Monday, May 5, 2014

The Travails of Buying and Selling an Apartment in Berlin

A few weeks ago, we decided to place our Berlin apartment on the market. It seemed like the right time. Property values are high, the exchange rate is favorable, and there are so many other places to discover.

Of course, it was a difficult decision. Berlin is a phenomenal city, and I will certainly miss it. It's a place of contrasts and extremes. On the one hand, it's a city with three major opera houses, a major ballet company, a philharmonic, hundreds of museums, plenty of parks, an extensive public transportation system, and a large multicultural population. On the other hand, it's a city plagued by homelessness, illicit drugs, poverty, illegal sex trafficking, and ethnic tensions. In a way, Berlin is like New York City, a place that never sleeps, and a place where anything is possible. In a word, EXCITING! 

Buying our apartment in a Berlin was no easy task. There were building delays, an inordinate number of regulatory hurdles, a language barrier, and, of course, the uncertainties of the exchange rate with each installment payment. Buying property in Berlin was time-consuming, stressful, and costly. Will selling be any different? 

Already, I've noticed a difference in the way viewings are conducted. In Germany, the seller is present during the viewing. At first, it was a bit awkward seeing a potential buyer inspect our private domain with a fine-tooth comb, but now I find it rather interesting. You see, German buyers aren't bashful when it comes to expressing their opinions about the apartment: "it's too small," "too noisy," "kitchen is rather small," "too expensive," "the doors aren't solid wood!," "that's a balcony, it couldn't fit two people" "furniture looks cheap." Ah, the joys of selling property. 

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