Friday, March 11, 2016

Renting a place in Melbourne

Apartment

Like I mentioned in the previous posts, I was living with my cousin after migrating to Australia. But now that I have a job, it was about time I moved out of my cousin's place. Let's be honest now, it is a hindrance when someone else is living with you.

I looked for available places for lease on RealEstate and Domain mobile apps, and noted down a few. It is easier to check them up on the phone because the apps show the places on the map.

On the day before I was supposed to start working, there was a schedule for inspection of a house near the work place. I went there, because I was free on that afternoon. That was when I realised the state of renting in south east of Melbourne. This area is old, so the houses are old; some of them look like my parents' parents' houses. Most houses do not have air-conditioning. They only have heating; some very rare ones don't even have heating! People in Australia seem to have a made up a habit of spending the hot days at shopping malls. There are of course new houses; they demolish old houses and build three small houses on the same land. And they are expensive. But there are cheaper and newer houses if you are willing to go farther from civilisation, but I did not want that. I set a maximum rent target of $350 per week, which is still crazy high compared to what we paid in Japan. Sadly, you should be really lucky to get a cheaper rent in this part of the country.

So that first house was a bad one. Then there were few inspections on the next Saturday. I went there early in the morning by train. The first house was a $340 one and it was quite large, had a split air cooling system but was pretty old still. I wanted to look around a bit.

After that inspection, I paid a visit to my friend's place in Clayton and he drove me around to the other inspections. We checked about half a dozen houses and towards the end of the day I was able to shortlist 3 places: two houses and an apartment.

One of the houses was right in the centre of Clayton and they asked $360 for it. It lacked an A/C but considering the fact that we could simply walk to do the grocery and that I could walk to the office, I decided to give it a go and I could apply easily as it could be done online.

The other house was a bit smaller but still it was renovated and it was $340. It lacked an A/C just like the previous one. It was still a walkable distance away from work.

The apartment was the one that attracted me the most, because it was renovated with everything new including the kitchen cupboards, gas oven and stove, carpets, toilet and everything. It even had a split A/C system installed. The only problem was that it did not have a secure garage and it was in the 1st floor. My wife frequently complained about us living on the 1st floor in Japan. It was the closest place to work as well. And its rent was only $345 per week.

But there was a catch. when I tried applying for the $340 house and the $345 apartment, both advertised from the same property agents called RayWhite Oakleigh, I ran into a spot of bother. All these property agents ask for 100 points of proof to be eligible to be applied. The 100 points build up like 30 for passport, 30 for driving license, 10 for past rental receipts, 10 for past utility bills etc. But I am new to Australia. I do not have 100 points, as I have no rental history in Australia. So I emailed them asking what I should do about this. I received a call from the agent assigned to the apartment telling me to just apply for it with as much details as possible. I applied for the apartment, but I further mentioned that I was willing to pay 3 months' rent in advance to counter the lack of renting history. And also mentioned that I had been living in Japan, in a rented property for the last 5 years.

I decided not to apply for the $340 house because it was a bit far away from the office.

Still, I kept on looking for houses; every day I went for inspections after work. So it was quite late when I got back to my cousin's place and it was a very exhausting period.

After a few days I received an email from Tom saying that the there was another applicant who applied before me for the apartment and that the owner decided to go ahead with him. But if by any chance it did not go through, he said he would contact me. I was a bit disappointed at first but I was glad that there was still some hope. In the afternoon I got a call from Tom saying that the first applicant defaulted and I could have the apartment if I could send him a bank statement. w00t! I did not have a bank statement with the most recent balance, so I got the bank balance sheets from the internet and forwarded them. He said he will call me the next day.

As expected, he called me and asked me if I could come to his office on that evening; it was Friday the 4th of March. I had to bring two cheques, one for the bond, and one for the first month's rent. I got them from the bank - they charge $10 for each cheque!! - and went to RayWhite Oakleigh - that's the property agent - and signed the lease. They were going to give me the keys on the next Wednesday but I asked them to give it on the Friday so that I would have the weekend to make the arrangements to move in. Otherwise I would be paying the rent for a couple of days without living there.

On the 11th morning, I went to RayWhite Oakleigh office and got my keys along with the conditions report and other necessary documents. I had to the office copy of the conditions report and return it to the RayWhite within 3 business days. After getting the keys, I went straight to the apartment (it was one bus from there!), inspected the apartment and the surroundings and headed back to work.

So now I have an apartment. The plan it to move into the apartment in the weekend.

Up next is the car.

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