Finding a house in Sydney that you want to live in AND can afford is a little bit like looking for a husband in a hazy nightclub. Unlikely.
Thinking we would enter the Sydney property market like all the other kids,
we began the obsessive online search, sifting through countless images of potential homes and attending with much optimism many open house inspections. What we did discover was a lot of colourful language describing dog boxes, some terribly creative photography, and low-ball auction prices guides. All in all, a huge time waster, where we came off empty handed with hopes dashed, spirits low and a healthy disdain for real estate agents.
I also discovered Sydney’s appetite for the “renovator’s delight”. One Wednesday, I dropped into an open inspection of a house that appeared to need just a box of matches and a light, yet it was teaming with people; plans in hand, their eyes lit up like Christmas trees as they meandered through one “first time on the market in 70 years” room to another. All I saw was a massive, steaming pile of…but the rest of the folk saw ‘potential’.
“Tell ‘em their dreaming,” is what I nearly said to the realo when he told me it would probably go for $1.2 mill at auction. As it turned out, someone, obviously not afraid of hard work and haemorrhaging cash bought it for over 1.4 million dollars.
The thing you learn very quickly with the Sydney property market is unless you have bucket loads of doshmina, then be prepared to make some significant compromises. Parking? Who needs it? A railway track through the back-yard? Why not. Eating a big old pooh sandwich? Welcome to Sydney.
Fun times. Having to leave our place by the 28th of this month, time was now of the essence. Our only option was to enter the rental market. And as we had been renting off my grandmother for the last 7 years – well, the fun was just beginning – the real laugh in the park. A rental that would accept 2 tiny, toy dogs (cutest dogs in the world) – how hard could it be? Internet dating in your 40’s would have to be easier. Even when we enquired of the exorbitantly priced houses that advertised:” Pets Allowed”, we received emails stating: “We would consider a cat but would not entertain a dog.” Who said anything about entertaining? It was soon becoming like a bad parody. “No pets,” “No pets,” “Cat only” – flooded my inbox. Desperate much? But not desperate enough to accept the “charming,” “pet friendly” lower floor duplex on a busy road, in Nowhere’s Ville, with the main wardrobe in the ensuite. Seriously, mirrored built-ins in the bathroom? Someone was having a lend, and I was not going to play ball.
Finally after an exhaustive search, and only just over a week shy from when we have to farewell our home of the last 7 years, we have fortunately found a “pets welcome,” pricey little “renovator’s dream” to rent in Neutral bay. Application accepted.
No parking of course. But then that wouldn’t be Sydney.
Now for the packing…