Saturday 21 February 2015

Buy or Build

For a few years we have been thinking about moving from our 2 bedroom flat in Stuttgart Rohracker to a more rural area and now we have a new family member on the way and our nesting instinct has really kicked in we are going for it.

After much looking online at houses to buy and being frustrated by the lack of anything in our price range that wouldn't need a huge amount of work we decided a couple of weeks ago to look at the cost of a new build.  In Fellbach just north of Stuttgart there is a field full of show houses from the various building companies.  Here you can go in to each, look at the size, layout, fittings, etc and chat to their sales reps.  We spent a few hours there talking to various different companies and were surprised that for less than buying we could actually build our own house!

The two we narrowed down to were from Allkauf and Fingerhuthaus, they were very similar in style and both were very helpful and forthcoming (unlike many of the reps in other houses that seemed uninterested in actually selling a house).

Allkauf gave us an offer and a follow-up appointment the following Wednesday while Fingerhuthaus gave us a rough estimate and a follow-up appointment the following weekend, although their offer was over €70,000 more for less house and less accessories (garage, bathroom suite, etc.) and when the "senior" salesman joined in the discussion he spent most of the time telling us why we shouldn't go with other companies rather than why we should go with his which we really didn't like.

We spent the time until Wednesday looking at all the options we had seen and working out the finances (Steffi worked in the financial planning for years so knows her stuff) and came to the conclusion that the house from Allkauf would be the best option and if the price quoted was real (including as many hidden costs as we could think of) then we would go with them.

The way it works here is that we have to find and buy our own piece of land to build the house on so once we sign for the house we then have the offer fixed for 15 months giving us time to find land, if we don't find the land within 15 months we would lose the offer on the house, although at no cost so still no risk at this point.  Only once we buy land are we required to then build the house we signed for.

On Wednesday we returned to the Allkauf show home and had a long appointment with the sales rep (we were now on "du" terms).  He and his wife added in all the extras we wanted, the price was what we expected so we signed!  After hand shaking, hugging, and being presented with a bottle of Champagne and more jelly babies we could eat in a week we left feeling very good about the whole thing.  Now the real work starts!

Here are some photos of the show house.  It is not quite the same as we ordered but it gives an idea of the style.

And the initial floor plans:

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