What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
1. Cooking spices
2. (we moved just about everything else)
1. Older clothes
2. Certain sporting equipment
3. Smaller nick-nacks / decorations
Moving to Germany
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
If you have the luxury of talking to a co-worker that is local to the area, that is a huge first step in identifying appropriate areas to live (depending on what your looking for). Their knowledge will both cut down your time of searching, and give you a comfort level that your making the right choice. Local banking options and doctors were also important to us in choosing our location. If your company is moving you, I have found that very few people from your HR department that are helping you have ever been through this sort of relocation. So sometimes their advice falls short. You will find you have to do more work than you thought you would. Use all the resources you can get your hands on to help organize the move, internet, books, etc. Create a timeline for what needs to be packed up at your home and when. Keep critical documents on your person during your move (briefcase or backpack). Many places you repeatedly need copies of passport, marriage certificate, drivers license. Also keep a master phone list of movers names, numbers and email addresses.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
Single-family home, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. The style is very typical new construction for Germany (white stucco with tiled roof). However, I believe that this is much larger than the typical relo housing, we were very fortunate. Renting a house is not common. Usually it is an apartment.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
Primarily, our relocation agency found this particular house for us. But, during a Look and See trip, my wife and I identified neighborhoods and towns that we liked. First, we wanted to be close to my work, and to Heidelberg (closest major city). Second, we were looking for a "small-feel" town that had a nice pedestrian zone. Third, there had to be playgrounds within walking distance. With that, our relocation agency found 7 homes in 5 different towns. We settled on this particular home because it was a single-family home versus a twin.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
To purchase, I understand that it is very expensive in Germany. Some areas just the land can cost 1,000 per square meter (10 square feet). Which is why most people rent here. Actual ongoing costs seem to be about the same or a little less than our area at home (Philadelphia suburbs). The actual housing rent is less here (1730/month for a 4-bedroom house), but utilities seem to be about the same.