The last time I did a blog on something creepy i.e. The Creepy AF Cab Ride y’all went crazy. Here’s the second blog on something creepy. In a very short span of time of living in Sydney, I’ve had to find a second apartment. I know I have posted a blog about finding accommodation in Sydney in the past, however you don’t realise how difficult and time consuming it is till you go through the entire process. Needless to say going into a flatting situation seems much easier than finding a place for yourself. But any way back to the blog.
Today’s creepy story will be on an apartment I went to see. I have been quite focused on finding a place in close vicinity to work. That is the one factor I was not willing to compromise on. Simply because Sydney still is a very new city to me and I haven’t had a chance to explore all the neighbouring suburbs or much of the city itself. Working in events can take up a lot of time in a day. Long story short, I wanted to be close to work so that early start or late finishes wouldn’t hamper my commute to and from home. I also don’t plan on buying a car whilst in Sydney so this would affect my choice of location for my soon to be apartment a lot.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog on finding accommodation in Sydney, if you’re planning on looking for a place for yourself, the best places to look on are either Domain or Realestate. So one fine day I spot a one-bedroom apartment in the location I want and it’s within my budget. My oh my, could my eyes deceive me! No I’m not being dramatic. In Sydney, the rent is quite high. The average cost for a studio in my area is, in my opinion, $330 at least, for something decent. With that in mind, a one bedder would easily be roughly $450 or so as this is an expensive area.
The viewing was set at 9am on a Saturday. That should have been the first giveaway that the apartment was not going to be worth it. If anyone makes you get out of bed to be somewhere by 9am on a Saturday, I have no words left to say. Regardless, I was on a quest and as difficult as it may be I was out of my bed by 7am on this said Saturday so I could get ready and make it to the appointment on time. The thing with North Sydney is that there are a lot of modern and new apartment buildings that you look at and you just immediately know that even if you were to sell your kidney in the black market you’d still fall short on bond or rent payments. So when I had almost approached the address as per the guidance of Siri on my iPhone, I was stoked to see that this magnificent one bedder was in one of these high-rise buildings. How on earth did I get so lucky? Oh wait, there’s a little driveway in between two big high rises and Siri is directing me to go down that driveway. That is what she meant when she said ‘destination reached’. I walk down the driveway and I’m not impressed by what I’m seeing. But I had to make myself understand that my budget was very basic, and I wasn’t going to get a Beverly Hills Mansion or a Manhattan Pent House apartment in this cost.
This is an apartment…complex. I don’t know if complex would be the right word for it. The apartments were placed too close to each other, sort of like a dormitory. Usually people gather in the dozens when such inspections take place. However in this case just one other person turned up. As we waited, and awkwardly hid our glances as we both planned to outrun each other to get our hands on the house, one of the would be neighbours stepped outside. The sole purpose of him stepping outside was to smoke an electric cigarette. He was in tattered clothing. Mate, I realise you’re in your home but if you have decided to step outside at least put a shirt on and some decent un ripped pants. He smoked his cigarette whilst (very obviously) staring at us (mostly me) up and down. I stopped with the glances, as my want on this apartment started to decrease.
Shortly thereafter the property agent turned up so the viewing could commence. What usually happens, is the property agent arrives and makes their way to the apartment to ensure no one’s there and if the current tenants are there they’ll be asked to step out so the viewers can inspect the apartment. From memory, the current tenants weren’t present and so the agent was able to invite us in pretty quickly.
Standing a few steps before the frame of the entrance door, and I can immediately see a mold spot and some cracks on the wall in the hallway in the dim light. I take one step into the apartment and to my shock, the entire house smelt of urine. I kid you not. I don’t know who lived there at the time, but the entire apartment stunk of urine. By this time a young couple had also arrived to see the place. The other guy was really doing a good viewing of the place and enquiring about various things relating to the property. I somehow managed to block out the smell and attempted to at least view the entire apartment and not worry about asking any questions.
I walk past the kitchen. The cooktop in the kitchen was electric with hot plates. These hot plates had rust all over them. The shocking thing was that the rust wasn’t just starting to appear. It would have been forming over a period of time. This can be very dangerous. For the couple seeing the kitchen was their last straw. They didn’t go further into the apartment to see anything else. All they did was enter, see the kitchen and walk out. But to be fair the stench was bad enough so for people to have entered the apartment was a rather big achievement in itself.
Adjacent to the kitchen was the bathroom. I have no words to describe the bathroom. The toilet was literally falling apart. I mean come on, the toilet is a sacred place. Man’s best ideas come when he’s in the toilet or for that matter in the shower. Okay yes I’m exaggerating. But excuse the pun, the toilet was literally shit. The one thing I cannot handle is a dirty toilet/bathroom. I get disgusted when the bathroom has white tiles and someone with dirty shoes has walked through. Yuck.
In all fairness, after the shock that was the toilet and kitchen, the bedroom and lounge were relatively okay. I said that loosely. I didn’t really do a close look. It was more of ‘pop-in’ ‘pop-out’. Here comes the biggest shock. For an apartment that was literally falling apart, the weekly rent was $350. This is no small amount, and after viewing this place I went home and cried like a baby. Why? Because $350 isn’t a small amount and yes viewing this place made it seem like the world was coming to an end. I just could not fathom that I would end up in a place like that given my budget was quite low. But alas, I found myself a nice little studio, which comes with its own share of good and bad. But that’s for another blog.
Jokes apart, one thing to note when looking for an apartment for rent is that, it in fact is quite like an auction. When you spot a listing for x amount of dollars, and you turn up to see the place, normally you would assume the rent would the amount mentioned in the listing. However, if it’s a place that has high demand, how would the agent best put you forward, well if you bid higher i.e. in the application form in the rent per week section if you enter an amount that is higher than the asking price, well you get brownie points right there. How else can you look more appealing? Well, your agent is the only connection between you and the property owner, so you need to get a little chummy with them. At the end of the day when the agent collects all the applications and presents it to the property owner he/she also tends to provide pointers on who they think would be a good fit.
I’m not suggesting that this will always be the case. It wasn’t for me. I was lucky enough to have bid the asking price and without conversing much able to secure my place. However when your budget is higher and you’re looking at apartments at more popular locations, you may come across such situations. It’s also good to have pre-filled the application form, prior to attending the viewing. If you like the place on the day of the viewing, hand it in to the agent, if not on to the next.
Last but not the least, go to an apartment viewing with an open mind. What I mean by that is, whoever the current tenants are may have kept the place in a certain way. You have to tell yourself that when you move in, you can keep the apartment the way you want to. In other words if you don’t approve of something the current tenant is doing, don’t worry once it’s your place you can do whatever you like. But you must also remember that these tenants currently are possibly also packing up for their move to vacate the place for new tenants to move in, therefore it might just be that the place is a bit clustered. However keeping all that in mind, you cannot always apply that thinking and mindset for every place. This apartment is a great example of that. This place put every single thing to shame. Okay I should really stop bad mouthing this house. I hope it has found a good tenant who will look after it and keep it well.
Have you had some interesting experiences when apartment hunting? Tell me!
Until next time,