Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It is an adventure to find a place to rent.

My searching for a place to rent have make some heads turning at me. "I thought your place is good, why move?", said A. "Why are you moving? Your place seems fine.", said B. "Your new place done, you are moving?", said C. For all these questions put forth at me, I replied, "Yes, my current place is fine. And no, I am not moving to my new place yet; it's not complete". So I told them my owner is raising my rental from RM950 to RM1050. That's expensive? Yes, it is expensive. 

My current place I rented has no water heater in the bathroom. There's no air conditioner in the bedrooms. And the whole place is near empty. The only request that I made to the owner was a fridge, some kitchen cabinets that I can cook and a washing machine. Otherwise it is an empty unit for RM950 per month. Is it expensive? Yes it is. If not my request, it would be horrendously money wasting rent. Anyway, I rented this place out of desperation because I want to move out as soon as possible from my previous horrifying owner. That was another story. Aside that, my partner was suffering from a horrifying house mate too. That was the reason i jump at the best opportunity to move. That was my first step. 

Now, it was time for me to move because I can't sustain the thousand ringgit per month rent anymore. Down the road I might need to start servicing my new house loan and this rental for-the-moment will become a burden. Getting a cheaper rental is good for me and my partner too. My partner can help me out paying the rent. I can focus on my new house and plan for the renovation. Getting a house is not as easy as one think. There are many other things to consider until you say, "Okay, it's done, let's move in" and stay there forever. 

So began my journey to start looking for a better and cheaper apartment to rent. Some may say, "Oh, it is a tiring process". Well, you should look at it positively. You get to see many types of apartment and look at their structural design, layout and how furniture are put in place to entice you to rent that place. Just imagine you are walking through IKEA but one difference only; you get to rent it. 

Here's what I found along the way until i found my place :

1. Some place were dinghy and dirty; it was cheap rent. If you are bending on getting cheap and you want to save a lot, this place is the best. You will have to close one eye on a lot of things like the lifts are not well maintained, the cracked pavements, the dimly lit path along the corridors, the noisy neighbors, and many other things that you will say, "Eeee, this place... oh god...". Well, it is cheap for a reason so don't sulk about it. Oh, this place is mostly low-cost flats.

2. Some places are nice but lacking a parking spot. Now, it is one thing in Penang about properties - it is never enough for a family which has more than one car. And it is never sufficient for developers to create more than one car park. All this involves money. So car park is also another well sought after perk by people who are living in Penang. The apartment you are looking at is great, it has all the basic stuffs like fan, light, curtain, kitchen, fridge and washing machine BUT there's no car park. It's kind of let off right? Well, this is the turning point you will have to debate within your heart. What if I can't find a parking spot after a hard day of work? People who are working and living in this island has gotten used to parking very far away from their apartment. If you don't mind walking far then this apartment is your choice. However, you will start to compare the rental - "What?! For this rent, I can't get a car park?" No kidding, this happens!

3. Nice place, cooling and good but it's far away. The place is nicely build near the hill, it's chilly at night and peaceful. The neighbors are quiet and the place is well maintained. Certain things, you can just ignore like there's no fridge or no washing machine. It's a one off trade that you need to include in your consideration because not all rentals are perfect. There's bound to be always one thing you need to let it go. So, you come to this unknown park or taman, and it's so far deeply located in the island but the place was nice. The rent, it's on the average that you can afford. Unfortunately, it's far away and traffic are heavy. Again, you need time to consider over these factors. One, it is far. Two, heavy traffic. In your mind, you go, "Nah, I think over it and I give you a call tomorrow" to the agent. Most likely, you will never go back to that place again. 

4. Nice place but owner is calculative; non-negotiable. Of course, if you have experience looking for a place like me, you will bump into one of these owners. Yes, they will tell you they are agent too and they know the market price. Yet, they are not willing to negotiate and any special request to put in a fridge or a washing machine will immediately add another figure to your rent. The place may be nice, lacking certain basic amenities and because the place is strategically located in the center or near a good spot; this factor alone will make certain Penang owners deeply proud to mainpulate the rental as they please upon potential tenants. "Oh, he wants a washing machine, tell him either he share the cost with me OR I add up to the rent", said one owner cum agent. This kind of owner, my advice to you is to say no and move on. You will bound to have further complication from this kind of owner. 

Sometimes, you need to be less calculative when renting a place because you are not going to live at that spot forever. So, if you are like me looking for a place to rent whether long term or until your own place is done, it is better to look for a "well maintained" place and a good affordable rent so both you or your partner can help each other out. 

Finally, here's what you should think about when finding a place to rent:
- A well maintained place doesn't need to be fully furnish. As long as it has lights, fan, curtain, clean floor, clean working bathroom/toilet, and clean kitchen will be sufficient. All other perks like air conditioners, water heaters, fridge, washing machine, TV, internet are just additional stuff that will push up your rent. (if you can get all these for a reasonable and affordable amount of rent, you are lucky!)

- A good affordable rent are rents that you yourself or partner can afford to pay in the long run even if the owner decided to hike it up after a year or two when your contract expires. 

williamwilstroth... finding a place to rent...

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