My huge housing crisis
The Netherlands currently has a housing crisis and sadly my son and I were mixed up in it. At this moment there is more residents than available places to live. In August 2016 I sold my house in the United States and because of the late sale I didn’t get the place I wanted in Holland. But my son, cat and I still boarded that plane because all my prized possessions were already loaded on a cargo ship and sent over the Atlantic to the low lands. I searched online last minute and found a hotel that gives deals for monthly stays in South Holland. It was an experience. It was not glamorous and I came in the hottest time of Europe. My room consisted of two separate beds with netting around them and a private shower. The kitchen was shared with all other cohabitants and their cleaning habits weren’t tip top. It was not the picture I wanted for my son to experience. I couldn’t sleep as it was stuffy and to deal with rabid mosquitos biting all night through the net. I booked for a month in hopes I would find a place. I used the common website called funda.nl to look for houses for sale of all of The Netherlands. I thought if I could look for a place without a realtor I could cut the middleman out and save money. It was hard. I stayed up day and night looking for places within my price range. The minute there was a post, someone bought within minutes. It was unbelievable and causing panic.
I went day after day hoping there was a place in my price range. The other dilemma was if I found a place, then a bidding war was to commence on a place that didn’t deserve it. My month was nearing to an end and I had to find a new place since we didn’t find anything to buy. I looked to Airbnb and thankfully a wonderful couple took us in for another month. I just couldn’t stay another night in that hotel. But it was another month sharing a room with my son and cat. It was official we were homeless and losing money. My son was upset with me and I felt like a failure. My cat by the way slipped into a depression. It was hard to look at them day after day. The other blow to my situation was my furniture and things arrived faster than expected and I had to pay for storage until I find a place.
I was desperate to find a place. I then decided to go look at a houseboat. I got lost going there and I met a kind gentleman that I struck a conversation with. He referred me to a great maakelaar (realtor). I said I don’t have money for that. He then said that I set the rules. I tell the maakelaar what I can afford and he accepts the payment (commission) within my terms. I said ok and I called. It was not what I expected. But this man knew his stuff. I just wanted any old place to rest my head. I looked on funda.nl and said Ill take the place with no floors, or no walls or poor foundation. He was kind to understand my desperation but all the places were bought in a sweep. I was depressed even more. I needed a stable place for my son.
Then there was ONE place left on there in my price range. I made an appointment to see it and called my maakelaar to meet me there. I didn’t care but I wanted it sight unseen. I just wanted to make my life begin here.
We went to the flat. It was 100% in my price range and thankfully it had a floor, walls and in a safe area. It was a repo and owned by a bank. I told Richard (maakelaar) to put the offer. I didn’t want to negotiate I wanted to pay full price. I honestly knew it was not smart to do it because I found out the bank wanted to purposely do a bidding war. But they thankfully respected and accepted.
So as the days went on I waited patiently. Because I don’t have a mortgage I have to sign a preliminary contract. But there was a discrepancy. My Dutch wasn’t that good but I could read numbers. The monthly maintenance fee was higher that what was on the website. Richard looked and was furious. I thought, well they just need to fix and move on. WRONG! The realtor for the bank said it was an error on the website and that its supposed to be a higher amount and accept our error. Richard said no its false advertisement and the banks realtor said flat out if she (me) doesn’t like it rip up the contract and move on. I nearly died. I was out of my mind. I was panicked. What was I to do? I wanted to be fairly treated. But it didn’t stop. Richard said I am going to fight for you. I didn’t want Richard to fight and I wanted to just take it. He had no clue that I was hemorrhaging money and the more days I stay in random hotels and Airbnb’s the less I have to purchase this house. Or even live after getting it.
As the days went by I cried alone and not in view of my child. I came to the Netherlands to start my life again. I wanted to relive the days here when my parents used to bring me here. I wanted my son to get that happy child life here. I was on the train going back to my Airbnb and I got a phone call while on the train. Richard says to me I was approved at the higher monthly maintenance fee but he negotiated for a lower price on the house to compensate. I was so relieved I did a kung Fu kick on the train and scared two black guys to death. I mean I did come closed to falling on their lap. But after the phone call I told them my leap was for excitement that I found a place to live. They congratulated me. I learned that its not always you have to do everything on your own. There are people out there that can help you with your struggles even when in a new place. I now successfully am a resident of the Netherlands. But, of course since I spent all that money I am sitting still on lawn chairs.