January 2009



Today has been, so far, a long day. I’ve looked at six different apartments around Weimar because I need to move.

My current place is great, but it’s time to give it up, and whilst I could choose to move to Jena, I’ve decided it would probably be better to stay in Weimar: I know the city and I like its environment. Jena would be advantageous in that I’d no long have to worry about a 20 minute train ride to and from the office, but it has a number of strikes against it: apartments are expensive and in high demand whilst the city tends to be noisier at night.

Three of the apartments I’ve looked at were knocked out of consideration quickly. One was a tiny and beautiful apartment for a reasonable rent—unfortunately it was about as far away from the train station as you could get, up a hill, with relatively infrequent bus service that ends early in the evening (the last bus toward it is in the 8pm hour). The second was knocked out because its available date wasn’t that clear to me and would probably have conflicted with my constraint set. The third was perfect, but ultimately too expensive.

That leaves three under current consideration:

  • Option 1 is located on a relatively quiet street, nearby a squat and underground clubs. It’s quiet during the day—but I once attended a concert in the underground club and when I emerged at 2am, people were outside talking. Given my past experience losing sleep when I can hear people talk but not understand them, this apartment might be problematic in the summer if I try to sleep with the windows open. I would also have to buy a kitchen. The Warm Rent is 418€ a month (Cold is 335€, NK 83€). The deposit is 670€, plus the agents fee of 670€ plus 19% tax. The apartment consists of two beautiful rooms with windows, at 51.5 m². That’s 554 square feet for the metrically challenged. The bathroom has a tub.
  • Option 2 is located right in the middle of Weimar’s inner-old-city area, a short two minute walk from Goetheplatz. At 61 m² (656 square feet), it’s the largest one under consideration. It has a lot going for it—it’s in immaculate condition and it used to be an office. On the down side I would need a kitchen. It’s also more expensive: 350€ cold, plus 120€ NK—so 470€. The agent believes that it could be argued down to 300€ cold, so 420€ a month. The deposit is 700€, and there is no agent’s fee. It consists of two rooms, including a gorgeous living room. The bathroom has only a shower. The apartment’s unusual location means that there are windows on both sides of the rooms. Unfortunately the downside is that in the summer there are two bar/restaurant terraces on one side, and another restaurant terrace on the other side. Given my interest in going to bed around 10 or 11pm, this could be problematic on nights when people drink late.
  • Option 3 is located on the south side of Weimar’s inner city area, a five minute walk to the Theater and five minutes from Goethe’s house. This one comes with a (tiny) built in kitchen that would need to be supplemented. The cold rent is 265€ plus NK of 115€, so 380€ a month—plus there is no agent’s fee, and the deposit is only 530€. It supposedly is 37.4 m² (403 square feet), but after a quick visit this morning, I was under the impression that it is actually a bit larger. It’s a two room flat, with the kitchen in the first room, and a small bathroom with shower. The bedroom is fairly large and nice with nice windows. This flat’s downside is that it’s along a fairly busy street that generates a lot of traffic noise—however I suspect that I used to live along a railroad track, and within earshot of the jets at a major airport, I could easily learn to tune out the traffic. (At Wyoming I once slept through the fire department coming and putting out a fire in a neighboring dorm.)

I’ve started to get the feeling, as I write this, that Option 3 is probably the best one—although it has the most questions since I have only spoken to the current occupant. I’m going back in a couple hours with a German speaker to review the situation and make sure that I haven’t screwed up any of the details.

The agent for the first option implied that she’s going to show that flat 8 times in the next two days and that if I want it I should call her tonight on her mobile in order to take it off the market as soon as possible. If that’s true then Option 1 will vanish before I can affirmatively decide that I want it—leaving Option 3 competing with the potentially noisy Option 2.

Decisions, Decsions…

14 comments to Moving…

  • In America, I would go with option 2, because with AC you could close the windows in the summer and cut down on the noise outside. Unfortunately, I know that AC is not common in Europe.

    I find option 3 small, but then I keep telling myself, “Did I really use all the space in the house I had?” IE that would probably be a sufficient amount of space for my needs, and it would encourage me to go outside and into the city more often.

