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Frankfurt 1 year with family

Frankfurt 1 year with family

Old Nov 20, 12, 8:25 pm
  #1  
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Frankfurt 1 year with family

We should be moving to Frankfurt in March for a 1 year work project. The company will cover my husband's expenses and cost of an apartment for 1 person. We will pay for any additional costs or overages by bringing me and the 2 kids along. He will receive a monthly COLA and a lump sum at the beginning to help with set up costs. I may not be able to find a furnished 2 bedroom that we can afford (thank you IKEA).

They will give a transportation allowance and I plan to get a train pass for the Frankfurt area. Hubby's job will be in Eschborn so we can access the Eschborn Sud S Bahn stop as part of that ticket. Considering an apartment in Eschborn or the Western side of Frankfurt downtown with quick access to the s-bahn. (Rodelhiem possibly)

We would like to travel a lot on school holidays and long vacations but with 4 people plane/train tickets are quite pricey. Are there any sort of 1 year lease/long term rental deals? I have searched for a few things but they seem to involve 2 years or longer leases and rental rates come up super high.

I have seen some plans for EU members but that doesn't help us!

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated! We plan to visit Berlin, Munich, Brugges, Amstersdam and not sure where else...I would like to return to Prague. We are familiar with Germany for work visits (~12) and 2 vacations over the past 10 years.
swelch is offline  
Old Nov 21, 12, 2:47 am
  #2  
 
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I find your post just a bit confusing, and I'm not sure if your problem is the price of public transport or the price of a short term rental...
But if you're looking for a place to rent, take a look at Home Company. I have used them in the past when I had to spend some time in Germany for a project.
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Old Nov 21, 12, 4:09 am
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So your kids are in school age. Do you already know where they will be going to school? Public? International? The distance to the school might be an issue for your preferred location of living.

For public transport, there is a tariff-boundary between Eschborn and Frankfurt. If you plan/will live in Eschborn, then you will need either an more expensive monthly ticket or you will have to pay extra for every travel to Frankfurt. Eschborn Süd is just on the tariff-boundary, meaning that this station belongs to both areas. For details, pls. have a look at the Gesamtlinienplan Frankfurt. More information about the public transportation can be found at the webpages from the RMV.
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Old Nov 21, 12, 5:41 am
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I live as en expat in Heidelberg and, from what I've experienced and seen with other expat friends, living in a "suburb" (or wherever away from some action), without a car gets very lonely and tiresome very fast. Please consider investing in your sanity and either live in the city or buy a car (you can find a decent clunker for a couple thousand euros).

If you haven't already done so, you may want to take a look at this local expat forum:
http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/...p?showforum=89
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Old Nov 21, 12, 6:01 am
  #5  
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In many areas of Germany, the market for short-term rentals is rather thin. Longer term leases traditionally include walls and not much else: kitchen, carpeting, etc. are all installed by the renter. Apartments in people's homes are quite common.

With the family, an apartment hotel type setup wouldn't work well. As someone has said, think about schools. How old are your kids and have they ever studied German? Do they currently have their own bedrooms? Will you try to work? Do either of you know German? Will husband's new job do anything to help you to find housing? In fact, your emphasis on Eschborn is making me wonder whether the job requires your husband to live there or perhaps within a given short distance of his work site. If it's a temporary job, what will you do with your current home? The USA tax treatment of a temporary job abroad can be attractive, but do tax treaties apply or will husband pay full German taxes on his earnings? What type of visa will everyone have and what are the requirements to obtain them?

Just some questions to think about, but I suspect it might be helpful for you to start with a good guide to living and working abroad temporarily, even if it doesn't specifically focus on Germany.
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Old Nov 21, 12, 1:58 pm
  #6  
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Sorry for any confusion --problem is finding a car

I am familiar with the way apartments work in Germany and will be finding a fitted kitchen! Hubby had to help a coworker move apartments in Dusseldorf several years ago so I have heard all about the walls and no fixtures!

The kids have been told they will most likely be sharing a small room. They are 4 and 6 years old. Since we are short term and spanning parts of 2 school years we have decided to save $ and go with the local public school.

I have inquired into the private international schools as well as the semi private like Phorms and Obermayr. They will still run about 700E/month so doesn't help our bottom line financially to make the investment. We don't know German but have started learning some here at home. Waiting on employer to provide a language program but we are on a waiting list. May break down and buy Rosetta Stone.

I have contacted the Main Taunus Kreis schulamt and spoken with a social worker at Eschborn Sud primary school. Most likely my son will repeat 1st grade since he isn't fluent in German. He will receive some extra language lessons. They would have us enroll him in vorschule when we arrive if there is space to get language lessons.
My daughter would be starting Kindergarten in August if we stayed in the states. I plan to place her in a Kindergarten there to keep socializing and language exposure.

I discussed returning to school with our principal here and he would just place my son into 2nd grade like nothing happened with his classmates. He is already advanced and I will have access to the curriculum he should be learning so he won't be behind to finish the school year. If not we have the summer to get catch up on concepts that might be harder in math. His reading is 2 years ahead.

Husband will be under DKV but we will be covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield worldwide. He is a short term work assignment so the normal rules don't apply somehow. He will not extend past 1 year on the visa. I will not be allowed to work.

His job site is in Eschborn and after commuting 30+ miles and 40 minutes for the past 7 years we would like to have more family time where he can possibly walk to work. I have read up on the RMV and the Eschborn Sud train station boundary.

