Today we received the data file with the 3D plan/model of the house to look at on the PC. We were quickly able to change the floor tiles to the ones that we have already chosen for the ground floor, to get a first impression how the house will look (Villeroy and Boch Lodge Greige).
In the first picture, we are standing with the front door behind us, looking through to the dining room.
Now we are standing in the corner of the kitchen, looking towards the lounge. The wall on the left is the long edge of the house, which is south facing, and the two patios doors at the far end are facing west.
For the upstairs, we have decided that we are going to buy and install the flooring ourselves, but we have something like. This room will probably end up being our home office, and the close to identical room opposite will be the guest bedroom.
Finally for now, looking back down the stairs.
The software (supplied by Viebrockhaus) seems very comprehensive, and every standard (included in the price) and special (extra cost) option seems to be available, so over the next weeks we will be able to plan all the fine details.
More ‘photos’ soon.
We’re just back from our meeting with Viebrockhaus, and are happy to report that at the end of a three-hour marathon session going through everything to make sure that all of our changes and alterations, that the contract is now signed.
Now it feels real – we’re building a house!
In the next few days, we need to sort out the following things out:
- Arrangements for buying the building plot
- Preparation for the planning application…
- Finalising the exact position on the plot we want to have the house
- Deciding about which carport we are going to build, how big it will be and the exact position
We also need to start thinking about the kitchen and come to think of it, also the Utility Room, as sockets and lights will need to be planned together with these.
We have also made a decision about which bricks we are going to have – 123 ACCUM Blue-Brown (we can still change our mind any time up for the next weeks – I can’t remember now exactly when).
Click here to see an example of a house built with these same bricks.
Over the past days, we have been making refinements to our proposed house, sending daily long e-mails to our sales agent and eagerly awaiting his replies with updated price offers.
We are happy to report that we now have a proposal (since this morning) which includes the options we want (some have been taken out for various reasons, cost or otherwise) at a total project price where we are happy.
We are looking forward to meeting our sales agent again on Tuesday!
Today we took another long drive (not as long as last week though) to Kaarst, one of Viebrockhaus’ two ‘material sample centres’.
Here you can choose everything from which bricks and roof tiles, to which bathroom sink, to which type of light switches you want.
There are two sections – ‘options that are included in the price’ and ‘options that cost you more’.
We were extremely pleased that the ‘options that are included in the price’ are already of extremely high standard (for example Villeroy and Boch floor tiles and bathroom ceramics, Grohe taps), and that at least for most things we do not foresee choosing any ‘options that cost you more’.
Since we have not signed a contract, we have not made final selections – we will go back in a couple of months and make our selections. Our trip today was simply to see what was included, to reassure ourselves about the total budget.
Again, we came home feeling happy that we took the time to go to Kaarst and are looking forward to finalising the house specification.
Today we had our first meeting with our local Viebrockhaus sales office.
On the drive there, we made a list of our main changes, and how much extra we thought they were worth (our maximum price that we would pay for those changes).
We went through all of the questions that we had prepared and discussed the various changes and additions that we had considered.
The sales agent was extremely helpful, and very patiently and clearly explained answers to all of our questions.
At this point, we were not sure whether to build a cellar or not and also there were a couple of other changes which were ‘maybes’.
About three hours later, we left the meeting, again very happy with how it had gone, knowing much much more than we had when we arrived and with a huge amount of paperwork to read:
- Draft contract
- Description of what is included in the price (in full detail)
- Draft time plan
- Draft payment plan
- Fixed price offer with all of our changes incorporated (and the ‘maybes’ as maybes.
- Detailed estimate of all the other costs (for example legal costs for buying the land, taxes, groundwork costs specific to our building plot (not included in the standard house price), utility connections, landscaping etc. etc.)
These costs are of course (mostly) not paid to Viebrockhaus, but are important to include in the overall budget, and we were thankful that our sales agent had gone so thoroughly through it all with us.
We were extremely happy that the price offer is done in a completely transparent way so that the effects of individual changes can be seen (and taken out again if necessary).
When we looked at the prices for the extras, it confirmed what we had learned earlier about changes from the standard house being expensive.
Additionally, the ‘other costs’ estimate came out a little higher than we had originally calculated ourselves, so the end result was a much higher total cost that we had in mind.
