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Come and help me decide if I should go for this house

(28 Posts)
MmeLindt Sun 03-Aug-08 20:12:28

We are moving to Geneva in a couple of months and have been offered a house that one of DH's colleagues is moving out of shortly. We cannot decide whether to take it or not.

Positive points:

It is within our budget, which is saying something for Geneva which tends to be really expensive.

School/nursery is 1.6km away.

Big garden (again unusual for Geneva)

Nice area

Granny flat in the cellar with own bathroom

good sized living room and bathroom.

And the negatives:

Kitchen is ancient and a bit grotty

Bathroom stuck in the 70s

Grass very mossy and yucky

Upstairs bedrooms have wooden ceilings so a bit dark

I have not seen the house myself, DH said at first definately not due to the state of the house. Now we are unsure as it will probably be the only chance to get a house rather than a flat. With 2 DCs 4 and 6 that is a big positive for us.

What do you think?

PortBlacksandResident Sun 03-Aug-08 20:27:46

Can you afford to do it up a bit?

moshie Sun 03-Aug-08 20:32:39

To rent or buy?

If you buy it and it's under budget then the negative points can be improved. If you rent it then it gives you time to see if you could live with the faults, and if not you can look for something better.

I think I would say yes going on the positive points, especially if the alternative is likely to be a flat.

Lemontart Sun 03-Aug-08 20:35:55

If buying, all the points you mention are easy to sort out quickly and fairly cheaply. The positives sound great and the sort of things that can’t be changed if not there IYKWIM. If it is to rent, perhaps you could do a "deal" with the landlord and ask for decorating budget/work done quickly on fresh coat of paint etc before you move in?

Lemontart Sun 03-Aug-08 20:36:42

Flats are hard with children as you always worry about the noise upsetting neighbours or potential noisy neighbours waking the kids -house much better IMO

Countingthegreyhairs Sun 03-Aug-08 20:47:54

In your position I think I would try and look at a few websites featuring properties in Geneva with photos ...and try and ascertain what the bathrooms and kitchens are like generally

I live in mainland Europe (Belgium) and tbh most of the bathrooms and ktichens tend to be a bit grotty and stuck in the 70s over here - although Geneva could be completely different of course - so you could find that most of the alternatives apart from new-builds could have the same problems

Kitchen and bathroom aside it sounds great. As expats the location is very important, so that you feel safe and secure, and the fact that the school is so near is another plus and means your dc will be able to mix with their class mates in the locality outside of school and that helps with establishing friendships. The garden sounds fabulous (you can easily improve the lawn) and a granny flat is just wonderful for the trillions of visitors you will entertain as expats ....

Sounds like a good offer to me ...

LIZS Sun 03-Aug-08 20:52:35

Presumably to rent ? tbh it sounds as if that sort of property there , or indeed any property, is like gold dust atm. Has dh seen it ? There is a lot to be said for good location, not being in an apartment with all the rules and self consciousness and having a garden . You could always use it as a starting point while you settle, familiarise yourself and wait for an alternatvie , depending on conditions of your lease.

MmeLindt Sun 03-Aug-08 21:32:21

Sorry that I posted and ran. DH was needing some time with me, he gets a bit jealous of my imaginary friends on the puter.

Yes, it is to rent. And I have had a look online and houses of this size are very hard to find in Geneva.

The bathrooms and kitchens tend to be rather basic so unless we were lucky enough to find a newly built flat then we could end up with a similar situation.

The area is fab, a leafy suburb with lots of expats.

I don't know how much we would be willing to spend as it may be a 3 - 5 year posting. If we like it there then we might be able to extend our stay. I don't know how much we could arrange with landlord, the company will deal with him as they are paying the rent

We are used to a pretty decent standard here and that the is the thing most bothering us. Going back to the standard we had in our first flat as students 15 years ago.

Gemzooks Sun 03-Aug-08 22:27:33

How bad are the kitchen and bathroom? Have you seen photos or just had it described?

I would personally go for it on the minimum contract possible, and if it's really terrible, look for something else. The main thing is really can you get to nice places with the kids, and get out to meet people etc, and not be isolated. If yes, I would go for it..

MmeLindt Sun 03-Aug-08 22:32:35

DH described the kitchen and bathroom pretty well. He said that the kitchen was pretty basic but we could perhaps put in an Ikea one as it is very small. (assuming the landlord would let us)

The bathroom is a reasonable size but old tiles (I don't know if he told me the colour but he said the "charm of the 1970s" so I am guessing a coloured suite, perhaps mossgreen. No shower, just a bath with a shower attachment and a shower curtain.

The alternative would be going into temporary accomodation near DH's work and looking for the "perfect" house. I am not keen on that as it would mean that DD would most likely have to move school. She has to go to the school in the catchment area of our house.

Countingthegreyhairs Mon 04-Aug-08 09:37:05

Mme Lindt - I totally understand where you are coming from - it is hard to go back to the standard you were used to 15 yrs ago

and having a really yucky kitchen or bathroom can get you down day after day

BUT

it is a temporary posting - it's not forever

over here anyway (Belgium) most people's kitchens and bathrooms are like that so it's not really such an issue and that's the point about living abroad - it's different - they have different priorities

(some fantastic food comes out of those shoddy kitchens btw!!!)

personally I think factors like location and school are more important .... very difficult to decide without seeing it though ... could you get over there?

Gemzooks makes a good point; what's the minimum contract time? Could you just take it for that initially?

PS much prefer Swiss chocolate to Belgian btw!!!

SSSandy2 Mon 04-Aug-08 10:57:57

Is dh there atm, could he send you some photos via his cell phone or cell phone -) internet?

Big garden is nice, don't know about the mossy grass and what to do about it. Bathroom might not look nice but would be ok, the dark bedrooms are ok, strong extra lighting perhaps for playing indoors in winter, nice to have them dark to sleep in anyway.

