Tips to settle in Tirana
For a new comer, Tirana is a quite friendly and easy to settle city. Having received the residence permit, the first step would be finding an apartment. Town houses or family houses are not common. Even if it is possible to find, the existing ones are quite old buildings. Apartment is the most common choice. To find an apartment, it is possible to get some assistance from real estate agencies. Buying the newspaper Celesi and checking the classifieds is the other option. (Celesi is published in Albanian). One of the most important things to check is the availability of electricity and water for 24 hours a day. The building administration fee and the tax payment responsibility (in case of renting, who will pay the tax, the renter, or the owner?) are the other things that need to be clarified.
Shopping mall is a quite new concept for Tirana and Albania. The writer of these lines recommend you to go to Ali Demi to purchase house hold items. Also the bazaar close to Madreseja is a good place to buy house hold items. More information is available at the shopping section.
It is easy to open a bank account at Albanian Banks. However, the anti money laundry policy limits the yearly money transfer amount. This limit should be clearly learned at the bank to prevent further disappointment. Most banks provide internet banking. It is more convinient then going to the bank. In most cases, it is possible to get the access user name and password in 2 days. Most banks provide interface both in English and Albanian.
The small notebook for electricity and water payments should be taken from the owner of the building. Automatic payment option is not available and/or not common and/or not reliable through the banks. You should keep track of the electricty and water bills yourself.
Internet connection is available almost for the whole city. There is no monopoly about internet connection. The coverage area should be learned seperately for each internet service provider. Prices change from provider to provider but they are not more expensive than most of the other European countries.
Getting a cellular phone number is a matter of minutes.