Since June 10, 2020 we are the proud owners of a village house in Southwestern Romania, in the Oltenia region of the country. We actually moved with the intention of spending the summer and as much of the fall as possible.
Today, I am here to tell you everything about this village house. And why it differs from my generally poor opinion about villages in Romania. Plus all the other details that you want to know (or not).
When it comes to rural Romania, people usually look at the very popular areas in the country. A Transylvanian village, or maybe one in Maramures… there are definitely better known regions than Oltenia.
Regular readers of this blog already know that we had a failed attempt at owning a house in a village here in Oltenia already. So why try it again if things didn’t work well the first time?
Well, the situation in the world has changed entirely, we learned from our mistakes and this time we knew what we were doing.
I started scouring the market since February and I was patient, analyzing all our options. We did visit a ton of places in different areas and eventually ended up here.
This is not the ideal place for sure as it doesn’t tick all our wants… but it’s the best thing that I could find for our budget. And I’m actually pretty happy with the place. So are my wife and my son. Happy family and that’s all that matters in the end!
Why would we buy a house in a village in Oltenia?
We always wanted to give village life a try. We did have that first house we bought, but which needed such a large investment (plus time and stress) that we decided it just wasn’t worth the trouble.
But then 2020 came and the entire world changed. We spent two months locked in our apartment and trust me, it wasn’t nice. It was difficult for all of us, especially our son.
This whole thing was actually starting to have an effect on him on a mental level as well, as he started to develop all sorts of irrational fears. We’re not sure if it’s entirely the fault of the mess the world was in, but it certainly didn’t help.
It only very rarely happened for us to have the TV on a news channel in his presence (and we changed the channel immediately) and we didn’t really act scared about this around him, but he definitely understood the situation on his own.
We weren’t allowed to leave the house, after all, we were wearing masks and living a completely different life… I am sure he’s not the only one affected by this. Even though we did talk to him, explained that he is safe and did our best to keep him calm and worry free.
In my opinion, we needed to have him outside, getting vitamin D from the sun, playing and running, exploring and experiencing new things. And since we couldn’t afford anything with a yard in our city, we had to settle for this house in a village that offered everything we needed.
And with the risk of sounding a bit like a doomsday prepper, I have to admit that I am a bit worried about a new wave. In my opinion, Romanians don’t show this virus the respect that it deserves and I worry that things could go bad again. (Actually, I think they already have).
And I don’t want to get stuck inside my apartment for a couple more months…
We chose a house that is relatively close to our house. In 30-40 minutes (depending on traffic), we can get from it to our apartment and vice-versa. This was something that was a must for me: I wanted something relatively close, an easy road and also close to the Danube since I love fishing.
If all goes well, then we’ll only be here until the weather gets cold, then return to the city for the winter. If things go bad at any point, we have the option to just come back here and stay away from the crowd (or a potential lockdown in our apartment again). If not, we’ll keep coming over during the summers and enjoy nature.
Why choose this house?
Our new house is located in a place you’ll never hear about on other blogs. You wouldn’t have heard about it here otherwise, to be honest.
It’s in a very small village in the Mehedinti county, called Scapau. According to Wikipedia, it has a whooping 873 inhabitants.
The closest large city is my hometown, Drobeta Turnu Severin. A fairly sized town with a supermarket is just 15-20 minutes away. The Danube is 10 minutes away. Serbia itself is minutes away. So it’s in a good spot.
But what made everything better was what the house itself offered. Something that is considered normal in most places can be considered a luxury in a Romanian village.
Running water. A toilet with a shower. A kitchen with a stove and oven, even a fridge. Electricity. Internet. Mobile phone signal. A house built of brick…. it’s difficult to find a place that ticks all these boxes. But this one did!
In other words, it looked good. It was in a perfect condition for us. It was in a perfect spot and, most importantly, it was exactly within budget. After months of searching, I knew that this was THE ONE.
What’s in for the money (and how much did it cost)?
I am not sure if you still remember, but the first village house that we bought back in 2012 (which we’re now looking to sell) was priced at a mere 5,000 Euros. I linked to the article above. You can check it out if you want to.
I was young and knew nothing about buying houses – especially in a village – and I didn’t realize that I would probably have to spend 10 times that amount to make it a decent place to live in.
It wasn’t just the money – but also the time required to do all this and my lack of knowledge in this area. Plus, I absolutely hated the road to that village. The neighbors we had were horrible. Everything about that place was a mistake. Fortunately, we learned a lot from our mistake.
