New Year, New Baby, New House?

Photo essay: Christmas in Belgium

by Siamack

“Now look at them.” said, Varinder. “They look all worried”.

She was talking about our twin boys. I looked at them and V was right, they looked worried. I had just finished telling them all about how Santa comes down the chimney with their gifts and places them under the tree. Only our chimney had a roaring fire in it.

Siavash (aged 5): “But he will catch fire!”

Kourosh (aged 5): “Put the fire out daddy!”

Siavash: “Do it!”

Me: “Relax boys. Santa wears asbestos shorts.”

Siavash: “Athbethtoth?”

Kourosh: “What’s asbestos?”

When V eventually put them to bed on Christmas Eve they were still not convinced that Pere Noel (their French name for Santa) would survive his encounter with our chimney.

Christmas day itself was wonderful. We had a family (German Iranian friends) come for the day. Soheila and Robert, my sister and brother in law were also staying with us. We played Takhteh, we ate goose, lamb, Thai curry and Persian rice with tah dig. We drank my favourite Rioja and Champagne. And we relaxed in front of another roaring fire while the twins played with their new toys.

All in all it was a perfect rest in advance of what will be a chaotic few months. V is heavily pregnant with a baby. I say ‘baby’ because she refuses to be told the gender of the baby. As with the twins she wants a surprise. And that surprise will come around the end of April.

In the meantime we are looking to move closer to the boy’s school. At the moment we have to drive for 20-30 minutes each way, twice a day, to get them to school and home again. This means an average of 2-3 hours a day in the car. It has been tolerable so far… for the last three years. But with V being pregnant and my travelling for around 10 days a week every month, being within a ten minute drive would be pure luxury.

And what a great time to look for places to live in central Brussels. There are many, many empty houses which no one wants to rent. Many, many owners who are desperate to rent. And house and rental values are in what seems to be free fall. Yes, even Belgium is feeling the pinch.

We spent a few days looking at numerous 4 bedroom town houses in places like Woluwe St Lambert and Woluve St Pierre (quite OK areas) with rental prices averaging €2300 ($3200). But the more we looked the more we realised we should be buying a place. Prices are dropping so fast that by mid 2009 we could get ourselves a bargain. The only limitation is that we already have some land that we bought last year to build a house on, very close to where we live now. So we are stuck. What to do with the land? Sell it to free up money to buy a bigger house? Keep it and buy a more modest house? Or simply rent as originally planned.

Any thoughts anyone?

Anyway, here are some pictures of Christmas. A Happy New Year to all.
Siamack, Varinder, Kourosh & Siavash

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Siamak, (where did the c come from?) dude don't buy

by Hamid2 (not verified) on

Aren't you aware of how bad the financial mess is? Sit on the land and rent till things improve. Build in about a year and half at the "darkest" hour.

And it is the "boys' school" unless you are only educating one of them. You should read "Eats Shoots and Leaves".

Iranian Reader

Not you too...!

by Iranian Reader on

Siamack khan please don't say "gender" for "sex." An unborn baby (even a born one for a long time) does not have gender, he/she has sex. Gender is a social construct that comes into play long after a baby is born.

In other words, SEX has to do with whether a child is male or female. GENDER has to do with the masculine or feminine roles and identities that children adopt later on, and the way they are treated by society. This confusion of sex and gender is a contribution of "feminist" American political correctness to the world. Don't fall for it!

Other than than, happy new year. I am a big fan!


Don't "build" on any land.

by Esmal Latte (not verified) on

Don't "build" on any land. It will wreak havoc on your marriage and/or family life. Check with some people who have build their houses and see what they have to show for and what it cost them both in terms of money and time and life.

The days of building your dream homes are gone. Unless ofcourse you enjoy building the house by your own hands and get down and dirty and do it in a jiffy and make it look simple.

Prices are going down but 2009 is just starting. I don't know if prices are going to keep going down. Once all the bailout monies are spent and there are no more money to bailout, prices should start shooting up whether anyone likes it or not!

It is a depression except back in 30s people lined up for soup, now people (companies) are lining up for bailouts! Whatever you do don't get caught up in trying to bottom out the market. Once you find a good deal buy it. In time any further immediate drop in price will be adjusted by longer term appreciation of the real estate.



by farrad02 on

I am not a Belgian real estate expert! So, please consult the local professiocals for advice on the best course of action!




The economy will start picking up this year

by farrad02 on

I do believe that in the USA things will start getting a bit better during the summer of 2009. I mean the retail sales and whatever else is being dragged down by people's mood and lack of trust. The majority of people who do have jobs are not buying anything because of their lack of trust in the future of the economy and security of their jobs!   But I do believe that after Obama's first 100 days, people will develop much more confidence and with that the retail economy and housing sales will show improvements. The psychological part of this whole mess should not be under-estimated.

But as for Siamack's situation, I agree with Jahanshah and Bahram. You should wait and buy later this year. The housing will still go lower!


Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

I first thought you should buy a house and keep the land. But after reading Bahram's suggestion, I think he makes more sense.

Loved the pictures! I remember the hot dog stand :o)))


Wait for a year

by bahram9821 on

Siamack , great pictures as usual. As far as the house situation, I would keep the land, rent for a year and maybe at the end of 2009 start looking to buy. If Real Estate is your area is anything similar to US, prices are going to drop even more for a year or two. Good luck with everything, it seems 2009 is going to be a busy year for you and your family.  Bahram