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Real estate: love thy neighbor

The Baltics are full of beautiful old historic buildings brimming with character and charm. If you are considering buying an apartment in a building full of history it is advisable to find out a bit about its other history. Who owns the building? Is it state owned or is it privately owned? Both have their plus and minus's. If it's privately owned, find out from the neighbors whether the owner is prompt fixing any maintenance problems. Do the bills get paid? It has been known that some owners collect money for utilities, keep the money and then the services get cut off. You could get stuck stoking a stove.

With state owned buildings, there are rarely any emergency maintenance issues, but no money is available for improvements and unless you pester the appropriate people you generally have to live with cracked stairs, dangerous paving and the like.

What are the monthly service utility payments? These amounts vary from building to building and owners can set their own rates.

Has the power been changed from 2 phase to 3 phase to cope with today's electrical demands. You want the option of being able to watch TV and blow dry your hair at the same time.

Is the plumbing modern, have the cast iron pipes been replaced with PVC? Can you use more than two sheets of paper without the fear of an overflowing bowl?