You can find the other chapters of this series here…

House Hunting in Germany, Part II: The Stairs of Doom

House Hunting in Germany, Part III: The One

House Hunting in Germany, Part IV: Settling in and Overcoming Fear

House hunting in Germany (at least, for us, anyway) was not nearly as fun or glamorous as it appears on House Hunters International.

We started looking for a place the day after we stumbled out of the airport, jet-lagged, cranky (okay, maybe it was just me), and anxious to begin the daunting task of securing a roof to hang over our heads and suitcases at the beginning of PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season – the time of year when the military tends to do it’s mass rearranging of troops.  With a wave of families moving in and out of the area all at once, we’d been told to expect plenty of competition, and to be prepared to claim the first house that checked off most of the things we were looking for in a place to live.

We arrived in Germany at the end of April, when the hillsides were covered in beautiful yellow rapeseed flowers. Every year, they’re harvested to make certain kinds of oils.

As far as a wish list goes, our initial one wasn’t too long.  We just wanted to find something affordable in a safe neighborhood with at least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a backyard or nearby playground for the boys.

Before we’d left the states, we’d been looking at houses online, mostly just to familiarize ourselves with what to expect in our price range, but we ended up finding one that seemed perfect for us – a little 3 bedroom, 2 bath cottage with a pretty backyard out in the country.  Since we didn’t have a car yet, our sponsor kindly offered to drive us out to take a look at it, and we were so thankful for his generosity.

Despite the fact that it turned out to be a thirty minute drive from where my husband would be working and 15 minutes to the nearest town with a market on narrow, windy country roads, it was situated on the side of a hill in this quiet, picturesque little village that looked like something out of a children’s book of fairy tales.  We all fell head over heels the moment we pulled into the driveway.

The views were absolutely breathtaking, and it had one the most beautiful backyards I have ever seen.  There was a gazebo, an outdoor kitchen, a large slide (nevermind it was metal or that it lifted up from the ground treacherously when either of the boys zoomed down it), and a pretty little glass sun room where I pictured myself sitting with a cup of coffee, painting something dreamy with watercolors while the boys played happily together outside (hey, this was a fantasy, after all!).

It was the kind of house where you’d expect to step out of the shower in the morning to a pair of birds kindly bringing you your towel.  I’m not kidding when I say there were a pair of deer grazing, unafraid of us, on the nearby hillside while we chatted up the landlord and the boys chased after a large brown rabbit they found hopping through the yard.

Oh, and let’s not forget about what would be our neighbor’s house!  Their entire backyard had been transformed into an elaborate model train exhibit that looked like a Thomas the Tank Engine film set.  You would have to know our eldest son to truly understand why this was so fantastic, but it really was something else.

Blissfully overlooking all of the previously mentioned quirks, we’d pretty much decided that this was our house before we’d even set foot in the place.

It felt like a dream (and, looking back, maybe it was, because… you know, the jet lag).

Yep, this was The One.

And, then we went inside…

House Hunting in Germany, Part II: The Stairs of Doom