Old building apartment – You want to buy an apartment? There are many options to choose from. The Altbau apartment is one of the most sought-after properties on the German market and an excellent investment. Due to its distinctive charm, special architecture and unique construction, this apartment is highly sought after by many people. Due to the proximity to the city centre, the high ceilings, bay windows and the box windows, Altbau apartments are very much in demand and many would pay a small fortune to be able to live in such a property. Do you want to invest in buying an apartment in an old building or rent it first? In this article you will find many useful tips, advantages and disadvantages around this particular building type. Click here to go back to the overview of the most common types of apartments.
Old building apartment: what is an old building? – Definition & Features
Old building apartments stand out in any city centre. The special exterior facade makes this property an eye-catcher among the newer concrete buildings. With the stuccoed walls, the small balconies or wall protrusions, you can quickly call a property an old building. Here you will learn everything about the most important features and characteristics of an old building.
Features of an old building: stuccoed walls, high ceilings & Co.
An old building apartment has many characteristic building elements to offer. In addition to the stucco-decorated interior walls, folding doors and a bay window, the high ceilings are a particular feature of this type of building. Depending on the type of construction, these can rise three to 4.5 metres in height and give the room a lot of freedom and size. Likewise, the classic wooden parts and the herringbone parquet are an unmistakable trademark of an old building. The box-type windows are also part of the architecture. In the old days, double windows were built with a space in between to double insulate the room. However, these are nowadays replaced by newer variants.
Room layout in an old building: small passage rooms and large corridor
Apartments in old buildings are known for their passage rooms, built-in closets and storage rooms. In most cases, the rooms are smaller than in new buildings, but higher. So you should use the space upwards. No other building style offers you such high ceilings and thus the possibility to create storage space, for example. High shelves and large, impressive hanging lamps are possible. In an old building you have many options.
Advantages & disadvantages of an old building flat: renovation, taxes & Co.
Before you invest in an apartment, you should look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of apartment. From this you can weigh up whether this type of apartment suits you and whether you can make friends with the disadvantages. Especially with an old building apartment, the construction is different than with new buildings. We have compiled a list of the most important aspects for you, so that you can make the right choice.
Advantages: Historic preservation and tax benefits
An apartment in an old building is above all stylish and has its own personal charm. In addition to the aesthetic advantages such as stuccoed ceilings, such an apartment also offers some practical advantages. In most apartments in old buildings you will find a cellar, which can be used as storage space. This is rarely seen, especially in the inner city. In addition, most old houses are listed and if you want to buy one, you have the possibility of 90% of the renovation costs (within the first ten years) tax deductible. The box-type windows also have their advantages. Because of the double pane and the air space in between, they insulate the room and absorb sound. This is no longer the same as today’s standards, but it is a nice side effect.
- High ceilings with stucco
- Monument protection
- Often cellar with storage space
Disadvantages: may need renovation and no elevator.
It is legally determined that a building with a year of construction up to 1949 is titled as an old building. Therefore, it is unfortunately inevitable that you have to include disadvantages with such an old building. If you want to buy an old building, it is often in need of renovation. So you should include the extra costs in your budget. In addition, living in an old apartment is also different from living in a new building. The walls are thinner, which is why it’s more light-hearing and you can hear the old floors creaking. Most of the time there is no elevator in the building and because of the high walls it takes longer to heat up the room. You will learn more about the heating system in old buildings in the course of the article.
- Renovation may be required
- Light-hearing, creaky floor
- Slow heating
- Mostly no elevator
Old building apartment: Who is it right for? Singles, couples, …
Old building apartments are very sought after on the real estate market. The special architecture, the unique charm and the proximity to the city centre are just a few arguments in favour of this apartment. However, this type of property is not suitable for everyone. Seniors in particular would be restricted, as there is often no elevator in the buildings. An old building apartment is also usually too small for large families. Here we present a few groups of people who would ideally fit into an old building apartment.
The special charm of an apartment in an old building is particularly popular with young adults. Often these properties can be found in the middle of the city centre and are therefore ideal for students and especially shared flats. Due to the many small rooms, you can easily live together with three or four people and thus share the rent. The proximity to the university and the flexibility that this offers is also a great advantage.
Singles: freedom and opportunities for development
An old building is also very attractive for singles. The high ceilings offer a lot of design freedom and you have the opportunity to live out decoratively. At the same time, the small rooms and the special architecture lend something cosy and quaint, so that you feel safe and familiar. In addition, the proximity to the city centre and therefore to work is an important and positive side factor. If you want to take a look at other types of apartments, you should definitely take a look at loft apartments or basement apartments!
Couples: family in planning?
Often an apartment in an old building can be found on the outskirts or in different parts of the city. So you are not in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the big city and usually have a little more free space. These properties are particularly suitable for couples with children or small, young families. You have more privacy and are still quickly in the city center. In addition, the small and high rooms offer a lot of room for personal development, but also for potential children’s rooms. So these properties are perfect for a few years before perhaps deciding to buy a house.
What you should consider before buying/renting an apartment in an old building
Especially with older buildings, it is very important to get your own impression of the apartment before buying/renting. Inform yourself exactly about the construction and the building to be prepared for everything. With an old building apartment there are some points that you should consider. We have summarized them for you, so that you can clarify everything in advance and no unexpected costs await you later.
What should be considered when buying?
