Having recently returned home from the UK, ISOBEL WILLIAMS set about finding her first Sydney flat from which to launch her new life. She knew it wouldn’t be easy … but did it need to be this hard?
I have recently embarked on the tortuous journey of hunting for an apartment in the suburbs of Sydney on a budget. Now there’s two words you don’t often see in the same sentence – ‘Sydney’ and ‘budget’.
Not only is this my first time searching for an apartment to rent here, but it will be my first time renting, and – just one week in – there are three things that are already becoming strikingly clear to me.
Prices differ dramatically between suburbs, even those sitting right next to each other.
Buying a car in Sydney was a bad idea.
Working a weekend job while flat hunting is impossible.
To start with the first item here, I am absolutely confounded as to how a tiny studio apartment in one street could be asking twice the price than a spacey two bedroom apartment, with balcony and a garage, which is just two streets away, purely because of the name of the suburb.
And the difference just seems to get more and more ridiculous if you start to look into the western suburbs, even the inner-west. I understand the way cities work, how the closer you are the more desirable the location and so the higher the price, but this is more than that. This is suburbias!
Secondly, Sydney has no parking. I guess this one I probably should have been expecting, it is a busy and very popular city and so it is logical that the ‘burbs would mirror this.
However, now I have realised the true extent of the lack of parking in Sydney, it has made me wonder how so many people are able to own cars while living here.
Finally, if you work a Monday to Friday job and have also recently had to move apartments I’m sure you would have appreciated all those Saturday morning viewings.
And I’m also sure there are also a number of people who, like me, work Saturdays and are frustrated that most properties only seem to offer viewings then. What the hell do real estate agents do during the rest of the week!
Just to rub salt in the wounds, there are few feelings worse than having to serve coffee to couples as they quibble over whether they’d prefer the flat with the view or the car park. Where’s the compassion, people?
The reality is, if you can find a decent flat at reasonable rent in an area that’s not a war zone, even if you can get away from work, there will be half a dozen other prospective tenants there with their neatly bound CVs, complete with personal and professional references, and their application forms already filled in, and the ability to pay a little sweetener on top of the asking price.
Don’t trust them, Rental Agent Person! Their documents are fake and the property will be on Airbnb before the keys have stopped jangling in the door.
I can’t tell whether these are issues just in Sydney, or if they plague all major cities. But I now no longer blame the rise in property prices nor the increasing popularity of Smashed Avo for the reason most youngsters are living with parents for increasing lengths of time.
It is simply too much hassle to move out!