A few weeks ago, with the impending arrival of Little Miss looming ever larger in our minds (and in my stomach!), we decided to look around for another rental that may suit our upcoming needs better. I don’t think our expectations were unrealistically high. We just wanted somewhere that had perhaps:
- a separate laundry, rather than a washing machine at the end of the kitchen bench;
- a bathroom with a bath as well as a shower;
- an extra bedroom maybe?
We were hoping to get this for not too much more than we are presently paying (after all, we will be back to one pay packet from March and we’re still paying a mortgage in Australia on top of rent here so it’s going to be tight).
First of all, let me just say kudos to the real estate photographing geniuses who can make a shoebox (I’m not kidding – Shoe. Box.) look like a spacious mansion online.
Well done you.
The first place we looked at was tucked down a long driveway beside another house. They have a thing here with putting two or more separate dwellings on the one block (or as it’s called in NZ, section) of land so you get the whole “46A” and “46B” thing happening regularly. Possibly it’s a city thing.
So we trudge down the potholed gravel driveway and the first thing I think (actually the second thing – the first thing I thought was “At least I get to see what this is like in the rain”) is “Oh hey. That looks waayyyy smaller than the photos.”
It’s supposedly a three bedroom house with a long front deck. Hmmm. So we walk in the front door which is straight into the main living area that has the kitchen along the wall at the back – close enough to flip pancakes from the stove onto the waiting plates of anyone sitting on the lounge I was trying to picture actually fitting in there – and I can already see with a sinking heart that while, yes indeed, there are three bedrooms, that is a wild stretch of the imagination.
I once flatted with friends briefly in Brisbane and since I was last in the house, I got what was known as ‘the cupboard’. It had enough room for a single mattress on the floor and a couple of boxes with my clothes in them. The mattress was as long as the room so it was cosy at best. Putting actual furniture in there would have been impossible.
These rooms made me reflect fondly on ‘the cupboard’. We may have been able to fit our queen size bed in one of these rooms … but only if we wanted to jump into bed from the doorway. Literally.
Not to worry. We’ll know better next time. Onward and upward, as they say!
The second place was once again down a long muddy driveway at the back of someone else’s house but this time it ended in a large muddy pool before you were herded around to the back door … where a veritable mountain of empty liquor bottles greeted us, along with the agent hurriedly saying “Ooh don’t worry about that. The cleaners haven’t been through yet.” Obviously the previous tenants liked a tipple and were happy to try anything that was on special …
Needless to say, any hopes I’d had before arriving were well and truly dashed before even walking through the door. And the rest of the house did nothing to raise them.
Hovel. Does anyone use that word anymore? ‘Cause that’s the word this place deserved. I got the giggles walking through it while muttering ‘Holy shitballs, Batman’ to myself.
The third place was not as bad. It seemed reasonable. The gangland-style house with the front yard full of rusty cars was further up the street. It did not have a mountain of liquor bottles to greet us at the front door.
But the shower door was off and sitting in the bathtub. Paint was peeling off all the walls. And the stove … well, apparently three of the four plates on top don’t work. And the real estate agent indicated that wasn’t going to change anytime soon.
Sigh. Maybe I am fussy. Possibly I expect a little too much. Needless to say, we gave up after that and figured we could just rearrange a few things in the second bedroom so she’s not actually sleeping in a box wedged between the computer desk and the PS4 set up.
Did I mention that we are renting out our 5 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 huge living areas, massive undercover area, huge shed, solar panelled house in Australia for less than what we’re paying here?
Sigh once more.
However … this morning , I got an email notice of a nice little place that’s just been listed (because I didn’t cancel the email subscription in the vain hope that something suitable may come up) and it’s not far from us. It only has two bedrooms but other features include:
- good neighbourhood
- separate laundry
- bathtub and shower
- separate toilet
- ‘conservatory’ (enclosed front porch)
- fenced yard
And all for $20 extra per week.
I have emailed the real estate agent …