First of all, you should find out about the condition of your potential property. Apartments in older buildings often require renovation and modernisation, which can lead to additional costs. We recommend that you consult a specialist and an estate agent who can help you with the purchase decision and give you an insight into the costs involved. It is possible, for example, that the exterior façade is damaged and moisture can get into the apartment, causing mould. It is also not uncommon that the statics of old properties need to be repaired to ensure stability. Repair work is also sometimes necessary. So let a specialist help you so that nothing can go wrong.
- Structural condition?
- Repair work?
Rent & Tenants: What to consider when renting?
Even if you decide to rent an old building, there are also some things to consider. Here, too, you should consider possible renovation costs. You should definitely discuss these with the landlord before signing the contract and have them put down in writing. This will protect you, because if any damage is discovered later, you could be stuck with the repair costs. In addition, you should always discuss personal alterations with the landlord. If you plan to change your apartment beyond decoration, we recommend that you get permission for this as well. It could be that you have to hand over the property in its original condition when you move out.
- Record renovations in writing
- Agree changes with landlord
Heating systems in an old building: heating, tips & ancillary costs
In old apartments, it is not always easy to have the right room temperature and at the same time not to drive up the ancillary costs too far. Environmental protection and climate friendliness are aspects that should be kept in mind for every property. If the temperature is set too low, this could lead to mould, if it is too high, the climate will be affected. Here are a few useful tricks to keep your utility costs as low as possible.
Time switch on the heater
Use the timer on your heating to heat energy efficiently. It is recommended that you turn the heating off about an hour before you go to sleep and turn it back on an hour before you wake up. This way, no energy is wasted during the night and your heating bills are lower. There is no heating during the night and yet you wake up in a warm environment. A time switch is therefore ideal in old buildings.
Temperature difference in the rooms
In most cases, old apartments have several small rooms and passageways. So consider in which rooms a continuous heating is necessary and in which not. Keep the temperature lower in rooms that are not often used and higher in your living rooms. This way you keep your utility costs lower and it is still warm in the important rooms. However, make sure to close the doors between rooms with a temperature difference, otherwise the warm air will escape more quickly.
Do not place furniture in front of radiators
In order for the heat to be ideally distributed in the apartment, you should make sure not to place any furniture in front of the radiator. Since the rooms in old apartments are usually larger in volume, this would only further increase the heating phase. Another tip is to keep a small space between your furniture and the wall. This allows the warm air to distribute better and the outer wall does not cool down too much.
Viewing appointment: What to consider & Checklist
Especially if you are planning to buy an old apartment, there are a few things you should consider. You are investing in a property and this decision should not be taken lightly. Investments are always a good idea but especially with old buildings you have to pay attention to some things so that no unexpected costs reach you. We have put together a checklist with the most important aspects that you should consider when visiting a property to buy or rent.
What should be considered? – Condition, floor plan and location
As you have already experienced, you have to take some things into consideration, especially with old apartments. Look at the condition of the apartment, decide if it needs renovation or if everything is up to date. What is the layout of the apartment and does it meet your expectations? Often you have to adapt it to the property, because despite the special charm of an old building apartment, the building was built several decades ago. Note the location and infrastructure of the apartment, this could increase or decrease the price at which you would sell the apartment. Are the kitchen and bathroom fitted and what are the service charges? These are just a few aspects to consider. We have put together a checklist for you in the following.
Checklist: For your viewing appointment
- Condition (in need of renovation)
- Floor plan
- Kitchen/ Bathroom
- Additional rooms
- Heating, water, electrics
- Location/ Infrastructure
- Additional costs
Broker: safe investment with top – broker – costs, process & co.
Condominiums are ideal as an investment and are a very safe investment. Especially if you do not have much experience with the purchase of real estate, we recommend that you consult a real estate agent. He or she will advise you on important questions, find properties for you and visit the apartments with you. Real estate investments are not designed for a short-term increase of money, but rather for a good retirement. Therefore, you should approach the matter very carefully and get good advice.
Procedure of a real estate purchase
First of all, you will consult with the real estate agent and you have the opportunity to express your wishes. The real estate agent will now tell you what is possible and he starts with the first research.
Then begins the organizational management. Documents and records are obtained that are important for the purchase of a property. Thereupon the broker begins to find out potential sellers and condominiums for you. Viewing appointments are organized and carried out.
Last but not least, it’s time for negotiations. Negotiations are held with the seller and the purchase contract is drawn up. Afterwards, the estate agent is present at the handover of the keys and ensures that everything runs smoothly. Even after the contract has been signed, the estate agent will be your contact person.
Looking for a professional broker and want to learn even more about the benefits? Take a look!
Financing a condominium: loan or equity?
Do you want to fulfil your dream of owning a condominium or invest in an old building to rent it out afterwards? Then you should inform yourself in detail about the financing of such a property. You need to decide on the right real estate loan and should in the course of many different offers to obtain and compare. The choice of loan will ultimately determine the total cost of your property loan. So it is best to get advice and make the right decision.
Real estate loans and financing: tips, checklist and more
Financing a property can be done in many ways. Here you will find some of the financing options listed with brief summaries. In addition, you will find a link that will take you to more comprehensive articles.
Real estate loan
- Real estate loan adapted to personal needs
- Flexibility should be ensured
- Proper planning is important
Financing of an apartment
- No house, but only apartment to finance
- Comparison of different housing financings advisable
- Call in advice
- Real estate financing