We Just Bought a House

Ohhh, Gott im Himmel! We just bought a house. A beautiful house on a hill overlooking the Swabian Alps. We signed the papers this morning in downtown Stuttgart. 

We learned earlier this year that our landlord intended to put our current home on the market, so we decided to start looking for a home to own ourselves. The market here in Baden-Württemberg is really competitive, though, especially for single-family homes. Most Germans rent apartments or row-houses. Those who own single-families usually live there for life: it’s not a very fluid market like in the United States where it’s not uncommon for families to move every few years.

On top of that, we really wanted to stay in our local area, especially since we decided to put all the kids in German school. If we could find a house and move with as little disruption to their academic and social lives, the better. Beyond that, we weren’t too picky about our requirements, just as long as it was in good shape and big enough for our big family.

So, during my maternity leave, I scoured the Internet for housing ads. It wasn’t uncommon to see a home pop up for sale, and then see it removed just a week or so later, almost always an indication that it sold. Any time I saw something promising, I sent the link to Martin for his opinion. We made a few phone calls about some homes, but inevitably, there was something about it that wasn’t a fit: the commute to my work, the age of the structure (which, under German law to protect older buildings, could prevent us from modifying it), the location, etc.

But one day, just before I returned to work full-time, we saw an ad for a home just 10 minutes away from our current location, and in our price range. The photos looked great, and the write-up sounded promising. I not only sent Martin the link, but also instructions to schedule a visit immediately.

Fortunately, the house really impressed us. With lots of storage and bedrooms, it is a space where our family can fit and thrive with a big kitchen (and American features like a large oven and fridge). It even has a fireplace, which is something I really missed during the cold,, dark days of winter.

And the views … since it’s on a hill, we can see the surrounding forest and countryside villages around us. We immediately put in a bid, and fortunately, it was accepted.  Martin and I are so excited. Owning two homes in two countries just strengthens our roots in both now.

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Since we drove into the city together for our morning appointment, Martin also had to pick me up from work. Instead of driving home, though, he kept on driving to our fave Greek restaurant where we enjoyed a quiet dinner, just the two of us. This giant pastry and ice cream was dessert. He mentioned that on my 30th birthday, I wrote that I wanted to own property in Germany by the time I hit 40.

“Accomplishing such a thing deserves a celebration,” he said. And he’s not wrong.

What a crazy journey it’s been to get to this point. But I will be most proud and grateful for being willful enough to marry Martin at age 20, recognizing that a young man with great financial instincts and a huge heart was a great catch.