Everybody has had a viewing appointment for an apartment before. One differentiates between an open inspection to which everyone can come and an inspection which was agreed upon by a private invitation. No matter what kind of sightseeing it is, that one also gets the apartment in the end is never certain. We have conducted an interview with a real estate expert for you.
Interview with our real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.
Visit date: You should consider this
FIV: What does the housing market professional say about tips for visiting an apartment that I want or can buy? Gibt´s there are avoidable mistakes, or what do I have to pay attention to so that I am not fooled?
A decent salesman, no matter whether privately or as a broker, does not want to cheat anyone! After all, this flies out at some point. Furthermore, the BGB (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch; editor’s note) states that the seller must hand over the sold item free of material defects and defects of title.
FIV: That sounds good, but can I always rely on it? And if it does go wrong, I have a long and costly lawsuit to settle, don’t I?
It is actually quite good that we begin our conversation about tips and mistakes during the apartment inspection with the legal basis. This ensures basic security when buying a home, especially for beginners. In the worst case, I can move out of a rented apartment quickly. With a purchased apartment, even if I use it as an investment, it is not so easy. After all, everything, including financing, would then have to be reversed. That usually costs a lot of money!
One of the legal bases you have as a buyer is the so-called liability for defects of the seller. In abbreviated form, this means that the seller can be held liable by the buyer for hidden or concealed defects even after the sale. But attention: In the sales contracts the following formulations are mostly in it: “bought, as seen”, “bought, as it stands and lies” or “the salesman does not take over guarantee for lack”. In fact, these rates very largely relieve the seller.
The correct behaviour during the inspection appointment
FIV: That’s why we would like to know what is important to consider when visiting an apartment so that it doesn’t get that far.
I begin with the fact that the inspection of a real estate – straight with purchase – needs time and peace. So it is best to try to arrange an exclusive viewing appointment with the real estate agent. Then you will not be pushed through the rooms by other interested parties. By the way, an individual visit does not mean that the buyer should come alone. On the contrary: even when buying a flat, the motto is that four eyes see more than two! One should take a partner with one to the inspection, whom one also trusts a critical judgement. Only in this way can the possible initial euphoria be reduced to a realistic level.
FIV: Is there a right time for an inspection?
If you are alluding to the right time and day of the week, then you can be sure of that! It is best to visit the apartment for the first time in daylight on a weekday after work.
What’s the matter with you? Very simple: then I have a realistic impression of the noise level outside and inside the house. The evening rush hour is flowing, maybe some neighbours are already at home. I know whether I like the noise or not. If everything is in order, it is best to arrange one or two further appointments at different times of the day and weekdays. Several inspection dates are recommended also because one is often very excited with the first date and is perhaps even somewhat “operationally blind”. A good salesman and broker has no problems even with several appointments. He even perceives you more as a serious customer!
Be honest or ‘the perfect tenant’?
FIV: Do I have to be honest with the seller in all things?
If I expect honesty from the broker and seller, then of course it should also be the other way round. So it doesn’t hurt at all if I bring my bank’s financing commitment to the first appointment. It’s not so obvious when renting that the landlord needs a Schufa information. To underline the serious intention to buy with a financing promise or self-disclosure, brings me as a buyer, especially in sought-after apartments but immediately in the pole position.
It is also part of honesty when buying an apartment that I ask to what extent pets are allowed. Then you yourself, or the future tenant, will not experience any nasty surprises. You are also welcome to have the entire house rules shown to you, if there is already one – for example in a new building.
Cities with_the_highest_rentals – Toplist
Source: Real Estate Statistics / IHV
Here you can see the 10 cities with the highest rents in the 4th quarter of 2018:
- Munich: 17.56 Euro/m²
- Frankfurt am Main: 13,96 Euro/m²
- Stuttgart: 13.64 Euro/m²
- Berlin: 12, 29 Euro/m²
- Darmstadt: 12,23 Euro/m²
- Mainz: 12,17 Euro/m²
- Freiburg: 12,13 Euro/m²
- Wiesbaden: 12,03 Euro/m²
- Hamburg: 11,94 Euro/m²
- Ingolstadt: 11,91 Euro/m²
Real estate check: Pay attention to these things
FIV: Let’s get to the hardware when we visit apartments. If I am not a craftsman or building expert myself, what should I pay attention to with regard to the condition of the apartment?
There are some basic points of view that everyone – even if they are not from the building trade – can and should take. It starts with the smell: if it smells musty, even after longer airing, then something is literally lazy here. Mould on walls, ceilings or floors is usually the cause.
Actuate all the windows and doors yourself once and hold your hand to the rebates and joints! If there is no ventilation there, this speaks for good insulation. In addition, windows and doors should be smooth and easy to open and close.
Especially the corners of windows and window sills should be checked with hands, eyes and nose. There is a time when the mildew is painted over….
Not only in the inhabited state, but also before the purchase and move-in, the sanitary facilities are the visiting card of the property. Fittings, ceramics, tiles etc. should be in good to best condition. Quietly press a WC flush, try out the water and shower taps!
FIV: Speaking of trying it out: How do I know that all my furniture will fit into the apartment?
By making it clear beforehand what kind of furniture they have and in what size. Before each visit, you should therefore use a folding rule to touch the most important items of furniture and note the measurements. In the new apartment I can easily check it out. If you want to work more professionally, you can get a floor plan with a scale before or at the latest at the viewing date. Then I reduce my furniture to the appropriate scale and draw it into the floor plan as it fits best for me.
Of course, this is only necessary if I move into the apartment myself. As a pure capital investment for renting, however, I should absolutely pay attention to how many sockets there are and how they are distributed. The connection options for washing machines and dishwashers should also be checked. Is there a basement in the house and how big is it? This is also an important point during the tour.
Step by step through the tour
FIV: Am I allowed to take pictures during the tour?
Yeah, right! I’d even advise it! Because then I can watch the pictures or the video at home, room after room, again and again. New questions and suggestions will certainly arise for the further viewing appointments.
FIV: That’s a whole lot of things that I have to take into account during the tour. If there is more to it, will the seller perhaps break off the visit annoyed?
If that’s the case, then you’re lucky. Because then the apartment certainly has some problems and they should not buy!
However, I myself, my colleagues and all known colleagues would never interrupt a visit because of too many questions. On the contrary: I am happy when someone takes a serious look at the apartment and thus documents the serious intention to buy to me. If you discover any deficiencies, please remain calm and objective. By the way, there is nothing wrong with it if you talk to other residents and owners of the house before buying! A good broker will even offer you that on his own.
But let me also say a word about another important topic at the viewing appointment: Make sure you look at the closer and wider living environment! It doesn’t help if I have the greatest apartment, but it’s in an environment that doesn’t suit me for whatever reason. Sooner or later this will affect your relationship with the property.
In addition to the noise level, the following things must also be checked:
- What is the parking situation?
- How steht´s with smells in and around the house?
- What are the outdoor facilities?
- What shopping facilities are nearby?
- What is the connection to public transport (local public transport; editor’s note)
- How far is it to the nearest authorities, schools etc.?
- If there are children in the game, the question of playgrounds is very important.
It is best if you as a buyer create a checklist with all the things you want to check at the inspection date. By the way, there are already finished checklists on the Internet.
Many thanks for the many tips!
Interview with our real estate expert Jan Rickel from IHV – Die Immobilien Makler.