Friday, October 18, 2013

Home Hunting - What I Have Learned So Far

OK, maybe I do have a 'blogger's block', but there is one thing I thought I could share with you.

In May, I wrote about my new hobby: apartment hunting. Our landlord had decided to sell our apartment. That does necessarily mean that we need to move, but if the new owner wants to move in, he or she can end our lease. Fortunately for us, it is relatively difficult to get rid of tenants in Germany. So, if we ever come to the point that we are told to leave, we would still have six months to do that.

I have now been actively looking for a new home for five months. And here are some points I have learned so far:

1. Be fast

Do not leave town/country for two months. And do not be without connection to the internet for more than a few hours.

We spend one week at a summer cabin in Finland and thus noticed a new, nice apartment only three days after it was published in Immobilienscout. After sorting out the timetables, when some of Herr Welle's colleagues could go and see the apartment, it was already gone.

It is probably difficult to be fast enough anywhere, but it does not make things and easier, that the U.S. Army Europe headquarters is moving to Wiesbaden and there are thousands of people looking for a place to live.

2. Do not have children

On our wish list, there the two main points are 2-3 bedrooms and an own garden. In almost half of those kind apartments, it is mentioned that "meant for a single or a couple without children". What? Why?

3. Remember that the broker knows better

I think that our two girls, who are relatively close in age, could share a room for quite many years to come. So, two bedrooms would be enough for us. And if we could find a place with three bedrooms, the girls would still share a room and the extra one would be used as a office / guest room.

But the local brokers seem to think that this is impossible. If I am interested in an apartment with 'only' two bedrooms, the first thing the broker asks is that how many kids do we have. And after hearing the answer, uses all his/her excuses to make me think that the apartment is too small for us. Well, who am I to know...

4. If you are trying to save in the broker provision, prepare yourself for the loss of hair and mental health

In Finland, the owner much pay the provision for the broker. But here, it is paid by the tenant. The provision is usually 2.38 net rent incl. VAT, so quite a lot of money.

If you find an apartment, which is rented directly be the owner, it is certainly a plus. We found one, which we were very interested in and provided the owner with all sort of personal information. When I hadn't heard from him after a few days, I tried to call him several times and send him a couple of emails. But nothing. We heard nothing. It has now been a month and the apartment is no longer in the Immobilienscout, so he has rented it to someone else. But this left me a very unpleasant feeling. It wouldn't have taken him much effort to let us know. Argh.

Wherever we are going to move to, this is what I will miss the most:
all this green (and orange) over the rooftops!

So, what is the current situation? We have applied for one apartment, but haven't yet heard anything back. It has been only a couple of days and there is a broker involved, so even if we do not get this apartment, I hope it won't turn like point #4. I am also in a process of making appointments for a couple of other apartments. Cross your fingers!

Kuten aiemmin kerroin, nykyinen asuntomme on myynnissä ja saatamme joutua muuttamaan. Olen siis nyt muutaman kuukauden ajan etsinyt meille uutta asuntoa. Mikään ei ole vielä tärpännyt, mutta pari asiaa olen oppinut:
1. Ole nopea - uusiin asuntoilmoituksiin pitää tarttua heti. Wiesbadeniin on muuttamassa tuhansia uusia jenkkejä, joten asuntomarkkinat käyvät kuumina.
2. Ole lapseton - tosi moni asunto, jossa on kolme makkaria ja oma piha, on ilmoituksen mukaan tarkoitettu sinkulle tai lapsettomalle parille. Käsittämätöntä.
3. Muista, että välittäjä on aina oikeassa - luulitko, että kaksi pientä tyttöä voisivat jakaa yhteisen huoneen? Paikallisten välittäjien mukaan se on mahdotonta!
4. Välittäjäpalkkiossa säästäminen vie mielenterveyden - täällä vuokralainen maksaa asunnon välityspalkkion. Jos asunnon omistaja hoitaa vuokraamisen itse, säästät toki palkkiossa, mutta saattaa olla, ettet saa kuukauteen tietoa asunnon tilanteesta.
Pitäkää peukkuja, että pian tärppää! :)


Anna said...

Pidetään peukkuja! Minusta tuntuu, että asunnonvälittäjät yrittävät väenväkisin tuputtaa teille 4 huoneen asuntoa, kun niitä on korkean vuokran takia niin vaikea saada vuokratuksi ja provisiokin olisi sitten parempi. 3 huoneen asunnoilla on ottajia, eikä 3,5 huoneen asuntoja taida oikein olla tarjolla. (0,5 h on pieni 9-10 m²)

Sara said...

Apartment hunting is a nightmare. When we were looking in Berlin half the places we liked never returned our calls or emails, several didn't both to tell us they had already found someone AFTER we made appointments to see the apartments (dragging our toddler all over Berlin in the process). It is really frustrating!