Big news for us: if everything goes right, we’ll be moving in one or two months!
I never expected it to go this fast. We wanted a slightly bigger house in order to give both our kids (boy + girl) a separate room. So mostly the same size, but with one extra room. And a slightly bigger garden to house our bikes wouldn’t hurt.
Two months ago we started looking at houses for rent. In the Netherlands every region has a system of doling out houses from the so-called “social housing rental corporations”. Based on the amount of time you wait. You can sign in on three houses per two weeks and the longest waiting time wins. That’s how we got our current house.
Aforementioned housing system only is allowed up until a certain income. We’re above that margin, so we had to look for the more expensive rental houses that are handled outside the social rent system. The advantage: they’re available earlier. The disadvantage: they’re more expensive.
Three weeks ago we subscribed ourselves at two housing agencies for rental houses. And I booked an appointment at a mortgage agent just in case it was possible for us to buy a house.
In the Netherlands, houses are very expensive. Since about 15 years, banks can legally lend you much more money than was possible earlier. The advantage: you can buy a more expensive house. Drawback: everyone can do it, so the price of houses expands to fill the available credit. Houses get more expensive without them being intrisically more valuable than before.
In the Netherlands, lots of young married people both work. Two incomes. So the available credit goes up. So the housing prices go up to match the available credit. So, as a one-income family we’re competing against dual-income-based housing prices. Yes, my wife is still looking for a job! In practice, this made renting the only option I could see.
The recent fiscal crisis brought some changes. Lots of mortgages turned out to be rope the people could hang themselves with. Fiscally unsound mortgages. So the credit you could get got less. So the housing prices finally went down a bit.
A few days before meeting the mortgage agent we got some extra money from sources I won’t disclose here.
Suddenly, we had the financial buffer needed to get me to comtemplate buying a house.
A couple of houses actually seemed to be reasonably priced, being ex-rental houses.
After the meeting with the mortgage agent we made the appointment to visit two houses…
If nothing untowards happens we’ll sign the mortgage next week and get our house somewhere near the start of June. That’ll be fun with a djangocon.eu conference on 6-8 June. Busy times :-)
Some data on the house for those interested:
In Nieuwegein, some 1km from our current home.
The kids can stay at the same school.
One room (a pretty big attic room) extra, just what we wanted. For the rest it is mostly the same size we have now, which is fine.
The garden is twice as big as our current smallish one, so that’s great, too.
A bus stop is in front of our neighbours’ house, so that’s the closest I’ve ever lived to public transport. I thought I was close now at 30m from a tram stop :-) (Public transport is important as we don’t own a car).
Build in 1982, so structurally sound without big problems. One attic window needs replacing, that’s the biggest item on the list.
One drawback: it is pretty hard to keep myself focused on my work (and on a couple of other tasks). Luckily today I had a tricky problem, that helped in focusing me :-)
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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