This week, we viewed our first prospective new home since our rent went up and we started tentatively looking at what was out there.
Of course, it’s rare that a place lives up to the promise. The shower was far too small and low for T, the outside was positively peeling and dilapidated (I’m fine with a less than pristine exterior, but this was going a bit far) and quite significantly, the landlord came across as somewhat of a douchebag.
The key things we do like would be having a garage and a bit of garden (yes, for under $300 a week!) and a decent sized kitchen. It’s one of two split units in an old villa/bungalow, with a third detached unit out back. The location is great and the street seems nice enough. I spend the majority of my time at work, so I want to live close to the office (logical, right?). This would be walking distance. (T is pretty much always going to have a long commute; the industrial areas are all out south and a highway hike away – and we would never, ever live in south Auckland.)
The other attraction was the lack of letting fee – the landlord manages the property himself. He also, unfortunately, came across as a wanker, rushing us through the interior, attempting to scare every prospect into applying on the spot by touting the number of views on the TradeMe listing and going on about how in his decades of experience, the market is the tightest it’s been in years. That MIGHT have something to do with the Rugby World Cup, the biggest event Auckland has hosted in a long time. He also saw fit to deliver a lecture on how we should always come to viewings prepared with references and information to wow property managers. Mmmhmmm. I am aware of this. Perhaps the reason we weren’t jumping to sign on the spot was more due to doubts about the place?
Don’t even get me started on the application form. Blurry and obviously photocopied too many times, it goes beyond any agency form I’ve ever filled out. Three character references in addition to previous tenancies, work and income info, and vehicle details? Not only that, it asks not for their contact details, but for references to be “attached”. Nobody gives written references these days; those died with personal cheques. Stuck in the past century much?
So I’m torn. Do I bother filling out the application form, not being entirely sold on it – and knowing competition is likely to be fierce? T likes it well enough, but doesn’t love it (as I say, he’d much rather live way further west, unlike me. Compromising on location is proving tough). He’s really eager to move out, but I just know that having to crouch to get under that showerhead – which doesn’t even have adjustable pressure – every day is going to get old.
Can I picture us living there? Well, we’ve lived so many places that anywhere can feel like home, really; that’s not a good test for me.
Really, it comes down to that age old dilemma – get in quick, or wait for the ‘perfect place’ which may never emerge.
What do you most value in a place to live – proximity to work, friends, amenities, bars and clubs and cafes? Outdoor living, kitchen, storage space?