A reader commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Balatonfured, Hungary
A reader replied most recently with:
That is a very interesting problem. Typically, we negotiate a fixed price through our property manager and it all seems to work out fine. However, one thing that has happened repeatedly is we often sympathise with the low rate we negotiated and give a bonus to all of the workers (not just the boss) usually about 1/2 way through a given project as a sign of appreciation and an incentive to keep on track. Three times now they have been very thankful for the money and never came back. So, now we have discontinued that practice. The other problem we consistently see is that estimators come to the home, take one look at our home and beautiful things, an then jack the estimate up way beyond reason and then won't budge. This happens even when we aren't involved in the negotiations. I mean they seriously raise the prices. For example we want to install and automated awning on our terrace. One of our Hungarian friends installed the exact same thing we want and we called his installer to get an estimate. He paid roughly $500 for the awning but for us the estimate is $3000. This seems to be the main problem. Eventually, we get someone who understands business better and will negotiate. But, really Hungarians have some very strange attitudes about business. Real estate pricing is a big problem and there are no standardized ways to get property vlues. Basically, Hungarians decide on a price and then stick to it adamantly even if it is insane. Their logic is someone eventually will be fool enough to pay the price. So, no negotations happen and properties stay on sale for years.My next door neighbor put his house on sale and in 1 year has had one person look at it because his price is crazy. He was offered a lot less and became insulted so refused to negotiate. The house now just sits there empty and no one is looking. So, Hungarians really need to figure out business and the real world.
A reader replied recently with:
not to lay blame but to try and demonstrate the effect these decision have on the current environment.It's been a while since I checked back on this site. I now have been here over 3 years and I still hold with my comments made before. Yes, Hungary is very clearly in the third world type of economy. What I mean is the standard of living here is getting worse and it is already very low. $400 a month is very low for Europe and the amount of unemployment coupled with the burden of supporting a large amount of people living at the expense of the taxpayers here but also who refuse to work, is very difficult. The recent problems in the EU in the Eurozone do not directly affect Hungary as they are thankfully not in the Eurozone and I hope this government stays that way.
Negotiating prices has become easier since we hired a full time property manager who negotiates for us everything. This saves an enormous amount of trouble and expense. As he is fluent in English we have abandoned our attempts to learn more than minimal Hungarian. My German skills have more or less recovered and when in trouble I revert to German which is widely spoken in this region.
As for the nationalism this is a bit comical in a broad sense and is being used to circumvent the political process here. By issuing citizenship and passports to ethic Hungarians living in Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, etc. and permitting them to vote in Hungary is a travesty. The new constitution is also reprehensible and pushes Hungary towards a severe and potentially tyrannical government and due to the significant procedural changes makes it nearly impossible to change in the future. This virtually ensures a permanent Fidez government.
In addressing the history of Hungary this is the perspective of both Russians and as an American. It is interesting that the failed revolution against Austria is also a holiday. Defending WWI in defense of the Empire that Hungarians despised is also interesting. My point is not to lay blame or to unnecessarily criticize but to demonstrate the effect these decisions have made on the current living conditions in Hungary. If you examine the perspective of the Stalingrad memorial Day from that of a Russian you might understand the consternation. Here is a country that invaded and killed a lot of Russians, then lost the war badly, and was occupied. The Russians introduced their political/economic system but only mildly compared to other countries like East Germany. The Hungarians tried to revolt only 11 years later which if you recall, the US was still fervently occupying Germany for much the same reasons. This was met with understandable resistance by the Soviets and the result was a much harsher implementation of communism and significant repression. If West Germany had tried to do the same I am certain the US, UK, and France would have repressed them equally. I merely point this out that Hungarians are still focusing on past mistakes much like the Southerners in the US still mope about the Civil War. It is pointless, and seen as counterproductive, particularly when it is a blatant attempt to circumvent other sovereign nations. Hungary needs to move forwards not backwards but as I said they are very stubborn. Personally, it doesn't affect me one way or another but represents the mindset of Hungarians in general.
I love it here and am enjoying it immensely and do not regret deciding to retire here. As luck would have it the corruption in Hungary is benefiting us. I do not understand or even really care the why or how's of so much EU money coming into our town as grants from the EU. we have gotten a new market, a bicycle competition arena, a new marina, a new boardwalk area, renovated schools, renovated roads, new sportsplatz, new soccer field, a Tesco shopping mall, etc. We are now going to get a new train station, another new marina, and a lot more. No other town on Lake Balaton is getting anything so all of it is coming here.