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Saturday, September 16, 2006

we're moving!

When I started this blog back in April of this year- I never thought I would still be living here now at the same address. After many months of looking around at (mostly) crap places- we've finally found something, and the application has been approved. (YAY)

The new place is in Altona Meadows (aka Laverton South)and is a 3br townhouse very close to the creek and a decent stroll away from the beach on the northern side of the bay. Best of all- it is in public transport zone one and is near 2 frequent bus routes- heaps of savings all round!

We move in a couple of weeks- and the lease on this place remains until early October- which gives us a bit of flexibility in terms of being able to move out at a time of our choosing.

Advice for people thinking about moving house in the western suburbs of melbourne (or anywhere else)- LOOK AROUND and compare prices vs quality- in this area at least- price is absolutely NO indicator as to how good a property will be. It would also pay to keep a month of weekends open as well- looking for a decent place can take forever!


Saturday, September 02, 2006

application 2 sent

Not much luck in terms of looking around for new houses for me this week. I've not actually gone to any- the quality of those advertised on the internet lately seems to have been going down again- which is a bit of a shame.

Despite this- we've sent in an application for a place I've not even inspected yet. It would be very weird for me to move into a place I've not walked through before... but we'll see how we go.

Through this experience- I've noticed great variations in the level of customer service from various estate agents. One of them stands out as being the absolute worst- Mancini real estate. Their receptionists are really quite rude (they don't ask to put you on hold or give you any options- they just do it) and their agents NEVER return calls- EVER. On top of that- when you try to call one- I've always been told that they are with a client or out of the office- they never give direct numbers or cell phone contacts- if they treat prospective customers like this- how bad will the service be once you sign up with them? Everyone in the area seems to think they are wonderful- but my experience has been less than positive.

Anyway- not much else happening this week in the hunt for a new rental- the lease on this place has expired- but no notice to vacate has been given by us or the agent so it is still looking good.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Still looking

The lease on this place runs out tomorrow.

Normally saying something like that, when I still have not found anywhere to move to, would drive me into a state of panic- but for now, I am not bothered at all. The property managers have allowed us to go on a month to month rental agreement on this place, which is good, for as long as they don't put up the rental any more than what we are currently paying.

I would say that based on what I have seen over the past few months of looking around, that this place is worth about 20% more than what we are paying- and that's a conservative estimate!

It's been a while since I last updated this page so I will fill you in on what's happened....

A couple of weeks ago, we came across this 2 storey town house with 3 bedrooms, split system air conditioning, a spa bath and pretty much everything else you could ask for. It seemed perfect- so we sent in an application for it. However, we had some doubts, so we asked to go back for a second viewing. I had finished work early for the day, so I came along as well, and we took our measuring tape and measured all of the rooms and the spaces for things like dishwashers and fridges...

Upon the second inspection, we found that we liked it more than what we did the first time, however the concerns remained. We got home, and measured our existing lounge room- and found that while all of our furniture would fit in the townhouse, it would be a tight fit. Also, there was no security alarm and no security door either- something which to us is essential as we have a couple of pet cockatiels and we don't want them to fly out the house if someone just happens to walk in unannounced.

So- we ended up withdrawing our application (which I feel was approved by the time we got around to telling them we did not want to move in). We had a look at a few other houses in the meantime as well, however one of them had too much space (I don't want to move into a new house and buy all this new furniture for it just to fill up some space), and another one was too far away from the bus stop and too expensive. Add to that it had a broken towel rail in the bathroom and very cheap look fittings and a food pantry in the LAUNDRY. What were these home designers thinking!???

We have a few more appointments for inspections coming up over the next few weeks, and I suppose the delay in finding a new place to live is not all bad. For one, it puts off the dreaded task of packing up and unpacking (along with the big clean up of all the junk we have accumulated over the past couple of years). Also, it means we can save up more money for the bond and rental that we will have to pay. As much as possible, I am trying to time the move so that we don't have that dreaded overlap of lease agreements- where we are paying rental on 2 places at once. I mean one week overlap is fine, as it allows for the smooth transition from one place to another, along with the cleaning of the old place and all, however anything more than that is just annoying and a money waster.

