If you’re thinking about packing your things and renting an apartment somewhere in a completely new and exciting environment, Vilnius is the perfect choice. Each year the city is becoming a more and more welcoming place to live for Lithuanians and foreigners alike.
From hipster-y cafes and modern art museums to classical architecture and nature-filled parks—the capital has it all. It isn‘t only diverse in terms of entertainment—Vilnius also has a great variety of real estate options, suited for everyone‘s taste and budget.
Trying to figure out the ins and outs of buying or renting real estate, especially in a foreign capital city, can be a bit overwhelming. To avoid that, we talked with some people from Lithuania’s leading real estate agency Ober-Haus and gathered useful intel on how to successfully navigate your house hunt.
To spend or not to spend?
So, you’ve made the decision to look for a place in Vilnius. What’s next?
Well, the smartest first move might be to decide on your budget.
The price range in which you can find the most options in Vilnius is 300-500 Euros per month for one or two bedrooms. Compared to the rent prices in other major European cities, you don’t have to break the bank to be able to live comfortably.
When talking about pricing it’s also important to note that the cost of rent tends to change during the seasons. So, while the prices might be very low in the winter, the choices that you have are just as spare.
The start of the school year is also not the most ideal for house hunting as students from all over come to Vilnius and the rent prices are at their highest. The biggest drop in prices happens in the winter due to lower demand and it hits the sweet spot around May and June. So summertime just might be the perfect time to look for a new place to live.
Find your rental sweet spot
Once you’re set on your budget, it’s time to look into something more exciting–your dream location.
For example, if you like going out and would love to live in the heart of the city, places like the old town or Vilnius’ hidden gem Užupis could be perfect for you.
There’s also less central but still quite prestigious areas like Antakalnis, Naujamiestis or Žvėrynas and more residential districts that are great for people who like to avoid the uproar of the city (f.e. Šeškinė, Baltupiai, Fabijoniškės and others)
These districts differ not only in their location but also in their price range. The most expensive are of course the most central ones. In districts like the old town or Užupis monthly rent could differ from 260 to almost 500 Euros for a one-bedroom and even reach as high as 950 Euros for three-bedrooms.
A little bit less central districts hover right around the middle, with prices differing from 350 to around 450 Euros per month. In residential areas, where most of the locals live, you might be able to find a one-bedroom apartment for as low as 200 Euros, while a bigger place usually wouldn’t go for more than 520 Euros.
Old buildings versus new
As the city is expanding, there’s also a massive growth of new and modern apartment buildings. They are usually more aesthetically pleasing than the old, soviet-style blocks that you will find in a lot of the residential areas. Although, with the recent popularity of HBO’s “Chernobyl”, it’s now becoming quite chic to live in someone’s grandma’s apartment.
Okay, but which is the smarter choice financially, you might ask?
Well, apartment buildings built after the year 2000 require less money for utilities, like heating, but when it comes to renting, are usually quite a bit pricier than the old ones. While you might save around 15-20 % per cent in services, you will probably pay a similar amount back in rent.
So, depending on what your priorities are, the choice is all yours!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Another important decision to make when starting your real estate search is whether you’re doing this all by yourself or getting some help from a broker.
While doing this individually might seem like a sound and cheap choice that is not always the case. Sometimes, local landlords can be a bit cautious when it comes to foreigners or young people in general and if you don’t speak Lithuanian it can become quite a feat to try to get an apartment.
Language barrier is not the only problem that could arise–there’s also legal documents, taxes, payments and other stuff that might be difficult to navigate at first.
That’s why working with a real estate agent can be good for non-locals who are looking to rent or buy property–brokers usually speak a few languages, have the experience, useful resources and usually quite a good knowledge about different neighbourhoods.
And when it comes to real estate agents being an expensive luxury–that’s not necessarily true. Some real estate agencies do take a certain percentage in fees, but you’ll find others, like for example Ober-Haus, who can help you for free.
Excellence is in the details
When figuring out the big picture stuff, it’s also important to consider all the little details, which might seem insignificant at first.
For example–traffic. It’s one of those things that some people tend to forget when looking for a place to rent, but it impacts our time and quality of life. The same goes for things like safety in the city, air and sound pollution, as well as parking.
If we’re talking specifically about renting in Vilnius, the city seems to check all the boxes. Traffic here can become quite busy in the early morning and near the end of the working day, but it usually only takes around 30 minutes to get from one point to another.
Which is silly when compared to other major European cities. It’s also a safe and clean place to live–the crime here is low and there’s a lot of parks and green areas all around.
If after reading all of this, you’re still not completely sure what to do on your search for a place to rent in Vilnius–don’t worry! Our friends from Ober-Haus put together a very simple guideline list just for you.
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO RENTING IN VILNIUS
STEP 1: Decide on your budget and location
STEP 2: Ask around if there’s any hidden payments or costs, that you haven’t been made aware of
STEP 3: Make sure that you’re dealing with the real owner of the place or their legal representative
STEP 4: Write up a contract, preferably both in English and Lithuanian (and don’t forget to bring your passport or ID!)
STEP 5: Agree on the main terms, such as cost of rent (monthly), the period of rent, deposit size, payment method, list or pictures of existing inventory, pets and parking.
STEP 6: Agree on contract termination terms
STEP 7: Only pay your rent and deposit AFTER you sign the contract!
STEP 8: And most importantly—don’t be afraid to ask about anything that you’re unsure of! If you still have more questions, are interested in finding a real estate agent or just want some guidance in your hunt for real estate in Vilnius, you can always reach out to and get all the information that you could need.
Vilnius Playground: A massive thank you to Marius and Ieva from Ober-Haus, for contributing to this blog post.
Interested in more urban-like imagery of Vilnius? I thought so. For some more captivating imagery, check out the work of Imantas.
This post was written by our contributing writer Rusne.