Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Thoughts on house hunting while PCSing to Stuttgart, Germany

Below are some "lessons learned" when looking for a house overseas while going through a PCS as a government civilian....this post will be edited as I think of more stuff to put into it.  Hopefully other people can make use of some of it....if anything, it will help my Wife and I in the future.



Go see the housing office and get the information they have:
http://www.stuttgart.army.mil/sites/newcomers/housing.asp

Houses available through the housing office:
http://oph-stuttgart.net/

Things to consider:

Going through housing will mean you won't have to pay a realtor fee which can be between 1.5 and 2.5 month's rent, which can add up to quite a bit...for example, a house that's €2,500 a month, will mean you will owe between €3,750 to €6,250 (or $5,260 to $8,767) at closing just for a realor fee, which you won't get back.  That is a lot of money...make sure the house is worth it...also remember what you could do with that money (trips back to the US, trips in the area where you live, emergency fund, buy a used car, charity, etc.).

Also be sure you can cover the security deposit required on any house.  You will get this money back at the termination of your contract provided that you don't damage the house, but it is still money that you'll need to have on hand and be able to be without for the duration of your stay.  These usually seem to be around 2 months rent.

Try and make the determination if you want to purchase a house or not before you PCS over.  That way you will have more time to plan.

Here is a helpfu link:

Apartment hunting via immobilienscout24.de - Germany:
http://www.toytowngermany.com/lofi/index.php/t63493.html

** It is also very, very helpful to use Google Chrome to browse these sites as it has the Google translate function built directly into it, which can save you a lot of time. **

** Another note is if you choose to email realtors from the immobilienscout24.de website, make certain that you check you spam email box on a daily basis, because many times a reply from one of the realtors will get filtered into this box. **

I have a list of a few realtors that I used who seemed pretty good: 
jones-properties.de - http://www.jones-properties.de/
immopointeurope.de - http://www.immopointeurope.de/D-Mieten/rentals_-_mieten.html
Stuttgart Realtors - http://www.stuttgartrealtors.com/
Stuttgart Yard Sales - http://www.stuttgartyardsales.com/
immobilienscout24.de - http://www.immobilienscout24.de/
http://www.houses-rental.com/
<get michael link>
<get colett link>

Helpful information to determine your location relative to bases and trains:
http://www.vvs.de/en/
http://maps.google.com/
http://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml

GPS addresses to help you locate a base:
Panzer - Panzer Str, 71032 Boeblingen
Kelley - Plieninger Str, 70567 Stuttgart-Moehringen
Patch - Kurmaecker Str, 70569 Stuttgart-Vaihingen
Robinson - Heidloch Str, 70376 Stuttgart-Burgholzhof

Helpful information on how to call various phone numbers:
http://www.howtocallabroad.com/germany/

Exchange rate calculator:
http://www.x-rates.com/calculator.html

A good "ice breaker" when on the phone with the realtors is:
Guten Tag, sprechen Sie Englisch? (Good day, do you speak English?)

Numbers in Germany:
It is also helpful to know how to say numbers so that when you call and leave a message, you can leave your telephone number in English and German.
http://german.about.com/library/blzahlen.htm

Thanks all for now...

Shaun

3 comments:

  1. Wow...talk about working and fast on your feet! Can I just say one word? "WINNER"...ok, sorry charlie I just had to throw that in for dramatic effect!! (no pun intended). Awesome information, I hope your blog goes viral, I'm sure at least 1000 people getting ready to do what you did would want to know this stuff. By the way...I hate to be such a civilian but what does PCS mean??

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  2. Haha, I like the "winner" comment!

    I'll have to edit my post to say what PCS stands for...it's permanent change of station.

    Katie did about 80% of the work when it came to this...her "vacation" over here was anything but...haha

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  3. They just had to throw that in for dramatic effect!! (no pun intended). Awesome information,we hope your blog goes viral, I'm sure at least 1000 people getting ready to do what you did would want to know this stuff............

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