Apartment Hunting – hip hip hooray

Initially, when I planned to move to New Orleans, an amazing opportunity fell into my lap.  My best friend worked with a guy from Texas who told her he owned several properties in the US, including an AMAZING house in New Orleans.  “It’s fully renovated” he told her “your friend can live there, if she likes.  I don’t rent them out because it’s too much hassle, but if she promises to look after the property for me, she can have it”.

Ho boy, I thought.  FREE HOUSE!  At the time it did seem a little too good to be true, but what could possibly go wrong?  I met with him.  He seemed like an amiable, pleasant fellow.  He spoke about contracts and lawyers and things that lent an air of legitimacy to the whole proceedings.  It seemed quirky, but not impossible.  When I asked him why he wanted to do this, he said “Well, I like to help people out!  It seems like it’ll work out well for both of us!”.

In the weeks following our meeting, however, I heard less and less from him.  Not wanting to badger the person who was being so kind and generous, I tried to reign in my desire to type out an all-caps missive to the tune of “WHAT IS HAPPENING, GUY!?”.  I heard from my friend that he’d taken a break from work and gone on a holiday back home to Texas.  I sent him a text before he left:

Hi!  I hope you have a great time when you’re aware – we’re still on for the house, right?  I need an address for my visa forms.

Response:  Sure.

Me:  When do you get back?

Response (about three days later): July 9.

Queue the first week of July.  I was already starting to get a bit anxious, as I’d sent him several emails which hadn’t garnered any responses.  I took pains to be very polite and easy going in this emails.  In truth, the last one was somethings along the lines of “If this all looks like it’s going to be a bit tricky don’t worry!  Just let me know so I can start looking for somewhere else to live – I leave in about 10 days”.

Nothing.

Then my friend informed me he had quit his job.  Via email.

Then a little recreational googling turned up the fact that there were two bench warrants issued for him in the state of Texas.

Why do these things always happen to me?

Finding myself bereft of housing and with only a week or so to go before I moved, naturally, I began to panic.  Fortunately combing the real estate listing on nola.com and craigslist, it seemed like there were plenty of good houses and apartments for rent for an extremely reasonable price.  Sure, not as reasonable as “free”, but also probably not rented out by a landlord wanted by the municipal court of Texas.  So win/win, right?

Here I feel I need to interject with what constitutes ‘reasonable rent’, to someone from Perth.

In Perth, rental properties are listed with a dollar amount per week (rather than per month, as in the states).  To give you an idea of what is reasonable rent in Perth at the moment, I have provided you with some educational examples:

Here is a property near where I used to live.  A two bedroom apartment listing for $380 a week.  That’s $1520 a month.

Here’s another place that looks quite nice, also in the area in which I used to live.  Three bedroom, looks a little bit run down, but good neighborhood.  $500 per week.  Do the math.

Let’s say you can’t afford that (because let’s be honest here – who can?) and your rental budget is no more than $600 p/m.  What can you expect to get for that?

Would you like to live in Coolgardie? (Note: I have no idea where Coolgardie is, and I have lived in Perth for 15 years). (Update: I just asked my mother.  Apparently it is near Kalgoorlie.  This makes it about 5 hours out of Perth).

Similarly, you could live in Manjimup – 4 hours out of Perth. (“Mum, how many hours away from Perth is Manjimup?” “God, I dunno.  Four?  Five?  I don’t know.  Who goes there?”)

So basically if you’re looking for a rental even slightly near civilisation for under 1k a month…hahahahahha.  No.

In addition, renting has gotten so insane in Perth that even employed, respectable tenants with plenty of stellar rental references are getting turned down for even the most rundown, icky properties because TWENTY OR THIRTY PEOPLE ARE TURNING UP TO EACH HOME OPEN.

Therefore, imagine my glee when I found this sort of thing:

2 bedrooms, 10 minutes or so to central New Orleans, French Quarter etc – $1350 p/m

$650 p/m

$1500 p/m, 3 bedrooms

$1000 p/m, 2bed 2 bath

$795 p/m, 3 bedrooms – let’s just break that down – that’s $66.25 per week, per person.

Hahahahahaha.

Needless to say, I was/am in some sort of real estate heaven.  Any minute now, I figured real estate Jesus was going to descend upon me, blessing me with the holy sacrament of central air and hardwood floors.  “Bless you, my child” real estate Jesus would say, as he helped me construct my newly purchased IKEA flatpack furniture.

Except there was one slight snag.

New Orleans landlords are allergic to email.

I’m not sure if it’s just me.  Perhaps beginning the emails “I am an Australia graduate student…” made it all sound a little bit too much like a Nigerian scam.  But for whatever reason, off the 30+ emails I sent to realtors and potential landlords, I had perhaps 2 replies.  And when I replied to those replies, nothing.

So here’s the lay of the land: I arrive in New Orleans on the 23rd of July, and as of right now, I have nowhere to live.

If you see me on a street corner, please give generously.  Or just tell the damn landlords to respond to my emails.

 

3 Comments

  1. Emma
    Jul 14, 2012

    Srsly!? Warrants!? That’s mental, does it mention what for? Oh god, what if he’s a raper!

  2. Chris
    Jul 15, 2012

    “Would you like to live in Coolgardie? (Note: I have no idea where Coolgardie is, and I have lived in Perth for 15 years). (Update: I just asked my mother. Apparently it is near Kalgoorlie. This makes it about 5 hours out of Perth).

    Similarly, you could live in Manjimup

    Holy shit. Australians were more creative naming places than fucking Tolkien.

    • Kia
      Jul 16, 2012

      Aboriginal place names, bro. Those cats are super creative. It’s hilarious listening to the American-voiced SATNAV on my android try and pronounce things.

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