This time, we chose a house that had everything that is needed to keep living a modern life. Sure, you can say that it’s going to be interesting not to have a toilet… but that quickly changes when you have to dig a hole to poop into.
Sorry for the image that I created, but this was how bad things were in our previous place. There wasn’t even a toilet there!
(Actually, there was one, but just the room itself, fully equipped. The problem? The plumbing wasn’t finished, there was no running water and no place for the waste to go.)
Lesson learned, though: we’re now looking and asking to make sure that, if there’s a toilet, you can actually use it. You’d be surprised in how many places that wouldn’t be possible!
Anyway, back to this house… this time we spend a lot more on it. 30,000 euros in total. That is definitely not a huge amount for most people, but for us it is. Still, I think that the price was fair and I am sure you will agree too.
The house itself has just two rooms – large ones used as bedrooms, plus a hallway area that we’re actually considering turning into a living room of sorts. We can place a couch there, install a TV maybe to play video games… there’s already a table and some storage… so we have options.
But currently we don’t even need it: we spend most of our time in an improvised area that offers some fresh air, but also protection from the elements. We eat there, we use our laptops there, our son does his homework there… it’s really nice.
The house came with a fully equipped bathroom and kitchen, which was high on our list of priorities. It also comes with central heating – something that is almost impossible to find in a village in Romania, at least for a budget house.
There’s also a wood burning stove in one of the rooms, in case you don’t want to heat up the entire house. Budget minded and actually useful.
All the rooms also have fans on the ceiling – which is something that we didn’t expect. It’s definitely a nice bonus. The house itself is insulated (again, something that you rarely find in a village in Romania) and built of brick.
Many houses are built of something called “chirpici” or “paianta” which is a mixture of mud, manure and straws. I prefer brick. Call me old fashioned.
The best part? It came fully furnished and equipped. The previous owner left us everything we needed to move in: all the furniture (which isn’t really my style, but it’s perfect for now), as well as all the appliances and everything.
She also decided to buy us a gift and bought us a new bed in one of the rooms (a bed that we choose, actually). Vacuum cleaner, clothing iron, washing machine, even her TVs… she left us everything. Which really helped because it kept costs low.
The only problem was the fridge – she was using it without worries, but it didn’t manage to keep the temperatures low. It went as high as 8 degrees Celsius inside (maybe even warmer) so we decided not to risk it and bought a new fridge.
Also bought a new mattress for the second bed because, well… the old one was used, to say the least.
But apart from that, we didn’t really have to spend on anything. The house was move-in ready, which was exactly what we wanted and needed.
Introducing the Romania Experience Vlog
I had plans to start a vlog for a while now but this year many plans were changed. However, I did give it a try and the first episode is live: you can check it out below, including a house tour of our new house in Scapau:
It would mean the world to me if you would also subscribe to this new Youtube channel and like the video. Thank you in advance!
It’s my first ever video and it’s lacking in many areas, but I promise it will only get better from now on. And maybe next year, with more experience under my belt, I’ll create a new and better house tour. But until then, this one has to do!
What are the plans for the future?
Since somebody actually lived here before we moved in, it means that we took over a garden and even have four chicken to care for right now. This has shown us that there’s a lot of work involved and it’s definitely not easy.
There are things that could use a hand or two, plus an entire building that we can turn into a living space or an office if we really want to. This year, though, we won’t do much. We’ll just work the land, care for the chicken and make plans for next year.
I can’t describe how nice it is – at least for us, grown in the city – to just go in our yard and pick a fresh lettuce, some radishes, a cucumber and onions and prepare a fresh salad. We already enjoyed fruits from the trees: cherries and sour cherries and just today we picked a handful of raspberries… it’s really nice.
It’s a massive change based on what we’re used with, but so far it works great. We’re still adjusting and learning things, but the best part about it all is that our son enjoys it greatly: better than expected.
He spends a lot of time outside, he is curious to learn and do things to help us around, he’s in charge with taking care of the chicken and he’s also getting better mentally.
His fears of everything seem to have calmed down instantly and even though he still has some, it’s much, much better than back home. And we only spend a few nights here so hopefully it’ll keep improving.
He actually told us that he likes it better here than in the city (and have in mind that we didn’t bring the Nintendo Switch over). It made me extremely happy.
