A room of one’s own

Caitlin Harvey had 13 house inspections in two days. Fear the market.

The house hunt can be incredibly daunting. It can be especially daunting when doing it alone. One Wednesday afternoon in February I am faced with four inspections in 90 minutes, and thus prepare myself to traverse the Inner West, shake hands with all manner of real-estate agents, and perfect the reverse parallel park.

First stop is a unit in Camperdown. Reverse parallel parking does not go well and I reverse over a brick (sorry car). Like I said, house hunt- ing is fraught with terrors. The following unit is nice, but I’m incredibly put off by the owner, who watches intently from the stairwell as I wander through the unit. Needless to say, I did not spend very long here.

Next, I speed over to Annandale. I need not have driven so fast, because the estate agent turns up late, throwing out my whole schedule. The apartment can only be described as a seedy motel. Instead of windows it has entire walls of glass, front and back, both with sliding doors. Clearly, privacy was not a consideration when this building was constructed. The vulnerability of someone being able to see right through the unit, alongside the stained carpet and lack of any apparent lighting made me wonder why the agent didn’t have a list of mysterious deaths to disclose to me.

The next Saturday I have nine inspections scheduled before 1pm, so am out bright and early, ready to reverse parallel park all over the place.

The first is an apartment on Cleveland Street. “How convenient,” I think to myself. Unfortunately for me and the 10 other people thinking the same thing, the real estate agent never shows up. Good start. The next house is in Glebe. I should have been concerned from the start, when the real estate agent had to hang up ten signs to indicate where the actually was. When I eventually get there, I find a granny flat out the back of a house. This granny flat is unique, however, in the fact that it has no windows. Trying not to think too much on the legality of this, I make a quick escape.

After another absent real-estate agent, things finally start to look up, with two perfectly decent apartments and blissfully timed inspections. Clearly I was naive to think things could be this easy, and I miss the next two inspections because apparently inspecting houses in Glebe, Marrickville and Alexandria in a 30 minute window is unrealistic (not according to Google Maps). I arrive at the last house of the day with three minutes to spare, and it turns out all hope was not lost. My frantic demeanour apparently charms this real-estate agent and I move into the apartment a week later.

After traversing Parramatta Road, sifting through endless Domain property searches, and filling out a decent number of rental applications, it seems I have finally found home. Now I’m sure I’ll be unpacking boxes for the next twelve months. Until next time, rental market, you’ve been shit.