Bedding plants

Financing & implementation of a winter garden - overview of important information


A winter garden is the dream of many homeowners. But unfortunately it is also quite expensive. With the right funding, it can still come true.

A winter garden is no longer just a planting house

Adding a winter garden to the existing house is becoming increasingly popular. Due to the special insulation due to the use of glass, the first rays of sun can be enjoyed in spring. However, such a project is associated with not inconsiderable costs, which usually require well-considered funding. Furthermore, the expansion itself is not an uncomplicated undertaking: a building permit has to be obtained, the choice of the right materials with the respective functions has to be chosen and finally there is the question of the execution of the construction project in the room - should it be built or should it be prefer to hire a company?

What is a winter garden?

Previously thought of as a plant house, the function of a winter garden has increasingly been transformed into a residential garden. The Bundesverband Wintergarten defines the term as follows:

“A winter garden is a closed extension to a building, an independent building or a construction integrated into the building with at least one wall surface and a large part of the roof surface made of translucent building materials (EnEV term:“ glass roof ”).” (Source: //bundesverband-wintergarten.de/pages/fuer-die-fachbetriebe/definition-wintergarten.php)

The load-bearing construction consists of wood, metal or plastic. Conservatories are only declared as these if they are so stable in their roof and glass construction that they are both rain and windproof. For example, rooms that are heavily glazed on the wall but have a solid roof do not count as a winter garden.

Financing: opportunities and for whom they are suitable

Here, the costs for the addition or expansion of a winter garden amount to around 2000 euros per square meter, so that the construction of a small winter garden with around 30 square meters can mean costs of 60,000 euros. It is therefore a sum of money that most homeowners cannot easily make without additional credit. In order to finance such a building project, however, there are various possibilities of taking out a loan.

Financing option 1 - building society contract:

This has become one of the most common forms of real estate financing. As the name suggests, it is a savings contract with a building society, which is subsidized by the state. The prerequisite here is that the money saved is also used for a property, such as building a house or expanding the property with a winter garden. In principle, a home savings sum is agreed with the respective credit institution, which is saved in small portions on a monthly basis. Basically, there are three phases.

But what actually happens in the individual phases? The following table should clarify, because although the term "building society contract" is clear to almost everyone, at least they know how the phases of this financing option work.

phaseWhat happens in this phase?
AnsparphaseThe agreed saving amount is saved to a certain extent up to a certain point in time.
allocation phaseBasically, the savings amount is released to the home saver in this phase, provided that some evaluation requirements are met, such as the agreed minimum savings amount or a minimum savings period.
loan phaseIn this phase, the home saver has the full amount saved. The interest on the bank loan is, however, to be paid by the home saver to the bank.

According to the guide from ergodirekt.de, the advantages of a home savings contract are based on the following points:

  • Fixed interest
  • State funding in various forms is possible
  • Loaning is possible
  • Since savings contract, no equity capital is required as a prerequisite for lending

However, with such a real estate financing, the mostly lengthy savings phase has to be considered. This time can be shortened, for example, by increasing an existing building society contract. Furthermore, state funding is usually only worthwhile for high-earning singles or families with three or more children.

Financing option 2 - bank loan:

In most cases, an annuity loan is used, which is considered a classic form of loan and is usually concluded with a bank. The respective loan is usually paid in monthly installments, which consists of an interest and a repayment part. Initially, the repayment component is quite low and the interest component accordingly quite large, which means that the repayment component decreases slowly and then faster. The interest is a variable interest rate, and in most cases a fixed interest rate can be set for a certain time. Accordingly, such funding involves two risk factors:

Variable interest rate:

Depending on the market situation, the interest rate can develop very quickly, both positively and negatively. Currently, however, the interest rate is so low that it can almost no longer be optimized as a fixed interest rate.

Late repayment period:

Such a loan does not take unforeseen changes into account. First of all, the interest is mainly paid off, and the repayment component follows late. For example, unemployment can lead to such high debts. More on this from the experts at Finanzcheck.de

Financing option 3 - loans in combination with insurance:

With this type of loan, initially only the interest is paid in monthly installments, so that the repayment debt remains. This is only paid after the term, and usually in combination with life insurance or pension insurance. However, there is a high risk here due to variable interest rates and late repayments. In addition, life insurance policies are hardly worth it because of the usually low return, as the Handelsblatt reports.

Interim conclusion:

Which loan form is ultimately suitable depends on various factors that must be taken into account when consulting with the respective bank:

  • Is there a certain amount of equity?
  • What does the current and future income situation look like?
  • What family situation is the borrower in?
  • How many children does the borrower have?
  • What savings, investments, insurance, etc. already exist?

Implementation of the construction project

In parallel to the financing question, the planning of the construction project should also take place, which ultimately decides on the budget. When planning a winter garden, there are a few factors to consider when it comes to designing a winter garden and approving such a construction project.

Building permit:

A building permit is required for the addition of a winter garden, as it is a structural change to the house. As soon as the winter garden is a connection to the living space, this also requires approval. Which conditions have to be met when applying to the local building authority depends heavily on the respective region, which is why information about this should be obtained before starting the project. In a few regions, it may also be impossible to expand a house from the outset. The following information is usually to be submitted to the building authorities:

  • Architect's blueprint
  • Floor plan or the location of the extension
  • Static information
  • Information on measures related to fire protection or energy saving

Construction of the winter garden:

Basically, a winter garden consists of two materials: glass and a carrier material such as wood, plastic or metal. Which carrier material should be used depends on the one hand on the respective budget and on the other hand on one's own preferences. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of the most popular materials:

materialAdvantages and disadvantages
Wood✔ sustainable raw material
✔ easy to process
✖ maintenance-intensive
plastic✔ easy to care for
✔ comparatively inexpensive
✖ comparatively unstable
aluminum✔ easy to care for
✔ easy to process
✖ comparatively expensive to buy

However, the main building material remains the glass, whereby “normal glass” cannot be used here. Depending on the type and function of the glass, one with a U-value from 1.3 W / qmK should be selected. With the growing energy-saving thought in society, the construction and functions of the glass have also developed further. So there are different variants for every taste and budget (more in an article from haus.de). These include:

  • Insulation glass with additional functions such as sun protection or solar cells
  • Self-cleaning glass, which was treated with titanium dioxide during production

Execution of the construction project with specialized companies:

When planning, an architect or a civil engineer must be consulted in any case, who takes into account the special properties of the construction of a winter garden. But companies that are particularly familiar with winter gardens should also be commissioned to carry out the construction project. Most of the time, the respective architect involves different companies in the preparation of the offer, so that the client can decide on a suitable offer. With skilled craftsmanship, it is certainly also possible to build the winter garden yourself, but specialist knowledge must be available here.

Overall conclusion:

The desire for your own winter garden can be implemented as well as possible thanks to structured planning. As mentioned, aspects such as the previous information about region-specific requirements for an extension at the house, various information for financing and for building permission to the credit institution and the local building authority are important. Expert opinions should always be obtained for both the financing and the concrete planning of the winter garden. If all important aspects are considered at an early stage, the construction project can finally begin.