Migrating to another country is really a tough one. In Australia, at least in Melbourne, finding a place to rent is more difficult than Singapore and Philippines. Here, when I was looking for a place to rent, I felt like I was looking for a job and when I got it, my heart was overjoyed.
We booked an airbnb apartment unit in Docklands for 3 weeks. Our requirements for the house/apartment were: near to tram/train station, not too far from the city, near to supermarket (Woolworths or Coles), as much as possible newly built or newly renovated or well-maintained one, lots of natural light and most of all within our budget. First area is of course Melbourne City. As you know or may not know, Melbourne means Melbourne City and inner suburbs. Come the first inspection day in the city, I was so excited. When I reached the place, it was like I am queuing for a blockbuster movie. But the place was not as good as I expected it to be. After few more inspections in the city, I decided to forget the city and focus on searching in the inner suburbs. This means I will be travelling outside the free tram zone and a bit far.
After our first inspection in St. Kilda suburb with my husband and my daughter, we realized it was more expensive and tiring if we all go together for inspection. Expensive because we have to take the taxi so that we can reach the place and return as soon as possible. Why? Because my husband is working remotely so he cannot be out for long during office hours. Tiring because my daughter can be very impatient, very active inside the property and sometimes she had to give into the call of nature and we have to find a nearby toilet.
I am not good in direction. I know in this journey that I will get lost but I have no choice. I can only pray and rely on maps. I just ensure that I have cash in case my myki card, use for paying in public transports, needs reloading. Yes, extra cash for reload not for taking taxi. In Philippines and Singapore, I use extra cash for taxi if I get lost. Taxi in city has taxi stands and you can’t just hail them. It is also difficult to get a taxi outside the city. On the first week, that was Saturday, I booked 8 inspections in a day. Unlike on weekdays that I can only leave after lunch, that time I left at 9am. I went to Hawthorn, Armadale, Malvern and St. Kilda. I traveled in 5 trams with total of 68 tram stops, walked almost 2.5 hours in total and guess what, I have to give up the last 2 inspections in Coburg because I was too tired. I came home at 5pm and submitted 3 applications.
One week had passed but negative. I inspected many properties but there are 10 or more who viewed and probably submitted their application too. Our chance was small because I have no job and we are new in Melbourne compared to others. We revised our profile in 1Form. This is the website where you submit your application to rent a property. Agent and owner will review your profile and they will decide whether they will accept or reject your application. We wrote almost 2 paragraphs stating why we were the best candidate for the property we applied. Sounds familiar? I know right, it’s like when you are writing a cover letter for job application.
I thought I can find a place and at the same time find a job. But actually, I cannot do both. It was stressful and not to mention there is a toddler and I have to do household chores. My husband is working at the same time taking care of our daughter while I am away. It’s a teamwork but still stressful. Maybe because we were used to a comfortable life in Singapore.
On the second week, I could not find a good property. All my inspections didn’t meet my standards. We decided to stretch our budget a bit more to increase our options. I started to lose hope and thought that maybe we need to extend our stay in airbnb.
After 12 days, while I was viewing one property, I received a call from the first property I inspected outside the city. She asked about my husband’s job and called my husband for more details. Later in the afternoon, she confirmed verbally that our application was accepted. We were so happy and thankful. The next day we received the confirmation email and we can get the keys after 4 days. That’s 3 days before our booking ends in airbnb. Thank you Lord!
The place we get is actually the best among the properties I viewed and the first property I inspected outside the city. It’s near to tram station and few stops to city. One minute to supermarket and near to the wet market. The place is newly built and we are the first tenant. It has 1 bedroom, 1 study room and a balcony. Just enough for the 3 of us.
In those 2 weeks, I got lost twice. The tram stops do not look the same. Some has nice-looking tram station. Some are in the middle of the street. Some are in the same lanes as the cars and you will only rely on the signs. That is where I get lost the first time. The second time was navigating through the map. I went to the wrong direction. Hehehe. But that’s ok. I still reached home and didn’t need to call for some help. Getting around Melbourne and inner suburbs to look for a place to rent was part of our journey. I learned a lot and I got to know Melbourne more. And I will write about it next time.