And now, what’s up?

baedecker vide pochesOne year ago I kick-started the refurbishing process at our 1920s flat in Schöneberg. In the early spring, while the finishing touches were being added…ooops! we decided to double-up and buy another flat, the Little Cub, a small but cuddly 1960s apartment.

Over the Summer I furnished also the second flat and we spent our holidays in both of them. Ab und zu, we would move from one flat to the other, in order to check our ergonomics intuitions, see if something was missing and make room for friends and family who joined us in beautiful Schöneberg.

We collected lots of enthusiastic feedback.

On our 1920s beauty the most frequent comments were: “Look at this magnificent window!” (you see it now as the Header of this blog). “I loove the touch and feel of the old parquet!”. But also the modern evolution of the flat got the thumbs up, especially the bathroom in gray hues and the surprise mezzanine.

The 1960s Cub flat seduces for its balcony view on to the park and the flood of light, making those 30 square meters airy and open. Its German retro 60s design was enhanced by selecting carefully the furniture. A few pieces, not to crowd the space, but the right ones.

In the meantime, the crisis unfolded. One year ago everybody was scared of banking with a Bad Bank. Markets crashed and the like. There were times we asked ourselves if we had done the right move.

With insight, we realized we bought at the bottom of the market (hopefully!) and our monitoring of Schöneberg real estate prices confirmed a thing or two.

First, good locations and nice properties disappeared from the radar, were scarce on the market and retained their value. Second, more mass-market and common properties were abundant and at cheaper prices. But we didn’t want a property without caractère in the first place, so no regrets. Third, it’s more difficult to get mortgages today.

And now, what’s up?

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2 Responses to “And now, what’s up?”


  1. 1 Fry October 11, 2009 at 1:27 am

    I am looking for such a small flat (about 30m2) in Schöneberg (or nearby) myself for quite a time now. No luck so far. Can you provide a contact or some hints to help me with my search? Thank you very much.

    Fry

  2. 2 stripedcat October 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Ciao Fry

    MeinMann and I we found both flats, the Altbau and the 60s one, by monitoring on a daily basis immobilienscout24.com and studying a lot the neighborhood when we were in Berlin and on google earth when we are in Rome.

    It’s a perfect tool for monitoring offers from Maklers (agents) who cover Schoeneberg. You can set up your desired flat profile and get mails on a daily basis, and you can set up appointments with each single agent in order to show that you mean business and share your clear ideas about budget, area, orientation. Ask for complete Expose’ and they will send them over to you via e-mail…you can then decide if it is worth setting up a meeting.

    During the summer I had the impression that ground floor small flats are always quite abundant, the difficult thing is to find the sunny ones. Also it seemed easier to find flats in the courtyard vs flats facing the street/with balcony. It depends a lot on the destination of the flat, if you need it for living permanently or just as a pied-a-terre from time to time.

    Check out the amount of money that the Gemeinschaft set aside in case there are works to do on the common parts of the building (roof, paint, stairs, heating renovation etc). If there’s little money set aside probably the Wohngeld is high and that’s why the flat may be on the market since a long time.

    Maybe this is the good season…Sometimes it is better to wait and see if more sellers resurface on the market after having being scared by the banks (ie why selling and putting money in a bank if it can get bankrupt) or the uncertain market conditions.

    Our small flat came north of 1000eur/Sqm, so more expensive per square meter than the Altbau, but the price was justified by:
    – super-sunny exposure
    – balcony
    – economy of scale: 50m from the other flat
    – recent renovation
    – fernheizung (cheaper heating system)
    – energy-efficient windows and building coating
    – new bathroom, kitchen and floors
    – asbestos-free building!!! very important!! in Berlin sometimes buildings from the 60s still have asbesto parts such as roof or balcony…(crazy, isn’t it? buildings have fantastic bins for separate collection of plastic and glass, but may still have asbesto around!)

    We saw below 1,000eur/Sqm flats but they needed renovation (remove old carpets, do the bathroom from scratch) or they were in nice areas – like Steglitz – which are not so central.

    Sometimes it’s worth to pay a little extra. 60s flats are almost identical when it comes to Grundriss(=layout). You can renovate them if they are a bit sad, after all it’s a little surface. But the key thing is location, floor, orientation.

    good luck!

    StripedCat


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