Altbaus knock me off-course


Over the week, we had our first viewing of the above house with the listing agent.

Before we visited, we had decided it wasn’t for us. But that still didn’t stop the pangs from us wanting it. 😦

It’s a beautiful house, but it’s far too big a project for us, and doesn’t fit with our overall FIRE and low stress goals.

Some interior shots:

photo 5(1) photo 4(1) photo 3(1) photo 1(2)

There’s lots of potential there, but everything needs work. Even if the pictures don’t show it, it’s really quite nice inside. The high ceilings, old staircase, original floors & features, and the garden at the back.

I love old houses.

I’ve realized that mostly I can stick with our real estate criteria, but when it comes to old houses, I’ll throw it all out the window and start getting really excited. Especially being here in Europe, there are so many of them!

This confuses Mr. German since he’s very focussed and his personality skews toward staying on course. (hint: mine doesn’t!)

I can see how it appears inconsistent when I swing from wanting a small, centrally located flat, to a tiny house in the woods, and then suddenly out of nowhere, a suburban Altbau that needs renovation!

After all of that, I also think renting is preferable for our situation because it’s low cost and gives us lots of location flexibility. :/

So, I’m going to go back to focussing on stocks and let Mr. German continue with his real estate search in peace. 😛 We’ve agreed that I’ll go in 100% with stocks and he’ll keep his stash liquid because he’d like to buy real estate that will:

  • lower our expenses and
  • be alright for my long commute

He is very strict about it and that’s a good thing. :mrgreen:


6 thoughts on “Altbaus knock me off-course

  1. Well that’s good news from a financial perspective, but probably not so great from an emotional side. I tend to be less emotional about it, but my wife is pressuring me to set the wheels in motion for our renovation of our investment property (our future long term home). I would rather wait to accumulate more cash as per the original plan, but she is becoming impatient.

    There are lots of reasons why most people don’t achieve FI at a younger age, one of which is stopping the heart from winning out over the head when considering finances. If we all stick to the plan we’ll get there, but we need to make sure an old house (or an altbau!) doesn’t derail us!


    • Sometimes Mr. German and I decide who will be the ‘boss’ in deciding what happens on a plan/project. It doesn’t always work, and it still leads to arguments (!), but perhaps you can be the ‘boss’ in overseeing the renovation, and your wife can be the boss in something else. That’s why Mr. German and I have split up real estate investing (him) and stock investing (me). Of course I come over to his side to mess things up periodically, but he is pretty good at leaving me well alone and sticking to his side! 🙂

      For me, it’s hard not to get emotional about buying a place to live. Maybe it’s how women have been socialized to care about the home. I want to feel settled and live in a nice place, but I also want to retire early. Mostly these are mutually exclusive entities, depending on how you define ‘nice’. When I think about which one I want more, it’s definitely to retire early.

      So, no more Altbau searching for me!!! I don’t think they necessarily derail early retirement, but in our area, it’s just not wise to throw that kind of money at it. If this were in a more economically prosperous city, I would go all in. But then it wouldn’t be so cheap to begin with.

      Good luck with your renovation, and negotiating the renovation with your wife!!!


      • Splitting things out probably works quite well, and while I look after the investing, we are both involved in the housing. Maybe that means I’m a control freak?!

        As for who is the boss, well “Boss” is actually a name that I use for her when no one else is around (e.g. how was your day, Boss?). Neither of us just does what the other says of course, but we do seek the approval of the other for important things because we actually care about what the other thinks and don’t want to do things that the other wouldn’t approve of. I think that is one reason why we have a chance of achieving FI at a relatively young age – it simply wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t care enough about what the other thought/valued/wanted.

        I agree that many women have a strong emotional attachment to their home, sometimes to the point of wanting the home more than something like early retirement. My wife wants both though, and giving preference to one over the other is a battle of the head versus the heart! We will have both, it is just a matter of sticking to the plan which means waiting a little bit longer!

        I’m sorry to hear that the Altbau search is at an end, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a rental that feels like home. Maybe you could rent an Altbau that has been fixed up? It would probably be far cheaper to rent than to own!


      • It doesn’t mean you’re a control freak. Housing affects you both and your kids in a tangible, day-to-day way. Whereas which stock you choose is not as noticeable unless you notice it! So it makes sense that you both are on board with housing decisions.

        Don’t be sorry about our stopped Altbau search! It’s a good thing and we’re both relieved. Less stress, less arguments, less pangs. We actually lived in an apartment in an Altbau before we moved to our current place, and we loved it. We were the most satisfied with our space and set up there, but had to move because I changed jobs. It is far cheaper to rent an Altbau than it is to own one, but of course when you own, the quality/standard is usually nicer. It doesn’t necessarily mean I want to pay for it though. I guess I have to put up with cheap laminate flooring for the next bit! There are much worse things in life though. I’m grateful how well we live, Altbau or not. 🙂


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