I know you’ve all been waiting for the behind the scenes nitty-gritty details of why we really sold our apartment and, as promised, we’re sharing everything.
Just a quick warning though, it’s not pretty! (You might want to skip to the end if you want to hear something positive!)
Deciding to completely uproot our lives and sell our apartment probably came as a bit of a surprise but. behind the scenes, it’s something we’d been thinking about for quite a while.
There’s no denying that our apartment looks amazing. It’s large (about 1.5 times the size of our 4-bed Edwardian semi in Manchester), has stunning high ceilings with ornate plasterwork (including naked ladies in the living room ceiling), it’s packed with period features, has great transport links and, best of all, we have amazing neighbours, too.
But looks can be deceiving and all of this comes at a price though. Literally.
In international comparison, Berlin is still an affordable city but that doesn’t mean it’s a cheap place to live. Rents and property prices have been increasing rapidly over the last few years, gentrification is an ever-increasing issue with many locals being priced out of the city and the arty, gritty vibe that makes the city special is slowly disappearing.
Now, none of this is meant to sound miserable. If we lived in any city in Germany it would still have to be Berlin. It’s multicultural, vibrant and there’s always something going on which are all things we love about living here.
But back to our apartment. As amazing as it is, why did we decide to move on to something new?
Most of us to know better to believe everything we see on the internet and whilst we are always honest here, there’s always behind the scenes stuff that you don’t see.
After all, nobody really wants to read about day to day misery, see the piles of laundry in the corner of our bedroom or the complete chaos we sometimes live in when tackling 5 DIY projects in one go (although that’s one messy aspect we do occasionally share).
So, why did we really sell our dream apartment?
We’re not ‘forever’ people
I totally understand that there are people out there who would find constantly moving to new cities and homes stressful but we actually like new adventures. This is probably down to the fact that we also love renovating and transforming our homes, which is why inevitable we do get to the point where we’d like a new challenge.
We enjoy living in Berlin but, without giving too much away (we don’t know what will happen yet and planning anything long-term at the moment is almost impossible), we don’t think that we’ll be staying here longterm!
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the financial aspect of owning a home didn’t occasionally seem daunting. The largest part of our income is spent on our apartment. We’re constantly renovating, we have huge maintenance bills and our mortgage is massive, too.
Obviously, these are all costs we knew about before we bought the apartment so the financial pressure only played a small part in the reason we decided to sell.
There was however another money-related reason we decided to move on. The value of our apartment increased and by selling now, we’ll make a great profit which will hopefully allow us more financial independence and freedom to do the things we love like travel (if we’re ever allowed to again) or just not stress when another bill comes through the letterbox.
We didn’t enjoy living there
As much as the two reasons I just mentioned do play a huge part in our reason to sell, the biggest reason of all is that I just didn’t enjoy living there.
I know that that probably sounds like a mad thing to say, but it honestly just goes to show that you should always remember that there’s another side to all of the gorgeous interiors you see on places like Instagram.
On paper, the apartment is more than we could have ever wanted. There’s no denying that it is amazing but there are some serious drawbacks when it comes to living there. Our internet connection was shocking (after over 3 years of waiting it was finally renewed the week we moved out!), the building itself still needs a lot of work and the loft (which is directly over us) will be converted into flats which means that we’ll be living on a full-on building site for at least a year.
Committee meetings are the stuff nightmares are made of
Owning any type of property comes with certain obligations, Obviously, there are bills to pay and there’s maintenance to take care of, but when you own an apartment, there are a lot of other things that become part of your day-to-day life, too.
You have to deal with fun things like committee meetings (which can be really unpleasant and miserable things), you have a lot of neighbours you have to get on with and making any kind of decision involves a lot of back and forth and even when things are decided it by no means guarantees that they will happen.
I personally wouldn’t buy an apartment again. I wish someone had given us advice and had told us about what problems could arise and what issues we could face when owning an apartment.
This isn’t about me always getting my own way (which is something I’m fine with), what I didn’t realise is that people would do things that are detrimental to the value of the building and therefore our apartment, too.
We didn’t realise how long everything would take
If you’ve ever tackled a home improvement or had any building work done, you’ll know that things have a way of taking longer than you expect. We’ve been DIYing and improving our homes for almost 10 years now and you’d think we’d used to delays and things not going completely to plan but nothing quite prepared us for what lay ahead with our apartment.
Obviously, it takes time to agree on changes or major building work but there were huge and completely unnecessary delays, like waiting 3 years for a new internet connection, that was basically down to a useless management company.
Your facilities company is everything!
I cannot stress enough how vital a good facilities company is to keep everything moving and working. Seriously, it’s hard to imagine just how important it is.
The management company we had for roughly the first year signed contracts which were wrong. Years later we’re still sorting mismanagement issues. They approved overpriced quotes, made decisions that were detrimental to the structure of the building and we’re all round just incompetent which can become extremely stressful when you’re dealing with them on a day-to-day basis.
OMG. I had no idea how s**t people could be. Okay, so I did know, but it’s easy to forget just how evil people sometimes are. I obviously can’t go into a huge amount of detail given that a lot of legal things are still ongoing but here are a few things to give you an idea of some of the things going on behind the scenes.
We had amazing neighbours who all wanted to improve the building and make changes that would benefit the building and the people living there – except for one.
One person that owned a tiny part of the building kept suing the rest of us for the most random things. He’d rip out original features like a door to the communal hallway and when we all complained started to sue us for pretty much anything he could think of! It was just never-ending. There were also some completely mad rumours flying around which ranged from things like him wanting to start a brothel or a poker club in the cellar! Needless to say, they were completely unsubstantiated and legally couldn’t ever happen, but they aren’t exactly things that make you sleep better at night!
I realise that this all sounds really miserable but it’s honestly not meant to.
Yes, we had a really stressful time that actually got so bad at one point that it started to affect my health but we also had the privilege of living in a stunning apartment in the middle of Berlin for almost 4 years.
We had lots of fun times there and we made great new friends. Oh, and we made a profit, too. And, best of all, we have a new and exciting adventure to look forward to! Hope you stick around and join us – what we have planned is going to be lifechanging!
Have you ever lived somewhere that turned out not to be what you expected? Have you had problems with your neighbours? Did living in your own home live up to your expectations?
PS. Don’t forget that you can take the full video tour of our apartment on our new YouTube channel!