The problem is the kitchen. Perhaps when these tenants move out, the landlord would be willing to improve the kitchen somehow but is there enough space in it for you?

Flightputsonahat Mon 04-Aug-08 11:02:46

Go for it!!! smile

Exactly the same here - very run down cheap flat, in a right state. It has cleaned up beautifully - I've invested in new carpets and done up the floorboards in the main room, apart from that it was just a question of cleaning which my mum did a lot of wink

The heating needs redoing but am getting a grant.

IMO space and locality are very important, everything else you can change.

Look at it like this@ if you spent another say £100 a month on rent for a snazzy, done up place, it would still work out more than if you did this place up yourself iyswim - plus you get to choose the carpets wink

pigleto Mon 04-Aug-08 11:04:47

The children won't care whether the lawn is moss or grass will they?

LIZS Mon 04-Aug-08 11:07:18

Swiss kitchens tend to be small and functional tbh. When we couldn't view apartments someone from the office went on our behalf and sent us a load of photos. Maybe the current tenant could even do a walk through video for you and email it. Also the type of day it is viewed cna make a huge difference to the light, and you can always make it seem lighter with cream rugs, light furniture etc

MmeLindt Mon 04-Aug-08 12:53:00

Flight,
in theory you are right, by taking a less expensive place we could afford to do a bit to it, but we aren't paying the rent anyway for the first 3 to 5 years, the company is. That does leave us a bit more cash to do things to the house obviously.

Good point about the lighting/cleaning up the house.

DH only has a stupid Blackberry so no photos unfortunately. His intitial impression was WOW lovely little house (detatched, in a lovely area) swiftly followed by OMG look at the bathroom/kitchen. He is pretty pernickety though so perhaps it is not so bad.

We have looked for other houses but nowhere near as close to the centre of Geneva and his office.

I think that we are going to go for it. I phoned Mum earlier and could almost see her nodding frantically when I mentioned the Granny flat. Thanks for all your help deciding.

He has sent his boss an email expressing an interest so we will have to wait and see if we get it. <<crosses fingers>>

Earlybird Mon 04-Aug-08 13:01:01

Why don't you ask if you can have an honest chat with the colleague's wife? Ask her about the house, the area, what it felt like to adjust, how she's found it, how the house compares, etc. Perhaps she is/was accustomed to the same things as you and can offer a valuable perspective.

She may also serve as an invaluable resource for advice in future if you decide to take the house.

MmeLindt Mon 04-Aug-08 13:31:24

Ok, the HR dept has spoken to the landlord and he is happy rent to the company again. So it is looking good.

Now the HR woman has suggested another house that will be shortly vacated. Further out of Geneva, wee village, view of Lake Geneva. She says that it is even nicer than the first house. But do we really want to live in a little village? Aaaargh. Just when we had made a decision! Will see if they can send us some photos, perhaps we can speak with that colleauge.

I don't really want to have to go down to Geneva unless absolutely necessary as it is going to be a hassle to get a babysitter. My parents would have to fly over from Scotland, or we would have to take the DCs to MIL about 4 hours away.

SSSandy2 Mon 04-Aug-08 13:45:08

Could MIL come and look after the dc in your house?
I know ... I know.... ILs but it might be good to see what you're getting

MmeLindt Mon 04-Aug-08 13:59:00

Hmm, not a bad idea actually. She would clean all the windows for me

My MIL is great as long as I don't have to spend to much time with her. And she is very good at housework.

SSSandy2 Mon 04-Aug-08 14:07:56

the other house further out is also being rented by the company for an employee? (i.e. you would presumably be able to view it)

MmeLindt Mon 04-Aug-08 14:41:22

yes, it is being rented for another employee so he should be able to send us some photos. And another colleague lives nearby.

MmeLindt Mon 04-Aug-08 21:53:09

I have had a good look on Google Earth and the second house is in a tiny village with 2300 inhabitants. I am going to be alone there while the DCs are in school/nursery. And we might only have one car so will not always have a car to get around in.

DH is quite keen on the lake view aspect.

I will wait for the house details before deciding if I am going down there.

SSSandy2 Mon 04-Aug-08 22:33:36

you may go a bit barmy in the house all day in winter, however beautiful the view of the lake.

Then again you may not. I'm not sure if I would like living in such a small village either. Really don't know much about life in Switzerland and how the Swiss are. For instance I would have assumed they would have tip top rented properties and kitchens with all the latest conveniences!

Suppose it's all "know thyself" and what would suit you. I could imagine you standing on one leg in the garden every morning with your eye fixed on the lake and your other leg wrapped around your ear whilst you omm. Or you could get all fitness mad and do nordic walking. Or then again you might end up doing a correspondance course or becoming very houseproud. Dunno really

I think a bigger place would be more likely to have more foreigners and thus be more open/Cosmopolitan and laid back. Just my guess. Think the ideal thing would be to see both places and get a feel for them.

So is the job contract signed yet?!

MmeLindt Mon 04-Aug-08 23:06:37

ROFL SSSandy, if only you knew. I am the absolute opposite of the sitting in the garden ommm ing person that you decribed. And becoming houseproud HAHAHAHAHA sorry, getting a bit hysterical here. If only DH were here to read your last post.

DH asked DD today what she had done today and she said "I watched loads of TV" blush Ok it was a bit more than normal but she did play wiht a friend in the morning and we went to the park in the afternoon. DH then asked "And what did Mama do?" Darling darling DD said, "Aufgeräumt und geputzt"

I think that I may go in the direction of wandering around the village and talking to random strangers as I just need contact to a human being. I remember blethering to the woman in the butchers when we moved to Hannover and I was stuck in the house with 2 small children.

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