Thursday, March 4, 2010

On the apartment-go-round

DSC00371 Today was the first day out on the hustlings, riding with the agent and seeing what the apartment landscape has to offer.  I had been warned by friends that the market was tight: with the A2 being reconstructed through the center of town, scores of units will be lost to either side, so there’s going to be a race for available space.

The reality is that the market seems glutted right now: the inventory seems good and most of the available apartments are being offered at 10-20% discounts over listed price.  I spent a few days cruising the realtors web sites and noted the most appealing units with good combinations of configuration, location, and price.  Then a call to the agency, set up an appointment, and off we go.

The process isn’t much different from the US: the realtor conducts an interview to get the requirements, shows pictures of available inventory that might fit, and laments that some ideal opportunities have just been let, but that more will come in a month.  Still, let’s go see the ones you asked about and start to form some opinions. 

So, half a dozen units today, no winners.

DSC00391 As always, there are a lot of substandard rentals in the market.  It’s not a uniquely Dutch problem, but it’s exacerbated by the narrow and vertical nature of many Dutch apartments,  Units are often two rooms wide and three stories tall, with views of adjacent buildings and busy streets.  Furnishings can be busy and cluttered, people are getting ready to move and its not clear what white goods (kitchen appliances, washing machines) stay behind.

It’s also a bit difficult to see the real potential in an apartment through other people’s furnishings.  How comfortable would this room be with different furniture, how much light would there be without drapes, is the room quiet enough for an office?  It’s distressingly intimate to be trying to see through other people’s lives to try to superimpose your own and make an instant judgment.

And it’s always a matter of trade-offs:

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A wonderful location along a riverside, but echoing with tile walls and floors throughout.  Can I make it warmer?

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Another, with a nice office space, but a difficult master bedroom against a littered courtyard.

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An architect's kitchen, but radically vertical and without any interior doors.


And the bathrooms…the bathrooms….


patti said...

Go for the one with the river view!

Invader_Stu said...

Wow... that is a very green bath room in the last photo.

If you ever want to buy an apartment in Rotterdam me and my girlfriend are trying to sell ours :p

Dave Hampton said...

I agree, Patti, the river-view certainly has the edge right now, although it is a bit farther from town than I liked and needs serious touches of warmtth throughout.

Stu, it could have been oranje... Thanks, too, for the thought: I considered moving north, but it's too far from the things I have keep in touch with here. Next time...(and when I;m ready to buy rather than rent)