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Navigating when to search for a Long-Term Rental for your upcoming PCS to Germany

A Guide for PCS Families in the Kaiserslautern Military Community

Introduction

Relocating to a new country like Germany brings its unique set of challenges, particularly for military families seeking long-term housing in the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC). Understanding the dynamics of the local real estate market is key to making a well-informed decision. This blog explores the pros and cons of pre-arrival and post-arrival long-term rental (LTR) searches in the KMC area.

Option 1: Pre-Arrival LTR Search

Pros

  • Market Insight: Gain valuable insight into the German real estate market, including pricing, amenities, and floorplans.
  • Referrals: Potential to be referred to properties by departing tenants, providing firsthand information about the home.

Cons

  • Market Volatility: The KMC housing market is dynamic; availability can change rapidly.
  • Unknowns: Risk of committing to a rental in an unfamiliar area, leading to potential issues with the neighborhood or commute.
  • Property Challenges: Properties struggling to find tenants may actively seek out potential renters, indicating possible issues with the property.
  • Furniture Delays: Household goods (HHG) may take up to 90 days to arrive, necessitating temporary furniture solutions.

Option 2: Post-Arrival LTR Search (Recommended)

Pros

  • Personal Visits: Ability to visit and assess potential homes, neighborhoods, and commutes in person.
  • Community Exploration: Opportunity to explore local schools, talk to residents, and get a feel for different villages.
  • Flexible Search: Use the time in temporary lodging to actively search for available homes.

Cons

  • Time Pressure: The housing market moves quickly, requiring prompt decision-making.

Key Considerations for Your LTR Search

  • Budget Awareness: Know your Living Quarters Allowance (LQA) or Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA). Consult with HR or finance offices for details.

  • Amenities Checklist: Determine what’s important for your family – consider commute, floorplan, number of bedrooms, garage, etc.

  • Act Fast: Be prepared to act quickly on a property that fits your criteria but also don’t rush the process if you have no plan in place specifying what you are searching for.

  • Open-mindedness: Keep an open mind while attempting to find a property that checks all the boxes.

 

Exploring the KMC Area

When considering various rentals, factor in the local amenities and the German experience they offer. Look for neighborhoods with access to trails, parks, grocery stores, restaurants, and biergartens. If you have children, consider the activities available in the village, such as sports or cultural events. Many villages in the KMC area offer a rich array of facilities and a community-oriented lifestyle that can greatly enhance your family’s experience in Germany.

Conclusion

Choosing between a pre-arrival or post-arrival LTR search in the KMC area depends on your family’s needs and preferences. While pre-arrival searches offer early insights into the market, a post-arrival search allows for a more informed and hands-on approach to finding the right home. Regardless of your choice, thorough research and swift decision-making are key to finding a suitable long-term rental in Germany.