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About lexster

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    HPC Newbie
  1. Dear all I don't often comment on this site but I have been an avid reader for over a year - there is always a fascinating debate which helps me consider my own position and do more research. So anyway, to the question. I have multiple investment classes but (about 50% in euro cash and property, 20% in Danish Kroner cash, 30% in sterling cash and shares). I am considering shifting away from sterling and have already moved some into gold. What are people's opinions to Platinum? As far as I can see it is not only a rare substance (treated similar to gold) but also has a lot of commodity value as a raw material. I also have a few friends at Johnson Matthey who say that surface mining is all but exhausted for Platinum meaning the only way to get the stuff in the future is deep mining (therefore more expensive). Is platinum an interesting addition to gold in a sensible spread of investments? Also. where can i buy it? I like bullion vault - is there anything similar for platinum? Thanks Lextser
  2. Berlin is a bit different to the UK. If people want to buy, they can - it is the banks who prevent them - affordability is fine compared to average salary. I don't think at 12% ownership and the strongest tennancy laws in europe anybody is going to screw up anything for the Germans. A few thousand people from UK buying 1 or 2 investment apartments ain't gonna do anything to the pricing in a city of 3.5 million people. It is never going to be some top second home destination like France or Spain. And judging by the amount of near derelict buildings that are being turned from slums into nice apartments the Berliners are quite happy too. So try not to judge what is happening in Berlin until you've actually been there, spoken to Berliner's about how pleased they are to get injection of capital (housing funds struggling to maintain buildings properly due to cash flow problems) and how former property blights are making neighbourhoods more desirable. And no - it does not effect their affordability as you cannot ramp up rents because of the strong tennancy laws. Don't believe me - please ask the local Berlin government whether they think foreign investors in their cash strapped city with high unemployment and near broke housing associations is a good idea or not. I will not be surprised at the answer but you might.
  3. You have a lot of question but lets just stick to number 1 for now. Advice - you ain't gonna get much with 18k deposit - especially on the famous karl-marx-allee/frankfurter allee where average flats (1 to 3 bed) are 130 to 200k euros (which is still a massive bargain though). Reason - German banks are conservative and will only lend up to 60% of apartment value - and that is if you have amazing yield - and typically if you have amazing yield you will not have a nice looking apartment in a good area (though I admit it is possible sometimes) which will give poorer capital appreciation as no-one wants to buy them (as they are ugly 60's blocks) apart from professional landlords - who buy in dozens of apartments anyway. So you are left needing a very big desposit. Add to this the cost of buying (lawyers, estate agents, property transfer tax - up to 13% of apartment value + VAT) and you are probably looking at a total budget of approx 50k euros (based on your deposit) - of which you will blow 8 to 10k on the paper work. That leaves you with 40kish euro for an apartment. There is virtually nothing for that price in the up and coming areas (some of which you mentioned) - you would have to go somewhere well on the rough side (Lichtenberg anyone?). So conclusion is look really hard and you may find something very small (25-30 square metres maybe) or secure more finance (i'd say going in with 50k euro deposit is more realistic for some starter level apartments). And, unfortunately, you can't get more finance in UK unless you have something to secure it against (like your home). Or if anyone with more knowledge than me can tell me how to get bigger loans in germany than the 60% rule I'd be interested to know myself. Alternatively - skip Berlin and head for the east - risky - but places like Dresden and Leipzig and other towns will be cheaper - mass unemployment though (which is saying something since Berlin has high unemployment itself). Didn't want to sound tough but that's the way it is in Berlin - there is no point you wasting your efforts unless you know what to expect. If Berlin was that easy everyone would be doing it and prices would be much higher. However - if you do manage to sort out your finance it is a great place to own - less risky (because you have a bigger deposit), great rental (tennants stay for an average of 5 years), beatiful apartments at a good price compared to every index (yields, average earnings etc etc) and of course the appreciation - Berlin is just starting the cycle and my apartments in Friedrichshain went up 20% last year. Hope it helps in you assessing what your options are. Cheers Lex
  4. Yep. It's bloody nuts over there but I'm in there. No way I deal with it myself (seems to be a fair amount of brown envelopes and mafia kicking around) but I deal through a third party. High risk one but high rewards - certainly not one for a large chunk of your investment but if you like gambling with a percentage......... I can put you in touch with 3 rd parties if interested. Cheers Lex
  5. Have you seen Norwegian girls? I wouldn't give a monkeys how much tax I pay as you are guaranteed a supermodel out there.
