So moving house has been an interesting experience this week. I’ve long been against the idea of paying for bricks and mortar and once wrote a column on the subject that received a lot of positive and negative critique.
My main concern has always been the idea of being tied down to one place and not having the option to move or change whenever the opportunity arises. Having bobbed from country to country these last few years, paying a mortgage has been the last thing on my mind. But now here I am in Denmark, ready to (finally) settle down and working hard to make my photography business a success.
Up until last week, my residence had been just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, on Islands Brygge. Can you imagine how useful that’s been for a photographer without a car? Trust me, all that equipment weighs a lot more than can be good for you.
So I was a little vexed when our landlord told us we had eight weeks to find somewhere else to live, especially as I was all the more aware of how expensive it was to rent so close to the city. (For the record, we were paying just 7500kr all in every month). Our options were simple: Buy a shoebox andelslejlighed for 500,000kr and stay close to the action, or leave civilisation behind and move out to Valby (the new New York City, apparently).
We chose the latter.
But oh, how I moaned. “It’s too dark. It’s too far away. It’s cold. There’s a hole in the wall. I can hear the traffic outside. There’s a chaffinch eyeing me suspiciously from the garden.” Etc etc. But now here we are, the proud owners of 1.4% of a property.
For many, an andelsbolig is by far the cheapest option and means that you actually get to take your first step on to the property ladder – especially now whilst prices are super low. The concept is relatively simple: You buy your apartment and own it, but still pay a form of rent that goes towards maintenance costs and the general upkeep of the building. Of course there are many things to keep your eye on, like variable rates for your ‘rent’ for instance. But in general, it makes buying a place to live a lot more affordable. Even if it does mean giving up your shoebox in paradise.
But let’s not pretend that the housing market is in good shape right now. I saw an advert last week for an estate agent that read “Last year we helped sell over 50 homes,” (in other words 51). Is that a healthy amount? It’s less than one a week. It shows that nobody is daring to sell their property right now, as they’re guaranteed to make a loss in most cases. So be careful; be weary. Seek advice first. And if you carry heavy equipment on a bike everyday, make sure you find a place somewhere near a train station.
You can find more information on andelsbolig by visiting http://home.dk/koeb/koeb-af-andelsbolig