Opinion: Good news for real estate investors from the Bucharest City Hall – online zonal urban plans


I am one of those people who never believed that the Bucharest City Hall would actually take some action in order to help potential investors and developers, as well as real estate investors. But it seems that the impossible has happened.

The City Hall has recently released the website http://urbanism.pmb.ro, where you can access zonal urban plans, construction authorization letters and town-planning certificates. (The website is also partially available in English and a signup and login are required)

How does this website help real estate investors?

First of all, all the people involved in the process of buying land will save a considerable amount of time. More precisely, if the owner of the specific land claims that you can build a 24-story construction there, you can immediately access the map and see if the assertion is based on documents.

The safety of the investment. Any investment is done (or should be done) after a complete due diligence report is conducted – one which includes both the legal and the technical aspects of the investment – in order to have the certainty that you won’t throw your money down the drain. With the help of the website launched by the City Hall you will know if, from a technical point of view (zonal urban plans, construction authorization letter and town-planning certificate), the land meets your needs even prior to starting the report.

Money saver. In order to obtain the papers which you can now access in just a few seconds with 2-3 clicks, you had to make several trips to the city hall of your sector or the General City Hall, according to case. But now you can have them instantly. Moreover, due to the easy access to information, the cost of the due diligence report is supposed to decrease. At least in theory.

Transparency. It is most likely that the biggest problem that the real estate market had in the past, the lack of transparency, will diminish as a result of this new tool which is now available to the public.

All these advantages are available not only for investors and developers, but also for real estate consultants which are involved in land acquisitions.

There are several advantages which interest real estate consultants exclusively:

Once they have seen the construction authorization letter, they know what will be built in the area they cover. Thus, three major advantages should be pinpointed.

The first advantage refers to the fact that you can begin the negotiations with the developer earlier in the process so that you can offer consultancy not only on what can be built (which is the feasible request, on what type of properties, etc.), but also in reference to advertising the property in an adequate manner, to increase the number of potential buyers.

The second advantage refers to the safety of the transaction which implies that you will never sell the 6th story off plan if the construction authorization letter clearly specifies that the building can have 5 stories.

The third advantage is that you will be knowledgeable about that future market stock. If you have 5 construction authorizations in the area, you can give the clients who have real estate properties for sale the best recommendations concerning price and the time-of-sale.

Let’s not forget the end buyer who, by accessing the information available in the construction authorization letter, will know if a new building will emerge in front of his window immediately after the project where he wants to buy his new home is sold.

One swallow does not make a summer’ but the initiative of the City Hall is admirable and it has the power to sustain the development of the real estate market. At least in theory.

By Georgian Marcu, guest writer