On our first night here on Thursday we were in bed asleep by 6pm, but then were wide awake at 2am, so we got up and had a cup of tea (very English) then went back to bed 5am and slept until 11am. Friday night, we managed to keep going until 10pm, but then when we woke at 2am Saturday morning we got up for a cup of tea...and then failed to get back to sleep again. Saturday was a groggy day to say the least! After that we continued to wake up around 2am for the next few nights but the desire to stay in bed and doze won over cups of tea until we stopped waking up at that time and slept right through until...6am!
Oh, so foolish!
We knew we were looking in Sydney; a city where accommodation is expensive and the demand high, but still we were a little taken aback by just how stressful the search was...
On the Friday we called in at a local real estate agent and got genned up on the whole rental thing: where to look, what the protocol was, pricing, etc etc
It turns out that in Sydney most rentals are open for viewings for a 15-20 minute block on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The time of this short viewing is displayed on the website ad. If the property is available straight away (i.e. no tenants) then you can make an appointment to view it at any time. Prices are per week, rather than monthly - at first glance at the prices in Sydney, you wish they were monthly!!
We realized we couldn't waste any time in that case, so hurriedly looked for apartments to view on the Saturday, shortlisting 7 possibilities (and 7 possibilities with different viewing times, and times which allowed us to travel form one to the other). It was a none-stop jam packed day - just what we needed after waking up at 2am.
Apartment 1: We turned up five minutes early, and not quite sure how these things worked, waited outside the apartment block on the pavement with the other young couple who had arrived before us. After 5 minutes they came up to us and told us the agent was inside - they were the current tenants...
The view from the main window was amazing, but the apartment itself was so small, the spare bedroom was an awkward shape, it would take some imagination to figure out where to put even a single bed, and so different to the pictures on the website. Still, it was the first place we had seen so had no benchmarks, therefore we took an application form anyway. But the agent rang back that afternoon saying the landlord wouldn't accept a pet either.
So all in all that one was a no.
But we didn't rule it out totally as it was in a good area, and would take a cat.
Again, we didn't rule this out totally straight away - maybe we could persuade Albie to be a house cat...?!!
So that was a no.
We wrote the place off and drove on to the next viewing.
This apartment was definitely a big NO!!
Disappointed , it was a definite no.
We were in holiday accommodation: expensive and not ideal - plus it was booked again on the 17th July. Albie was in a cattery.
All in all, not ideal.
We looked at places in different areas; we searched for apartments with 1 bedroom as opposed to 2 (not ideal as T is working from home for the next few months at least and ideally needs an office, plus it's nice to be able to put people up if they come to visit us).
Both searches proved pretty fruitless.
Therefore we had to raise our budget.
We were at the agents 9am on the Monday armed with our list. Two listings were under the same agent, so she said she would ring us back that afternoon and try and arrange a visit that evening. The other one was under a different agent, so she said she would get him to call us.
On the walk back to where we were staying, we passed another estate agents. T suggested we go and ask if they had any properties...
And the tenants were away, so the agent offered to take us around it there and then.
Turned out the tenant had just got back from holiday, and was jet lagged and in need of sleep, but we were still able to have a quick look around.
An amazing view.
A fantastic terrace.
A good kitchen.
We went away not daring to hope, and focusing on the other viewings that evening.
There was one other lady viewing it the same time as us, and so we kind of rushed around the place and then went on to view the other property. This next one was vast, too big to be honest! It was incredibly dark, nestled in a rock face. And whilst in the height of summer it would be nice to be in a place that isn't in direct sunlight, we would have to have the light on most of the daytime - not good at all.
The smell was horrid!
It's hard to describe: it wasn't fusty or musty; it wasn't mould; it wasn't drains or spilt milk. Whatever it was was very unpleasant though. Strongest in the main bedroom, it permeated throughout the whole apartment. After being in there for just 5-10 minutes, it had seeped into our clothes.
This just reconfirmed our thoughts: this apartment was not for us!
For a pet, not only do you need the landlord to agree, but also the apartment block 'strata' (management agency). It did cross our minds maybe we shouldn't mention Albie but it's better to be straight up. Plus, Albie is a somewhat loud cat and therefore hard to hide from prying neighbours...
We continued our search on the two main housing websites out here: Domain.com.au and realestate.com.au. There really wasn't much on offer. Those which looked remotely OK we enquired about, many agents not returning our calls, messages left on answer phones not being answered. I spent the most of Tuesday on the internet trying to find places...all the while a clock ticking in my ear.
Thankfully, it was great news: Our admission was successful! They approved of us, and they didn't mind Albie!!!
We viewed it again on the Wednesday morning before we signed the lease, and it was even so much better than we had remembered!