Delays are normal in life. A train that’s delayed because the machinist overslept, bad weather causing you to get stuck in traffic and arrive late at work.
A lot of them are due to circumstance and you can’t do much about them. However, my apartment that only now has reached ground level clearly didn’t just have delays due to Force Majeure from Corona.
After an honest talk with the sales manager of the property developer, I have yet to know the real reason for the one-year delay I’m facing. but he already told me it was due to bad planning of the construction company. Of course, the corona pandemic is partly to blame for the delay, but it should only be a small part as construction companies were still able to continue working throughout the pandemic in Belgium as long as they followed certain measures.
In total, the manager told me I shouldn’t expect delivery until Q2 2022. In other words, they have a 15-month delay!
I’m relatively certain it’s due to bad management of the employees and probably not wanting to spend extra money or making sure progress was being made.
Holding my ground and using my rights
I originally didn’t intend to write a registered letter requesting a clear description for the delay and request compensation, but as they keep pushing me away and never respond to my request for more clarification, I see no other way forward. Getting ignored is not fun, especially when you shelled out over 400,000 EUR for a modern turnkey apartment.
I’m writing a letter at the moment and will have it checked by my notary before sending it to the property developer. This way, I’m covered in case any legal battles ensue.
Moving above ground with my turnkey apartment: finally 30% done
Luckily, the construction itself is moving forward, albeit slowly. After the base plate, we are now at the ground level!
We are still quite a bit away from even having the complete foundation in place, but at the beginning of April 2021 I received a new update by the property developer showing they started with pouring the floor of the second floor.
I can only hope the progress the construction company is making is sustainable and that I can see the next invoice in my mailbox by June/July. Reaching that stage would mean that the floor of my apartment is done. For the garage, the next level means the placement of the pipes and electricity cables.
The cost of the construction
As they move above ground, the invoice of the finalized stage came in. Where the first one was 15% of the total construction cost of the apartment, this second one is 25%:
25% of €180,000.00 = €45,000.00 excl. taxes or €54,450.00 incl. 21% VAT
The garage’s first part was 30% where this second invoice is 20% for reaching ground level. The cost of this stage is:
20% of the construction cost (€19,500.00) = €3,900.00 excl. taxes or €4,719.00 incl. VAT
Putting both together puts the second bill at €59,169.00.
Including the first invoices, my current total paid is €104,996.00.
As shown above, things continue to progress. However, due to the massive delay, we had to move out of our rental apartment and into my grandmother’s house. This did bring one major benefit.
Thanks to this change, I don’t pay any rent anymore which means it frees up at least €645 per month. Since I now have extra cash and continuing with only paying interest is costly, I decided to also start paying off my mortgage!
Finally! My first full mortgage payment is a fact!
€976.69 of which €161.34 interest and €815.35 principle. 24 years and 11 months to go🤣
— fightToFIRE (@fightToFIRE1) April 1, 2021
As you can see, I really joined the big league now. There is no turning back now. For the next 25 years, I’ll be paying off my €280,000 mortgage at €1,156.95 per month once I used up all the mortgage.
Finally, with this second installment out of the way, what’s next?
The Foundations / base plate– DONE! Ground-level– DONE!
- The floor of my apartment
- The Roof
- Pipes and electricity
- Temporary delivery (which lasts one year)