Stella and I had a look at another place this evening, a possible place to move into.
This one's in Heimfeld: an area which I wasn't sure about. I thought it might be a kind of ghetto, and wasn't sure what to expect.
It was a flat in a moderately old block of flats, on a narrow, quiet side road; the area in general seemed to be decent.
The current tenant showed us around; she said that she really liked the place, and was moving out only because her daughter was and she didn't need three rooms all by herself. (She's lived there for two years now.) The neighbours are mostly elderly people, nice and quiet.
There's a fairly spacious kitchen, a bathroom with bathtub (the place in Sinstorf has a only a shower, though with a fairly deep edge so you could sit down inside it if you wanted), one room which her daughter uses and then a double room (two rooms connected by an arch, each with a separate door from the hallway, though) which she uses as bedroom and living room—the previous tenants had used the separate room as bedroom and the double room as dining room and living room, though.
Some pros of the Heimfeld place over the Sinstorf one:
- The rent includes water and heating and assorted other charges, and is about 100 euros cheaper than what we pay here for all that, and about 50 euros cheaper than what we'd pay in Sinstorf
- Public transport is better (a few minutes' walk to an S-Bahn station—one stop away from the one closest to my work—and to a bus route that runs about every 7 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on Sundays) and it's closer to work (if I wanted to take my bike, for example). The bus in Heimfeld only runs every 20 minutes on weekdays (except during early morning and late afternoon rush hours) and every 40 minutes on weekends, though a busier bus stop is ten or twelve minutes' walk away.
- The rooms seem larger than the ones we have now, and since it's three rooms compared to "2 + 2/2" (four, of which two are smaller) in Sinstorf, they're bigger than those ones as well.
- The rooms are rectangular (some of the ones in Sinstorf are irregularly-shaped) and you can use all the floor area (no roofs which restrict how tall things at the edge of the room can be).
- We could keep all of our furniture. In Sinstorf, the kitchen is shorter, though a bit wider, and our table and corner bench wouldn't fit, so we'd have to use a narrower table and just the chairs; in the living room, the two long walls don't go up vertically all the way before they start to slope inwards due to the roof, so we couldn't put our shelves against the long walls, and the short walls aren't long enough for our current living room shelves.
- Shops are closer by
- The bathroom has a bathtub in it
- The bathroom and kitchen look nicer (colours, space, etc.)
Some pros of the Sinstorf place over the Heimfeld one:
- The landlords seem really nice. And I've got the feeling that they not only wouldn't mind having us as tenants but actively like us; for example, the landlady offered to round down our rent a bit since they say they prefer having nice tenants to making lots of money
- The landlords said they haven't raised the rent since they started renting the place and don't plan on doing so in the future (again, the bit about wanting to have and retain nice tenants). The rent where we live now has gone up every year except for once; unfortunately, my salary has not gone up every year. (The lady in the Heimfeld flat said that the rent hadn't been raised in the two years she had lived there but didn't know what it would be like in the future.)
- There's a lawn behind the place which we could use; the landlords also said that we could put a sand pit for Amy out there. So Amy would have a place to play outside. And possibly they'd let Stella have a little garden of her own or let her help them tend their plants; she really likes gardening but doesn't have the opportunity here.
- A forest is really close.
- There are four rooms, so if we ever had another kid, they could each have a room of their own. The rooms would be a fair bit smaller than here or in Heimfeld, though. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much this is a problem for children, though; I suppose they'll play in the living room more, but then I've heard that many children like to play there anyway because it's where their parents are.
- Also, I could possibly have a room of my own as long as we only have Amy, though having my desk with computer in the bedroom is also working out pretty well here.
- The balcony is about twice as large. (Though since I don't use balconies, existence or size of balconies isn't much of a factor for me personally.)
- The landlords are going to put in new carpetting in all rooms, in a colour agreed on by tenants and landlords but at no cost to the tenants. In Heimfeld, the owner had wood flooring which she'd want us to pay for (though at a fraction of what it had cost her), and if we decided not to take it, we'd probably have to pay about the same amount to put in some kind of carpetting or flooring since there's just concrete underneath. Also, in the kitchen, all the overhead cupboards wer hers and she said she'd like some money if we decided to keep them.
- An elementary school is really nearby. (And a cemetary, for the morbid.)
- The rooms in Heimfeld seem… cold somehow. Like a place to stay, not a place to live. Not sure what gives me that impression, though, but Stella had a similar feeling.
- Did I mention that the neighbours seem really nice?
I'm undecided, though vaguely in favour of Sinstorf—possibly because it's the first place we looked at. I think Stella likes the rooms (size and arrangement) in Heimfeld better, but she says her belly-feel prefers Sinstorf, on the whole. She says that she wants to like Heimfeld because the rooms are bigger and better and there's a bathtub and the bathroom and kitchen are brighter and bigger and more pleasant—but she keeps seeing a lawn and a sand-pit and has a nagging, indescribable feeling that Sinstorf will be better. And it's true that the two small rooms in Sinstorf are small—but the prospect of no rising rents and the really nice neighbours seem worth it, despite the worse public transport situation. Strange.
Hm. *gnaws leg*