My family and I are getting ready for our big move from Germany back to the USA! So, no more posts about my German apartment. Darn! Since I don’t have much time for decorating or craft projects right now, I’m going to unload about the frustrations of moving.
I just couldn’t title this post “Moving Day”. Who accomplishes a move in one day? Even a local move takes days of preparation and then unpacking. An international move takes months. Really! So where should I start with the trials of moving from Germany?
I guess my biggest irritation with domiciles in Germany is how darn expensive it is to move in and then how long you have to wait to get your money back when you move out. First, let me tell you about the money we had to fork over to move into our apartment. In the States maybe you pay a small application fee and a deposit of one month’s rent. In Germany, we had to pay a deposit of two months’ rent plus, here’s the kicker, a non-refundable realtor fee of two months’ rent! So we paid €2380 to the realtor and €2380 to our landlord. At the time, the exchange rate was about $1.45 to every €1. That totals $6,902 just to move into a rental apartment! Then, if you remember from an earlier post, we had to purchase and install all of the light fixtures ourselves. Rub salt in the wound, why don’t ya!
Now that we’re leaving, we had to give 90 days notice to our landlord. Ninety days notice! The only things my husband and I have done with 90 days or more notice is get married and have a baby! It takes less time to buy a house in the States for crying out loud! So the way it works out, we’ll be paying June and July rent for an apartment we aren’t living in. I know! That is our own damn fault. Who signs a lease with 90 days notice? My hubby, that’s who. Oh well. Next question: when do we get our deposit back? Ninety days after the last day we pay rent for, so we won’t get our deposit back until November!
The other thing we have to wait for is an energy audit. In Germany there is cold rent and warm rent. Warm rent includes an estimated charge for the heat and water you use. Our deposit and realtor fee was determined using cold rent, which is the warm rent minus the monthly estimate of your heat and water usage. Since energy use is estimated to determine warm rent, after the calendar year is over, an audit is done to determine if you used more or less than what you already paid for. For the year 2010 we received a refund of €838! We used that amount to fund a trip to Paris. Nice, huh? I’d like to get more money back, so of course I asked my landlord when the energy audit for 2011 will be complete. Well, they aren’t going to jump through any hoops to see if they owe me money. That audit and the audit for 2012 will take place when they normally occur, meaning I won’t get all of my potential refund until the summer of 2013, even though they’ll know my final energy usage numbers the day we move out on 23 May 2012. Have I mentioned that the only thing that goes fast in Germany is a car on the autobahn?
So, for us in Germany, from the time we signed a lease to the time we move out and get back the money that is owed to us, well it is a very long and expensive process. You can be sure that I have marked a reminder on my calendar for when to expect my money back.
Have any of you had interesting experiences renting property in a foreign country?