In the end, even though I absolutely love it her, he was the main reason why we made this move. He is the main reason why we do everything at this point…
Our plans are to actually live here as long as the weather is nice. When it gets cold, we plan to get back to the city: the apartment is smaller and everything is easier to handle. But we did buy a truck-full of wood to be prepared if we have to spend winter here. And we will come (or stay) here if a second lockdown will come.
I personally don’t think that will ever happen, but at least now we are, at least on paper, better prepared. At least we have more options.
But if things are all good, this house will be the place where we’ll spend half of the year in, when the weather is nice. Things will get a bit more complicated with our son’s school… but this is a topic for another article.
I will have to stop now, because I wrote too much already. I am sure this won’t be the last episode in my Rural Romania series: I do have a lot of exciting plans for the future.
As always, if you have additional questions or thoughts, don’t hesitate to let me know below!
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17 thoughts on “Rural Romania: This Is Our Village House in Oltenia”
Absolutely awesome post! I think you did a good job on the video as well and we cracked up at the using the back house used for people you don’t like and other things. Well done! Your sense of humor is perfect for vlogs. Isn’t it awesome to have the furniture included with a place? It really does save loads of money because it can get seriously costly. Federico was drooling because it looks like you have zucchini flower and that is one delicacy we can’t get here (it’s fried and delicious). He suggests that when you film yourself to have the sun at your back to erase shadows as much as possible.
I think the price you paid was very good for everything that you got. Looking at your son’s face says it all. He is enjoying the outside life. I wish you much happiness in your new digs and l have subscribed to the channel.
Thank you for the kind words and support! It was yesterday when I was talking to my wife and telling her that those flowers can be eaten. We’ll have to try it out! 🙂
I saw that the sun put some horrible shadows on my face in the video, but I just wasn’t up for another take, hahaha. First time I shot, I was standing and walking around and moving the camera so much that I got dizzy watching it. So still learning 🙂
Having the furniture and everything else included was a huge bonus indeed. Just getting stuff over here with a large vehicle is very expensive. Then you would have to pay some people to carry things around… it was good for this to be as move in ready as possible, even though the furniture itself isn’t very modern and nice. But for this year at least, it’s perfect!
Wow! Congratulations! Even before watching the vlog I could tell you gushing over your achievement and good fortune. That looks like a great place for you and your family. I’m the son of an Alabama farm boy and I still have fond memories of time spent at the old family home. For me, the Romanian countryside is reminiscent of the southern United States. Probably familiarity is a reason that I’ve adapted so well here.
I think you scored on this property. It’s absolutely a turnkey home. You need nothing! Here you will be able to enjoy adding your own touches and not worrying about trying to establish a basic shelter. It’s got a charm one would hope to find in rural living. As for me, I enjoy things that provide projects that I can attempt. It wouldn’t take me long to figure out where the closest Hornbach or Dedemon is located and I’d jump right in. I subscribed to the vlog, so I look forward to going along on this new adventure.
BTW… that “American” shower is called a “Rain Shower” in the States. I never had one until we moved into our home here in Brasov. My wife loves it. I can enjoy it during the summer, but mostly I like the Romanian one.
Indeed, the place was exactly as we wanted it: move in ready, but still offering us enough to really make it our own. Bonus points for me, as I already know where the closest Dedeman is, hahaha.
I was watching a lot of House Hunters International and saw that the rain shower was a must have for most people moving out of the US and we just gave it that name 🙂 I can imagine that not everybody in the US can’t live without one, as I am sure many Romanians actually place the shower into its spot and not leave it hanging :))
Ha ha ha! House Hunters International! That show was our EXACT experience when we found our first apartment here in Romania.
Good Job on the YouTube video! The house looks great, the location looks quiet and peaceful. Love your wife’s blue hair! Looks like you will be very busy in that garden. Nothing quite like watching your vegetables grow and then eating them too! It’s none of my business, but it looks like the previous owner left somewhat precipitously. The vegetables are hanging in the garden; all the furniture is still there. She fixed up the house and modernized the plumbing, started an addition, and then POOF, she sold it and was gone. Well, you really got a good one this time. Congratulations.
Thank you, Stuart! Indeed, nothing compares to being able to watch the food grow in the back yard. The tomato plants, for example, almost doubled in size since we moved in!
The owner actually had the home listed for over 1 year and wasn’t expecting to leave this year either. She was a really, really hard working woman and just couldn’t sit around doing nothing. We are still in contact with her and she keeps telling us how bored she is in her new place because she doesn’t have a garden there. But indeed, we were extremely lucky to be able to find a home that didn’t require us to start everything from scratch.