  6. Sorry my mistake - you said near Simon Dach Strasse - not on it!!! 1550 to 1650 definitely overpriced - you should be aiming for 1200 to 1400. (And Ok if you get it really low you may need to spend 50 psqm on minor interior renovation). Seriously, try the apartments on the famous communist champs elysees (karl marx allee and frankurter allee) - 2 minutes walk to simon-dach strasse, views of the boulevard and the TV tower at alexander platz and they are beutiful buildings - the walls are about half a meter thick!!! At 1500 they are rather special for the price. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_marx_allee is the wikepedia link
  7. 5% is a bit on the low side but not horrific - I have seen poor foreigners duped into buying places on simon-dach strasse at 2000 a sqm - I'd say an instant significant loss. If you strike a good deal you'll get more like 6 to 7.5%. Make sure that that this is the cold rent you collect and that there is no silly small print in there. Agents charge a premium for their knowledge - do it yourself (or if you use an agent find one that does not take advantage because you are foreign) you should be able to get prices down quite a bit. 1500 on simon-dach-strasse doesn't sound too bad though - that it is if it is a beautifully renovated building, vacant (or recently rented at full cold rent acheivable at 6 to 7 a sqm). To be honest though you can pick up one of the amazing apartments on karl marx/Frankfurter allee around teh corner at 1500 a square metre, vacant, historically protected and like nothing else you've seen before - much more potential. That's what I did (Ok I got mine at 1200 after negotiating very hard and threatening to walk away from the deal several times - I think they needed the cash). In fact there is quite a lot kicking about at 1200 to 1500 - depending on street/quality. Remember - no need to rush this - spend a few months to get it right - you are buying into an opaque market and it is difficult to make comparisons. PS Why do you only collect 80% of the rent increases - surely it should be 100% + whatever their managment fee is (and if they don't manage it properly you should have the right to move it to another agent - it's your apartment) PPS If borrowing from a german bank the most your likely to borrow is x10 the annual income in rent so keep this in mind
  8. Thanks Wuluf for coming up with the required facts on Germany. If you genuinely have an interest in it (ie want to live in Berlin as I do) by all means buy an apartment. There are too many VI on some of these threads. I would like to invite people from this thread across to the overseas property section (especially Germany) to put things in perspective - there is rather too much ramping going on across there for a website known as hpc.
  9. Just a general comment to all potential investors reading these links. As with anything vested interest is present - a company name or a website recommendation is just that, a recommendation. Do your own research, don't rush into anything and use resource objectively. If people are offering a service that makes it worthwhile to you by all means pay their percentages to use it. However, it ain't that hard to organise this and some of the advertisements for overpriced services on this site are entertaining to read. Try offering an hourly rate instead.......see how that goes down.
  10. And other comments on this thread. Just to clarify abou the drug development process (something I actually know about rather than house prices). A few hundred k is not going to get a drug approved. Pfizer, GSK and the like typically spend half a billion to get a drug to market (OK a big chunk is marketing). Even specialised, biotechs spend milllions and millions without a marketing budget (and this is with the fact that essential cancer drugs are easier to get past european (EMEA) and US authorities (FDA)). And just because someone releases a structure doesn't mean you cannot patent it. Doctors do not treat patients with pure drug chemical structure - the form of delivery has to be taken into account (ie how it is made into a pill or whatever) - don't believe me - check out AstraZeneca and their patents - you will find several of them relate to form of delivery and not active ingredient. And if this drug is as easy to manufacture as everyone says (nonsense - it must look rather like aspirin for that to happen) some generic would be in there doing a special circumstance submission (if it's that easy ask TEVA an they'll bite your hand off). Sorry about lecturing (difference between academics and people who really do this shit I'm afraid) - you are right in some respects - the drug industry is self serving (anybody note that all drugs are geared towards western diseases - we couldn't give a flying f*** about malaria). Sorry, I rant, I was supposed to be speaking about house prices.....shocking.
  11. I believe there is an alternative setup to 'holidaying'. It's called a hotel. A novelty in the UK.
  12. I believe you can set something up under the German system for just exactly that - a GbR - a way for 2 or more partners to own german property. Alternatively you can set up a foreign legal entity to do the same. Either way you will need a professional (business/tax specialist) in Germany to help you organise something like this anyway so only take advice from this site to point you in the right direction. You lawyer should be able to point you in the right direction (and if you don't have a lawyer get one quick smart - the German legal system is full of surprises - they may cost up to 2% of the purchase price but they are worth every penny). I can recommend a lawyer I am happy with if you wish. I hope you are being careful about who you buy off - Berlin is a bit of an opaque market (especially if you don't speak German) and you can see people buying apartments at 'tourist' prices. If it's advertised in English just be knowledgeable that this means that there is usally (but not always if they are the genuine first agent) someone else taking a cut. I would stress that you need to come across as a genuinely nice chap though in the property buying thing - wanting to do a service to the letting market (and it's OK to make a reasonable profit) - coming across as a 'we're english, have loads of cash and can buy all your houses' will not go down well. I actually have a genuine interest in eventually living in Berlin and needing to start some kind of link to the place or reason to be there first so I can wangle my job across there. Cheers and good luck Lexster
  13. Rip off. Don't accept anything than less than 6% even in top notch (high potential) apartments. There are a number of property developers (funded dubiously from outside of Germany I might add) buying apartments cheap and then selling them at ridiculous prices simply because they advertise in foreign newspapers and have their website in English. Go to a genuine German estate agency or an English speaking one that has no investment VI (ie they make their money just off comission not renovating and flipping apartments). I bought an 80 square metre apartment for 99k euros in the famous karl-marx-allee block (histotically protected building). 6.5 euro a square metre a month yield. (OK the yield is a bit low but you should see the apartment - these things are definitely collectors items - very special) I also have another one which I got as a repo. Again Friedrichshain area - 54k euro for 60 square metres. 6.2 euro a square metre yield. There are higher yields but they are all in godawful soviet blocks. Avoid. Stick to areas in the west - or if you fancy a bit more of a punt go east - but stick to fashionable areas like Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg (overpriced nowadays) and select parts of Mitte. You will no exactly what I mean when you go somewhere like Marzahn and fear that you will be attacked by street thugs. Remember - Germany is a long term game (because of high entry costs and legal timeframe in buying or selling) so buying and selling every year will not work. However, as other people have mentioned - I can't think of anywhere safer (and based on sound economic principles) than good areas of Berlin. Think of it as insurance against the overheated UK.
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