We looked at three more houses today and made a tentative appointment for another showing on Wednesday.
House 5 is a detached house in Brunssum. It’s a great location in a neighborhood we scouted on Sunday and liked. The interior has been completely renovated. The fridge in the kitchen was small — kind of like a dorm fridge. Everything is new, but it’s plain. The rooms have no closets and the bathrooms (1/2 and ‘full’) are TINY — as in room enough to stand in one place with zero storage. We scratched this one off the list pretty quickly.
House 6 is a duplex in Brunssum on Frans Halsstraat. All the streets in this neighborhood are names after Dutch painters. It’s a short walk to work and within sight of the international school. The kitchen needs updating and doesn’t have much cupboard space. The bathrooms and bedrooms are adequate. The garden is nice enough and it has a covered terrace. There’s a storage shed for bikes. The owner apparently inherited the property from his parents; he lives up north and has to drive 2 hrs to show the place. We had a nice chat with him about the house and his work at J&J.
House 7 was added to our list after another scan of the house office listings. It’s at the very top of our budget, but it’s furnished and in Brunssum so we decided to check it out. It’s in a similar neighborhood as House 5. The first thing I noticed, when we walked in, was the olive green carpeting on the stairs. 😛 The living/dining room is big and bright, but a large set of oak cabinets dominates the space. The kitchen isn’t too bad; it’s good size and has a dishwasher. The bedrooms have built-in cabinets with lots of storage and the master has a lg king size bed. The carpeting is various colors from past decades. The attic is completely finished, again in 70s or 80s decor, with another king size bed. But wait . . . there’s more! The basement is also completely finished with big old furniture, including a dining table with a u-shaped bench (looked like something out of an older restaurant).
The owners of House 7 are an older couple, who have apparently downsized to a place over the border in Germany. I can’t begin to document the ONE HOUR we spent with this couple! Neither one spoke a lot of English; he knew it better than she did. She hopped back and forth from German to Dutch with a sprinkle of a few English words. The husband and Dick tried to translate at first, but gave up as the words kept tumbling from her mouth. What a chatterbox! She told me she only talks a lot when she likes the people; I was supposed to take that as a compliment. 🙂 Being sleep deprived, I found it difficult to concentrate on figuring out what she was talking about. It was exhausting! They were very sweet and anxious to accommodate us. They offered to buy new furniture for the living room and let us pick it out. They also offered to lend us any items we needed and a supply of fresh green beans from their garden in the summer! When we said that the house was a little too much for us, they suggested we just live on two of the floors instead of four. They insisted that we call them back to let them now whether we wanted the house or not. After we finally got to our car and started to pull out, the wife came running out to tell us some more! 😆
Out of seven houses to choose from, two are ruled out immediately because they’re too small, two are so-so because the decor is old/traditional (we want to go more modern/chique), and one isn’t furnished. That narrows the list to two. We stuck with our top pick from yesterday — House 2, but we needed to see if it was still available (remember another couple looked at it after us). The answer is YES! And the owner is thrilled that we want to rent it. Yay, we have a home! 🏡 Thank God!
We had dinner with my new colleagues this evening and they provided us with lots of useful information. Tip #1: get a bank account as soon as possible and we don’t need a residency card to do that. That’s our first order of business on Wed. and then we’ll go to the housing office on the base to get our lease contract. We hope to move in next week!