Thursday, 30 July 2015

Going Dutch - Finding a Home

A major part of any move is where you will live. The intensity of the need for a roof over your head is determined by many factors. Age, family, culture and more all play a part in how you feel in the process of securing somewhere to live. The process itself is determined by the organisation you are moving with or if you are moving alone. Then if you add that to moving internationally in a different language this process can be quite the undertaking. 

If you are just moving by yourself no matter the age this might be slightly easier. The minute you start adding other people this is where the level of complication can be increased. This definitely goes up if you are doing it on a budget. So this is where we find me. I am relocating to the Netherlands for a new life as a pastor of two churches in Eindhoven and Heerlen. It is not one of the main cities. I am moving my husband and two adorable little storms who are just starting their schooling experience. None of us speaks Dutch and we are moving with the church not a major corporation. So we have to find our own place we have no family there and we are relying on the good will of one of way friends and pastoral colleagues! Anyone say challenge! 

What challenges have we found? Well aside from the language here are a few things that we have found a challenge. 

Number of rooms vs number of bedrooms. This seems to mean anything from counting the toilet and closet to not counting whole rooms in the attic/loft! This proves very confusing when you want to put actual people in rooms. So read carefully and count rooms as you go to get an idea of what each estate agent considers a room. Some websites like Funda are better than others at this. 

It isn't actually or rent! We found lots of amazing properties advertised none of which were for rent they had already gone. Yes they were advertised and yes it looked like available however small words meant that they had already gone. Now this might not seem like a big deal but depending on the area you are in Holland, this can prove a real challenge. Where we are the property turnover is ridiculously high. So it was an added frustration. 

You find a property and this is where most of you will not have a challenge but we did. A stay at home father is not the norm. People have no idea why he would follow his wife and children where they are going. They have no idea why a man would do this. So they were really confused reluctant to rent to a family in this structure. We will come back to this point in another blog but this is all I would say for now. 

The minimum earning amount. This has been a real shocker. It doesn't matter what you do, what references you have if you do not earn enough they won't even talk to you let alone let you view or rent s property! How is anyone supposed to rent. What do low income families do? It all puzzled me. But we found somewhere phew! 

It's yours till it's not yours. This was a surprise again. In the UK most places you rent are expensive and come with a basic level of decoration. Here? No way. You would be lucky to find flooring let alone paint! The owner is like you do whatever you want return it in the condition you found it or better and we are cool! That's it. Put in carpet, flooring, paint wall paper. As long as when you return it the property looks the same or better they are not bothered as it is yours till you don't want it or don't need it! Well that's definitely not like the UK where they tell you don't hang a painting without permission most times! 

Finally you can't meet all the owners criteria and they can turn you down because you have the same surname as your husband. This one made us all laugh the most. As with most owners and in particular Dutch owners they want to be sure they are renting to suitable tenants. This question made us laugh the most why do you and your husband have the same name! Well in Holland you might not do that but in other parts of the world we do so I did. I know that seems strange but you have never heard of this. Ah man we are in trouble now. 

Well all this aside we have a place to live finally! Even though they want three times as much deposit from us. This is because despite all our patience with the questions our employees coming forward and dealing with stuff they were still not convinced! But we are happy to have more space than we have at home and security of somewhere to live! 

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