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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Renting sucks; Renting in Sydney sucks more

I realised I haven't actually blogged about a move to Sydney in any detail. Here goes:

I'm currently spending all my time in Sydney for work, while Dee and Jules stay at home in Canberra. They've driven over and stayed with me a couple of times, but it's not really sustainable -- we need to put Lucy somewhere, for example, and the last three times she's stayed in the kennel she's come back malnourished and often with an injury requiring a vet consult. It's also easier for me to just be in a hotel, but it makes it hard for Jules to sleep when we're all crammed in together. So not fun: our sleep suffers, my work suffers, our relationship suffers. So for the last few weeks I've just been coming on my own, and while I get a lot done it's no fun leaving my family: video calls, while good, just are no substitute.

Dee is also looking at going back to work, and with her history (Deustchebank, JP Morgan) it makes sense for us to move to Sydney, where she'll have a much wider market. And, of course, Canberra is a small place! We're city people, I think -- I go out at lunchtime and enjoy the crowds, the vibe, the noise, the excitement. It really does make a difference, an essential one, and there's the added bonus that my "engineer brain" recognises the higher-efficiency of urban-vs-country living. So long as we can grow some veges and find a good organic supermarket!

Even if I end up working back in Canberra -- a good chance -- then at least I can stay in the corporate apartments there, set myself up with a little "bachelor's pad", and not worry about bringing clothes back and forth. And, really, it's only a 30-50minute flight, so I could probably come home a little more often (with frequent flyer points if required) if I'm travelling light. Wins, all the way 'round.

Except that finding a house is hard. It sucks. Real estate agents suck. They're lazy at the best of times, but the rental market at the moment is such that they literally don't have to give you the time of day -- there are only scheduled "open house" viewings, which you must attend if you want to apply (they take your name and phone; sometimes they even hand out the application forms only at the viewing). I've even heard stories of some agents running a "rental auction", playing desperate renters off against each other to maximise the weekly rent!! Abhorrent.

So keep your fingers crossed for our latest find: a 3BR house that still has tenants in it, is managed privately (no agent!), at which "pets are welcome!", for affordable-ish rent, 20 minutes on the bike to the city (and 26 on the bus, for lazy/rainy days), next to a park, with a backyard (but no offstreet parking), 2 bathrooms and airconditioning. And the owner may be willing to let me see the place before their open-house viewing on the weekend! In other words, everything we could possibly hope for.

But we've been disappointed before, so while you keep your fingers crossed, we'll keep our expectations suitably low.

Let you know how we get on.


  1. Good wishes vibes sent to you for this one. Shame about the lack of parking but that is Sydney and pet friendly would be great.

  2. *fingers crossed* over here!!

  3. I believe looking for rentals in Bendigo has been that hard for a while. I know you have to go to the scheduled 'open house' to apply and I'd heard about 2 years ago that some agents had introduced a place on the application for you to put the amount of rent you are willing to pay. Being a single parent goes against you here as well, but having a partner doesn't mean you'll find a house within 6 months. I have a few friends that were looking for at least 10 months and just recently a friend applied for over 70 houses before getting one. One of the many reasons we'll be staying here as long as possible.

    Good luck with your house hunting, I hope you find something quickly!

  4. Interesting. Our place in Adelaide was pet-and-small-child friendly, but it wasn't until we lowered the rent by $20 and it actually became available that we had interest. We actually had a few people booking to inspect but not turning up. Must be a different market there than here in Victoria.

    Of course once people looked through we had three applications at once. In the end we went with the guy and his child who paid the rent promptly and kept his previous property clean. He was a single parent but it was the house inspections that worked best for him - there was another (no kid) couple who had more money but yeah, always had problems with their inspections.

    Dunno if we'll buy here in Bendigo.. it would be nice to, but I'd rather keep the Adelaide property as well, now we've gone through the trouble of buying it. It'll be a few years off, anyway.


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