I thought finding a house to rent would be a relatively simple task and possibly quite fun. However it seems to move like a night out in Vegas – red or black?? I’ve spent hours looking at different properties on the internet and I definitely know what I want and what I don’t want. Mr D and I also have some great team work going in terms of criteria – he wants a garage (to store the endless amount of crap that he emptied out of the garden sheds and insisted on shipping over) and I will choose everything else. Perfect!! My list is pretty simple too….. white walls (can’t have anything clashing with my furniture), open plan, decent kitchen and bathroom, close to the sea – etc etc etc – surely I can find something along those lines!!! Can I???
I shortlisted a few and got to work, with Natasha, the relocation agent that Mr D’s company has assigned to help me. First step is to view the properties. I thought Natasha would make us an appointment and we’d go and have a look, see one we like, make an offer and move in. Simples! Unfortunately I’ve quickly realised that this isn’t the case. We arrive at house number one and there is a queue of people lined up outside the front door!!!!! Looking a little puzzled, I ask Natasha what’s going on and she explains that it’s an open house and for 15 minutes only (and believe me, she’s not kidding) anyone interested can view the house. I can’t tell you how strange it is to be walking around a house with 15-20 other potential tenants. It’s like dining with the competition!!! I can’t help trying to listen in to everyone else’s conversations to get potential ammunition in case I might need it later!! I was totally bemused by the whole situation.
Luckily for me I had time to get used to this fiasco as the first 7 or 8 houses did not live up to my expectations for one reason or another (not that I’m fussy or anything!! Well, ok, maybe just a little fussy – but there is nothing wrong with that!!).
Then the the crisis arrived – after queueing at the front door (again) I finally walked into THE house!! Ok, it’s not perfect, but it just about ticked every box AND it has a garage (bonus :)) and at last it was something with a homely feel to it. Looking around at all the other interested parties wondering through the house, I suddenly started to panic – what if someone else gets this house and I have to go back to queueing at front doors???? So, I walked straight up to the agent (who may I add looked like he had just finished high school and really didn’t want to there) and asked “excuse me Joe, how do I secure this property?” “Fill in an application form and drop it in that box”He replied nonchalantly. Clever me had come pre-prepared with an application form, just in case I found the right house (thanks for the tip Natasha). So I dopped it in the box and politely asked “So what happens now – how to I secure this house?” He then proceded to tell me that once he had collected in all the applications forms he goes through them to make sure they all meet the correct criteria (eg: bank statements, credit checks etc) and those that are left get passed on to the landlord and he will then decide who he would like to have as new tenants “Oh, I say! So how do I make sure he picks us?? Is there anything I can do to secure it???” Nope!! Are you serious, I’m thinking – I thought the early bird got the worm – or least had the best shot at it. So I ask again ” Is there really nothing we can do?” Well, he says, You could write the landlord a letter”. “A letter?? “Yes, stating why you want the property”. I turn to Natasha and ask if there is something she can do (I mean she is being paid to find us a house) and she just shakes her head. “This is the just the way the system works she says”. God, I wish Kirstie and Phil were here – I’d never have this problem then!!!