You and son Romanian look so happy! (Wife Romanian, I’m sure is smiling, too.;-))
Certainly a lovely place you chose! Night and day from your first foray into real estate–ha, ha!
Wonder why overhead fans aren’t common everywhere. They certainly are a lifesaver during the warm summer months.
Good idea to buy new fridge and new mattress! (The latter was definitely a must, it seems!:-()
Growing you own veggies is great! Maybe you can sell surplus at farmer’s market?
Son Romanian is looking after chickens? Great, but PLEASE make sure he washes his hands and doesn’t get too close and personal with them (hugging, kissing, etc.). Salmonellosis is too easy to get this way. Also, make sure he has separate shoes for when he enters their coop/pen so he won’t track nasties into your cottage. (DON’T mean to be a “Donny-downer”–just want all Family Romanian to stay happy and healthy!;-)
Hopefully, you’ll be able to sell the first (disaster;-)) cottage before long. Is the land itself worth something?
I obviously don’t understand Romanian real estate.
Still doing the Leu and not Euro? Do you think you would have paid more or less in the other?
Any vacay plans? I always ask, and you may have already answered. More senior moment for me…:-)
Will sure check out your vlog. I’m sure it will be most entertaining.:-)
Hello Teil! We are indeed really happy and adjusting really well. We have used the overhead fans already and they are indeed a nice addition. Still, the weather here remains a bit cooler than in the city, which is also a bonus during these torrid times.
We have separate shoes for outside and inside (even though my son does forget to change them every now and then) and as much as he wants to pet the chicken, they run away as soon as he gets too close. He still enjoys caring for them, although the magic has already gone away a little bit 🙂
All (or most) prices on the estate market are listed in Euros. Most people prefer getting paid in Euros since it’s the stronger currency. Regarding which one is better, it all depends on what you have. If you have Lei and you must exchange them into Euros, you will end up overpaying. But the same goes vice-versa as exchange rates never work in your favor. We fortunately had Euros ready and didn’t lose anything here.
I guess that this year’s vacation will be village life 🙂 We have purchased a stay in Bulgaria at the end of July, but I don’t think that traveling is the best thing we should do right now. I think that we have 95% chances right now of not going. We also had planned a long overdue trip around Romania this year but again, the current situation is keeping us away from the crowds. Hopefully next year is better.
I feel stupid for asking about vacay! Of course with this Covid-19 business, all travel is curtailed. Hopefully, a certain country (reverse of “ASU”) will clean up their act and won’t be always banned from entering the EU.:-)
Glad to hear about separate shoes, and chickens taking cover when son Romanian enters their space. People here (obviously not so bright as Romanians;-)) don’t necessarily take precautions, and kids love to snuggle up to baby chicks. Thus, sadly, a lot of people with chickens end up with salmonellosis.
Stay well and enjoy your lovely house!
Calin: As a contrast, look at this and be amazed! Your place is a palace compared to this!!!
Haha, indeed! I think that somebody with that much money to spend on that single house could buy an entire village here :))
My wife is a Romanian citizen (living in the UK for the last 18 years).
I am British but I have been to Romania 12 times with my wife and I love the place.
We are in the process of purchasing a house which is of brick construction with full amenities etc, we will be moving to Romania full time in a few years time.
I wonder if you could share any knowledge that you have in relation to obtaining house insurance in Romania and any company that you recommend ?
Thankyou for this website/blog it is very well written and very helpful.
Happy to hear that, Simon! Regarding housing insurance, I personally use Groupama. They are a tad more expensive than others, but I consider them trustworthy. I have also used Allianz in the past for other types of insurance (mostly travel) and they have been really good as well. So in my opinion, you could pick any of the two.
Thankyou for the advice we will take a look at Groupama 👍🏻😃
Your place looks great! You guys look quite happy there. I have been looking for a couple of years for a small place to settle down. I looked at serbia, Bulgaria and Portugal but i keep returning to transylvania! I am hoping to find an older wooden house ( i travel a lot in winter) but find it hard to locate one. Not many appear on websites. Any tips on where to look? Keep up the good work!
Thank you for the nice words! Regarding the wooden house, I believe that they’re rare indeed, so your best bet would still be checking the main platforms (olxro / storia.ro and imobiliare would be the ones now).