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Apartment progress: 30%; finally above ground!

Last Updated on April 3, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE

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.

Next steps

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!

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
  • Kitchen
  • Temporary delivery (which lasts one year)

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

Road to home ownership
1. Starting my journey towards my own home
2. Should I buy or rent my first home?
3. The Truth About Room Investments: Off-limits
4. Buying an apartment in Brussels while renting elsewhere
5. The big move and moving around
6. My mortgage: an interesting experience
7. Apartment progress: 5%
8. How one tax deduction reduced my apartment cost by 17K
9. Coronavirus impact on my new apartment
10. 6 reasons why you should(n’t) get a turnkey apartment
11. Apartment progress: 15%
12. Startling Extra Costs To Get A Better Turnkey Apartment
13. Apartment progress: 30%; finally above ground!
14. Apartment progress: 50%; rough construction finally finished!
15. Is prinicpal payment a saving or expense?
16. Where to get the cheapest furniture in Europe
17. Apartment progress: 100% – Ready for renting out!
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11 months delay is just crazy, I hope you get some refund there! At least its progressing now, hopefully no further delays from now on.

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