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Thinking about Hungary

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chikagoan
8/20/2017 19:40 EST

Greetings, szevusztok:
I am an American retiring from teaching in three years. I am interested in spending a lot of time in Hungary after retirement. I would like to ask expats and Hungarian people about the actual conditions of living in Hungary these days and some specific questions.
A little about me:
I am in my fifties retiring early in three years.
I have applied for Hungarian citizenship through descent, my father is a Hungarian immigrant and was still a Hungarian citizen when I was born.
I have been to Hungary quite a few times, including last year.
I can speak a fair amount of Hungarian and would like to learn more.
My monthly income in retirement will be about $3,500.
Questions:
Will my income be enough to live comfortably in Hungary, in Budapest or in a smaller town?
Where are some good places to live?
How much would renting a one bedroom flat cost in different parts of Budapest or smaller cities; i.e. Szeged, Keszthely, Eger?
How do Hungarians relate to expats?
How do people work out health care?
What are the benefits and disadvantages to living in Hungary these days?
Thank you/ koszonom szepen!

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borschelrh
8/21/2017 08:45 EST

There is quite a bit on this forum about Americans moving here so I won't repeat it all to you. A monthly income of $3500 is very comfortable. I cannot address apartment costs per se but I have some friends who own apartments in Budapest and they are renting them out for roughly $400 a month. These are in good areas but are very small apartments so YMMV. During the time between buying our house here and when we actually moved a year later we could only get $200 a month so it wasn't worth it. That was 9 years ago so I have no clue now what you can get.

I was 56 when we retired and moved here and I was coerced by my previous co-workers to continue working in the US for another 3 years. I commuted roughly 1 week a month back and forth to the US for 3 years. That sucked and I don't miss it. Our income when we moved here was roughly $3500 a month and it was plenty. That was before we started getting Social Security which I took at the earliest opportunity.

We do not regret for 1 second moving here. Could it be better somewhere else? Maybe. Maybe not. IMHO it is very hard to beat Hungary.

The expat issue has been for us more or less nonexistent. But, we live in Balatonfured where they are very used to foreigners. Probably Budapest is similar but other areas away from the lake and possibly Gyor and Sopron it may be an issue. I had some negative experiences in Szekesfehervar and near Miskolc. But, it wasn't bad and nothing out of the ordinary and certainly nothing like when you visit France.

Benefits are great weather, excellent food with no GMO whatsoever, very low violent crime (although property crime is very high), a proud people who have high ethical standards, an excellent work ethic, excellent education system and IMHO a great health care system. But, I came from working for the US Army 40 years so was used to crappy medical in the first place.

Best of luck to you.

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peddington
8/21/2017 08:49 EST

First your income and your language skills are a plus. You will do really well if renting but even better if you bought a flat or a house. Now the negatives. Hungary is no "utopia" by any means. Getting stuff done is like a nightmare. Imagine the bureaucracy where you are then multiply it by like a hundred. Yep that is pretty much it!

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vickthings
9/11/2017 04:29 EST

Hello Sir! As someone who has been an expat abroad (in France) and experienced some issues I can truly understand your concerns. I am a Hungarian and a local to Budapest. This city has immensely changed in the last 20 years for the better. Whole lot of areas have been rehabilitated, hundreds of turn of the century houses renovated, services improved and compared to other cities we have proper public transportation as well. As of healthcare with social security status it will be free of charge as of general matters in state-fund hospitals yet private medical centrums surely provide more in quality.
Speaking a fair amount of Hungarian is a plus and is always appreciated but in Budapest you can also get by mostly everywhere with English. Concerning accommodation and prices rental fees have been increasing constantly through the last years and this is not expected to be stopped so buying is also something to be considered in the long run. Rental fees for a decent size property for a single person vary from 950 USD to 1700 USD in the areas of Budapest preferred by expats.
For more this one is a trusted agency that provide housing services definitely for expats free of charge: http://budapest.athome-network.com
Good luck to you relocating here!
Bests,
Viktoria

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Kerstikatrin
10/27/2018 14:19 EST

I think its wonderful to hear someone has same ideas,but i already bought a very small flat in Budapest and niw i am dreaming about little house in south border Pecs etc..nice to meet you.You are lucky,if You speak language,but i only learn a few words..very difficult.I lived in Sweden and Estonia before hungary.Maybe we write and get friends.I was biology teacher ,now retiring,,regards
Sirje

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