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Apartment progress: 50%; rough construction finally finished!

Last Updated on October 27, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE

An update was long overdue, but until mid-August not much had really changed as they were still busy with rough construction. Because they continued working during the yearly Belgian construction leave, the construction company finished rough construction on the heavily delayed schedule.

With rough construction finally done I believe it’s time to share a picture of the continuing progress, though as of now it’s not really that interesting anymore as most progress is made inside the building to which I don’t have access.

Nevertheless, I believe it’s important to share this as it gives a true timeline of turnkey apartment construction.


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This was in August right before they started putting up scaffolding and work on the facade. This is now making good progress. At the same time, construction is also picking up on the inside.

Progress made: 50%

With things moving along everywhere, I received two payment requests; but more on that in a bit. The property developer will send out the details about the finishing touches of the apartment, mainly the furniture and fabrics.

Being at this stage, I won’t be able to share many visuals till the provincial acceptance somewhere Q1 or Q2 2022.

The cost of the construction

As they moved to the inside, I received three invoices since my last update: one invoice for finalizing my floor level, another one for the completed rough construction (the roof was finished), and a third one with the architect cost.
Where the previous one was 25% of the total construction cost of the apartment, these two installments were both 20% of the total:

  • 2 x 20% of €180,000.00 = €36,000.00 excl. VAT or €43,560.00 incl.
  • indexation prices (!) = €11,747.19 excl. VAT or €14,214.09 incl.
  • 6% architect cost = €10,800.00 excl. VAT or €13.068,00 incl.

Total invoice cost: €114,600.09 incl. VAT

For both invoices, there was no part for the underground car spot. That next installment won’t come until they have fitted all pipes and cables in the building.

Including the first invoices, my current total paid is €214,679.10 excl. other costs and the land.

With the land and the notary costs incl. (€142,544.87) the total cost is €357,223.97.

What about the expected delay and signed letter?

I only received my latest invoice in October, which I expected based on their progress throughout this year. But the only reason they made it is because they didn’t take a summer break. Even with this rough construction finished, completing it is another matter that I doubt they will accomplish before the official deadline -January 2022-.

As I wrote in my previous update, I’m contemplating sending a formal notice of default to the project developer to make sure I’m covered in the event of further delays. I foresaw sending it in May 2021, but I decided to postpone it eight months to December.

Instead, I’ll send it in December as it will then be obvious how far behind they are and that it’ll take way beyond January 2022 -the official delivery date- for them to finish. Though it’s obvious, they are delayed.

Moving in or renting out?

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we are also getting closer to the end of the time in my grandmother’s house; At least, as free renters. When we first moved in here for free, we knew the free part was temporary.

This house is getting sold; we have to figure out if it’s to us or someone else and move into the Brussels apartment.

While this seems simple at first glance, we are struggling with deciding on a course. Several things are for and against either decision:

Location Pros Cons
House More space as a family More maintenance
Still well maintained, and no immediate renovations are needed Possible repayment of abatement apartment (~17K)
Nice neighborhood with many families with young kids New mortgage for purchase and renovation (later)
Able to renovate it to our liking
Bath 🙂
Apartment Close to work No other rooms beside bedroom and living area
Easy to maintain It will become too small fast
Easy to get around Brussels Brussels (not the most bike and kid-friendly)
Good connection to the rest of Belgium
Newly constructed = modern

As you can see, there are many good and bad points to both, with the main (financial ones) in bold. I would be lying if the financial part wasn’t a major contributor to my indecisiveness at the moment. It’s stifling.

Next steps

While delayed -as shown above- things do continue to progress. At this point in time, there isn’t all that much for me to do besides wait. I expect a mail regarding the interior packages in the coming month(s) though not sure as the property developer remains rather silent besides rudimentary two picture updates. The only thing I can really share is that I still expect the total price of the apartment to land somewhere between 410,000 and €420,000 incl. any and all costs (VAT, architect, construction, ownership, detailing, interior). And of course the official installment plan.

With this fourth installment out of the way, what’s next?

  • The Foundations/base plate – DONE!
  • Ground-level – DONE!
  • The floor of my apartment – DONE!
  • The Roof – DONE!
  • Pipes and electricity
  • Kitchen
  • Temporary delivery (which lasts one year)

And of course, deciding what to do with it: Do we move in or do we rent it out right away?

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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