I have spoken with our tax accountant and she is familiar with the rules having several clients working overseas. We have already reviewed the rules. Apparently the 1st 65,000 of income is not taxable to the US....and most of our expenses for the job will be tax deductible since it is considered temporary.
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Old Nov 21, 12, 5:57 pm
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My advice is: Become familiar with the RMV map. Eschborn Sued is connected by two local train lines (S-Bahn), S3 and S4. They run every 15 min. In case his work is really close to that train station, taking that train is a good option. Some of the office buildings are 15-20 min walk from that train station which sucks especially in the winter, so he should check that out.
Large parts of Eschborn are not very nice, I wouldn't say ghetto, but I wouldn't consider living there either.
Of the areas you have mentioned, I would definitely consider Roedelheim. It is an up and coming area but closer to the city and better connected to transit and has several nice pockets. For a family, Bad Soden and Kronberg (at the terminal of the S3 and S4) are nice but definitely on the pricier side. And unless you lived very close to the S-Bahn stations, the commute would be longer than your husband desires.

For travelling around and the destinations you have mentioned, the train would be convenient (www.bahn.de). If you are staying one year, a Bahn card (currently 240EUR or so) will quickly pay off. Gives you access to always 50% off and flexible tickets. The "normal" fares are fantasy prices and a rip-off but with the Bahncard you will be ok. There are also tickets to be purchased abroad (e.g. 4 days of unlimited travel within 10 days and so on) which are quite reasonable and may be worth looking at. Note that you can't purchase them in Germany.
Also, since Frankfurt is such a big hub, there is a lot of competition and flights usually available at very reasonable rates if you are able to book in advance (e.g. the 99 EUR deals with Lufthansa to several European destinations).

It is very possible to get around Frankfurt without speaking German. However, every little attempt will be much appreciated by locals so don't be shy to give it a try. If you arrive with practically nothing, chances are, you will be leaving with your German at the same level. (I've seen this in many former colleagues). If you have some basics, you will be able to practice a bit and soon get better. (I have also seen this and was quite impressed.) I think that is especially important for the kids. With a bit of a basis, they will be picking it up in no time.

It's been a couple of years that I left Frankfurt so a lot of the additional information I'd have is not current anymore.

I suggest to register on internations.org and ask your questions in the local community. There should be plenty of people in the same boat who can hopefully help you out and also advise on schools etc.

Good luck with everything and hopefully a wonderful experience.
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Old Nov 22, 12, 3:32 am
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You already got some info on train travel and public transport, so I will refrain from those. Some more information:
  • Despite what others have told you, Eschborn is a pretty nice place to live in, but it is a suburb and without a car, you will be pretty lonely.
  • I would therefore recommend to move to Frankfurt. Roedelheim is nice, you should also look in Bockenheim or City-West, which are both near to the Frankfurt West station and are also nearer to the city center.
  • For furnished apartments try City Residence or just do a Google search for "Frankfurt" and "Projektwohnung".
  • When travelling by train with Deutsche Bahn, your children will not need any tickets and will travel for free as long as you or your husband are travelling with them (see this link).

I hope that helps.
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Old Nov 22, 12, 3:43 am
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Originally Posted by swelch View Post
Sorry for any confusion --problem is finding a car
What about getting a used car and selling it again after one year? This, of course, requires to pay insurance and taxes, but might end up cheaper than a rental or lease.

For the children and for you, it is indeed a good idea to have some basic knowledge of German as a starting point. Being here, many people have at least some basic knowledge of English, but speaking/understanding a few words in German is always good. Try to pick up from the language and the culture as much as you can get. This might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get some real understanding of a different country. But this requires the language. The kids will pick up the language much quicker than you.

What about your youngest child? I would recommend to put him/her into kindergarden. But you need to register for a place in time. You should contact the administrative offices of Eschborn/Frankfurt/... for this. PM me if you need the contact details.
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Old Nov 24, 12, 3:35 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by SunshineStay View Post
[*]For furnished apartments try City Residence or just do a Google search for "Frankfurt" and "Projektwohnung".
I'd also recommend this company.
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Old Nov 26, 12, 1:24 am
  #11  
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Thanks for help with the German word for furnished apartment!

I hope to know at least a handful of phrases and some basics by the time we arrive. I would like to be polite in my temporary home!

I will check out those websites!

I have looked into the train passes on DB. Can I "buy" those special tickets using a hidden ISP service that makes it look like I am outside Germany? We were told to use the ISP services to access Netflix and Vonage.
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Old Nov 27, 12, 11:01 am
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Yeah, buying those tickets shouldn't be an issue. Just try it out.
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Old Nov 27, 12, 9:52 pm
  #13  
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Frankfurt 1 year with family

You shouldn't need VPN to access Vonage (if you are currently a subscriber) but you would need it for Netflix. Plan B for buying these tickets would be getting someone in the US to purchase them for you.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 3:22 am
  #14  
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You can also buy DB tickets meant for non residents at a counter by showing your US passport.

The VPN is only required for viewing Netflix, Hulu, CBS/ABC/NBC etc... Vonage, Skype, [email protected], Magicjack etc don't need it.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 4:30 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by swelch View Post
Sorry for any confusion --problem is finding a car
This should be easy. Look for the local international relocation company's website and on there somewhere should be a For Sale area where repatriating expats are selling their goods.

Here is one that serves Frankfurt: http://www.icunet.ag/en/contact/loca...furt/index.htm

Send them an email and ask them if they have a For Sale list for expats leaving Germany. This is the Sale list for my area: http://www.icunet.ag/en/landing-page...ntry/index.htm

This is a good buy: http://www.icunet.ag/fileadmin/Easy_..._easyentry.pdf

Good luck.
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