Finding my new home

Friday, 5 February 2016

I finished last year’s record number of posts (ehem…) with an adieu to my old place. So let me start this year’s series of posts with an introduction to my new home. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already been privy to some peeks into the new place. But I still think that nothing compares to (and I personally very much prefer reading) a good, old, detailed blog post to those little sepia coloured snapshots…

Ready for the long story ?

I had already vaguely contemplated moving a few years back. I even went so far as to check out a few ads on Belgium’s biggest real estate site (through which I’d already found my old place back in 2005 btw). But nothing concrete ever came of it.

A year ago I had however reached a point where I felt very dissatisfied with my living conditions. 10 years into that apartment, I think I had simply outgrown it. And in all fairness, quite literally as well, with a growing cat herd of then 8 (!) indoor kitties… It was not however until my Oma passed away in early March that I finally got the impulse to really move on. That terrible loss of one of the persons I love the most (and with whom I attach my fondest memories) made me consider some life changes.

So I did decide that it was time to find a new place. One that was a better fit for the needs of my raucous fur babies and my current more mature self. Head long and full of enthusiasm I plunged into a real estate search. I was not, however, prepared for the serious reality check that shortly ensued. Having lived for 10 years in a very nice and properly renovated flat, I could not have imagined the horrendous places I was about to visit. Over the course of the next two months, I searched through hundreds of real estate listings, visited dozens of apartments, experienced the utter lack of professionalism of the Brussels real estate agents, got acquainted with building conditions that I would not have thought possible still existed in the 21st century (pervasive dry rot all over Brussels, so called renovations that are totally substandard not to mention downright illegal, water damage that made you wonder how these places are actually still standing)… How the owners even dared to ask the sale prices that they did ?! I still can’t believe it.

And yes. I got increasingly frustrated with whole process. All the while being more and more relieved to come back to a beautiful home after visiting one disaster after another. I hadn’t seen one place that was better or even just comparable. And by mid-May I had reached the point where I actually decided not to move. Instead I would be content with what I already had and use some of my budget to do some further renovations…

And then I came across an ad containing these…

A perfect fit for ALL of my search criteria. A garden flat, spacious, but not too big, in my preferred neighbourhood and within my price range. And cherry on the cake : the place had been recently renovated, but with a keen eye on maintaining all the charm of the original 19th century features… Looked almost too good to be true.

But then I came through the entry door, and BOOM ! My heart nearly stopped… I immediately knew it was the one. I made an offer that day, I heard back from the owner that mine was the best, but she still wanted to have a few days to think about it. She then called me back and asked me to up my offer (slightly). I agreed… And that evening my offer was accepted. Just like that. In the end it took 6 days between the visit and sealing the deal. And then of course a few more weeks for my mortgage to get approved and still a few more months for all the notary stuff to be dealt with…

It still seems completely unreal. The universe aligning so perfectly. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed !

Now let me round up this already very long post with some additional pictures I took during the second visit of my future home, back in mid-June 2015. Of course, they’re pretty rubbish like all good walk-through photos tend to be…

Now that you've seen the "before" are you ready for the "during" pics ?


  1. yay! i've been looking forward to this blog post! what a beautiful new place you have found! i love how spacious and cosy it looks with the high ceilings, old doors and those incredible windows and tiles! can't wait to see progress pics!

    1. Wait til you see the "after" pics ;-) But yes, I do feel incredibly lucky and grateful to be able to live in this place.

  2. It is so fun going to pick out a new home. I think I really like living in homes that were already built. I do not think that it is too difficult to make adjustments that you prefer and there is just something about living in a place that has some memories. It always feels more like a real home.

    Jacqueline @ Buyer's Option Realty Services

  3. Madam ... Just WOW! Go you! So happy and proud for you ex-colleague. Kisses from Malines. You are just so inspiring lady...

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