  • disenchanted

    I’d go with three, simply because you won’t have to mess around with getting a kitchen. Also, you don’t have much stuff … Having a smaller place will also keep you from accumulating too much stuff (and if you ever wanted to move back stateside that could be problematic).

    Either way, I hope you get a couch that I can sleep on. I want to come visit next spring break! LOL!

  • Reko

    I recommend Option 3. Actually, I recommend Option 4: return to Bloomington. People miss you here very, very much. Soon, there will be a new President, and the country may well be back on track.

  • disenchanted

    P.S. Can you explain cold vs. warm rent? I assume it has to do with the heating situation? (Is it steam heat?)

  • @CQ: Actually I could use a fan to block noise… I sometimes use a fan where I currently live to block noise, so its not a big deal.

    @disenchanted(1): I will have a couch you can sleep on…

    @Reko: Awe… thanks. I needed that, considering how I am feeling right now.

    @disenchanted: For some perverted reason, apartments in Germany have costs split into two distinct parts–“cold rent” and “warm rent” — the cold rent is what goes directly to the owner, while the warm rent reflects the costs of water, heating, trash pickup, and maintenance of common areas. What is not included (in most cases) is electricity, cable, and/or telephone. What is specifically included in the “Nebenkosten” varies from apartment to apartment.

  • disenchanted

    Good grief. That’s confusing!

  • Katya

    I’d go for 2nd option. 3rd is too small and far from the station.

  • What is this with everyone wanting to move in all of a sudden? My Honey has littered my e-mail box with apartment options.

    Go to the neighborhood of each of your options tonight. Stay in the area for at LEAST 30 minutes to get a feel for it. See if you still like it. If possible, get allowance to do this from INSIDE the apartment. Get the feel of the area, you’ll be happier in the end.

    The Regensborgians have picked up and did the big move thing, it must be in the water.

    I must say I would rather move than have to clean.

  • nts

    its too cold for 30 min in the area experiments…

  • @disenchanted: it is… and the Nebenkosten caused a debate at my office today.

    @nts: I’ve decided against 3 — it’s too depressing.

    @Katya: my thumbs re pressed…

    @Snooker: nts’s point is accurate. It’s way too cold. The summer would be the true test, but its not summer right now.

  • Can you explain cold vs. warm rent? I assume it has to do with the heating situation?

    I have a theory on that. I bet it stems back to the days when heat was provided by the landlord and before there was much room for other expenses (phone, cable TV, gas/electric utilities). I guess “Warmmieten” are getting smaller all the time as more and more things are billable directly from providers to consumers. I gather that most cable TV (but not satellite) in Germany is included in “Warmmiete” — is that right? It has been in the only two places I’ve paid rent in Germany.

    And Adam’s right — since stuff varies from contract to contract, you still have to break down all the potential costs in order to do a fair comparison.

    For instance: at our old place, we were on the top floor of an 11-unit building and profited well from lower units’ heat. We got billed via metering from the gas company for our gas usage (just the gas stove), the electric company for our electricity usage, and the apartment building itself for our hot/cold/gray water usage (gray water, rainwater collected in a cistern, to flush the toilets and offset cold water costs). The apartment building also billed us separately for the fixed cost stuff — like the cleaning lady, the trash collection, etc.

    But at the new place: all the cold water we want, but if it needs to get hot (for showering or heating the apartment with our radiators), we pay the gas company for that directly. And we’re on the ground floor, probably helping to heat our neighbors above. But we’ll be cooler in the summer, at least theoretically.

    What is this with everyone wanting to move in all of a sudden?

    Well, for us, it’s been brewing for a while. Then in November, a great deal fell into our lap. We were trying to act fast on it, but the landlords wanted to take about a month to treat the building for moisture prevention and that took about a month in total. We were very suprised to get a quick and amazingly accurate estimate and moving date from the company we hired to schlep our stuff.

    For everyone else, could it be related to new year’s resolutions?

  • Those rents are amazing!! I should move to Weimar! 🙂

  • @Cliff: The apartment I coveted, but did not get, did not come with cable–my current place has satellite…

    @CN: Please do move… this is a great place to live!