Old building apartment – You are a student, want to move in with your partner or just want to get away from home and into the city? Maybe you are even thinking about buying an apartment? Then an old building would be the right thing for you. Due to the predominant proximity to city centres, apartments in old buildings are highly sought after on the market. High ceilings, bay windows and box-type windows are characteristic features of this architecture and promise a feel-good factor. Old building apartments are often found in an apartment building or even in a historic villa. Whether renting or buying, here you will find useful tips, advantages and disadvantages of this special type of building.
Old building apartment: What is actually an old building?
What does a typical apartment in an old building look like and does it suit me? You should definitely ask yourself this question before you decide on this type of apartment. Of course, the exterior facade, especially between the new concrete buildings, is an absolute eye-catcher. With the stuccoed walls and the small balconies or wall protrusions, Altbau houses definitely stand out. But what does it actually look like inside?
Are you looking for the right apartment? Then take a look at our guide to apartment types from A-Z! Here you’ll find definitions, meanings and lots of information about penthouse, granny flat, apartment & co.
Characteristics of old buildings: the unmistakable charm
An old building apartment has many characteristic building elements to offer. In addition to beautiful stucco-decorated interior walls, double doors or a bay window, the high ceilings are a characteristic of this type of building. These can rise from three to over 4.5 metres in height and give your room much more freedom and size. Likewise, the classic wooden floorboards and herringbone parquet flooring are a trademark of the old building and give your home something quaint. The box-type windows are also part of the architecture of the old building. In those days, double windows were built with a space between them, which was mainly used for insulation. All these features ensure that old buildings have a charm that is very attractive, especially for young adults.
We got our tips and information mainly from the following source: Altbauwohnung (Lukinski.de)
Special room layout of an old building: Large hallway, built-in cupboards & passage room
Old building apartments are known for their small passage rooms, storage rooms or built-in closets. It doesn’t matter if the rooms are smaller or larger in design. The most important thing is that you use the space upwards. No other building style has such high ceilings, giving you the opportunity to use that space as well and not waste it. Possibilities include high shelves to allow for storage or a large hanging lamp. You have many options, so get creative and don’t waste space.
Advantages & disadvantages of an old building apartment
As with any type of building, there are always different advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before you rent or buy such an apartment. We do the work for you and have summarized the most important advantages and disadvantages of an old building apartment for you. You can then weigh up whether this building style is something for you and whether you can make friends with the disadvantages.
Advantages: high ceilings, stucco and special windows
Living in an old building offers you not only many aesthetic advantages, but also some practical ones. Besides the advantages of high ceilings, most old houses also have a basement with possible storage space. In addition, most old houses are listed and if you plan to buy such a house, you have the possibility of 90% of the renovation costs (within 10 years) tax deductible. Also, the box-type windows not only look nice, but also insulate the room through the double windows to insulate sound and, for example, to store warm air in the room. These are not to be equated with today’s standards, but a nice side effect.
- High ceilings with stucco
- Monument protection
- Often cellar with storage space
Disadvantages: a charming creak of the floorboards
By law, buildings built up to 1949 can be called old buildings. Therefore, it is unfortunately inevitable to have to take some, small disadvantages with in purchase. On the one hand, it is often the case that you buy an apartment in need of renovation and must therefore bring in additional capital. However, you have the opportunity to renovate the apartment according to your creative wishes. In addition, the walls are usually thin, so it is more brighthörig and the old floors creak and crack from time to time. Also, there is usually no elevator and due to the high ceilings it takes longer to heat up the room.
- Renovation may be required
- Slow to heat up because of the high ceilings
- Light-hearing, creaking of the floor
- Mostly no elevator
Old building apartment: For whom is it suitable – students, singles & Co.
Although an old building apartment gives a beautiful charm, this type of construction may not be for everyone. You have to weigh the pros and cons and personally see if this type of architecture suits you. Here are a few groups that we think would be a perfect fit for an apartment in an old building.
The unique charm of old apartments is especially popular with young adults. If you just want to move out or have to move to study, an old building is definitely perfect for you. For one thing, apartments in old buildings are often in the middle of the city centre and close to the university, giving you the opportunity to be flexible. On the other hand, they are perfect for living in a shared flat. Due to the many small rooms, you can easily live with three or four people and share the rent.
