Wednesday 18th July 2012

I wrote a post a few days ago about How to rent a home in The Netherlands.  Today we went to view properties.  It was quite an interesting experience.  As I think I explained earlier, many rental properties are built and rented out by building corporations.  They create a “project” and basically create a big row or even whole street of houses/apartments that all look almost the same.

Here is the first we looked at.  The whole street is blue houses, all connected to each other.  I had to smile when the real estate agent called it “Smurfville!”.  It’s a difficult process to understand quite where we sit in the market – this one ended up being the type of place we had in mind, but a bit out of our budget.

blue house

Next we were shown a few properties in the lower price bracket….again big rows of houses, these with a little less character on the outside, but were quite ok on the inside.  Most were “kaal” so we would need to put flooring & lights.  All had a minimum rental of a year which was a bit disappointed as we had hoped to have a shorter term contract and then look at buying later but resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d have to sign for a year.  This is the grey row, all on the canal with a small balcony.

grey houses

And here is a slightly different variation outside, but again very similar inside:

rental properties

All VERY different style of living to what we were used to in Australia.  One of the main differences is everything is pretty much built on 2-3 levels.  I am not a big fan of stairs, I worry about the kids falling and used to have problems with my knees after my pregnancies but thankfully they seem to have gotten better, as it doesn’t seem like there are many stair free choices!  Here is one place which was a definite “no” for several reasons, but when I walked in I immediately dubbed it the “stairway to heaven” in my head as it seemed to go up forever!

stairway

The last property we were shown we decided on, particularly as there was some flooring already in there – less work for us.  It wasn’t included though!  There was a list from the previous renter of all the flooring, lighting etc they had left.  The idea was that the new renter calls to arrange a price.  However if you as the new renter decide they are asking too much, or don’t want it there, they are under obligation to come and remove it all!

I wasn’t really excited about the place, but it was within our budget and somewhere I felt we could live fairly comfortably for a while, and it wasn’t far from shops and the school.  There were lots of signs of other children living in the area, though we didn’t see any!   (Probably as it’s holidays).

outside

I’m not sure if this is common to every place renting out but I was delighted to discover that unlike Australia, where you are often competing with a number of other potential renters, we were given an “optie” for a few days.  This meant they actually put the property aside for us to allow time to arrange the paperwork we needed!   So we went back to the office to arrange this.  However there was something in the back of my mind that I wasn’t totally convinced or ready.  I tried – in my average Dutch – to explain to the lady I’d really like to take a look at one more property before we decided, that was “in between” the price range of the “smurfville” house and the other less expensive ones we were shown.   We had to wait a half hour or so for someone to be available to show us, but we discussed a property that was on my list from my extensive internet research in the last few days.  But I’m so glad I asked…as Bas and I both fell in love with it and it’s hopefully going to be our new home!  I’m not going to get too excited until everything is sorted but here is the lovely little overgrown garden out the back.  Sophia has been watching the Secret Garden movie at mum’s before we left, so I’ll be able to tell her she has her own once we get this:

secret garden

Overall the house is nothing super special, and even looks like a tin shed on the outside!  But it just had such a nice feel and the whole area is extremely family friendly.

Ypenburg (for the real Aussies, pronounced Iepenburg) itself is also in a really good spot, tucked in between Delft and Den Haag, two of my favourite places in The Netherlands.  It’s actually a new suburb – up until about 15 years ago it was Ypenburg Airport!

ypenburg

So now we just have to arrange everything and hopefully it will be our new home soon. And if I zoom right out on the map, it doesn’t look like it’s too far from Australia at all…

ypenburg and australia

This is a post in a series about our Life in The Netherlands.