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Locals looking after my house?

Locals looking after my house?

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Old Oct 27th 2018, 10:35 am
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Default Locals looking after my house?

I have just bought a small holiday home in Hungary. It will be empty for a lot of the year so I am going to ask some locals if they are able to look after it.

Does anyone know how much I should offer them in money for doing this? I may need them to look in once in a while, to see if there are any leaks, read the meters and pay the utilitites, maybe go over there to let the builders in if any repairs need to be done. It would be great if anyone knows how much a Hungarian would expect to be paid for this.
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Old Oct 27th 2018, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

I would pay the utility bills on line. You can get bills sent to you by email and you can pay on line by credit/debit card which I would recommend rather than get a 3rd party to pay for you. You can set up for a annual account if the expected amount is small.
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Old Oct 27th 2018, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

From my experience (very rural area), keeping an eye on an empty property is the kind of thing neighbours do without expecting to be paid for it. It's part of rural life, probably was at one time in the UK too. You perhaps need to consider more what you can do for your neighbours.

The meters can probably be read by the utility companies in your absence (if not, consider having them relocated). You can open a bank account in Hungary and have the utility charges collected by direct debit (or pay online, as Peter says).

If you shut off the water when you leave and winterize properly there won't be any leaks.

If you want any building work done, you will probably need to be there anyway, or there's a strong likelihood that it won't get done to your satisfaction, if at all.

Things are doubtless different in the towns and possibly around the lake.

If you have already made contact with someone local whom you trust and who is willing to do this, don't let me put you off – but I think it goes against the (rural) Hungarian mentality, so I doubt there's a "going rate".
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Old Oct 27th 2018, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

Of course it all depends on the location. Is it somewhere in a village where you're expected to mow the grass - and clean the sidewalk from snow?
Should someone be looking after problems at least once a month? Like atree falling onthe house?
"Winterization" can be important - you have to make sure that there's no risk of water freezing anywhere - it can get to minus 25 degrees Celsius. Just switching off the water supply may be not enough ...
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Old Oct 28th 2018, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

Originally Posted by wolfi View Post
Just switching off the water supply may be not enough ...
Inside the house, it's a recipe for disaster. In the garden (if you have garden taps), it's probably enough as long as you open all the taps.

Inside, we've taken the view that it's worth paying for some background heating <5C in our absence to safeguard the central heating/ water supply etc - much of it underfloor so blimmin expensive to repair. With back up electric oil radiators set even lower. I figure that comes in at a pretty low figure, possibly £100 a year.

I can't see that draining the system & leaving the house to go cold when it's -20C outside for days on end is ever going to be very reassuring in terms of peace of mind you won't end up with a repair bill for a couple of £thousands - what about airlocks etc/ water left in the system? Could work if it's a simple system with pipework on the surface as opposed to buried.
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Old Oct 28th 2018, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

Pili fella, you're right - there are different kind of dangers, depending on what you do to prepare for ice cold days.
Even your idea can lead to problems - something happened to a friend of mine:
He left for severalweeks to visit Germany with his wife whose son promised to look after the heating etc regularly.He fell ill during a really cold period - and then the gas central heating switched off because of an error ...
When they came back everything was frozen - the toilets had broken bowls because of the ice in them and so on ...
And your idea of electric heating might also run into problems if the GCD switches off all electric connections - happened to us because of humidity in the fudes box. We were lucky, were here and one phase came back to life.
Another concrete example:
We just helped a friend from the USA originally who went back to NYC where her daughter lives, after she decided that her cancer treatment would be better in the USA
Luckily she got an expert who closed off all connections (gas, water, sewage and electricity) and filled toilet bowls and the kitchen sink etc with car anti-freeze! he also told us to check this regularly and fill up with this.
A counterexample:
One of our neighbours rents apartments/rooms - during the winter zhey live somewhere else and when they came back this spring many rooms were filled with mould!
It cost them a lot to gaet that off and paint those rooms too ...

Last edited by wolfi; Oct 28th 2018 at 5:45 pm.
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Old Oct 29th 2018, 10:30 am
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

yep I'm a bit annoyed as I've only gone and left the fridge freezer doors shut, despite it being on my to-do checklist when I go back to UK - that's going to be all mouldy!

haven't done that for a few years, taxi arrived early and I didn't do the last minute double check.
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Old Oct 29th 2018, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

Originally Posted by Pilis Nemzeti Park Fella View Post
I can't see that draining the system & leaving the house to go cold when it's -20C outside for days on end is ever going to be very reassuring in terms of peace of mind you won't end up with a repair bill for a couple of £thousands - what about airlocks etc/ water left in the system? Could work if it's a simple system with pipework on the surface as opposed to buried.
That's the choice as I see it.

Those who don't use the property in winter: don't have central heating; ideally route all pipework over plaster (perhaps shrouded visually for easy access); if pipes do run under plaster, no fancy decoration (cheap and easy to repair); winterize; and still expect frost damage from time to time, but the cost of repairs will be trivial. (In approx 13 winters: tap fitting (€100), two under-sink electric water heaters (€50-€80, though frost may not have been the cause; I now disconnect the unit and take it away with me again in the autumn), burst pipes and fittings (€20 each time).

Those who do use the property in winter: enjoy the luxury of central heating, but be willing to pay for the installation, pay to keep it running when not there, and organize someone to check at regular intervals that it's working as intended.
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Old Oct 30th 2018, 12:21 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

IMO for winterising a house, if it has central heating put antifreeze in it to the correct %age to protect down to -20 (not car antifreeze but the type designed for heating systems) and for the water systems drain them and then blow through the pipes with an air compressor. It is better to used a compressor with a tank because you will get better clearance when discharging the full tank through the pipes a few times. Loos - either put antifreeze or 1/2kg salt in the pan, sinks and baths should be similarly treated.
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Old Nov 10th 2018, 10:49 am
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

Hi I have paid a local to take care of things, he also is the plumber who gutted and fitted a new bathroom, I paid £27 a month for this he mows the grass,takes out rubbish when necessary moves furniture, helps me with little things like showed me how to use my new woodburning stove, was there when the wood was delivered, he also has offered to take me to the big stores, which I haven't taken him up on.
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Old Nov 10th 2018, 3:56 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

Originally Posted by rainee View Post
Hi I have paid a local to take care of things, he also is the plumber who gutted and fitted a new bathroom, I paid £27 a month for this he mows the grass,takes out rubbish when necessary moves furniture, helps me with little things like showed me how to use my new woodburning stove, was there when the wood was delivered, he also has offered to take me to the big stores, which I haven't taken him up on.
It's when he asks you over for dinner that you start to get worried

We used to have a handyman/ gardener/ oddjob man/ decorator for many years - well retired but he could do pretty much anything, he'd built his own house. Only used to cost about £2/ hr, good old Feri Bacsi. Sadly he turned a bit older, completely deaf and unable to do much, so it lapsed. Like gold dust if you can find one.
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Old Nov 10th 2018, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

He has been overly 'friendly' at times, but only after a few beers, the give away is when he turns up on his push bike rather than the car
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Old Nov 10th 2018, 4:32 pm
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Default Re: Locals looking after my house?

Originally Posted by rainee View Post
He has been overly 'friendly' at times, but only after a few beers, the give away is when he turns up on his push bike rather than the car
Well, Feri Bacsi was definitely a factotum but you don't want to go pronouncing that the wrong way
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