Initial ideas were to take some of our options back out, not to have a cellar, or just not to proceed.
It needs thinking about. We will see…
We set off early for Ostbeven with the aim of arriving early. Sadly we got caught up in a traffic jam for almost two hours due to the Autobahn being completely closed.
When we did eventually arrive, we were immediately welcomed, given a plan of the five houses and a free pen, and then sent on our way to have a look around.
I think we spent almost two hours in the Maxime 300 show-house, looking at every room in detail. Immediately we wanted to ask if we could just take the house with us, packed up in a box!
A few snapshots we took of the show-house…
We arrived home late in the evening, having travelled more than 800 kilometres during the day.
We were both really happy that we had done it – we liked what we had seen, and we have added even more questions onto our list of things to ask during the meeting tomorrow!
Since we were in Koblenz for the weekend to go to the Rhein-in-Flammen fireworks display, we spend a lovely warm sunny afternoon sitting outside with our iPad looking at all (more than 50) of the different house types that Viebrockhaus offers.
Viebrockhaus seems to be one of the larger house builders in Germany, and builds with blocks on site, rather than building with prefabricated frames.
We also did some research into what other people have to say about the company – generally, the reviews seem very positive. As with absolutely everything, you can find some critical comments.
We also found some comments that deviations from the standard house layouts are possible, but the prices for such changes are apparently very high.
It sounds like they would rather build completely standard, but are happy to change anything the customer wants, as long as the customer is happy to pay for it.
That seems understandable and fair – the way I look at it is that as long as the overall price is OK (with any changes you want to be included), no need to complain about it.
The choices of house styles, layouts, shapes and sizes are somewhat overwhelming at first, but we quickly came to a shortlist of around 5 different houses which we liked and would fit on the building plot nicely. Eventually, somehow, we came down to just one favourite.
Once we are home, I will make a 3D model in Sketchup and see how the house looks, and how it fits onto the plot.
So we are back down to just one option under consideration, one of two plots on the new housing area on the edge of town, near the bus stop.
The two plots are more or less the same width and length, with one being a corner plot (with a road on two sides). In addition, because they have built a chicane in the road to the side, the back of the plot is also partly road.
(Please keep in mind this is a housing development,and that neither of these roads are main roads – the only people who would be driving on these roads are the other residents).
The roads provide additional distance from other houses, and also on the south side, a play area (a few swings and a slide etc.) is being built, so no house overlooking the garden from that side.
For these, and various other reasons we never considered the other plot and started thinking about houses!
So we started reading www.viebrockhaus.de …
During our search for a building plot, we came across a few ‘new housing areas’ – generally areas on the edge of existing towns or villages which are being sold off for new houses to be built.
We drove around a few of these areas and quickly found that in many cases the building plots had not only already been sold, but the houses have already been built, and people have moved in. Too late.
We visited one area where half of the area had been sold a little earlier than the other half. In the ‘first half’, almost all of the houses are already built, and in the other half a couple of houses are half built, a few more are at the groundwork stage, and most plots were completely empty.
Since the small town does not have a railway station, we were happy to see a bus stop, right on the edge of the development.
- In morning and evening peak periods, a direct bus into the city every 15 minutes, taking less than half an hour
- At other times, once an hour.
Even though the town is very small, with less than 14000 inhabitants, it is well connected to the main road / Autobahn network and has one large supermarket, a medium sized ‘high-end’ supermarket and of course both of the two internationally renowned German discount supermarkets.
Perfect! That all works for us so far, and once we got home we started to look for adverts for the remaining building plots and made a list of the people to call…
Today we cycled to a small village not far from here – to look at a building plot which we saw advertised for sale.
Although the plot has more than enough space for a good sized house plus ample parking / garage, it is effectively the existing back garden of a small three-storey block of apartments. Since we plan for a two-storey detached house, we would be overlooked from three sides by some quite tall buildings.
On the positive side, the small village has a railway station just a few minutes walk away, so it would be possible to get to work by train with no issues (this is important for us, as neither of us likes to drive our car’s in the snow and ice unless we really have to!)
Sadly we decided very quickly that this plot was not for us, but it inspired us to start a search of all building plots for sale within 20 km or so and started a list of people to call.