Tips for House Hunting

Everyone’s preference will be different on this subject, but I hope this list will help you when deciding on a house.

Available housing lists – There are several locations to get housing lists. They are the US housing office, the NATO housing office (in the Italian NSU), Brunssum (NL) housing and Schinnen (NL) housing.

If you are stationed in the Netherlands, you must live in the Netherlands. If you are stationed in Germany, you can live in Germany or, with commander permission, in the Netherlands. Note that you do not get the same tax benefits if you choose to live in the Netherlands when stationed in Germany and your housing allowance stays at the German rate. Also, in general, houses are bigger and less expensive in Germany. If the choices on these lists don’t work, you can go on the economy, but you may have to pay a “finders fee” to a realtor and the house may or may not have a kitchen included. A good place to start is http://www.immobilienscout24.de. Look at the “Meitwohnungen“for apartments for rent and “Haus meiten” for houses for rent. Kreis Heinsberg includes all of the nearby towns in the Geilenkirchen area.

Keep in mind that the housing office has a “black list” of landlords who cannot rent to military stationed over here due to prior problems. Even if you do go find a house on your own, you may want to ask the housing office if they know anything about the property.

“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” – Many of the houses in the area are more than what they appear in the first photos you see of them. Many of these houses can’t even be judged from the road. Try to get appointments to walk through these houses. They might surprise you.

School bus ride time – Depending on where your town is on the bus route, the ride length for your kids may be quite different from the time it would take you to drive to or from school.

Distance from Esso – You can find the addresses of the nearest gas stations on Esso Fuel Finder. Remember that the stations on the Dutch side of the border do not take the ration card.

Internet speed and if Fiber is installed – You can ask the landlord if Fiber (cable modem speed internet) is installed in the house. If not, your town may have cables installed in the street already, which would mean you still have to schedule workers to get the cable from the street to your house. Call the company to see how long that would take. If not, most people get internet through T-mobile. You can ask someone at the T-mobile office to check the speeds for specific houses.

Cell phone network connectivity – It is possible to have no reception in parts of this area. At the bottom of this blog post, you will find a listing of the main German networks. You can then go to their respective websites to see a map of coverage in your area.

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