Our Weilerbach Haus
Ara and I set on our house hunting adventure the day after we landed in Germany. We were jet-lagged, weren’t sure what direction we were even headed half of the time—but we were armed with google maps and arrived at the correct addresses the majority of the time.
I didn’t keep track of the exact number of houses we saw, but the first week that number was around…12. The countryside here is filled with all varieties of villages that all offer their own unique charm and amenities. We were working fast to navigate which area would be the best fit for us, without knowing very much about the area. Each house we saw lacked something that we wanted/needed. The architecture in homes here leaves a lot to be desired. In the majority of the homes we saw, it seemed like three architects or designers had their say on the design and no one was compromising for a cohesive feel. We are used to large kitchens, bedrooms with closets, decent places to park our cars and thought-out details in a home. It seems the Germans don’t need those things in a dwelling unit!
One afternoon we hopped in the car and headed to a late afternoon house appointment. The house was located in a village called Weilerbach, about 10 min from the base. We turned a corner and noticed a bakery and a butcher shop within a couple blocks from each other. We located the house just across the street from the butcher and did a quick tour, taking in all it’s unique oddities. Ara and I had gotten to a point in the house hunting, that we both were able to pick up on each other’s cues on if the house was a “go” or “not.” As we hopped in the car, we both said to each other, “Well, this house is a great location, we just need to find another house in Weilerbach.”
Every day I’d wake up and comb through house listings on the various sites. I was starting to get worried that we weren’t going to find something that fit us for our next place to call home. This certain day, I was browsing the listings while Ara was at a morning appointment. I found a listing located in Weilerbach in our price range, with what looked to be the right criteria for us as well. I called the listing agent immediately and asked if we could meet in a couple hours. I remember Ara coming back for lunch and I told him, “I found a house to look at in Weilerbach!”
We headed to the address and expected to be about 5 minutes early to the showing. We pulled into the loop where the address lists the house and couldn’t find the house number, 47 anywhere. The street listed other 40-something numbers, but we frantically looked up and down the block and 47 was no where to be found. I tried to find the listing agents number to call her and I’d called so many numbers recently that I couldn’t remember which one was hers. The neighborhood was several loops of streets, so we decided to go to the next loop over to try to find it. Sure enough, there it was. I frantically ran to the front door while Ara parked the car, as we were now 5 minutes past our appointment time and I didn’t want our first impression to be that of us arriving late! I was greeted by a sweet, older woman at the door. I told her as fast as words could come out, “I’m so sorry we’re late, we were on the next street over!” She ushered me in with a hug and said, “It’s okay, you are here now.”
Ara and I toured the house, donned with freshly painted white walls, gray tile covering the floors and modern lighting hanging from the ceilings. The weather was rainy outside, but the light was still pouring into the windows of the house. We made our way through to the second floor and into the largest bathroom I’d seen here in Germany. I turned to check out one of the bedrooms and it hit me right then. I turned to Ara and said “I don’t even need to see more of the house, this is it.” We finished the tour and we began to chat about what would go where in regards to our “stuff.” By the time we made it back down the stairs to the front door area, we told the listing agent—we want the house! How do we make it ours!?
Here’s where the tricky part of finding housing through the military in Germany comes in. The beautiful, modern house that we had just claimed as ours with a verbal agreement was in need of “re-inspection” by the government. Since the government gives us a housing stipend, they want to be able to have a say in how much the housing is rented for in the area, thus the inspections occur every 5 years to signify how much the house will be rented for. Even though it’s a pain in a lot of senses, it helps both the landlord and the renters from paying too much for something that’s it’s not worth (our last neighborhood in North Tacoma could benefit from this system). Now to wait until the housing office could fit us into their full schedule to have the house re-inspected. Then after it gets re-inspected, we file our contract with the housing office and they “pre-approve” it so that we can get an appointment to sign for the house officially. In the mean-time while we were waiting for the house re-inspection to happen, we were offered base housing which meant we would be cut off from our hotel allowance. This caused us a bit of stress and need for timeliness to occur on the housing end in order for us to pay out of pocket the least amount. Of course, things never happen the way you want them to!
After what felt like an eternity (to us) our housing re-inspection was completed and we waited a few more days for our contract-signing day. Now, this isn’t the end of our waiting by far. Next we called the moving company to find out when our express shipment could be delivered—not for another week and a half. Final step of the house process is getting the temporary, and some not-so-temporary items checked out from the government for our house while we are here. Since none of the houses here have closets, we are issued three wardrobes along with a washer, dryer, microwave and two 110-to-220 volt transformers. The temporary furniture that we have for our house consists of a bed, nightstand, kitchen table, sofa, coffee table and end table. These items are intended to “get us by” until our household goods shipment arrives (there’s no word yet on when that shipment will arrive yet, but my estimation has always been around 80 days, meaning somewhere around Sept. 18th).
Okay, whew! We have a house! In Germany!
Our temporary furniture arrived on Friday, August 18th and we spent our first night in our new home. It feels entirely foreign to be living in the place that is your new home, with just a few temporary furniture pieces and four large suitcases. Our internet is finally getting installed this Friday (Happy Birthday to me!) and that will feel like another huge milestone crossed off our house and “settling in” to-do list.
We love our new village of Weilerbach. From our house we have found a shortcut to the closest bakery, making it a ¼ mile walk to pick up a freshly baked loaf of bread (brot) or a fresh pastry. The butcher is on the same block as the bakery and we have our hearts content of picking a variety of sausages. The first weekend in our house we were able to walk to the town’s Wein Fest in the marktplatz and enjoy the local Pfalz wine and food festivities. We can also walk, although a little more hearty of a walk, to the larger grocery store in our town—Edeka. Our evenings have been filled with wandering walks through the village where we’ve come across a great park with a pond and a some trails leading to other villages. We’ve also been told that the village has a great Christmas market as well in the winter.
There was a lot of enduring to find this house, to go through the process of it becoming ours, but I feel so thankful for the spot where we are able to lay our heads each night and wake up fresh each day. I look forward to carefully placing our furniture, to hanging sweet memories that we’ve already made, to cuddling Riley & Newman on the couch, to hosting friends and family and making memories in #OurWeilerbachHaus.