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Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

House hunting

I have about had it with house hunting. We have been looking for six weeks or more and it feels like forever.

We have only until the 26th of November to find somewhere new to live before the owner of the house we are in comes back to her property. Sadly enough she actually wants to live in it. The cheek of the woman! Actually what she wants to do is turn the place into a B'n'B which will require a permit from the local council and the permission of her neighbours, which she won't get. The apartment we currently live in is the top floor of a house and is completely independant from the rest of it. Our occupancy would poses no significant inconvenience to anyone living in the lower portion of the house but because of her rather misguided plans she wants us out (she also believes us to be relatives of the californian woman we sub-let the place from - long story, another time).

Looking for somewhere new to live is a pain at the best of times but over here when you are looking to rent the process is unbearable. For a start most places won't let you make an appointment to come and see a place. This is great if you are owner or tennant as you get all the viewings done at once. If you are lesee or purchaser it is downright barbarous. You have to come along to a quarter hour open house session and are forced to go round it with everyone else looking for something in the same category i.e. the competition. Session after session, apartment after apartment, you see the same people and each time they look a little more desperate. This has some funny side effects particularly when you are looking for relatively pricey apartments in Sydey's fashionable Eastern beaches.

Mostly you are viewing apartments with other couples. The entire event degrades into a straight-up contest with prizes in several categories including (but by no means limited to):
  • Most fawningly and publicly affectionate couple
  • Most consultations to partner in the allotted quarter hour
  • Best feature discovered in apartment
  • Most fashionable attire
  • Fastest decision on property
  • Smuggest couple
  • Most precocious display of wealth
  • Best sunglasses
  • Couple most likely to have sex in the bathroom 'whilst no-one is looking'
  • Most relaxed attitude
We never win anything. We are also almost never the first people to apply for a property. Sick of this we have now resorted to unethical behaviour to get what we want. We have applied for flats not yet on the market and without seeing them (difficult this, requires a bit of bottle). We are also going out of our way to make sure we don't have to go to open house sessions, often making the estate agent arrange separate viewings for us. This last tactic requires you to have fooled the agent into thinking you have a lot more money to spare than is necessarily the case. Estate agents spend all day lying and estimating wealth and value - they can spot a bullshitter from accross the street - it is hard work.

Unethical though our behaviour has been it may yet bear fruit. Our main obstacle is that we currently have a great little place with a fantastic view and we want the same again. We are trying to replace the view in the picture below.



We might have managed it today with this one (click on pic for details of apartment).


Doesn't your heart just bleed for me?

Bad search update: the latest American to have got here by a strange route was looking for perverted christmas cards. Someone in Ridgeland Missisipi is going to be sending a bit more than season's greetings.