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Munich Real Estate Agents

Ok, time to get off on a controlled rant here…

My wife and I made our decision to move out to Germany for work – not knowing a single person, or a single word of German, about two years ago. Since we knew we would be waiting for months for our property to arrive from the states, we decided that a furnished apartment would be best for us, and based on a mention in a Munich Found magazine I brought back from a business trip, we decided to go through Mr. Lodge.

At that time, we thought it was the best solution. They had a large selection of units, a well designed website, and they were willing to correspond with us in English. Mr. Lodge catered to expats, and that made us comfortable. Maybe a little too comfortable.

In the week leading up to our pre-move scouting trip (to find an apartment, file the appropriate paperwork) we were in constant contact with one of the principals of Mr. Lodge. We gave him a list of more than 10 apartments that we wanted to see. Only having 6 days to find and close the contract for an apartment, we scheduled an appointment to see these apartments the following morning. We were assured that we would be picked up and shown a number of places.

After flying in and getting a slight runaround trying to get in touch with our contact, we finally spoke with his colleague and was told that he was not in the office but was given his mobile phone number. We left a message on his handy and was contacted later that night. At that point, we were told that there was only one really good option still available. We asked for him to come up with a list of other options. He said that he could show us a unit that Monday. It was now Friday night. We left mid the next week. Our first, and at that point, only appointment was scheduled with only 72 hours after that to close all of our pre-move arrangements.

On Sunday, I tracked my contact down and he told me that we were set for Monday morning. Since it was pouring rain, I asked if he would, as confirmed earlier, be picking us up at the hotel. He said that there was no car available. Interesting, as when he arrived at the apartment (late), he was driving.

We liked the apartment, and feeling time pressure, moved forward with closing a contract. We paid the deposit and went through the handover. The handover was not conducted by my contact (he was “sick”) but by someone who spoke NO English, was late, and had no interest. She wrote on the form that everything was fine and got one key for the front door/apartment. The handover took less than 5 minutes. On leaving we requested DSL connectivity to be set up, and that Mr. Lodge leaves the second full set of keys, the mail key, the garage key and the location of the garage on the kitchen table. Why? Because when we moved from the states in two weeks, I would have a meeting at 9am the next morning. No second set of means my wife would be stuck inside without a way to get in, or I would be stuck if she went out.

We arrived at about 9pm on a Sunday. No second keys. No DSL. Nothing. Calls to my contact’s mobile phone were left unanswered. In a panic, I called (and woke up) my landlord who offered to come in early the next morning with a second set of keys. Luckily, he spoke English.

After that, I never talked to Mr. Lodge again. That is, until we decided to move to Cologne last month. My landlord, who I had never seen since that first day, and who I exchanged two or three emails with regarding a satellite installation, said that Mr. Lodge would do the handover back. I scheduled an appointment for the day we moved out.

That day was a nightmare. The movers horribly underestimated the amount of crap we had in the house (they said 14qm, it was 24 when packed), which meant that the 3 hour move out now took over 8 hours. We had to finish the cleaning of the apartment (I had already repainted and cleaned all of the landlord’s stuff), then drive up to Cologne because the movers were coming the following morning at 8am to unload everything at our new place. We didn’t have time to spare, yet the Mr. Lodge contact (not our original person from two years ago) didn’t show up. After 30 minutes of waiting, I called Mr. Lodge, furious. Our original contact showed up 45 minutes later and gave the apartment a clean bill of health, but noted two things: dry the window sills to prevent mold (the apartment was VERY prone to mold – not airing it out for more than a few days led to mold appearing in the corners), and clean the oven better (hell, it was in the same condition it was in when we got there years ago). We cleaned the sills and the oven to a condition better than when we moved in, and left for Cologne.

The move in document and the move out were exactly the same, except that the move out stated that we needed to clean the oven.

Our landlord came in two weeks later and was treated to mold (I warned Mr. Lodge) and some perceived minor damage. He did immediately refund half the deposit and said he was going to get a quote for additional cleaning and a few repairs, and then refund any additional monies back. I informed him that Mr. Lodge gave it a clean bill of health and told him to follow up, because if the move-out document stated no damage, he needs to take it up with his agent.

My complaint is not with my landlord. I am sure that within the next few days, I will get copies of the cleaning invoice and a further refund. My problem is with Mr. Lodge and their constant do-nothing attitude.

Posted in Munich Life, Scowls.

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