Living overseas has its challenges, and a commonly agreed upon one is finding that perfect place to live. To help those of us who are curious about the different options for living in Germany, readers have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about examples of on-post housing.
MEGAN OGEAL has let us glimpse into her lovely home. Thank you so much, Megan!
1. What’s the name of the city/village where you reside? Bitburg
2. What is the nearest military installation and accompanying entrance (a.k.a. Gate) to your home and what is the approximate driving time to that installation/gate? Spangdahlem is the nearest installation and Gate 1 is the closest entrance. It is about a 15-20 minute drive.
3. What DoDDS school district is your home zoned for? Is there a school bus system available?
Elementary: Bitburg Elementary (bus service available)
Middle: Bitburg Middle School (bus service available)
High: Bitburg HS (bus service available)
You could also drive your children to Spangdahlem Elementary & Middle School.
4. What is the nearest highway or main road to your home? The closest Autobahn is A60 and the closest highways are B50, B51 & B257.
5. Please describe the “feel” of your neighborhood (i.e. pet-friendly, child-friendly, safety, spaciousness, predominantly “German” or “American”, urban, rural, etc.). The neighborhood is predominantly German and urban. It’s very safe feeling. There is a government building on the street, as well as a dentist and a lawyer’s office. They’re all at the opposite end of the street from the apartment. I have always felt safe in the neighborhood and I see children walking all the time.
6. Are there places of service in your neighborhood within walking distance such as restaurants, convenience stores, laundromats, bakeries, coffee shops, parks, etc.? The apartment is a 5 minute walk away from the city center. There are many restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops located near by. We have a park located about 10 minutes away. There is a German library on the street behind the apartment. Aldi is the closest grocery store. Being so close to the center, you have nearly every convenience.
7. Please describe the style of your home (i.e. Westernized, traditional German, detached family home, townhome, etc.) What voltage is available in the outlets (110/220)? The apartment is somewhat westernized and somewhat still traditional. The kitchen is small and not built in…meaning you have to furnish your kitchen. The outlets are all 220V.
8. Please provide general information about your home such as the rent, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, special amenities, etc.). Warm rent is 850€…meaning all utilities were included minus electricity. The 1000 sq ft apartment is on the second floor. 2 bedroom, 2 bath. There’s a shared entrance into the building. In the basement there’s a HUGE shared laundry room, meaning each apartment has their own washer and dryer, but they are all hooked up in the same room. We have a storage room in the basement that is at least 10x10ft.
9. Are there any special accommodations or tasks that you’ve had to complete to make your home useful such as purchasing transformers, appliances, etc.? For our apartment we had to purchase furniture (shelves & cabinets) for our kitchen. The base provided the oven, refrigerator, microwave, 2 cabinets, 2 closets (Schrank) per adult and 1 per child, and also 2 transformers: 1000W & 750W. We did buy a few 100W & 300W transformers for smaller appliances: crockpot, sewing machine, christmas lights, etc. Purchasing carpets helped keep the floors warmer in the winter. Also, during the winter months we bought a snow shovel and kept buckets of salt on hand.
10. What costs are there associated with living off a military installation and how do you pay for those costs? Our rent is classified as warm rent, meaning all utilities were included minus electricity, internet, cable and phone. We made sure we were renting a house with no oil or oil included in the rent so we wouldn’t have to pay for it.
11. How is parking provided for your home? There’s a garage in the back with one spot other wise parking is on the street.
12. Are there any outdoor spaces or yards provided for your home? The apartment has a long and narrow balcony. It stretches the length of the apartment, but it’s only 3 ft wide.
13. How did you find your home (i.e. AHRN, agency, classifieds, word of mouth, etc)? We had gotten a list from the housing office of listings they had available in the area. We called about a different apartment and it had already been rented, but the landlady said she had another one that had just come up for rent.
14. Are you satisfied with the maintenance services that are provided for your home? Very much. The landlady pays a cleaning service to do the lawn in the front and keep the stairs clean in the common area.
15. Finally, what advantages and disadvantages do you feel has been your experience living off-post here in Germany? It’s been nice to feel apart of the people and the culture. My husband enjoys being able to leave work behind when he’s at home. It is easier to meet people if you live on base. Living off base you don’t have the conveniences of base right at your finger tips. However, you are much closer to the beauty of the country.