Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our House is a Very, Very, Very Fine House!

Here are the views from our kitchen, from the porch and out the back window.

On our very first day we found our house! We lucked out since we have heard that getting a house here can be quite cut throat! There are 3 (or 4) bases here in the Kaiserslautern community and LOTS of people looking for housing. Most people look for a minimum of two weeks. There are two ways to acquire a house-on your own or through a realtor. If you go through a realtor you need to pay about a month's rent finders fee. If you do not, there are a couple of places where rentals are listed but we had heard that you often look at rentals that have been rented or they rent them out from underneath you. We are so lucky to have friends who have been here who let us know that it is worth the money to get a realtor so you can get a good house. We also had to take into consideration that we have the dog now and some people do not want to rent to people who have dogs (though truthfully, I think they should be more concerned about the 3 year old). We had been looking at houses from when we were in the States and most of those houses were gone unless they were less than desirable. We found a great realtor to work with (that I had contact with before we left the States) and luckily he (and she) had some great houses to work with. Cameron heard from the people that he will be working with that if he found a house that was acceptable for a couple of years that he should just sign right there since someone else would steal it out from underneath him. We were not very concerned since we could go anywhere and did not need to be on the bus route for school. In the long run, we did have a couple of houses that were amazing but about an hour away and we decided that was not worth it. We were looking for a house That had it all (who isn't?). We were hoping for: biking / hiking trails from the house, 3 stories with room for guests and homeschooling, a village to walk to (mostly one that had a bakery) and beautiful scenery. We got almost everything we were looking for in the second house we visited. We looked at one more house from the realtor and then one on our own. The one we looked at on our own was BEAUTIFUL and perfect if we were buying it to fix it up for ourselves. It was a gorgeous old house/barn with the most beautiful view that they had made into a house. It was a bit isolated, and parts of it were very old. It was so hard to walk away from but being a rental that we will only be in for two years or so we knew we would not be able to be really comfortable with it (it desperately needed a new kitchen). We know for the future what we'd like in a house we finally settle in! The house we did find is a 5 bedroom house (3 all the way upstairs) that is half of another house. It is so big that it does not feel like a duplex and we never hear the people next door. It has a beautiful patio and a really nice kitchen. It is 3 stories and it has it's own fenced in yard. It is on the very top of a high hill and the view from the kitchen looks over a church, farmland and fields of wild flowers (in the right season). We can walk to a bakery and a children's park. There is a small kindergarten that we are hoping to put Dee in for a few mornings each week so he can learn German. The best part is that it is 3 floors (only 1 shower and bath- but 3 separate toilets on each floor) and the downstairs will serve well as our homeschool/guest area. We repainted anything that wasn't already white. They also told us we can have a garden and do anything "like we owned it"! Our landlord is the brother of the guy who lives next door and they are twins! Marcus lives next to us and speaks very good English. Their father, who lives in the village, speaks no English at all but is very friendly and really loves the kids. The village name is Oberheim Kirchenarnbach but their dad told us "Nein Oberheim. Kirchenarnbach-Yes!" We got a huge kick out of that! Anything we can't get in our village is within reach at one of the bigger villages nearby. There are two or three villages by (5-6 KM) that have everything we need. One we can get to by bike/walking and another that has a bike path that you cycle past old water mills that are now restaurants or pubs. You can even cycle there from our house! The best news is that we are only about 25-30 minutes from Cameron's work.

We promise that pictures will be posted, we just haven't taken any of the house yet. This is the only one that shows the house at all, it's one of me from the day we moved in.


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