Monday, March 14, 2011

Home Is Where The View Is

Fortunately, this past month when we relocated we didn't have to worry about finding a place to live since we had taken care of this several months ago. Back in November when Mark was offered his new position was already temporarily working in the Perth office. Since I already had a ticket to join him for part of his secondment we decided it would allow us a head-start on the apartment hunt.
For an entire weekend we hit the streets, visiting the neighborhoods that potentially could be called home. We had clearly defined our needs--a small flat, easy access via public transportation to the CBD, small stores for grocery shopping, and a good place to run. In the end we decided that it was not a neighborhood or suburb that would best meet our needs, but instead we were ready for an inner-city urban adventure. With all the construction of new apartment buildings in the downtown area, it didn't seem like it would be too hard to find what we were looking for.
With notebook in hand we walked amongst the concrete towers jotting down names, locations and amenities. We would sit at doorsteps observing tenants entering and leaving, keeping in mind that the last place we wanted to live was in a building full of students. We peeked behind walls and over fences, attempting to determine the potential of unfinished construction sites; a jack hammer is no friend at 7:00 am. When the sun went down we set out in search of the boom-boom-boom of nightclubs that would keep us awake 'till dawn. When Sunday afternoon rolled around, as we sat at a riverfront bar sipping a cider, we scanned the city one final time knowing we had decided where we wanted to live--the Condor, one of Perth's newer, centrally located residential towers. Now, all we had to do was find an available apartment in the building.
It seemed that this would be an easy enough task. Especially since we had seen the sub-penthouse advertised in a local property management company's window. So first thing Monday morning we headed into the office to file our inquiry about the property. Our expression of interest brought a loud chuckle from the property manager as she told us that everyone in Perth wanted to live in the Condor. She then kindly offered to show me another listing and it was my turn to scoff--she couldn't possibly expect me to be interested in that student dump.
As we left the office we couldn't help but worry. The only thing that was keeping me from a panic attack was that our move was still a couple of months away. Mark headed off to work and I returned to our room and began to search the internet for available properties. Fortunately there are several local sites that not only list all available properties, but also the hours of open viewings--which last exactly for 15 minutes! For the next several hours I mapped out a week's worth of appointments. There were still a couple of buildings that I refused to even consider, but my list included properties across the downtown area and heading up the hill towards Kings Park. I was even considering furnished apartments--after all, Ikea furniture was never really built to move. At lunch I shared the list with Mark and he agreed it was probably the best strategy, and declared he would join me at viewings when possible. Within a few hours we began viewing flats. That evening as we sat in our dark hotel, listening to the music from the bar across the street blaring, we couldn't help but feel discouraged. Our afternoon visits had shown us that competition in the urban jungle was ferocious. I never imagined that over a dozen "kids" would show up to view a 1 bedroom place listed at AU$500 pw (per week)!  By Thursday I was frustrated and exhausted. I was ready to throw in the towel, but we had two final viewings. Both happened to be unfurnished places, and offered privately scheduled appointments--at least we wouldn't be fighting the masses. The first place was a possibility. The bedroom even had a view across the Swan River. My only concern was if the place would be professionally cleaned to remove the smell of smoke. The property manager tried to deny that a smoker lived in the apartment, but even if I could not see the ashtrays there was no hiding the stench, a smell that would linger in the heavy curtains and rugs long after the current tenants were gone. Perhaps we would revisit once the apartment was vacant and clean.
As we walked to the final place on our list I tried not to get my hopes up, but we were about to visit a brand new apartment at the Condor! We were not sure what floor, but it had a river view. We met the agent in the foyer and she was a bit surprised when we declined to see the pool--we didn't bother to mention this was the 5th unit we were visiting in the building and were already very familiar with the amenities. I could barely contain my excitement when we entered the lift and she pressed level 23. Just outside the door the agent stopped to apologize that the apartment had not yet been clean. As we entered the flat the dirt and dust were easily overlooked when were greeted with an unobstructed view across the Swan River. We knew that we had found a place to call home.


  1. You are very lucky if your house is big and beautiful. But you are more lucky if your house is near in beautiful places where the views are truly captivating and relaxing.

  2. Hi Maya, congrats on the new apartment. From the looks of the view you scored big time. I have to admire how much research you did and funny how it's sometimes the last one in the bunch that ends up being the best one of all. I look forward to reading about your city life in Perth. Looks like a fabulous start already. :)

    Have a great week....

  3. Congratulations. You really persevered and your patience and dedication paid off. That will be a great area. We stayed not too far away (Sebel). It will be a wonderful place to run and so close to the CBD. I loved the paths along the rive.

  4. Perseverance pays off! - That's a really nice View