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House Hunting: Picking Our German Home

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in our German home for a full month already.

We’re settling in extremely well, and while it isn’t totally set up and ready for a house tour, I still want to give you a peek at where we’re at.

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Let me back up a sec first.

The base my husband is stationed at doesn’t have on base housing, which means that when families arrive (and after they go through two weeks of quarantine), we get to go house hunting.

While that sounds super fun…it’s actually pretty stressful.

There is one database we can access to see what’s available, as well as a couple local realtor sites. The base housing office is also pretty helpful since they know what’s available and what’s up and coming.

But you’re also “competing” to find a house against any other family who arrived at the same time you did*. Lots of people looking, but not many homes available makes for an interesting search.

*Each rank has a certain cap for how much their rent can cost. Generally speaking, the higher rank the service member is, the more money they get for housing. There are exceptions, of course, like if it is a dual-military family, how many dependents one has, or if someone has been prior enlisted.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that even though the military does pay for housing out here, you are responsible for paying the deposit out of your pocket, and most places we saw required first and last month’s rent, which makes for a pretty big chunk of change right up front.

A House in Holland or Germany?

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(not our house…but a house we looked at in Germany)

The particular base where we’re stationed is on the border of the Netherlands and Germany, and because of that, we actually had the option of living in Holland or in Germany.

Homes in our area of Germany seemed to be larger, often with full basements—some had extra kitchens down there. Extended families would often live together.

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full kitchen in a basement.
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laundry rooms and “extra” rooms are often downstairs in German basements

The kitchens on the main floor all veered on the smaller side, and were often separated from the rest of the living space.

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smaller kitchen (could be a good size, but the built in table took up so much space. This is also a “new” kitchen. Loved the sink, though!)

The Dutch homes we saw were smaller and lacked that “open concept” feel. Also, all of the ones we saw had extremely steep and narrow staircases.

Some homes were teeny tiny, and some were ginormous. Some had very eclectic taste in decorating and some some funky layouts—as in, I’m certain we’d lose a kid at some point if we lived there. Several were out in the sticks, far away from civilization, and a few were in little villages. No two homes that we saw were anywhere close to being the same.

In the end it came down to two homes for us, and picking one was extremely hard. We don’t plan on moving again while we’re out here, so we wanted to make the right decision.

But really, it came down to personal preference and what we thought of the house.

Our House Must Haves

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(not our house. this was dubbed “the pond house” for the pond in the back yard)

Before we started house hunting we both made a list of FIVE things we want in a house. Clearly we’ve watched House Hunters a time or two.

My list:
1. Good-sized kitchen
2. Great, natural light
3. At least 4 beds, and 2 bathrooms
4. A bonus room
5. Backyard for the kids

Kenny’s list:
1. More than one bathroom
2. Three+ beds
3. Awesome kitchen
4. Good backyard
5. Garage/workspace

I’m happy to say that the house we picked checks everything on our list…and then some.

Picking our Home

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The house we picked is fairly close to the Dutch border and in a town that we really like.

There are grocery stores, a gas station, and a main highway nearby, and there are several kids in the neighborhood, as well as the perfect place for them to play.

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But maybe the best part of our new German home is that the bread truck comes and parks in front of our house twice a week—how cool is that?

The Modern House

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We dubbed our home “The Modern House” after we stepped foot in it the very first time, because it’s basically an Ikea-inspired blank slate.

I’m sure some people come out here wanting to find that “European charm” with a house, but honestly, those quirky homes just started stressing me out when I thought about our stuff (and us) mingling with it.

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Huge windows; bright, white walls; slate gray tile floors, and a decent sized kitchen awaited us inside The Modern House.

It has four rooms upstairs; one of which will be an office/guest room if we need extra space for visitors.

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And there’s a bathroom/laundry area up there, too.

Not gonna lie: the laundry room upstairs was a HUGE factor in picking this house.

Downstairs is the open concept living area with the kitchen, dining area, and living room.

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There’s a small “bonus” room that is doubling as the play area and there’s a pull-out couch for guests. Next to that is another smaller room that we’re calling the “art room,” but that’s just a fancy way of telling the girls to throw all their stuff in there.

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There’s a bathroom downstairs, with a shower, and it has the perfect spot for an entryway area, which makes me happy.

Plus, Kenny also got a garage at this house; it’s not large, but it’s enough to make him happy, too.

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All in all, it’s a great house and even though we’re only a month into it, we’re loving it already.

We’re having fun with trips to Ikea to add to the space, and make it functional for our family.

Here’s a little sneak peek at what we have set up at the moment:

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We’re clearly already making ourselves at home and working on finding out where everything will live.

And just in case you were wondering if we can keep The Modern House pristine all the time, the answer is a big, fat NOPE:

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Once we finish getting things up on the walls (that’s coming next in our phases of moving in), I’ll share more about what it actually looks like as a home.

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3 Comments

  1. Grandma says: Good Luck! Love hearing from you and thanks for the pictures.grandma

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