Singles: feel safe
Apartments in old buildings are also very attractive for single people. The proximity to the city centre or to work is also an important factor here. In addition, the special construction with the smaller rooms and high ceilings allow you to live out your individuality. In addition, this architecture lends a cosy and quaint atmosphere and makes you feel secure and familiar.
Couples: family in planning?
Often, old apartments are not only located in the city center, but also on the outskirts or in different neighborhoods. Especially these properties are suitable for young couples who may already be thinking about family planning. On the one hand, one is still quickly in the city center and can reach everything easily, on the other hand, one is no longer involved in the urban hustle and bustle has a little more peace. In addition, the small rooms and the high ceilings offer plenty of room for personal development, but also for potential children’s rooms.
Here’s what you should consider before buying/renting an old building
Whether you’re buying or renting, it’s always a good idea to find out exactly what the building type is so you’re prepared for anything. Especially with older buildings, there are some points that you should consider. We present you here the most important things, so that you can clarify everything in advance and no unexpected costs hit you.
Please also have a look at our article on the procedure, costs and advantages and disadvantages of buying an apartment!
What to consider when buying
First of all, you should inform yourself about the structural condition of your apartment. Especially in old buildings, there are some things that have not been modernised or that require special attention. Before buying, it’s best to find a specialist who can support you and give you an insight into the possible renovation work. For example, it could be that the exterior siding is damaged, causing moisture and mold to enter the home. In addition, it could be that the statics need to be repaired to ensure stability or that repair work needs to be done. So get help and then nothing can really go wrong.
- Structural condition?
- Possible repair work?
Renting an old apartment: What to consider?
Even if you decide to only rent an old building, you should also consider a few things. If there is anything that needs to be renovated in your future apartment, you should definitely discuss this with the landlord beforehand and have it stipulated in writing. This will protect you from being stuck with unexpected costs later on and from being held responsible for any damage. You should also always discuss any changes with your landlord. So if you want to change something in your apartment beyond decoration, clarify everything in advance, because it could be that you are required to return the apartment in its original condition.
- Record renovations in writing
- Agree changes with landlord
Heating systems in old buildings: heating, insulation & co.
In old apartments, it’s not always easy to have the right temperature and still not get a heating bill that’s too high. Especially since there is a lot of emphasis on climate friendliness these days. If the temperature is too low, mold could form, if it is too high, the climate will be more stressed. Here we’ll tell you a few useful tricks to keep your utility bill as low as possible.
- Time switch on the heater
It would be best if the heating is turned off about an hour before you go to bed and turned on again an hour before you wake up. This way you don’t waste money unnecessarily during the night and still wake up in a warm environment.
- Temperature difference between rooms
You should not have too high a room temperature in rooms that you use less. Instead, you can set it higher in the rooms that you use often, because this also keeps your utility costs lower. However, always make sure to close the doors between the rooms, otherwise the warm air will escape, for example.
- Do not place furniture in front of the radiator
In order for the heat to be ideally distributed in the room, you should not place any furniture or objects in front of the heater. It would also make sense to keep a small distance between your furniture and the wall, so that the outer wall does not cool down too much.
Furnishing an old apartment: Furnishing tips for your apartment
With an old building you have many possibilities to let your imagination run wild. Especially popular is the style mix of quaint, vintage furniture and a modern, personal touch. Especially the characteristic construction method offers a lot of leeway and more freedom in the old building.
Furnishings: vintage, modern or a mix of styles?
Here you have the choice of going more in the modern direction, keeping the old building charm or mixing the two styles. The only thing to keep in mind is that you want to incorporate the whole room. For example, we would recommend a large bookshelf that goes all the way to the ceiling to create storage space. Also, long hanging lamps fit very well in the rooms to fill everything with light. Take a look at our interior articles from Dior Maison or Boca Do Lobo. You’re sure to find the right ideas there.
Tip. Everything on the topic of interior design, from Skandi style to industrial look, can be found here: Furnishing styles XXL