When we first decided to sell our house in St Clair, our intention was always to buy another home and move straight in. When we started decluttering before we went to market, all the things that were put into storage were put there on the assumption that we’d be getting them all out again within a month or so of the house selling.
So now that we’ve decided to build instead, even more has gone into storage, for who knows how long? And we were also left with the realisation that we would have nowhere to live for a year or even more!
We considered moving in with family, and the in-laws live around the corner from our old house. But they’ve also decided to put their place on the market, so that’s not an option.
We offered my Dad a proposal that we thought would be too good for him to refuse, which would have seen him overseas for 12 months, and us living in his house paying nominal rent. But apparently it was refuse-able, because he refused.
So short of pitching the tent in someone’s back yard, we really had no other option but to rent while we’re building. The prospect didn’t really fill us with joy.
After we bought the land, we then started to look for somewhere to live. We had to first choose where – did we stay near our house, so that we can still easily stick to the kids routines with preschool, dancing etc? Or did we move closer to Stonecutters Ridge, so that we can start establishing our new routines before we actually build our home?
Both were reasonable options, and so I started looking at rental properties in both areas.
It’s been over 8 years since we last rented, and back then we were in a massive 4br home on over 1000sqm of land in Cherrybrook, all for the grand sum of (I think) $320 a week. How things have changed.
We set ourselves a budget, we don’t want to spend more than $400 a week, and as it’s only short term, we decided that we can manage with something that isn’t quite what we would like, and we’ll just make it work.
So after traipsing through house after house, and townhouse after townhouse, all very close to that $400 / week price, I started to get very depressed. The price of rent has gone up so much, and the quality has gone way down! I wouldn’t condemn my worst enemies to some of the homes I looked at.
The other thing I never figured on was the demand for each property. Open houses on rental properties would see 10 families turn up, and all of them would take an application form. It’s tough out there! The other thing that really ticked me off was having some of our applications rejected. REJECTED! I mean, don’t these people know who we are? Don’t they know that we’re probably the best tenants they’ll ever get? Don’t they know that we always leave a place better than we found it, and we always pay our rent on time? Obviously they didn’t, because our applications were getting rejected. And they wouldn’t tell us why.
So in a desperate and shameless attempt to find somewhere to live, I phoned the agent who sold our house, and asked them if they had anything suitable. They showed me a 3br townhouse not far from where we were living, that was within our budget, and bless them – they approved our application on the spot. See – someone finally knew who were were!
And so we’re back on the rent train. We moved into our little townhouse a week before the house settled, and spent that final week bringing over all the little bits & pieces that we didn’t have ready in time for the movers. Probably the most stressful week of my life!
And then on 2nd July, our house settled, and for the first time in over 8 years, we were debt free and living the rental life. Arguing with the agent over things that we want the landlord to fix, constantly being available for the handyman who has to keep coming back to repair things (like the ceiling lights that just randomly fall out of the ceiling!), and asking permission to hang pictures on the wall.
So now we’ve been here a few weeks, we’re all settled in, the boxes are a memory, and we’re making it work. It’s not ideal, but we can manage for the time being. We’re back in debt again, but that’s OK, because it means we’re on the path to building our dream, and getting out of this rental caper!