This is a belated post from back when we were on our cruise…
July 4 – We’ve left Barcelona. We left our apartment more a week ago. Too bad we don’t have a destination for ourselves and our things. Oh it’s all still going to the Netherlands. We just don’t know where. Something in our guts told us this was going to happen. We were both afraid to say for sure where we were going to be living. Our response to where was something like “well, we found a great house in Naarden but are still waiting for the final contracts to be signed.”
We found this great house and put in an offer to rent on June 11. Now as we near mid July, we have no contract signed. Strike that, Josh and I have signed the contract but the owner has not. It’s ridiculous. Stupid things like a curtain for the skylight has tied things up between realtors. But there is more.
Why? It’s confusing to us but I will try to explain. The owner, a first time expat heading out to his first assignment, was unsure about renting for more than a year even though his expat agreement was for two. His fear was that his family would not like it and he wanted the ability to return early. We get it and have been in the same boat and have only rented our house on a year to year basis as well. We agreed (though not our ideal situation) to that and some other talking points and they agreed to ours. All seemed to be moving forward til it all stopped.
I finally sent an email stating that yet another week had gone by with no progress. I expressed my concerns that something was obviously holding up the signing process and that whatever it is, they need to let us know if we should be considering a plan B as we have many balls in the air that rely on us having an address, the most important being a roof over our heads in a matter of weeks!!
July 5 – I did not expect the email that came in response. Well, my gut wasn’t totally surprised but yet I was. Keep in mind that the last several weeks have been full of chaos and last minute challenges so to have something go smoothly was apparently asking too much.
The email suggested we go with plan B. I’m not exaggerating that our stomachs just dropped. Here we are, attempting a vacation as a family after almost 9 months apart. Trying to pull the mess of our lives back together. Just wanting, for a moment, for things to go as planned. But apparently that was asking too much.
Why do we need to go with plan B? Apparently, if we understood the email correctly, the banks get involved when an owner rents their home. And the bank was not happy that the owner wanted to extend a contract with a clause to potentially end after a year when his own expat contract is for two years. The bank feels that our contract to rent should reflect his expat contract. Our opinion is that if the owner can pay the mortgage, why do they need to get involved. But they do things differently in the Netherlands and we need to adjust to those differences.
As with everything else in this real estate process, we had to drive things forward. Our team was planning to give up and start a new search. Our response though, which we felt was common sense, was, ok then let’s just do a 2 year contract (better for us) and in the meantime, let’s start a new house hunt in case that offer still doesn’t please the bank. It’s common sense and not all that difficult to figure out but I think there are too many chefs in this kitchen and this process has suffered as a result.
July 7 – Ahhh Monday. Finally some news. Apparently both the owner and bank were happy with the new two year deal and the bank gave their blessing. We still aren’t sure how happy the owner is with this situation but my guess is at this point, he’s probably relieved to have everything taken care of so he can get on with his expat assignment.
At the end of the day Monday, we received our contract, signed, finally. What a huge relief after almost a month on something that should only have taken a few days. We printed out the contract on Tuesday, signed and asked the ship manager to scan and email us the contracts. A huge relief for us.
July 9 – Josh emailed out the contract this morning (the scan didn’t come thru until late the night before) and what a relief. We now know where our things need to ship. We now know where we will live – a huge piece of the puzzle. And now we can start to make other plans like utilities, furniture placement, small house purchases, etc.
July 18 – Josh received an email that August 15, our move in date, is a holiday in both Spain and France. And while our goods technically should be in the Netherlands (if our stuff is still in France on the 15th then that is an issue) by that date, apparently this could cause traffic restrictions both going into and out of Spain and France. And as a result there would be a significant fee (Europeans take their holidays very seriously) added to the move. So now we are trying to find out if we can move in a day earlier and how that would affect the cost of the move. The kids and I arrive Aug 17 and they start school Aug 18 so for us it is essential to get the basics in by the 15th. Never a dull moment.
July 19 – We’ve started to email with the owners and they seem really nice. As everything to date had been thru realtors (who worked rather inefficiently) it’s nice to get to know the owners a little bit.
So while the title of this entry started off as “all packed up with no where to go”, I’m now happy to say we officially have a home to go to when the kids and I arrive in mid August and hopefully will have at least some of our things! We’re looking forward to visitors in our new house in Naarden! See you there!!