1) Tell us a bit about yourself, where do you come from?
I come from the US and have recently been living near Washington. 30 years ago, I lived in Berlin and as a young school kid I have always loved the city. My wife and I were considering a place to invest into, maybe live as we get old, so we decided to take the plunge and see about buying property.
My wife signed up for all possible internet alerts and she was getting a flood of prospective ads here in Berlin. We arrived with the specific intention of spending a couple of weeks here to look around and, eventually, deciding on a place, we were first of a couple hundred people to contact the broker. After our call, we were able to immediately arrange a meeting. It was very evident that the seller wanted to sell and that we were seen as potential buyers. In total, we looked at five or six properties physically while we were in Berlin. Regardless, we eventually decided on the place after two weeks of actively searching.
2) How did you find out about Hypofriend?
My wife was looking on the web for various options. She came across your website and some reviews. While we were in Berlin, we visited a few banks regarding the mortgage. But we repeatedly encountered a “stony silence”, followed by various comments such as “You do not live here, you cannot have a bank account here.” It soon became clear to us that finding the right mortgage is something that we needed assistance with.
After calling you guys, we got the impression that you seemed to know what you're talking about, and from there everything just took off. The initial phone call was significant as it cleared out some of the skepticism from my side. Frankly, my wife was more keen on the idea of going through the brokerage account that you guys offered. My skepticism was mostly due to the fact that she just pulled you off of the internet, but after discussing it with my wife, we gave it a shot. I was astonished by your response time, and after receiving numerous negative responses, it was a relief to have found an alternative that seemed reliable.
3) How was the process like?
We had a similar experience when we bought a house in the US. The experiences you give, what people ask for, and the need for additional documentation was something we foresaw. However, despite expecting that it should not have been more difficult than buying properties in the US, trying to arrange everything from the distance was a challenge. However, we put our faith into the real estate broker who was actually very friendly and managed to take care of a lot of the bureaucratic stuff for us.
The broker reminded me again today in a friendly way that usually it takes about two weeks to finalize a deal like this or perhaps a little bit longer than that. He had also mentioned that our request was quite unique and that it is not very usual to have all the paperwork that they asked for. But overall, he was willing, friendly and very patient throughout the entire process. The one thing that made me worried was that there was an error in the paperwork when it came back from the bank for the first time. I remember there were these other people who showed up in our contract- perhaps a county attorney. I asked him about that, and apparently, that's something that happens quite a bit today. Luckily after your instructions, the issue was resolved promptly within a few days.
4) Looking back on the process of getting the mortgage, which parts would you recommend and which parts do you think we could still improve upon?
Yeah, so I've thought about this because, I originally studied political science, therefore I understand that there are bureaucratic structures and it's hard to get a mortgage in Germany. I genuinely think the service you guys are providing is helpful, especially for a foreigner, even for someone like me who spent a fair amount of time in Germany. These things can be quite intimidating and you were very good at explaining all of the steps from the beginning. Also, you were very patient about it. A crucial factor throughout my experience was the ability of you to remain understanding and supportive throughout the process which was extraordinarily helpful. I'm happy about the process and being willing to trust you. It was crucial for me to be able to trust you with all this information. Honestly, if my wife hadn't been there, I would've been a little more hesitant. After talking to you, reading about you on the web and then also experiencing the process myself, it made me trust you guys more. Although the length of the mortgage process was not your fault, in my eyes, it would have been good to be able to have direct contact with the bank earlier. Now I should say, if the apartment broker hadn't been as patient, then we might have had a problem. He was very willing to wait and it all worked well in the end.
5) What did you not like about the process?
The only issue that I felt was presented was the length of the entire process, although considering our singular situation, the overall time was not a major surprise.
Use Hypofriend’s affordability calculator to see what you can afford based on your personal situation.