?
    Rent, food and all the other basic things.

    • I don’t really think it is possible, Mario. First and most important, nobody rents houses in villages (there is no demand and no offers) so you would have to buy. You could find something for around 10,000 Euros that is semi-decent and in this case it might be doable on 500 Euros per month, especially if you plan to grow your own vegetables and livestock. But if you’d have to pay health insurance, for example, that would cut your budget a lot. You would also need a car because there are just very small shops (usually overpriced) in villages, so you would not be able to have access to things that have to be refrigerated and such.

      Bottom line, I don’t think it is doable unless you are going to try to go for a very basic, strict and self-sustaining type of living.

  2. Interesting article. I actually did Romanian village life many years ago one summer. I am from the US so it was quite an adjustment as we stayed in a home with no running water and an outhouse in the yard (hole in ground). We had to walk to the village well to get water daily. Every evening at around 5pm, there was a traffic jam on the dirt streets, a traffic jam of cows literally coming home to their respective houses. The stench of outhouses and animals is a smell I still remember. Yet the warmth and love of the generous souls I met while there is something I’ll carry with me always. They gifted me with handmade lace doilies and other things to remember them by. I would have remembered them for a lifetime irregardless of the gifts. These people were truly precious and I’m grateful for my summer in a Romanian village.

    • Happy to hear that, despite the negatives, you left with good memories. The smell from outhouses is indeed terrible (especially during the summer) but fortunately more and more people have a regular toilet nowadays. But still a lot of improvement to be made here.

  3. It was interesting to read your opinion on the village house buying process in Romania. Are you still at your 30,000€ house? Was the house next to it sold? I was once involved in a village house purchase where I translated for a German buyer. Everything went well until after the transaction. Then a dispute came up as to who was supposed to pay the sales tax on the sale. The seller wanted us to pay it but the buyer said no. It made for some awkward moments as the seller moved out and the buyer moved in. The German buyer installed an electric pump to remove water that was accumulating in the basement. It was promptly stolen while he was away in Germany.

    • Hello Stuart,

      Yes, we still have the “new” village house and the same neighbors. They did some minor repairs to their house (previously destroyed by a fire) but their situation is very complex at the moment.

      Stealing is indeed one of the biggest potential problems in Romanian villages, which is now a bit easier to prevent by installing video cameras (but these come with extra costs and still won’t offer 100% safety).


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