While we still own a property in the US and only sold our primary house back in 2015, it feels like ages since we’ve had a house that’s ours. I think that’s because for the last 7 years abroad, we’ve been renting. It feels like forever when I last felt like something was mine.
Renting has been fine. It’s nice knowing that someone else takes care of any problems with the house at no cost to you. But there is a hidden cost. It’s knowing that this home is only temporary. And that more often than not, you are limited in the things you can do to the home (like painting). It also has meant that I’m more hyper-vigilant about the kids and damage in the house and things like that.
Finally, after all this time, we decided on a spontaneous move that we would buy a house here in the Netherlands. It meant committing ourselves indefinitely to building a life here. But if we’ve learned anything in the last 7 years, it’s that anything could happen at any time and to just learn to live for the now.
After months of waiting (at our own request due to our complicated rental lease situation), the time finally came for our closing on December 30th. We’d been building up the excitement for months!! Planning, talking, packing. Ok, there is still a lot of packing to do but we actually have almost a full month before we actually move in.
This is because we decided to make some changes to the house prior to moving in. Since we were in a lease technically til the end of June anyways, we figured we would stay until the end of January and get the improvements done on the new house while it’s still empty. The house doesn’t need much, hence part of why we bought it, but the walls are all textured, reminiscent of what we would call popcorn at home. They will all need to be plastered and painted before we move in. The stairs need to be refinished. And finally, we are adding a half bath adjacent to our bedroom on the attic floor. At 41, the idea of having to go down a flight of stairs to use the toilet is not an enticing idea 😉
It took us a bit to find a contractor that not only could do all the jobs that we needed but to do it at a fair price. The price of construction work here is really rather insane. We were willing to pay a fair price but didn’t want to be gouged for the job either. We finally found a guy that we like that we think is going to turn this house into our home. We tied up the majority of details with him and were excited to know that he wanted to get started right away, on the day of the closing!
The closing wasn’t that much different than what we have experienced in the US. We did a pre walk through with the owners so that we could learn about all the little details that might not be covered during the formal walk through due to lack of time. Things like how does the fireplace work (yes that is a legit question as this fireplace has more bells and whistles than we are used to!), where is the timer for the outdoor lights and more.
The actual walk through included the realtor and took about 5 minutes since we had explained that we already had gone through with the owners. Everything that was on our lijst van zaken was there and in excellent condition (not that I expected otherwise). We were on to the closing!
The notaris was a really nice guy with an unexpected sense of humor (not that notaries can’t have a sense of humor). We signed a transfer document and the owners were no longer the owners and were on their way. I think that took under 5 minutes. Then it was just us and the notaris (and Liam… Aidan decided to stay home and sleep til 11) to finish up the mortgage documents. Under 10 minutes and we were done. We were out of there by 10:30AM and on our way back to our rental property, now as homeowners in the Netherlands! A great way to end 2016!
Looks like we can finally call somewhere HOME!
Knuffels en kussen,