Starting a new life in Australia, part 3

by Chris Lang on February 18, 2009

Open for inspection signPart 2 ended with my story about how I found a new job, being only 3 weeks in Australia. The levels of excitement were kind of hard to describe for a number of reasons.

First, the insecurity faded away. They have hired me and that means that my qualifications and experience count in this country. Having a job also meant feeling relieved money-wise; it meant that we stop eating away our savings and start living on the money we earn. And another reason to be happy was that I found that job before Christmas – people are taking it easy during the festive season and the moth after, many go away on holidays, so if I wasn’t lucky to get hired before Christmas, I could have spent another 2 months looking for a job. My partner also found a job, 4 days before Christmas and felt even luckier than I did 🙂

Now it was time to think about a car. Not for commuting, but for exploring. I think that the public transport in Melbourne is great and I have been using it a lot, but both my partner and I love the outdoors. So to be able to properly explore our new beautiful surroundings we had to have a car and choosing one became our next project.

Finding a car online was easy – getting there to take it for a test drive was not so easy. The absurd thing is, that in Melbourne you need a car to buy a car. A lot of car sellers are located in places unreachable by public transport. To them it makes sense – the further away from the center, the cheaper the rent is, but to us it was a nightmare. The place where we bought our car was 2 hours away by train and then we had to call someone from the car agency to come and pick us up. When we stood there waiting for him, a thought had crossed my mind – if he won’t come, we have just wasted 4 hours commuting, for nothing.

With a car, things looked much better. Our dog was released from the quarantine and the three of us started to really enjoy this beautiful country, introduced ourselves to bushwalking, went camping on weekends and visited many beautiful nature spots. We had a great time before it was time to think about moving home again, 6 months passed really quickly.

Contrary to my expectations, searching for the second rental was much harder. I was working full time and could only go through the ads in the evening. There weren’t many houses available; the demand for rentals was at its peak. Most of the properties I rang about were already let, and others didn’t accept pets. Many inspections were scheduled in the middle of working day and I had to get out of work to see those houses, which meant that I had to stay and work later that day, when I needed that time to keep looking for more houses.

Initially I thought that I could just apply for any house and then, if they accept me as a tenant go and have a look, to me it would have been a huge time saver. I mean – why bother looking at a house if you don’t end up getting the chance to rent it. However, it turned out to be illegal to apply for a property one didn’t inspect. No shortcuts.

Most of the inspections I went to looked like auctions. There was a crowd of 30-40 waiting outside the door for the agent to arrive and let them in. People were snatching the application forms from the agent’s hand, rushing to fill and submit them on the spot, competing for a place to live. Seeing this whole situation made me feel so powerless, even desperate.

The story goes on, come back and find out how my house hunting ended.

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