Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Well, our offer was rejected. And soundly rejected at that.

Although we based our offer on what other stans in the neighborhood have been sold for recently, the owner (who himself bought it for a mere 765 Dinars some years back) flatly turned us down. We pointed out we had a little flexibility and would he like to dicker? Sure, he said, as long as we were prepared to offer his full price. Which one? we asked, as it is currently being advertised at rates ranging a over 5,000 Euros difference. The highest, naturally.

We pointed out that his price was higher than any stan of that nature had ever sold for, even at the very peak of the market a few years ago when Montenegrins were swarming into Belgrade flush with Russian cash for their coastline. We also pointed out that his building and stan were not in exactly peak condition, and he didn't even have his landbook ownership papers in order.

No matter, he replied. His price was his price!

How, you may ask, did he arrive at that price? He did the math. He added up what it would cost him to buy two smaller apartments, one each for his son and daughter. His daughter also needed a car. Plus, he'd like to do some home improvements to his own kuca in the country. And lastly, there must be some left over for his personal savings account as a cushion for the future.

Actual real estate valuations had nothing to do with it.

Our pain was increased by the fact that he took an ungodly amount of time, involving hours of rambling discussions and plenty of rakija to get to the point. What, you folks in America don't spend an entire Sunday afternoon drinking hard liquor while turning down real estate offers? What an uncivilized place.

Anyhow, he can afford to wait for the right buyer to come along. Eons from now, if ever. And he's now got something like 10 realtors all advertising the place simultaneously, so he'll have the fun of doing this to lots of people.

In the meantime, I am on a plane tomorrow back to my job in the US. The stan search is not discontinued so much as elongated.

Luckily I have always been of the philosophy that if you lose one real estate deal, it's because fate has a much nicer one in mind for you around the corner. Sometimes being a typical positive-thinker American has its virtues!


ana.the.serious.cat said...

I'm sorry. But actually, you didn't lose anything. The flats that don't have "papers" in perfect order, which needs to be verified by a reputable and trusted lawyer, are not to be touched with a five foot pole.

Anonymous said...

I think someone was watching over you on this one, you never want to buy any real estate in SRB where the papers arent in order.

In other news, its not uncommon for prices here to be irrational, unreasonable based on someone's stupid belief and stuff.

Look at the case of the free stock shares that many citizens who claimed them got, they can sell it, but some people will only sell if it reaches 1000 dinar per share, it's been sitting at 475 din / share for NIS for a long time, and its not likely to ever get to 1000 din per share!! But its just Serbian mentality, time is on their site...

Gordo said...

There is the option of going for a building in a newly planned neighbourhood, next to Banjitca. On the "old" side of the river, so there is no chance of being stuck in traffic trying to escape from Novi Beo.

Take a look at their promo video.


Choose your own finishes, on almost complete units and pre-construction prices for some. Best thing is no worry about legality. We've come up against that many times when looking for properties.

Best of luck on whatever you choose!

jeju said...

What an absolute douche that guy was. It really goes to the heart of what's wrong with the Serbian mentality. It doesn't matter that the apartment isn't worth that money, that's the price you can take it or leave it! I can imagine how infuriating it is when you come across people of this calibre! As you said, don't worry, there's something better around the corner!

Doot said...

Buying an apartment in Belgrade makes no sense. Personally, I wouldn't trust a Serb as far as i could throw him, and that's not far.

Secondly, rents are going down and down as the economy collapses.

I live in a palace (in Belgrade) that, I figure, I pay 1/3 in rent of what it costs to own the place (if you count the opportunity cost of using the principle for some other investment)

Serbs are absolute idiots when it comes to their expectations in business deals. This post is a good illustration.