Buying a duplex apartment – Looking for the perfect property? Want to buy an apartment, sell an apartment or looking for the right investment property? There are numerous property types such as a penthouse, a loft or an apartment in an old building. Here you can find out everything about the apartment type maisonette: “Small house”, that’s what the French name means. The title is given to this type of living because of the two floors it promises. It is precisely these that make up the charm of the living environment, because rooms with several floors make the residents forget for a moment that it is just an apartment. Many are therefore specifically looking for apartments with a gallery. Here you can find out everything you need to know about finding a maisonette. This link will take you back to the overview of the most common types of apartments.
Maisonette: meaning, structure and layout
As briefly mentioned above, a maisonette is a two-storey option, with the upper part often comprising only a half-storey. This type of apartment is often found on the upper floors of a building, where the top floor has been connected to the part of the apartment below with an open staircase. This option expands the apartment and helps to promote the feeling of a large, spacious apartment while maximizing living space.
Are you looking for a suitable apartment – whether as a tenant or investor? Then take a look at our guide to apartment types A-Z!
Room layout: rooms, stairs & co.
The two floors of a maisonette give the residents a whole new sense of space, although the upper floor is often only a half floor, it offers additional usable space. It is also particularly nice to be able to separate living and sleeping areas or living and working areas. It should be noted that the ceiling height on the gallery may be somewhat lower, depending on the nature of the living option. Therefore, a sleeping area at this point offers itself.
Actually always part of a maisonette are open staircases leading to the upper floor. These can be cleverly integrated into the surrounding furnishings, but are potentially a factor that can restrict the space somewhat.
Gallery apartment remodel: Renovation, possibilities and construction plan
It can be hard to find a duplex apartment on the open housing market. Especially one that meets your own standards. Another way to get hold of popular apartments is to convert existing residential units.
This option could be particularly interesting for owners of apartment buildings in order to make the existing property even more attractive for tenants by adding a special apartment. Maisonettes are often more sought after than attic apartments and thus attract interested parties on the one hand and are additionally easier to arrange. Especially if the attic would have a very low ceiling height, the gallery solution offers itself.
As the owner of the residential units in a block of flats, however, the change should be discussed at least once with the owners’ meeting or the cooperative. Building projects of this kind, even if they take place within your own four walls, as well as the conversion of an attic, at least if they are large in scale, are associated with obtaining a building permit. However, if you want to take advantage of the ceiling height by adding a platform to the living space, this will be much easier to manage.
Advantages & disadvantages of a maisonette: service charges and size
Depending on the position you are in, duplex apartments can have advantages and disadvantages that may be viewed just the opposite from another perspective. The advantages and disadvantages, which are listed below, are to be seen from the perspective of the residents.
Of course, it is in the best interest of the landlord and seller to get the most out of the property, but certain things are simply the nature of the property and cannot be worked around.
Advantages: Living with a lot of living space and many rooms?
What is it that attracts so many people to maisonettes? For one thing, of course, they have their own special charm, which is not so easy to explain. They are also a sign that thought has been given to the use of space in the building. Especially in old buildings, maisonettes can be a sign that the building has been upgraded. In addition, the residential solution offers the following:
- Maximum use of space
Disadvantages: Low ceilings and high costs?
Of course, the complete opposite also exists, which ensures that people are put off by the apartment type because it doesn’t fit into their ideas of the perfect living environment at all. Tenants and buyers who play with the idea of a duplex apartment should prepare themselves for these things:
- Higher price
- Low ceilings
- Limited accessibility
Save on ancillary costs: Designing a gallery apartment efficiently
A maisonette comes with a larger, open living space, which ensures that you have the responsibility of heating a spacious unit. This can make for a rude awakening when the heating bill arrives. To avoid this, it is important to start thinking about how to make the apartment energy-efficient at an early stage. On the one hand, of course, external circumstances such as insulation and windows are thick relevant, but you can also celebrate small successes with the interior design. Overall, furniture, especially upholstered furniture, keeps heat in the room. In addition, carpets and wall decor can help to additionally insulate a room.
Duplex apartments: Checklist for renting and buying
You have informed yourself extensively and are firmly convinced that a gallery apartment is the only thing for you? Then the apartment search can begin! As a first step, we recommend that you create a checklist to help you keep your priorities in mind. It is especially important that you think about your budget and also include additional costs in the calculation.
Important features: Age, construction measures & Co.
You should also think about the furnishings and the space. How many bedrooms should your new home have? How many bathrooms? What won’t work at all? Write down everything you can think of and then prioritize the factors.
In order not to pay too much for the apartment, you should also keep the following points in mind:
- Age of the property
- Last construction measures
- Ceiling height < 2 m = half living space
- Ceiling height < 1 m = does not count as living space
Select brokers and use off market offers
Apartment hunting can be difficult and stressful. A real estate agent can make it a lot easier. Good real estate agents give you the opportunity to express your wishes and ideas, and your agent will present you with apartments that he thinks fit you and your wishes.
What does a real estate agent do?
Agents often have access to properties that are not listed on internet portals and in some cases cannot be found on the real estate market at all, so-called “off market” properties. If you decide to work with a real estate agent, you should be aware that the exclusive service of course has its price. Often estate agents get their commission as a percentage of the price of the property.
Broker commission: prices and negotiation
But don’t worry, you don’t always have to shoulder the payment alone. When buying/selling a property, the agent’s commission can be split between buyer and seller. A reputable estate agent will be very transparent about their payment. At the same time, this rate will rarely be negotiable. Especially when selling a property, however, the commission negotiation with an agent is more likely to be possible. In general, however, it should be said that a good real estate agent is worthwhile.
Home financing: options, loans and more
Financing information is relevant to you, your agent and the person selling you the property. So it should be clear what the financing looks like before drawing up contracts. In addition, you will want to know how much you will be able to pay for a new unit.
Real estate financing: equity and loans
Something that should at best always be present when buying an apartment or a house is equity. As a rule of thumb, one can assume that the equity should cover at least about 10% of the purchase price. The more equity you have, the better.
The remaining amount can be covered by a loan. Loans, in short, are money that you borrow from the bank and then pay off in instalments, which are set out in the loan agreement, together with interest. The most you will get an interest-free loan is from relatives, because the interest is what the bank makes its money on. Otherwise, the system would not be profitable for them. However, the interest rate can vary greatly, so it’s worth getting different quotes.
Promotional loans and building savings contract: tips, comparison & definition
The credit options also change depending on the building project, should you play with the idea of fulfilling your dream of owning your own home through a new building or with a conversion. In this case, there are development loans that are also subsidised by the state, which are available at even better conditions. The prerequisite for these, however, are measures that make the residential building more sustainable, for example.
If you are lucky, then you or someone who cared a lot about you has taken out a building society contract. These contracts are often linked to the fact that money was paid into the contract over a certain period of time. This deposit was linked to bonuses and the like. As soon as this building society contract is ready for distribution, it offers you start-up capital and a favourable financing loan with which you can put your building project into practice.
Real estate as an investment: save taxes and additional costs
Especially when buying a house or an apartment, you hope to keep the property as an investment in the long run. But even before the house is finally yours and you can potentially become a landlord, taxes and other additional costs are already incurred at the time of purchase, which can put a damper on your living happiness.
To make sure you’re prepared and know when certain tax costs don’t apply, here’s an overview of all the taxes that cause extra costs and information on when they’re due. Plus, we’ll help you figure out where you can find and take advantage of potential savings. Steuertalk can be dry, but it is our claim to ourselves to create you an overview that is accessible: