I get a lot of questions from folks who want to know how we found the haus. In case you’ve wondered the same thing, here’s the story.
My best Freundin Jacqueline and her son were visiting us here in Texas last summer. Yes, they chose the hottest season of the year to come to Texas but they were troopers. They had come to drop off a very sweet 16-year old family member who would be staying with us for a couple of months. This way she could learn English from us properly speaking Texans. I mean, if you can’t say “Y’all” with a German accent then you just haven’t mastered the language yet.
So while she was here, I asked about her father and how he was doing. Jac’s dad is one of those amazing characters that is always smiling and ready to rock & roll. He is one of my husbands biggest fans too- loves to hear him play and sing with his guitar. Quintessential Texas cowboy. We found out that he, Jac’s Dad, had just purchased a foreclosure and was re-habbing it with his then, fiance. I asked how much foreclosures go for in Germany and when I heard what he paid, my jaw dropped. My heart pounded. I think I lost consciousness for a moment. I won’t tell you the price, that would be rude and how dare you ask, 🙂 but it was low. Compared to the States, very low. I looked at Will like I had just found the long lost winning lottery ticket under the sofa cushions. He knew right then and there, if I found a house for that price range or less, I was sold.
So, I asked Jac what the word for German real-estate was and within minutes my cell phone became the IV drip to my new obsession. I used just two German property sites: Immobelien.de and I could not stop thinking, or talking, about it. I knew this was going to happen. My heart skipped when I saw it. I found our house first. It was the very first home I looked at online. I went through about 10 others over that week, but this one kept coming back to mama. I ran Google map distances from each house to Jac’s and then to Paris, Prague, Munich, our old hometowns of Magdeburg and Aschersleben. This one was perfect. 7.5 hours to Paris, 4 hours to Prague, 3 hours to Berlin, 5 hours to Munich, 1.5 hours to Hannover and the list goes on. Best part? 15 mins from Jacqueline.
I sent the realtor an online message that I was interested in the house and within 48 hours I had spoken to him. When Jac returned home to Germany a week later (which by the way was the longest most excruciating week of my entire life), she went to see the palace with another old friend of ours. She sent back photos of the good and the bad. Well, more of the bad as German are very honest and they don’t want to swindle you into a raw deal. Even with that, we got the green light. In fact, that other old friend that went with her called us from the house to tell us that if we did not buy it, he would.
That was it. I told the realtor to take it off the market. He did right away, I think he could hear the desperate pleading in my broken German-speaking voice and that began the long process of a German home purchase.
We had to meet with the German Consulate to get signed off. In that meeting, when he saw the house size and contract price, he also said if we did not buy it he would. Actually, he went one step further and said he was going to outbid us on the offer price. I told him I’d kill him. I think that was the first, and only time, I threatened an officer of the State. He laughed but he knew I was serious. I could sense his fear.
Home buying in Germany is much different from the States. Very slow, very calm and very easy. And very slow. Did I say slow yet? Becuase, if I did not, it was slow. Like molasses-in-the-tundra slow. The anticipation of having to be approved by so many entities was a bit much for my tightly-wound personality but even with the pace, it was relatively easy. It was easy to see God in the entire process too, though that doesn’t mean I was completely calm. Just means the process was not as hard as buying a home here. Jac met with the previous owners, took care of all of the attorney to-dos and finally, around the holiday season of this past year, the house became ours. We made our annual Christmas ornament a replica of the haus. It was not removed from the mantel when I packed up holiday decor. I just couldn’t put a symbol of the new love of my life in a box in the attic. She glitters at me every morning when I sit to do my Bible study and prep for the day.
And that is the quick version of how the house came to be ours. Jac picked up the keys just last month. We still have to wait a few more weeks to hug her. Yes, you can hug a house. I will show you when I get there.
Just booked our flights. We leave in 5 weeks.
It has been named. El Roi Haus.
It is just too fitting and too true of God. He sees me. He sees you. He sees us.
He saw us through this entire process. Even when it was slow.