• Vidhya S

There's No Temporary in Home

Hey guys! So this post is going to be about finding a rental home. After college, we find jobs and some of us may be thinking of getting our own place. Some may consider buying a house and others may choose to rent for now before deciding on where to settle down. My husband and I fall in the latter category and I thought I'd share some of our experiences with you. Hope it helps all you rental home seekers!

Well, my house hunting experiences started before I got to know my husband actually. When I got my first job, it was quite a distance from home so I decided to rent a room closer to the workplace. I looked online for some time but never managed to find the right place. So one night I call my best friend and decide to rant to her about this whole house hunting business and one thing leads to another and BAM! My friend's mum knew someone from work who was looking for a tenant herself and it was close to work. So I went to check out the place.

Ok, so it's about here that you need to know something about me - I love dogs! I have always wanted to have a golden retriever. And when I go to check out this place, guess what pet my soon to be landlords have? A golden retriever! It was fate! I meet the landlady, check out the room and get excited about Whiskey (the oh so cute golden retriever). By the time I leave the house, I've already decided that this is the place!

When I get home, my dad asks me how it went and I say really well of course. And then he proceeds to ask further questions like: 

  1. How's the neighbourhood like?

  2. Is there ample parking?

  3. Who cleans the shared kitchen?

  4. Does the room have a fan?

  5. Does the shower have a heater?

To which I just reply with a stunned expression because I had no clue! I was so caught up with Whiskey that I didn't ask any practical questions about the room or locale itself. So the lesson here is: It's natural to get caught up by awesome features a place has to offer like a family pet, access to a pool or even a breathtaking view but when checking out a potential home, no matter for how long you'd be staying, ask all the practical questions. I was lucky; the place turned out to be perfect! It even had loads of eateries nearby where my husband and I used to go pak toh. But what if there was a leak? What if parking was a problem? What if there weren't any shops nearby to tapau food from? All these factors can be major deal breakers so it's best to study the area and property before committing to it. 

Once my husband and I got married, we started looking for a rental home to start this new chapter of our lives. When you're single, finding a place is all about what's convenient for you. But when you're looking for a place with your spouse/partner, it's all about what's the best compromise for both of you. It needs to be place that both of you like and that's relatively close to both your workplaces. This will take time, but the effort is worth it, trust me on this! The first thing I recommend is to decide on your preferred location. This helps you to narrow down your search. I used to work in Bangi and my husband works in Selayang which are both worlds apart so we knew the most important factor in choosing our rental home was location, location, location! So we turned to a trusted friend for advice - Google Maps! Basically, we looked for some middle ground between both our workplaces. Right smack in the centre was Taman Desa and we figured we'd give it a try. One cool feature that was really handy in Google Maps was the estimation of ETA between various destinations at different days and times. Using this, we were able to estimate how long it would take for us to travel to and from our workplaces during peak hours. Always remember guys, distance alone is not the sole determinant of a smooth journey in KL, traffic jam plays a major role! Consider using this feature to decide which location would be ideal for your partner and you.

This is a great feature that you can use to zoom in on a suitable location. You can choose different days and time and study how long on average the journey to and from work would take.

Once we decided on the location, we started our search online. Our Google history slowly became filled with searches such as house for rental taman desa, condo for rental taman desa, not so expensive condo for rental taman desa, why are taman desa rental rates so high, cheap apartment for rental taman desa, etc. Real estate agents became part of our frequently contacted list on our phones. We saw loads of places before finding the right one. There were times I was convinced we were never going to find a place! If you find yourself in this situation, don't worry, it's all part of the process. Before we found our current place, we were checking out this new condo unit in Taman Desa area and it was really nice! It was close to the highway with great facilities like a pool, gym and tight security. The only downsides were that it was way too close to railway tracks and the unit was smaller than we had expected (only about 700 sq feet). We were thinking over it when the real estate agent started asking us, "So do you like the unit? You can't take too long. It's high in demand...You need time? Fine, let me know within 2 days time ya." There were downsides to the unit, but we had looked at so many other places and we were a little desperate so we started convincing ourselves that we could get used to the sound of trains zooming by and that the size just meant we would get better at living a minimalist lifestyle. All this because we were feeling pressured by the real estate agent to commit to the unit immediately. Finally, we decided it was too big a decision to make on the spot and we told the agent that we'd get back to her. After reflecting on the matter, we came to our senses and told the agent it was not the right place for us. Space was something we valued. We wanted to be able to invite family and friends over for meals and accommodate their stay. We wouldn't be able to do that in a small condo unit. Till this day, whenever we pass by that condo building, I'm eternally grateful that we didn't commit to that place. Some agents might do this but if your gut says it's not the right place, don't compromise on your expectations. After all, who knows what you need better than you! Finally, our journey went full circle when we came to view a unit at the very same condo complex where we viewed our first unit in this mad rat race we call house hunting. This time it was the low rise units and we had two appointments. One a fully-furnished unit and another unfurnished one. We viewed the furnished one first and the rental was RM 1,700. Then we moved on to the unfurnished one with a rental of RM 1,350. I cannot even begin to describe it; when we saw the second place, the look on my husband's face was priceless. Seeing him so convinced sealed the deal for me. Between the two units, the unfurnished unit that we loved had some renovation work done for the washrooms and that was essentially what tipped the scale. However, in retrospect, I'm quite glad we got the unfurnished unit for a number of reasons: 1) We get to decide how to furnish the space to our liking, 2) We invested in furniture that we can bring along to our next place in future as opposed to paying RM 350 extra each month for a furnished place, and 3) I am extremely paranoid about bed bugs, so buying a new bed frame and mattress was a huge relief, phew! Since then, we have taken our time to slowly get settled into our new place, with loads of help from both our families. Together we decided on how to furnish the space we had to make it our home. The kitchen might be a little crammed, the washroom pipes may occasionally get clogged and we often have to run out to fetch the laundry from getting wet, but I wouldn't change a thing - it's home. On this note, I want to share with you some advice my father in-law gave us when we were house hunting. He said not to treat our rental home as if it were a temporary residence. Because no matter how long or short your stay, it's still home. So guys, even if you're looking for an in-between house, something before you buy your own place, look for something you love. Get excited and look around for a place you can imagine yourself building a home in. It might take some time, but with patience and a lot of site visits, you'll find the right place. I wish all you rental home seekers the best. I hope you find a place that puts the same expression my husband had when he first saw our place on your partner's face. 

Image by RetroSupply

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