The one thing they don’t mention when they harp on about Melbourne being the world’s most livable city is how bloody hard it is to find a rental apartment here. Sure, Melbourne is amazing and I love it and I go totally over the top defending it to outsiders, but holy guacamoley rental apartment hunting here is hard!
Trying to find somewhere that isn’t either in a weird neighborhood, smells of cat piss, looks like a freshly painted former crack den or is in an apartment block that seems to have a tip situated on the communal lawn our front seems impossible sometimes. But ultimately, it’s worth it, because you get to live in this glorious city that in Melbourne.
I remember when I used to get excited over the thought of house hunting in a really innocent and naïve way. My new housemates and I would get up early to work out our plan of attack, scheme about how we would trick the real estate people into thinking we weren’t poor retail workers, or how to hide the fact that only half of us had a rental history. We’d wear out best ‘business’ clothes, and then indiscriminately apply for every single apartment we viewed, getting accepted for 1 out of 30. Ahhh, those were the days!
Now? I approach it with the respect (and dread) it deserves. I am totally organised, having pre-panned which inspections I’m going to, and if I have enough time to travel from one to the other. Domain & Real Estate are my go to websites for finding available rental apartments (and yes, you should use both!), and Waze is my trusty steed of a GPS app.
I’ll be seen with a large latte grasped firmly in my hand while I hoon back and forth across Melbourne to try to fit in 15 open for inspections before 12 on a Saturday. I literally have dreams that I’m at inspections, and actually have a spreadsheet detailing the pros and cons of each area and apartment setup.
Should I sacrifice an outside entertaining space for a bigger, more modern kitchen?
Do I really need a 2nd bedroom for my office?
Maybe the kitchen being painted mustard-yellow isn’t so bad after all?
But what if I want to get a dog?
When it comes time to be face-to-face with the realtors, I’m cool as a cucumber & and totally ‘on their side’. We’ll roll our eyes over the guy who pushed in front of the queue to get in the door first. I’ll offer them a takeaway latte that I just so happened to have spare, and they’ll sigh in relief. I’ll have pre-checked in so they don’t have to write my number. Overall, I am a rental apartment realtors’ best friend on Saturday open for inspections, and their ideal candidate; they will literally nag me to move in sometimes.
I had been in one house for long enough to forget how self-conscious you are around realtors, so I was a bit surprised to find that when I started looking at places this time around I was the person they wanted to talk to. I was no longer an ‘undesirable’! Woooo! Go me! It did make me feel old, but screw it, at least I’ll have a good chance of getting the apartment I want.
The poor guys get flooded with rental apartment applications that they have to sort through to try to find a tenant that’s pretty likely to pay and not run an illegal gambling syndicate out of the garage. So when they meet someone like me, who drives a nice car, is well presented, has a great personality (albeit a little too caffeinated sometimes), they automatically think “That’s someone I can trust to pay the rent & hopefully not offer refuge to poor backpackers in exchange for doobies!”. Well, at least that’s what I hope they think…
I’ve lived in a gorgeous house in Bayside for nearly 2 years now with my boyfriend & some friends, but I’ve decided that this could be my last chance to live my myself, and I have to do it at least once in my life. I’ve always had housemates (some better than others), but I’ve never lived solo. I’ll be posting something on my thoughts on living alone ASAP, so tune in for that soon, but it’s a pretty exciting time in my life!
Personally, I love my own company (we have great conversations!), and have an active social life that sees me always being busy; I think these are the main reasons that make me excited (as opposed to apprehensive) about it. I’m also highly organised, so going to a lot of these open houses is a lot easier when it’s just me, as opposed to trying to wrangle my very chilled out boyfriend into a Saturday morning of stressing.
I’m only a month away from wanting to have a new lease signed, and I’m starting to feel the pressure. Needing to find something over Christmas is anything but ideal, hence me wanting to have something secured early. I’ll be paying double rent for 1-1.5 months, but I’d rather that than have to live in a crappy apartment or in a neighborhood I don’t like. Compromise is king sometimes!
As for location, I’ll most definitely miss living near the beach in Bayside, but the inner southeast suburb I’ll be moving to is my old haunt from when I was 18. South Yarra is one of the ritzier suburbs in Melbourne, but it just has so much life and vibrancy (not to mention more wine bars than you can poke a stick at) that I can’t wait to move back.
That’s it from me for today! Wish me luck in my hunt for the ideal apartment, and best of luck to anyone who’s in the same boat. Happy hunting!