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?
Wherever I live it has to be pleasant or it is not worth it. In many ways it is an emotional decision except for the rental amount. That has to be affordable.
I agree with krantcents. Choosing an apartment is a very emotional decision for me, once it meets everything on my checklist: 1 bedroom with walk-in closet, den, laundry in apartment, modern appliances, bathtub shower, and closet at the front of the apartment. Those requirements are quite specific, which made the process quite short the last time I was looking and I’ve been in this place happily for over a year and a half now! I also happen to be living quite close to work (< 7 minutes walk), which I love.
I care far more about the interior than the exterior of the place because that's where I spend the majority of my time. Then again, if I was looking for a house, the exterior would also matter somewhat.
I’m finding as I get older that I prefer a place I like, even if I have to give a little bit of other stuff up. Being close to work has been awesome, though. Our first year of grad school we had a longer commute, and it wasn’t bad-unless I missed a bus or a bus didn’t show up. It was also a little annoying being farther away from friends. But for me, liking the place more than a little is most important now. I don’t think you’ll find the “perfect place” on the kind of budget you (and I) are working with, but personally I’d wait for something I liked more rather than jumping right in to a place that was just okay. Of course, if you’re at a point where you really can’t stand to pay that much rent anymore, and you don’t find anything better soon, that could kind of suck…
Being close to work, amenities, and freeways is high on the list for me. I think the shower thing would get very old, although if that is the main sticking point (the landlord would be the one for me!) you could always buy one of those hand held shower attachments so he wouldn’t have to crouch.
I feel it’s a bit hard to find the “perfect place”. It’s hard when your on a certain budget and you want certain things. I’m not entirely sure though about the market out there, it sounds a lot more grueling then here and certain things might take longer. I say go with your gut feeling and what you think is the best for you and T, even if your heart might be elsewhere.
I don’t envy you at all, we have just gone through the same thing in searching for a new rental. We ended up sacrificing slightly on the location to get a slightly better house than what we would have otherwise had. Good Luck!
We live in South Auckland. Oh what a horrible life we must live.
I would never live in South Auckland because I would never work there (the nature of my industry means jobs are not out there) and none of our friends/family live there. Just like I would never, ever live over on the North Shore or in East Auckland (or out west past a certain point).