After an extremely stressful Saturday, looking at apartments and filling in reams and reams of forms, yesterday we got confirmation that our application for the first flat we viewed, which also happened to be our favourite, had been accepted.
Grats to us 🙂
After being told by many people that getting a place to live in Australia is hard enough normally but that Christmas is the worst time of year we are both extremely pleased. Apparently it normally takes at least two or three weeks of traipsing round viewings before an application is successful.
Australia does things very differently when it comes to buying or renting property (or real estate as itâ€™s known out here). Instead of finding a property you are interested in and then phoning the estate agent to book an appointment to view it, all viewings are public and are pre-scheduled for a Wednesday or Saturday. The estate agents draw up a list each Tuesday and Friday for properties that will be open for viewing the next day. You can get these lists by going into the estate agent offices where they are in a pile ready for you to pick up (this is what we did last Friday) or you can get them online or from the local free paper, but this only comes out the morning of the viewings so is not particularly practical if you do not live in the area. It is the same procedure whether you wish to buy or lease.
You can imagine the palaver to go down each list, select the properties you are interested in, then draw up a time schedule and start cursing when two viewings clash and they are too far apart for you to view them both in 15 minutes.
Fortunately for us, where the properties that did clash time wise there was one that we werenâ€™t that fussed on so were able to drop it. We ended up seeing five properties in the end. As I said, the first one was our favourite, even though it was only one bedroom and the lay out was funny due to the front door opening onto the bedroom with an on-suite and then stairs up to the lounge, kitchen and balcony access. Instead of being a proper apartment it was half a house with a shared laundry room, two car ports and joint garden. The balcony was a lovely size and shape and not at all overlooked, the other rooms were a good size, the kitchen came with a fridge (not normal over here) and the whole apartment was wonderfully light and airy even though when we were viewing it we were in the middle of the most torrential rainstorm.
It is not as close to the beach as we would have liked, lol. Instead of being a two minute walk it is probably nearer to ten – what a hardship! Three of the apartments, although closer, were two bedroom and were a lot less open plan with smaller rooms and much smaller balconies. The last apartment we saw was one bedroom, the closest to the beach and our second choice. It was on the ground floor so had a courtyard instead of a balcony but again, it had a funny layout with an on-suite bathroom and balcony access via the bedroom.
Once we had seen the properties we then had the joyous job of filling in the application forms. As my handwriting is the neatest and Mat had gone through this procedure before about six weeks ago it was my job to go insane and get a numb finger. Fortunately as three properties were with the same agent we only had to fill in one form for these but that still meant six forms to complete – one for each of us for each agent. They want to know almost everything about you and on top of that you have to provide 100 points worth of ID. Each agent allocates points in different ways – one might give 40 points for a copy of your passport, 40 points for your driving licence and 20 points for your birth certificate (I have a feeling this was the allocation with Raine & Horne, the agents for our first choice). Others may only give 40 points for a passport OR driving licence meaning you canâ€™t use both, 10 points for birth certificate, 10 points for wageslips (max of two), 20 points for a bank statement etc.
So you can see our frustration, as not only is it a mind numbingly boring task in itself, due to the fact that we havenâ€™t been here long we donâ€™t have many of the other things they listed, such as references from previous agents, gas or electricity bills, or previous rental statements. To combat this, on top of filling in the lengthy forms, we decided it would be a good idea to write a covering letter to explain out situation. This meant me writing each one out by hand as we needed to get them completed and returned to the agent that day ready for processing first thing on Monday morning.
I filled in four of the forms in a coffee shop in Warringah Mall whilst Mat raced round trying to find a place to photocopy our paperwork. We then had a short break while we went food shopping then we drove to a little cul-de-sac overlooking the sea in Dee Why while I finished the rest. I can tell you I was at screaming point by the time it was finished and if Mat had not been there to calm me down and remind me of the reason for the whole process I might have jacked it in.
After leaving Parramatta at 9.30 that morning we finally rolled at 7pm. What a day! Though obviously it was all worth while because Mat is on his way back as I speak, from paying the deposit (hopefully all went well), and we can move in on Saturday – Hooray!
I canâ€™t wait – this is everything we have been waiting for – we can finally start our new life together properly. Not that it hasnâ€™t been extremely fun staying with Paul as he has a lovely flat and we all get on really well, but Collaroy will be 15 minutes from work instead of an hour and we will be able to go swimming after work. Plus obviously all the other advantages that go along with living as a head-over-heels in love couple on our own!
I felt compelled to take this picture late Saturday night whilst Mat was cooking dinner. As you can see, even after our long and tiring day, he still hasn’t lost his sense of humour and had to demonstrate his “Mat the Cat in his tin foil hat” look whilst shaking some herbs and seasoning up in his new gadget, the Jamie Oliver flavour shaker (never seen in the kitchen without it)!