I spy....our new place!
That's right! After months of house hunting, we've finally found THE place. We thought we found a place just before Christmas, but when we went to sign the papers, we were shocked by all of the superfluous fees (as Raoul mentioned in his last blog entry), so we decided to keep looking.
The next place we considered was a 2 bedroom duplex. It was closer to town, and quite close to some of our friends, but it had some pitfalls as well. It was quite small, it was right on the edge of the train line, the neighborhood seemed safe, but wasn't the best, the landlord seemed a bit dodgy, there was only a bath, no shower, and when we saw the kitchen (which was about the size of a closet) I wasn't even sure there was an oven. We decided not to take it.
After that one, it was a while before we found a place that sounded suitable. We were starting to look at places further from town, and that weren't on the train line, which would definitely make our costs go up. (We're pretty far out of town now, but because Raoul takes the train into town for work, it doesn't cost us too much extra on petrol.) After a few weeks of looking, Raoul received an email offering a loft apartment, close to town and to our friends, and we decided to go see it. I had reservations about the place even before we saw it because I knew it would be 1 bedroom, and much smaller than where we are now, but I was actually quite impressed when we looked at it. To start with, it was in a very nice neighborhood, close to several of our friends. It was also very pretty. The complex was nice, had lots of trees, a community pool, etc. The apartment itself was quite spacious for a one bedroom, and the bathroom was actually larger than the one we have now. It had a small balcony, a skylight, and a very nice kitchen. It was also a bit less expensive than other places we'd been looking. Raoul and I were planning on taking it and finding other places for the furniture and things we have that wouldn't fit there.
Just before we were going to tell the guy we'd take it, Raoul spotted an ad for a 2 bedroom duplex in a complex close to where we're living now. On a whim, we decided we'd take a look at it and then make our final decision. It ended up being the place we chose! The complex has a modern feel to it. It's quite a bit different than where we are now, although it's literally only 2 minutes away. We walked in, and the first thing I noticed was the very nice kitchen. It looks very sharp- dark wooden cabinets, dark gray counter tops, and stainless steel accents. The kitchen is separated from the sitting room by a counter. The sitting room is carpeted and has a sliding glass door at the back which opens to a braai area (which we're also excited about) and a small garden. The two bedrooms and the bathroom are upstairs. The bathroom is a bit bigger than the one we have now, shower over bath, with sliding glass doors instead of a shower curtain. The two bedrooms are both rather small, but both have built in cupboards (very important storage for us), and the master bedroom opens onto a balcony, which of course I fell in love with. We both really liked the house, and decided to talk to the landlord (who was the one showing us the house) about how the fees would work, because we were cautious after seeing so many other places outrageous fees. Much to our delight, he said that there wasn't a lease fee at all, that he didn't charge for a credit check, and that the only thing needed would be the deposit. We told him that we would like to take it, and the next day he called Raoul and told him that it was ours.
We're really going to have to scrape to get together the money for the deposit, but after that's paid we should be able to level back again. The place is more expensive than where we are now, but there isn't a place that could beat this price. We knew we'd be paying more. Even the one bedroom apartment we almost took was more expensive than here. Overall we're very happy with the new place. We'll be getting the keys in a week or two (it needs to be cleaned and fixed up a bit after the last tenants), and then it will be all the work of moving. Fortunately we have wonderful friends who I'm sure will help us with the move. (To any of you wonderful friends reading this, yes that was a HUGE hint...pretty please?)