I start to see my life as something that looks like a lot of spirals, connected to each other, but always starting over and over… meaning more or less, move to some random country, learn the language a bit, get a flat, get a job, get to know some people and start liking the place… stay for a year or two and then start all over again, with a new spiral.
So that is more or less why (that’s the short version) I just moved to Germany. My list now looks something like (aquired in this very order) :
Meaning more or less that all focus is on the apartment side right now, which is of course nice in one way, but it hinders my incredibly awesomely creative mind from writing cool posts about things like… yeah, you know 🙂
But I don’t want to leave my little blog all alone and empty these days (as I feel he kind of have a life on his own, and maybe will get a bit jealous and such) so I thought hey, why don’t I share what I’ve learnt in my apartment-hunting so far? (even though, my apartment-hunting usually cover major cities where finding a housing in general is hard, so I guess if you live in Alaska or something, your life is MUCH easier…) Because believe me, understanding those real-estate-people takes SKILLS, and I am not talking about learning the local language here, but about understanding what they actually say…
COMMON LANGUAGE USED BY REAL ESTATE AGENTS:
- “Spacey” – has a strange cut and space that you cannot really use for anything at all.
- “Lively neighborhood” – LOUD neighborhood and frequented by weird people in the nighttime.
- “Charming” – any use of charming means that it is SMALL.
- “Central” – Apartment is usually in the outskirts of the city but still belongs to the city.
- “Cosy” – see “Charming”
- “Original” – mainly means that someone with VERY bad taste lived there before and painted the walls in some strange color or similar.
- “Suitable for young people” – usually means apartment is on 5th floor without elevator.
- “Family friendly” – Usually means all neighbors have screaming kids and will bang at your door as soon as you make any noise after 10 PM
- “Unique” – Has the shower in the bedroom/ kitchen in the bathroom or something similar. Usually not a positive attribute…
- “Stylish building” – Built in the 70’ies and therefore most likely to look like a giant, grey shoebox
- “Common garden” – There is a spot of grass behind the building that you can sit on if you like to!
- “Quiet neighborhood” – see “family friendly”
- “100% noise-blocking windows” – Apartment is next to the main train station and you WILL hear it!
Basically, you have to see about 20 apartments in order to get a good idea of what the city has to offer (usually in two rounds of 10 each), and only max 5 of them will only have one or two of the above mentioned attributes and therefore you tell yourself you can compromise. In the first round, you will, the day after, call back to the responsible agent for about 3 of 10 apartments you saw, only to get to know that you were too late.
In the second round you will do the same, but not one day later, but about an hour after your visit. Then you will come into the pot of people who are interested in the same apartment and count on luck to get it.
Usually it goes like this: you find 3 apartments you REALLY like, there is ONE that you absolutely LOVE, and the third one is just OK. When you will hear back from them after applying it goes like this (in THIS very order):
Receiving first call:
Random person: “Hello, we received your application and would like to offer you apartment 3”
Me: “Oh, that’s very nice, can I confirm that after tomorrow? (because I’m still hoping for flat 1 or 2)”
Random person: “Well, actually, you need to give a final answer by end of day tomorrow, else we will offer it to someone else”
Me: “OK, I promise to get back to you before tomorrow afternoon”
…. Calling the contact person for apartment 1:
Me: “Hello, I would like to know how the process is going for the apartment, because I really would like to have it”
Random real-estate-woman: “Oh, yes, you, I remember you… yes, it will be decided tomorrow, but I can tell you, you gave a really good impression, so I think it will be fine”
Me: “Oh, that’s great to hear. I got offered another apartment, but I REALLY want this one, so I am awaiting news before I answer for the other one”
Random real-estate-woman: “I understand, I promise to get back to you tomorrow”
… Receiving call for apartment 2:
Real-estate-idiot: “Hello, I would like to tell you that unfortunately it did not really work out with the apartment, the owner chose someone else”
Me: “OK, that is really too bad, but thank you for calling me. Would you have any idea what criteria they chose upon and if there is anything I can improve”
Real-estate-idiot: “Well, it seems like you did not include your former landlord here in Germany in the application, and they like to see that”
Me: “Yes, but I have also never lived in Germany before”
Real-estate-idiot: “Ah, OK, but then it will maybe get easier for you when you have lived here for a while and can leave such a reference”
Waiting one day, and then calling back for apartment 1:
Me: “Yes, it’s me again, I would just like to know if you have any news, as I said, I need to give an answer for another apartment, but I would really like to get this one”
Random real-estate-woman: “Ahhhh, yes, well, actually, it is not really ready yet, but it looks like you will get it, but we need to confirm some things with the owner”
Me: “Ok, great, thank you so much”
And then comes the point when I am taking about an hour to reflect upon in and deciding to take the risk and say NO to flat 3 as it is 1/3 smaller than flat 1 and not in such a nice location as the first one and it REALLY looks like I will get nr1…. OK, I will do it (life is all about taking risks, right?).
Calling nr 3 back (as promised):
Me: “Hello, I would like to talk about the apartment I got offered”
Random person: “Ah, yes, well, we offered it to someone else and they signed today”
Me: “OK, but I thought I was given a day to think about it, but anyway, thank you for letting me know”
And of course… about 2 hours later you receive THE call:
Random real-estate-woman: “Hello, I am calling to inform you about the apartment, it is really strange, but in the end it looks like the decided for someone else”
Me: “Really, ok… would you have any idea why?”
Random real-estate-woman: “No, not really, sometimes you just get unlucky… but I am sure you will find something soon…”
Yeah RIGHT !
That’s when you go back to square ONE and start ALL OVER again, seeing about 10 other apartments, being OK with 2 of them and finding ONE that you REALLY like and… yepp, same thing, all over again.
What did you say? You are interested in what is going on in my life right now? Well, now you know 🙂 Anyway, if I get the apartment I am awaiting reply for right NOW, I promise to post a totally awesome post tomorrow which I haven’t had energy to work on yet, but it’s in my head and totally awesome 🙂