First I feel I should give you a little background information on why we took the route we did, which was to buy and renovate an older home. At the beginning of the year when we decided it was time to search for a house, we had a brief flirtation with a new build and made multiple visits to Fertighaus Welt Nürnberg, which is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in building a new prefab house (Fertighaus Welt has similar parks located throughout Germany). In fact, we had a lot reserved and found a fantastic building company that ticked all the boxes and then some. However, the reality of the time, cost and stress of a new build set in. You have to consider so many other things than simply the procurement of your lot, and finding a builder. So if this is something you might be considering, really do your research so as to avoid any surprises or disappointments.
Just a few things to look into and consider if you want to go down the prefabricated house or new conventional build road that matter:
- Does the lot you are looking at include utility hook ups or will that come at an additional cost?
- Are there already services in your new neighborhood? Sometimes you can find that your service provider of choice for things like cable or internet may not be available in your area, not to say that they may not come later.
- Does the neighborhood where your lot is located place restrictions on things such as the height of your house (roofline, chimneys), exterior finishes or color choices, landscaping plants and materials, or even how far your home needs to be from the street or other things? Some neighborhoods can also require you to chip in for the cost of building parks.
- Do not be fooled by advertisements with price tags that seem too good to be true (like many of the yet to be built homes that you will no doubt come across on real estate listings). Those listings are usually just for an empty unfinished shell of the house.
- Consider doing some of the work yourself if you are equipped, able and industrious enough to do so. Why pay someone else a premium to do jobs that you can do? There are even some building companies like Living Haus for example, that are more than happy to work with you in this manner and even have partnered with OBI (a big box hardware/building store here in Germany, much like Home Depot or Lowes in North America) to offer classes to teach you how to some of the work yourself.
I am by no means an expert and we only took a very short walk down the path of building a new prefab house, but our eyes were sure opened to some things in that time. So again, I reiterate, do your research and ask a lot of questions. Do not hesitate to ask friends and coworkers for advice as well as they can be a wealth of knowledge. At the end of the day, they simply just do things differently here in Germany than my husband and I were accustom to in the United States and Canada.
After doing our research we ultimately decided that building new was not the best use of our resources. We knew that to get the size and type of property we were looking for that we would get more for our money if we could find an older house that needed a little love and updating. There will be more on that arduous process to come.