Real estate: the end

This crisis means the end for real estate. Middle class Greeks do not have enough money to buy. Richer ones do not invest as before, because of not wanting to take any risk. Potential buyers abroad are afraid to spend their money on something situated in a country with an uncertain future and economy.

Buildings are abandoned. Some in good shape, some in bad shape. Houses, apartment buildings or anything that has started being created some time ago has no plan on how or when finishing it. Not only because there are less buyers, but also because of a lack of money and owners, engineers or anyone involved who are not willing to invest their money at this period of time.

No jobs. People who were active in the real estate sector: from administrative assistants of estate agents, employees of engineers, etc. to building workers were the first victims of this situation. They were fired or they have to accept huge salary decreases. Concerning building workers, before they had to work with the unbearable heat and were waiting for a break, today they hope to work even with 40 degrees.

Although real estate is kind of dead, prices have not really been reduced. Only people who really are in need of money are selling their property at extremely low prices, but most of the properties have not lost their value.

Greece needs to start creating again!

No one can escape!

Photo: Electricity bill

The famous unpaid taxes on the electricity bill will not be added on the annual tax return as assumed, but they are already paid without anybody (most of the people) knowing it!

When the taxes were submitted to the electricity bill months ago, everyone tried to find a way of not paying the taxes. Not because they didn’t want to pay taxes in general but because of the way the government forced everyone in this way to pay taxes in a short time in order to collect money!

Some people paid immediately, but others were waiting to see what will happen… Rumors said that not paying the taxes on the electricity bill would have as a consequence switching off electricity by the electricity company. On some places they really did, but not for a long time… When people discovered this, there was even a reason more why people should not pay. But unfortunately…. Today… people who have paid the electricity company (the electricity bills but not the taxes) get warnings that the government took the money for a couple of months from the electricity company in order to force you to pay the taxes and that there is now a gap on the electricity bill instead of unpaid taxes on the annual tax return!! Result: if you do not pay the amount of money to the electricity company, it concerns money that you owe to the company and not to the Greek state! Second result: everybody thinks know (without being sure, because everything changes constantly) that if the money is not paid to the electricity company in a short time, electricity will be switched off! And everybody is afraid that this time it is for real! Although noticable is that the electricity company announces on some media that they refuse to do so…

Photo: Warning on electricity being switched off when you are not willing to pay.

So, if you soon will be flying over Greece, only the large swimming pools will be lighted as only the rich ones will be having electricity! But no worries for the other ones, even with candles Greece remains beautiful! Romantic Greece with candles and moon light! :-)

Concerning the ones that really cannot pay the electricity bill now: normally the large amount on the electricity bill can be paid in parts, but it depends on the amount.

Concerning the government: hopefully next time politicians will have a better plan on how to collect money in a short time… :-)

“Dirty dancing” in rubbish

On lots of places in Greece you can see rubbish: paper, bottles, plastic bags, etc. It is such a pity that the beauty of this country is not respected by lots of people. Many think that throwing one piece of paper in nature does not make a difference.

“We were used to throwing an empty bottle of water out of our car window, because everyone did. Today it is a little bit different, but this mentality still needs to change completely. We realize it is wrong, but an habit needs a couple of years to disappear. I know, we have to work on it. And yes, we realize that we harm nature by this means and that it needs to stop.”, said a Greek student a couple of days ago when he saw me taking these pictures of rubbish.

A 45 year old father of three children: “I do not allow my children to throw any dirt on public places although I was never punished by my parents for doing it. We pay taxes at our municipality, but paying taxes does not only mean paying the people who clean our municipality or city, but also using the waste bin on the street we pay for! I love Greece, but it has nothing to do with loving your country, it is a perception on how things need to be done right.”

“I know what you will do next summer!” Bye bye rubbish!


Domestic fuel oil

Yesterday was announced on television that domestic fuel oil will increase again this year. Even last year the bills were higher, but apparently this year they will increase even more.

Greek television described it as ‘lots of Greek families will be having cold next winter, as domestic fuel will increase again’.

