Friday, April 13, 2012

House Hunters International: Foltice Edition Part 2

Did you miss Part 1 of our House Hunters International: Foltice Edition posts?  Check it out here to get caught up.

We've taken our apartment search up a notch within the past few weeks for several reasons.
  1. The majority of apartments listed right now are actually available when we need them to be (May/June) as opposed to earlier (March/April). We need to stay in Borken at least through the end of the basketball season, which ends on May 5.
  2. Most of the students in Münster have moved in by now, so there is less competition from students over the few available apartments.
  3. More importantly, we've been told that our current landlord already has someone lined up to move into our apartment June 1, so we now have high motivation to find something fast otherwise we'll be living out of a cheap hotel (or homeless) come June.
To help solve the problem Bryan, in his immanent nerdiness, created a spreadsheet. We flagged about a dozen apartments online and he collected all of the important details and put them together in one easy-to-update Excel worksheet. Last week was a wash because of Easter (hardly anyone works during Easter week here, and quite a few people take off the week after Easter as well) and no one was going to show us any apartments that week so we focused our efforts on getting organized. But this week, I have tackled this handy spreadsheet with gusto and have managed to schedule several appointments to view apartments for next week.

One really good thing that is coming from this exercise, other than legitimate appointments to see potential apartments, is that I'm getting much more comfortable speaking in German over the phone. I still ask everyone if they can speak English because, hey, you would too, and while some do, many can't (or don't want to so they say they can't) and we have to duke it out in German. I scheduled and appointment (in German) for Bryan for yesterday afternoon and the real estate agent told him that I shouldn't be afraid to call people and speak to them in German because my German is really good. It was the kindest compliment on my language skills that I've ever received. Other people have said that my German is getting good, but it's usually accompanied by fervent head nodding and said in a tone akin to when we would go to my grandma's house for dinner and she'd say "I hope you kids like meatloaf!" and Bryan and I would fervently nod our heads and say "Oh yes, Grandma, we do like meatloaf. That sounds great!" This new compliment was so sincere that my confidence was boosted enough to phone in my pizza order tonight to be delivered instead of going to pick it up. I never thought I'd be brave enough to do that, but the conversation was seemingly flawless (to be confirmed if and when the pizza ever arrives). [UPDATE: Pizza order was a success! Everything arrived and was exactly what I ordered - wooo-hoo!]

We've had to make some concessions when searching for an apartment. A year ago, when we didn't have to think seriously about the challenges of finding a place, we were bent on finding an apartment that a) was provision free (aka: we don't have to pay a real estate company 2.5 months rent just for managing the listing - a fee I still think is ridiculous and unfair and that the landlord should pay this fee and not the future tenants, but it's part of the whole system here and can't be worked around) and b) that it has a kitchen already installed. But now that we've been looking, the reality of finding an apartment that meets these two requirements in addition to all the others (2 bedrooms, bathroom with a tub, allows pets, not in the subsidized public housing projects in the Kinderhaus or Coerde subdivisions) is impossible. There is literally 1 apartment in the entire city that fits the bill and that gem isn't around long enough for us to make a run at it. So, we have been saving our money for provision and for the potential cost of buying a (hopefully used) kitchen and getting it installed in our new apartment - two things that will run us probably an extra €3,000 to €4,000 in moving expenses. But wherever we end up, we plan to stay there until Bryan is "Dr. Foltice" and we move back to America, so for the right place it's probably a decent investment.

So far next week we have 4 apartments to view and hopefully more to come. We'll be taking photos and hopefully some good blogging content will come from these escapades. Wish us luck!


Lisa Rogers said...

Good luck Dana! I just love reading your blog about your adventures in Germany! You at least have one faithful reader :)

Dana said...

Thanks Lisa!

Heather said...

Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! I have a question about your blog. HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com