Buying property in Germany is weird. It costs a fortune in fees, it’s a painfully slow process and it completely confusing. To top it off, the buying process is completely different and even more stressful than in the UK (hard to believe, right?!).
Now that we’ve finally put the stress of buying a new home behind us we’re also quickly learning that owning an apartment is very different to owning a house. You can do pretty much what you want in your own house but if you live in an apartment it’s a whole different story.
So what does all of this have to do with our balcony?
Well, as part of our purchase contract we have a document which is called Teilungserklärung. This is essentially a document that specifies exactly what belongs to your apartment and what doesn’t.
As well as laying out general things like the percentage of the building you own and what parts of the building are communal areas our document also specifies that we are allowed to add a second balcony to our apartment!
As exciting as this sounds it does, however, come with a few problems.
- The cost.
- It possibly changes our layout plans for the whole apartment!
This is a fairly obvious problem. I’m not exactly sure how much it will cost and I’m sure it’s almost the same as saying “How much does a car cost?”. Will it be large, small, cantilevered or will it have columns to support it? What kind of finish will the floor be? What about the balustrades?
Then there’s the fact that we have to create an opening to the balcony, buy a door and make good all areas around it.
We’d love to have a second balcony but it’s given that we have so many other jobs to take care of it’s really not a priority!
It changes our layout plans for the whole apartment.
No, I’m really not exaggerating here. Adding a balcony could possibly change everything! Worst of all it’s out of our control!
I’m sure you’re asking yourself what on earth I’m on about. Well, this goes back to the Teilungserklärung. Whilst it specifies that we’re allowed a balcony, it only specifies a zone in which it would be allowed to be.
In my mind, I’d always imagined it leading off our bedroom. For me, it made total sense. I love the idea of waking up and opening some nice big doors to a quiet balcony where I can have my morning drink in the sunshine (it’s east facing).
For us, it doesn’t make sense to have it leading off the current kitchen as we’d still like to move it to the front of the apartment and turn this room into a large bathroom. I’m not saying that a bathroom with a balcony wouldn’t work but it would be a bit weird.
And even if we do decide to keep the kitchen where it is, a balcony there still wouldn’t make sense as it would mean we would have to loose our original period fridge. A total no-no for me.
So, where’s our dilemma?
Well, we recently got to meet some of our neighbours (who are all totally lovely! Phew!) and they see things differently. The two floors below us have their kitchens in the same position as ours currently is and they don’t have the original fridge so want their balconies there.
I can’t really blame them and I totally agree that it makes sense to have a balcony leading off your kitchen but it does mean that it completely messes up my plans.
We’d love to move the kitchen to the first room which we’re currently using as an office because we feel the apartment would work better for the way we live. It would be much more a part of living space but we would still keep the double doors to be able to close it off if we’re cooking something smelly or, let’s face it if we’re too lazy to wash the dishes and just want to hide the mess.
Another big reason for wanting to move the kitchen has to do with the current bathroom which is really small. I’d also love to have an en-suite and both a large bathroom and en-suite would be possible if we managed to move the kitchen.
No decision has been made yet and it will take a while for things to progress even when we’ve all agreed on where the balconies should be positioned as we’ll then still have to apply for planning permission, get quotes, agree on finishes, etc. I have a feeling that this is all going to take a long while and until then we can’t really make any decisions about rejigging the layout of our apartment. Uff.
Living in a house where pretty much only you decided on what you wanted to do, timescales, finishes and costs were definitely much more straightforward.
Do you agree that it would be a shame to lose our original fridge? Would you prefer to have your kitchen separate to your living space or more integrated? Do you hate waiting for things to progress as much as we do?