Moving to Munich (part 2)

Almost a year has gone by since my last post, the most discouraging article I have written so far but also a very real endeavour. What happened since then? Did my struggle to find a flat in Munich proved fruitless? Did I end up moving somewhere else? Well, I kind of ended up cheating the system a little. Here is the story of how I ended up living in Ottobrunn (a commuter town near Munich).

After a month or so of actively looking for flats and getting nowhere, we decided to hire a private agent to do the job for us and use her contacts and influences. It was not cheap, but thankfully we had some money on the side and could afford it. She would apply for flats in our name and get us visits, while privately we didn’t get many visits, as soon as a professional agent took care of it, we were getting flat visits almost daily. That however was just the first step, our combined salaries back in October/November of last year were not the greatest. We just arrived to the city so we both (my partner and I) had temporary contracts, and we were moving with 2 cats. Those factors did not help at all and we were not willing to break up our little family and move in without the cats. So we had to compromise, the agent told us, compromising in location was the best option for us to get a flat as quickly as possible. It was like this that we started getting visits outside the city, and landlords started to give positive feedback and show interest.

One of the first flats I visited with the agent, stood out to me for some reason. It was filled with ugly and outdated furniture and even had carpet in the bathroom (carpet! in the bathroom!), but for some reason, I saw a lot of potential in it. Although I got frustrated with our agent several times because I felt powerless and with no control over the situation nor the negotiations, she made a great effort into convincing the agent working for that place to take us. A couple of days (that felt like months) later, we got a yes for that flat, and we had to give a quick answer since other people showed interest in it too. We were starting to get confident that maybe another flat in the city would be available for us but we had to act fast and considering how the housing market is in Munich, we had to take it. Ugly furniture, carpet, and all.

Another thing to know is that since the demand is so high and the offer so scarce, landlords can impose basically anything on you because well, if you say no, there are like 20 other people that would be happy to take it. We had to sign a 2 year contract (2 years!) and accept that all the (old hideous) furniture in the flat should stay. Luckily the place came with a storage room in the building’s basement and we moved everything we didn’t want down there. The (very ugly) sofa was impossible to get out the door though so we have it now on the balcony (like real hipsters).  The very first thing I did once we got the keys was ripping off that horrible carpet from the bathroom (why? oh why!).

We managed to turn the decor around and we are very proud of our flat now. It feels like a huge upgrade from the one we had back in the UK (don’t get me started on the quality of flats there) and our cats love it too.

The commute to work is not that big of a deal and getting to Munich’s city centre by public transport only takes about 30 minutes. The flat also came with a garage so we can now have our car (we didn’t have it in the UK) and do weekend trips to the amazing Alps or go to the stadium to watch a football match.

Was it then worth it to move to Munich? Absolutely. The stress and the pain of the first months here was nothing compared to how our quality of life has improved.

Now that I am back to the blog, there will be more chapters to the “Moving to Munich” category where I promise I won’t be talking about real estate anymore and I will go through all the things I’ve discovered, what’s different, what’s a shock to me, what’s better, and of course, where to go when visiting.

I am so glad to be back!

 

 

 

 

 

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Moving to Munich (part one)

For the last couple of years in the UK, I have been daydreaming about moving to Munich, Germany. I would picture myself riding a bike along the Isar river, having a beer in the English Garden, working in a multicultural environment (specifically in something related to tourism), having a cute little flat where my partner and our cats would greet me when coming from work, enjoying weekends by a nearby lake or mountain. You know, the good life.

My partner got a job offer and we didn’t think twice, we jumped on the hype train, resigned from our jobs in Cardiff, and packed all our stuff. Merely two weeks after the news, everything was sorted and we were out of the UK.

moving to Munich 2
Our life in boxes

I am not new to starting over and moving to different cities and countries so I thought that given all my experience and adaptability, this would be an easy enough transition. It is not.

Job seeking proved easy enough for me even without being fluent in German (yet) since I speak 3 other languages. At the moment is not a full-time job but I will get there (hopefully) soon. The big challenge, however, is finding a place to live.

It’s been a little more than a week since I arrived and at the moment I feel very nomad, but not at all homey.

Finding a flat in Munich

One of the many aspects that give Munich this calm and relaxed vibe, very rare in big cities, is the fact that there are not many high buildings and the streets are wide, green, and open. This, of course, is also a disadvantage when it comes to finding a flat. There is a huge demand due to the beauty and apparent quality of life of the city but not much offer because of its wide streets, green spaces, and lack of high buildings. Therefore, not only is it hard to get flat viewings but once you get them, the requirements are crazy.

In order to get as many flat viewings as possible, you need to make finding a flat your full-time job. Keep refreshing the sites as often as you can and send applications like if there was no tomorrow. Once a flat appears on one of the main sites, and without even looking at the pictures or reading the full description, you must apply. You need to be as quick as possible since they get a tremendous amount of applications in record time and usually close it after 20 minutes of being online.

If you get lucky and are able to go to a viewing, have your folder prepared, wear your nicest socks (most visits will require taking your shoes off before entering the flat), and be everything but yourself.

Since they have so many potential tenants to choose from, you become a folder filled with work contracts, payslips, recommendation letters, and credit scores. There is absolutely no chance to make an impression because of your story or your charisma (and that sucks). My story and charisma are the things that have always helped me get through life in a more or less comfortable way. Now I am reduced to numbers and papers being checked by ruthless real estate agents that don’t have time to get to know you whatsoever.

Not only that but since they have so many people to choose from, if they even pay attention to you as a person and not just to your folder, all they look for is how boring and potentially ‘trouble free’ you are. I feel forced to dress in the most conservative way, I need to make sure I don’t smile too much or talk too loud (something very hard for a Spanish person, dare I say), and I need to project that I basically don’t take any joy in life and my favourite hobbies are being quiet and working hard. 

It is extremely discouraging and it will drain you very quickly. But you need to keep strong, consider all the options, have patience, and at some point, you will be such a pro in this finding a flat mission that you might get what you want or maybe you will just give up and move somewhere else, whatever comes first.

If I ever find a home in Munich I will dedicate a whole article on the complicated matter, but for the time being, I don’t feel like giving many tips or a pep talk since I am far from my objective.



I didn’t mean to write such a negative post but this is how I feel at the moment, and I hate when people online depict everything as marvellous and carefree. Life sucks sometimes and that’s OK.

 

 

 

You have been living in the UK too long when…

You say please, thank you, and sorry for no reason whatsoever

You genuinely like Marmite

You know there is a right and wrong way to drink tea (and secretly judge people)

You are obsessed with the weather forecast

You get quite offended when people say that British food is horrible

You don’t mind warm and gasless beer

You know there is a card for EVERY occasion

You don’t dare to complain face to face in a restaurant but then you write a horrible review online

You have a favourite regional accent (and understand them all!)

You say “cheers!” way too often

You have given up on umbrellas (ugly but efficient rain ponchos are the way to go)

You have a favourite packaged sandwich flavour combo

You know what social class you and others belong to depending on what supermarket you buy your groceries at

You are not shocked at people having a pint at 7am in the airport

You leave your coat at home when the sun is out (even if it’s only 10°C outside)

You say things like “it’s not quite what I had in mind” to express huge disappointment

You have become so passive-aggressive and sarcastic you don’t know yourself anymore

Your personal space is wider than ever

You never say NO, instead you say things like “We’ll see” or “I’ll think about it”

You are an introvert now, and you love it