So for now, no new places to move into- not even anything we are thinking of putting an application in for, but I am not bothered... and I am not feeling pressured to rush into something that is not perfect when I don't have to. What does annoy me though is all the time we spend wasting looking at crap houses... though I guess it can't be avoided can it.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

first inspection

Well, after several months of looking at places on the internet, I finally went and saw a property in person today. Not before time too, my lease on my current place runs out in less than four weeks, and I have not yet given notice to the landlord that I intend to vacate. I suppose the good thing is from my point of view- they have not written to me yet either asking me to sign another lease, nor have they written in to say that my rent will go up after the end of this month. Kind of a relief- because it gives me a little bit of flexibility in when I want to leave, and from the quality of housing stock out there at the moment, I think I will need that flexability!

I have recently been getting excited about the quality of the houses in the area I want to move into, as well as the affordability. The houses look so nice out the outside, and their location in the zone one public transport area makes it even more appealing (Altona Meadows). Ok, so it is not the most desirable place to be in Melbourne, however my partner's father passed away last month and we are moving to be closer to his surviving wife. (Otherwise, I think we would be moving into either the city or Sancturary Lakes...)

Anyway, to the housing inspection yesterday. As we pulled up in front of the property, I got a bad feeling straight away. There were cars full of people all around, all sitting inside waiting for the property manager to come along. I hate group inspections, I feel so.... I don't know, I feel so uncomfortable in looking at a property with groups of other people. When it is to buy a house, I can understand it, but when the agent makes appointments to inspect a property (as opposed to a general "open for inspection"), I feel I should be the only one there. I feel intimidated and under a lot of pressure when it is me and 5 other families in there at once.

Luckily, it did not matter much though. The house was not really what I was looking for. It had no dishwasher, although it did have heating and cooling. The pantry was quite small as well, I was looking for something a little bit bigger than what I have now (especially as I want to move to doing the food shopping once a fortnight instead of weekly). The location was perfect, but the back yeard was full of weeds- no grass to be seen at all! Also, the bedrooms were quite small, as were all of the other rooms. Did I mention it seemed very dark in there as well- despite the paint on the walls being a light light green colour?

This leads me to my next complaint- who on earth displays a property with light pastel interiors? That seems so 90's to me... In my opinion, it is a vile choice of colour... I want something more neutral, white, preferably beige... but not green. I asked the agent about this and she said I'd be looking at another 20% in rental costs if I wanted to get something with those colours. It tempts me to take the lease on and paint it nice myself (before repainting it a hideous green colour before moving out again....) I'd certainly be ahead by a few thousand at the end of it all!

Anyway, back to the websites to look for some more houses in the area. I am confident that I will find something nice, but as always, I am going to have to sort through all the shit first. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

more internet views

I am getting more serious about looking through the internet for suitable properties. The move has to happen in a few months time- and I still have not gone out and inspected any properties in person. There is talk in the media of rents going up 6% or so in the next year- let's hope this only relates to the inner city.

Apparently in Sydney, with the rental vacancy rate at less than 2%, agencies are auctioning rentals- to whoever can pay the most per week. I hope THAT little scam doesn't take off down here.

I am now looking at the possibility of 2 bedroom places. As long as the lounge room is big enough for a home office- I'll be happy to trade a 3rd bedroom for that. Problem is, there is always something wrong with the property.

The garden looks too crap, the bathroom looks like something the 60's threw up, there is no dishwasher, there is no cooling... it's always one thing or another. I may as well live in a trailer.... or maybe not :)

Till next time!

Monday, June 12, 2006

time to act

I've been lazy recently in regards to thinking about moving house. I am now signed up to heaps of email alerts for new rentals as they come on the market- but I've not yet gone out to see what you get for your money these days. I think I will arrange to go out and inspect some of these properties in the next weekend or so. Only a couple of months left to go- I can see this being a very last minute thing- as always!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

zone one

After putting up last week's entry, I had a bit of a look around to see what was available in the surrounding suburbs, and was pleased to find similarly priced properties close by, in Altona Meadows, which is situated in Zone 1 for public transport.

If I can find a place there, it will save heaps on public transport- as I currently have to get a zone 1&2 ticket each month. The savings can go towards investments, or alternatively, better rental property. The other good thing about Altona Meadows is that the buses run at least every 20 minutes to Laverton station... a lot more frequent than the services here. That means even if I can't find something within walking distance of Laverton station (and I would not want to live too close to it either!), I can easily survive living near one of the bus routes that go through the area.