Our time to leave for Sweden and following our dream of self-sustainability is getting nearer and nearer and each day we are ticking off several things on our list that will make our journey a smooth one.
It’s not every day you quit your job, sell your apartment, move country and start an almost completely new life. So you have to plan it well otherwise you’ll back in a few months, most likely depressed cause your dream failed and we’d like to avoid that…
It wasn’t an easy decision to sell. There are several pros and cons to selling and to renting out.
We started renting out at first, thinking that in the future this would be our retirement money. This, in theory, is a good idea as when your mortgage has been paid off your income of the rent will be all yours (after taxes of course). If you sell you will have one lump sum that will slowly start to disappear over the years and you’ll have to work for your money at some stage. As we were trying to figure out a way to not have to work for our money, renting seemed the logical option… at first.
Once we had painted, varnished floors, put some new floors in and fixed a lot of little things (they add up!) it was easy to find tenants.
All seemed to go just as we had hoped. But after a few months we got a letter from our commune saying the architect of the commune had to come and check our apartment. We called up to see why. They told us it was to check if the bedrooms were big enough and it all sounded like a regular check and we had nothing to worry about, but the owners had to be present.
A few weeks later we arrived for the meeting and as we were chatting with the tenants, the bell rang and we opened to door. 10 people walked in!! This is the moment were we should tell you that the apartment is around 65m2, so 10 people plus 2 tenants, plus Caroline, myself and baby Amber felt a little crowded.
There were people from the commune, police, health and safety and local police (agent municipal) who were all part of a committee that was going around Luxembourg in order to make sure that rental places were following the government laws. It took about what felt like 10 minutes before a nice man of the health and safety department finally explained this to us, so you can imagine that before that happened, it all felt quite intimidating.
Then came the list of things that were not up to par. Even though we were told we were part of the 20 per cent of owners that were trying to do it right, it wasn’t good enough. I won’t bore you with everything that had to be changed (or am I boring myself?), but some things had to be added to make it more safe according to the health and safety department, the police had to check all our IDs and then last but not least came the big whopper; the commune… According to the latest Luxembourg law, the bedrooms need to be 9m2 per tenant! As we have 2 tenants living in separate bedrooms, each bedroom had to be 9m2. One bedroom is 10m2 and the other was only 7m2. That means one tenant has to leave or we have to find a way to change the structure of our apartment (for a lot of money) in order to make the bedroom bigger. This was the moment we started regretting renting it out.
Just so you know, should you have a couple living in your apartment in the same bedroom, that bedroom would have to 18m2 big!!!
After this, what I can only call a debacle, we started contemplating selling the place. We’d have a lot of money, which would give us some breathing room, as we could pay back our mortgage and some other borrowed money and we’d be debt free! We could afford to buy a bigger piece of land with a house on it once in Sweden and start things off quite comfortable. And if we’re clever with our money, we’ll be able to make it last many years to come.
It’s important to think about your future and have a dream, a goal to strife towards. But we live in the now. The past has already happened and we can’t change it. The future doesn’t exist. All you can do is change what is happening to you right now and we don’t want to spend our live being miserable now worrying about the future.
All in all, this “committee” was actually a blessing in disguise as we have decided to sell the apartment. This means we’ll be stress-free for a long time to come and that is what this whole journey is about; gain our independence and freedom.
You’ll be hearing from us soon.
Love to you all,
Vince and Caroline