When we were searching for a place to live in Australia, the stress we were feeling was largely due to how picky we were being–we wanted cheap and on the beach!

The stress of house hunting this go around was primarily because we had a shorter time-frame. 17 days on the ground before my start date and I really wanted to be settled before then.  We also encountered a couple of bizarre situations that defied the laws of real estate. We ended up feeling so desperate that we were seriously considering studios (which we’d sworn off in this cheap market) and far-flung neighborhoods.

We wanted to go as cheap as possible, so our ideal price was between R10,000pm (US$675/month) and R15,000pm (US$1,015/month).

Before we started this search, we had a couple of wants in mind. 1 bedroom, decent kitchen, an outdoor space, and in a good neighborhood. Initially we wanted Woodstock–it was perfect for my commute to work and there were lots of co-working spaces for A. Unfortunately, there was NOTHING on the market. Scratch that. There were two places on the market and they never replied to my request for a viewing. So we switched gears to Green Point instead. More options but just as much flakiness, so we expanded to Sea Point.

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Garden Apartment

Price: R15,000/month, includes nothing

Internet: mi-fi required

Neighborhood: Sea Point

Stats: large 1 bedroom, lots of storage, no washing machine! Access to shared garden/pool/braai area

Travel: Sea Point is a great neighborhood, but is FAR for me to commute to work.

This place was big and had loads of storage everywhere. That’s about all it had going for it. It had literally nothing in the kitchen, so if we took it we were going to get brand new everything–dishes, cutlery, glassware, crockery, etc. That would have been nice, but since the agent was buying it on her own, no choices on our end.

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Why We Axed It

Location + price, primarily. Especially for how grungy and old everything in the place was. The security system was also broken and the front door gate was impossible to open/shut. But this was the first time an agent was willing to let us have an apartment, so we didn’t want to push our luck and let this one go. We asked for the weekend to think it over and luckily got half a dozen more appointments in!

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Cascades Studio

Price: R11,000/month, including cable package (~99 channels)

Neighborhood: Lower Green Point

Stats: Studio with full kitchen, washing machine, balcony

Internet: AlwaysOn provided by building–pay as you go, R70/GB (US$4.75/GB) or a wireless modem/mi-fi device, also pay as you go

Travel: Right off Main Road means an easy commute for both me and A, near the supermarket and loads of shops/restaurants. 15 minute walk to the V&A Waterfront and 15 minute walk to the CBD.

We really loved this place, or rather the idea of this place. We were actually staying in the very same building in an AirBnb, and got excited at the prospect of moving via elevators alone. It was also a gorgeously appointed place, a full kitchen, and nice bath.

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Why We Axed It 

Ultimately, because it wasn’t available until April 6. I’m starting work on April 4, and didn’t want to be moving mid-week. We also didn’t love the idea of a studio, but were willing to consider it because we’d gotten increasingly desperate with each rejection.

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Sarena Court

Price: R10,000/month, including basic cable (4-5 channels)

Internet: Access to uncapped 4mbps speed

Neighborhood: Lower Green Point

Stats: 1 bedroom with open plan living room/kitchen, no dining area

Travel: Right off Main Road means an easy commute for both me and A, near the supermarket and loads of shops/restaurants. 15 minute walk to the V&A Waterfront and 15 minute walk to the CBD.

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Why We Axed It 

Uncertainty. We weren’t even sure the unit we wanted was available! We were shown two units, but then told that only one of them would be available, and the owner couldn’t tell us which one. Unit 2 was definitely moving out, and Unit 1 might decide to switch apartments…or not. We liked Unit 1 and had decided on a hard no for Unit 2. Unit 2 had a really gross bathroom, and a huge water heater above/in the tub/shower!
sarena_court3We didn’t love the flip-flopping either–the owner said the tenant was probably going to stay put, but she may leave. Once he found out we preferred Unit 1, he was suddenly sure she would choose Unit 2 because apparently people like the floor plan better (it had a counter with bar stools). The truth was that he had no clue, but he was giving her another day to decide, and we didn’t have the time to deal with that. Also, the kitchen was poorly equipped and the apartment was in meh condition. Nothing really wrong, just getting old and in those last 5 years before renovations are required.

linsdale2Linsdale

Price: R15,000/month, includes nothing

Internet:wireless modem/mi-fi required, fibre lines get frequently disrupted by oil tankers in the ocean just meters away (!!)

Neighborhood: Sea Point, right on the water

Stats: 1 bedroom, small sunroom, large wrap-around porch

Travel: 1 block away from the shared office space in Sea Point for A, a super long commute for me, at least 90 minutes one way. 1 block from ocean/boardwalk, 1 block in the other direction for shops/restaurants.

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Everything was lovely in this place, and THOSE VIEWS. Mountain views on one side, and crashing ocean waves on the other. The complex itself was beautiful, and the furniture was all perfect.

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Why We Axed It 

Location and kitchen. Mini fridge, 2 burners, and no oven! Just a toaster oven. This is clearly a vacation property they’re hoping to rent for the winter. Totally doable on a 2 week holiday, but for 6 months? I need a real kitchen! Otherwise it was perfect.

And the winner…

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Siesta Court 

Price: R11,000/month, including basic cable (4-5 channels)

Internet: Access to pay-as-you-go fibre line

Neighborhood: Upper Green Point

Stats: 1 bedroom with open plan living room/dining area

Travel: Green Point is the best neighborhood, but Upper Green point is basically up the side of Signal Hill, so we have a steep hills and staircases to walk down to get to Main Road, and from there it’s an easy walk to the Waterfront and shops/restaurants in Green Point. I’m convinced the hills/stairs will be fine, but A thinks I’m going to end up being too lazy on the weekends and won’t want to go anywhere. I think not, since it’s easy to leave and more difficult to come home. Plus our apartment in Quebec required a trek up two steep hills an 2 staircases, and I was fine.

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So the location isn’t perfect, but workable. No outdoor space (garden, patio, balcony) but the whole place is very airy and it’ll be winter anyways. The bed is a double, which is not our favorite. For 5 days/week, we sleep together only 3 hours/night, so we figure we’ll manage fine.siestacourt3

We love everything else about this place. The furniture and decor make sense together, everything is in good condition, even the bathroom is decent. The kitchen is outstanding and has a crock pot! We’re all set for laundry with a washing machine, dryer, iron/ironing board, and drying rack. Great storage and it even has a CD rack and wine rack! Perfect because CDs are about $2 and wine bottles are $6 at the most here =)

We sign the lease/get the keys today and moving day is tomorrow–expect more pictures/updates once we’re settled in!