My name is Oliver, and I'm from Melbourne, Australia, and I've been living in Berlin since 2014. I'm 45 years old, and I enjoy all sports, especially hiking, skateboarding, and riding motorcycles. I have a passion for learning and travel.
I love meeting new people, especially from cultures different from my own. Furthermore, I'm the founder and Executive Director of Skateistan.org which is a non-profit that empowers children through a mix of skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa.
How did the process for buying a home go?
Rhianon and I started looking at apartments for sale in Berlin and tried to work out who to borrow money from.
We were being offered rates that were really high and offered loans that were a maximum of 5 to 8 years. It was very disheartening. There was a lot of competition for attractive apartments, and I didn't know if we were ever going to be successful in buying an apartment.
We engaged with Hypofriend probably 10 months into our search.
Why did you not work with your normal bank to get a mortgage?
I felt pretty disrespected by my regular bank in Germany. They would only offer me a 5-year loan with a ridiculous interest rate. My organization had banked with them for 7 years as well, with me as Geschaftsführer. Their best offer was not even remotely close to what we needed. They seemed out of touch and unfriendly.
What would you recommend your friends to do when buying their first home?
Take time to think about exactly what you want and keep on looking until you find it. I lost patience at a few points in the search as it seemed so confusing and difficult (and I'm someone who has set up a global non-profit in Afghanistan) which was not good. So, have lots of patience.
If you do see something that you really, truly love, act very fast. Engage professionals to help you with any aspects of house buying that you are not an expert yourself in. It is such an important decision to get right, spending money on lawyers to check contracts and building experts to look for faults in the property are worthwhile in the long run. And talk to Hypofriend. They are awesome at finding the right mortgage for you!
Looking for a mortgage? Use Hypofriend’s affordability calculator to see what you can afford based on your personal situation.