Living in a house gives you the opportunity to choose how many domestic fuel oil you will buy and use. But living in an apartment building is worse as not everyone has the same economic problems and as everyone wants to use different amounts of domestic fuel oil. Some families can turn on the heating for hours and others decide to turn it on for an hour of even less. Of course, if you turn it on less, you pay less for the hours you turned on the heating, but there is a fixed charge for every apartment which increases depending on the total amount of hours heating is turned on by all apartments in the building.

If people from Greece read this article, don’t hesitate to give more examples. It is an important subject, which is even more crucial for the villages on mountains which are often covered in snow.

Igia na echoume

The most famous sentence these days in Greece is: ‘Igia na echoume’, meaning ‘As long as we’re healthy’.

When people are talking about different kind of problems, they almost always use this sentence to end the conversation with. Sometimes I wonder if they believe it, or if it has become an habit saying it. Today even more… When people discuss the deficit of their country, the worries of close friends, the anxiety about their children’s future, etc. lots of them say: ‘Igia na echoume’, being the most important thing in order to be able to concur any problem. You are able to do anything when you are healthy and when you believe in something (even if that is the human power of surviving).

When saying ‘Igia na echoume’, the answer is most of the time ‘Nai, igia na echoume’ (yes, as long as we’re healthy), but these days more and more people answer ‘With this chaos, stress and feeling of insecurity, I wonder if we will be healthy in a short time’.

Anyway, Igia na exoume.

Something you really need to know

This is something I really want to share with you.

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend. He lost his job. I asked him why. He said that he first got the choice of working less hours. He worked 4 hours a day for 300 Euros/month. Today, he lost his job.

Losing your job is a disaster when you know there are not enough jobs for everyone and when it is difficult to find a new one, but according to me the fact of being paid 300 euros/ month is worse!! You know, sometimes I wonder, is it that difficult for politicians to understand that no one can live with this amount of money! And even if he would work 8 hours a day, that would be 600 euros/ month:-(

Greeks are moving abroad

Lots of young people decide to leave Greece. They don’t believe in a hopeful future for themselves or their children in Greece and believe other countries will offer them better opportunities to work and to live a decent life.

Decades ago again lots of Greeks moved to other countries. A similar situation was created but with other causes. Back then, World War II and the Cold War forced people to move abroad without knowing anyone there. And even if you knew someone there, it was still difficult as Greeks were not used to leave their country. Today, lots of families live in Europa,  Australia, the United States, Canada, etc. which makes it a little bit more easy for this generation to organize their new life in one of these countries. It is for some easier to ask for help in order to find a job or to start studying at a university.

It is amazing how many Greeks are leaving. Some see it as the last choice and want to stay as long as they can in Greece, but others have already left the country or are trying to receive the right documents and information in order to leave soon. Some with the mentality of never returning to their country, others with the hope of returning someday.

Extremely hot temperatures!

Today, 43 degrees!

For the ones living in countries with low temperatures, don’t be jealous: you stay at home because of cold and rain, we stay at home with air-conditioning! Only in the early morning and late at night we can breathe again. And the worst thing: next week high temperatures will keep on torturing Greece.

People who like these hot days, enjoy!

People living close to beaches, jump in the sea!

People who are working, use this unique thing… air-conditioning!

People who will be visiting Greece, this is the best time to join all beach parties! :-)


Less Greeks go on vacation

The General Federation of Greek Customers (INKA) did also this year the necessary research on the Greeks going on vacation. Also this year not half of the population will end up in an hotel somewhere in Greece. The reasons: 73% because of economic reasons, 20 % because of their job and 7% because of other reasons. Furthermore 72% will spend their holidays at self-owned house outside the city (in most of the cases a house inherited from grandparents, parents of family) or at a house of friends or relatives nearby the beach or the mountains. Concerning trips to other destinations, only 5% is able to spend some days in another country.

When I chat with different people, lots of them indeed stay at home or try to find the cheapest solution to escape a couple of days from big cities or stressful locations. It is too expensive. To go to an island, you need to pay also the ferry. Extra costs which are impossible to pay for lots of them. Staying at the sea coast on mainland is cheaper, but still not the cheapest solution. Fortunately, Greece has lots of beautiful places and lots of them can stay with friends or family living close to a beach or a lovely location. The others, still able to spend little money at an hotel, can travel a little more kilometers away from home.