Monday, April 03, 2006

Shingles and windows and bricks, oh my!

This weekend the German and I made steps toward building a house. Mind you, we did not actually move forward or accomplish anything, but there was much time wasted. We went to two house / building trade shows (one Saturday and one Sunday). I am currently on information overload.

We looked at roofing materials.

We looked at bricks.

We looked pissed.

What amazed me was the sheer number of exhibitors and people that were there. Most Germans love to complain about the financial situation of the country, but that pessimism was no where to be found this weekend. The show on Sunday was so full, that there was no parking and you had to walk five minutes in the pouring rain from the field to the trade show building.

We also went and saw the model house of the one we are in love with. As you can see below, the kitchen is to die for. We can in no way afford this house (even if my income did count!), as it is over 250,000 Euro. However it was nice to dream.

This particular builder does have several smaller, more affordable homes. We talked to the sales manager for about 2 hours yesterday. In order to make us an offer, he asked us all kinds of questions about fireplaces and bathtubs and flooring. I was not prepared for these questions. All I could think is, "Do I have to decide this RIGHT NOW?" After about twenty minutes, my eyes glazed over and all I heard was:

Salesman: "Blah, blah, aber Blauhks, blah, und BLAH!"

German: "Wank, Blah, und you know it BLAH!"

The sounded like the parents and teachers in the old Peanuts cartoons. I hope I did not sign over my first born child.


Mike B said...

And if you want a basement, that will cost you more.

What really annoys me about these expos is that you have to pay to get in to then look at things they want you to buy. But then again, for many germans this is merely sunday afternoon entertainment, like walking around the airport, so of course you should pay for it.

christina said...

Definitely coming back here every day to gaze at that kitchen picture. *sigh* Do they really make kitchens like that in Germany?

Hope you find a house that suits you and your budget! Making all those decisions would make my head explode, I think. We bought our house 'used' in 1995 and therefore had no choice about the crappy 70's decor that was already in it.

PapaScott said...

I remember going through all that back in 1995. We had it easy, though... we built next to a Denkmalschutz-protected farmplace, so the historic preservation office dictated to us that our roof and bricks had to be red. That made the decision-making for roofing and siding much easier.

Expat Traveler said...

That is a lovely kitchen photo. So did you sign? And $250K here in Vancouver doesn't get you all that much at all unfortunately...

The German said...

Ohhh that`s the first time I see those pictures...........I haven`t decided yet if I like them!
Okay she is right. We saw so many interesting things and we got so many informations, that we both got an information overload. But the funny thing longer we both walk and watch for stuff......we both get the same ideas and we like the same things.....................and that`s good!

Claire said...

Mike: Actually the price was with a basement and a garge. But, still pretty expensive. You are right. On Sunday it was purely entertainment. There was face painting and everything!

Christina: Could you imagine your fridge in that kitchen!? I think it was all the windows and light colors. It really opens up the room. I am sure we will find something eventually. It is definitly more complicated than I thought.

Scott: Oy! The Denkmalschutz! A friend of mine wants to build near an old farm house and they won't let her. I was like, "What? The cows would be offended?"

Expat Traveler: Definitly did not sign. The sales guy is sending an estimate and next week we are visiting another company. Yes, $250k goes a long way in the middle of no where.

German: Yes, sweetie, I am very glad that we agree on most things. It will make it easier. And, no you don't look fat in the pictures.

Mike B said...

BTW, I have not seen "American-sized" sinks in the demo hauses, and I haven't seen any in a Baumarket yet, but Ikea actually has a few nice-sized sinks in its kitchen collection.

J said...

I have no opinion on the house things, as I live in a dump and will never be able to afford a place like that, but I do have a comment.

It's nice to see that The German doesn't have 'the German hair thing' going on.

Haddock said...

We went to several shows and show homes before we built and the info overload did my head in.
Having to decide on bathroon stuff, floor tiles, roof tiles, brick colur etc was all a bit hectic at times, and some housing firms seem to be more helpful than others.

We finally built with Danhaus. It's a nice house´and we really like it, but there organisational skills and support were pretty bad :)

Lisa said...

Before I read your first post on buying a home I thought doing this in Germany was useless. In the bank lobbies all around this town the houses up for sale begin at five hundred thousand and go up to 1 or 2 million. When I asked G about it he said in order to have a home here you basically have to inherit it, and several of these homes have been in families for generations, so when you see someone has died and their things being sold and moved, it's a good bet their children will move into the property and it won't even go on the market. Seriously I've seen nothing sell in the residential areas around our neighborhood the whole time I've been here.

Now I see info about building and I'm thinking 1.) you guys are wealthy beyond my wildest dreams - and if that is the case, I'm happy for you 2.) there are other more affordable homes somewhere I haven't seen and G either doesn't know about or wouldn't consider and is withholding (as is G's way when he's thoroughly against a thing and doesn't want to discuss it).

I desperately want to get out of this hole I live in - and I mean that seriously - we live in one of the worst slums I have ever laid eyes on in my entire life. It's in a beautiful neighborhood but it's a slum building, and it's not getting any better any time soon. Is there really a way to do this?

It's my mother's hobby to buy houses, fix them up and re-sell. She loves to putter and decorate. In my old town a couple years ago my mom bought and paid for a lovely little cottage that would just suit our family for $16,000. It even had a fenced in yard, front and back. Her mortgage while she owned it was $100 per month, and the electric was about $60 per month. When I think of that it makes my stomach sick.

Two years ago she bought and spent some time fixing one up in a beautiful neighborhood right by a school and park, with a bigger yard, big enough to have a vegetable garden, (approx. $40,000) and she offered it to me earlier this year as a present (and incentive, I guess, to come back home). You don't know how it hurt to have to turn that down. She's now selling it for double and she'll get it.

I'm very sad. :( I wish there were some reasonable way to do this without going into hock up to my eyeballs for the rest of my life. Or is that what everyone else is doing? Am I approaching this idea unreasonably? But why build or buy a home your children will end up paying for?

Dixie said...

I can't wait for you to get the building stuff going. I would hate to have to do it myself but seeing you do it and being anxious to see how great it'll look is sufficient for me.

Belinda said...

Just glad to see a kindred spirit going through the "new house trauma" and knowing that others feel my pain, and I'm not crazy.

Also? The German is, umm...HOT.