Friday, 17 May 2013

Big Bad Wolf

.....otherwise titled "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down" - or knock it down with a wrecking ball and throw up some cubist monstrosity.  Well that's what the current state of the property market seems to be like around here to me.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you may be aware that since early 2011 we've been looking for a house to buy (to buy or not to buy).  This search has been long and hard and not without it's curiosities and problems along the way.

  • I've been astounded at the number of swimming pools houses in my neck of the woods seem to have - lots of them outside and it's not as if the weather here is that spectacular that you need to cool off every now and then. 

  • I've been gobsmacked by Makler (estate agents) telling me that houses with four bedrooms all together just don't exist.... It seems that the trend is to have a separate 'Elternschlaftract' which is a parents suite - and this is often on a different floor to the other rooms.  Great when your kids are older and more self sufficient, but with three children under 10, it's not the best of set-ups.
  • I'm beginning to get my head round the kitchen sizes - or lack of...... An eat-in kitchen - or at least a kitchen big enough for a bit of social chatter whilst cooking was one of my top wants.
  • However, the main one I've really struggled with is the propensity there seems to be in this area to buy a house, knock it down and build again. Now, undoubtedly some of these houses are in need of significant renovations, conversion work, decorating and the like, but with some there is really nothing wrong - certainly in our eyes.

If you read my post Wobble Wobble you'll know we went to view a (very nice) house near the Boys' school.  There was nothing specifically wrong with the house - other than a noisy road at the back of the plot.  It gave me the wobbles (which fortunately I seem to have stilled for now) and we didn't buy.  Driving past it last week however, we were surprised to see it had been knocked down and a new modern house was being built.

Now apart from the noise (which rebuilding isn't going to address!) there was nothing wrong with the house.  It was a 1950s villa - with a fantastic staircase, beautiful original features such as some stained glass windows, solid oak front door, fabulous 50s bathroom suite - overall, in very good condition and a house which had obviously been cherished as someone's family home.  Now it wasn't right for us - but to completely demolish it and start again - with something which is not at all in keeping with the surrounding properties - it all seems a bit weird to me, and surely not in line with German eco-sensibilities.

Roll on 9 months and just before Easter we finally found the house for us - yes a 1950s villa, four bedrooms all on the same floor and gas in the (albeit small - but extendable) kitchen.  Now, we seem as far as we know to be the only people to actually want to buy the house - despite 20 odd viewings in the first week it was marketed - the only conclusion we can come to about this is, that the plot doesn't lend itself to demolishing and rebuilding (fortunately for us!). 

So it's taken us the best part of three years to find our new home - and naturally the course of property purchase never did run smooth - but we're hoping to have contracts signed in the next couple of weeks and then to move in the early Autumn.  So all fingers and toes are crossed here and we're 'druckening our Daumen' too.