7 Things I Hate About Flat Hunting

As you might know, I am now in the market looking for a place to call my own. After renting for a year, personally, I think the sensible thing is to invest in property that is actually mine, finally try all those lovely decor ideas I’ve collected from Apartment Therapy and it’s a good investment to make in your twenties.

But like most long-term decisions, the hunt for a flat has been very trying, to say the least. It’s been about four months now and I’ve looked at some really nice places and some dismal places that should be shut up and never see the light of day. I’ve met really nice agents, willing to give some advice to a first timer like myself, and some really aggressive agents that sms/call/email all the time.

It’s been challenging.

My experience has however helped me to find the 7 things I hate about flat hunting. Here it goes:

1. Too much advice

I know my friends, colleagues and family members all mean well, but sometimes it becomes so overwhelming to listen to and consider all the advice that everyone has to offer. It’s good listening to people who have already gone through the experience, but sometimes, the advice is contradictory, from very different (financial) viewpoints and just advice for advice sake. And being nice, I often stand there and listen. So while I appreciate all the advice and sage knowings from everyone, it is a bit of a challenge considering it all.

2. Sharky Agents

They call you all the time. They send you profiles of flats that’s out of your budget/out of your chosen areas/just not fitting. They chasing a commission. They’re not interested in your needs and wants. It’s just bad having to deal with them.

3. Sellers who want to take advantage of you

Being a first time, female buyer it is easy for sellers to think that you’re inexperienced with little knowledge in-house buying. While the first might be true, with the internet and sites like windeed.co.za, it becomes easier for people to research properties and even owners (I can look up if an owner is a serial investor etc). Also, once you’ve sifted through the advice you’ve received, articles you’ve read and books you’ve scanned, you also have some idea about what to look for and what to be cautious about. In the past few months I’ve made two offers based on research I’ve done on the properties and the owners which we below their asking price. One guy, who said the price is non-negotiable, actually brought down the price because I did some research on him !

4. Search, Enquire, Visit, Reject

Yes, I need to be patient.

5. Patience

Everyday is another day I am renting and not owning, every month it’s a payment that could’ve gone into my bond and not someone elses.

6. What you get is not what the ad says

There’ve been countless times where I pitch up at a flat and the flat is almost completely different from the ad. “Five minutes from the station” is actually 10 minutes. By car. “Sunny kitchen” is actually a small window which gets three minutes of sunlight. “Clean and well looked after” is filthy walls with scruffy mat. I’ve seen some really bad places.

7. If it’s meant to be it will be.

I’m just not philosophical enough to believe this each time someone says it me.