House-hunting: traps and peeves

Via The Worst of Perth, this space-warped Shenton Park apartment, which reminds me of a certain scene from Jurassic Park.


Crappy photographs are one of the biggest things that get on my wick. In this era of internet house-hunting, I want to see photographs of every room, not just the one room you think is presentable enough. If you only show me a photo of the patio, I will assume the house is a rat-infested dump, and I will not even inspect.

I suppose with the rental market what it is around here, there is no incentive for real estate agents to be bothered at all. But on the flat-to-tenuous sales market? You would think they’d show a little interest.

What’s your biggest house-hunting peeve?

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26 replies

  1. When we were last flat-hunting, the biggest annoyance was landlords not listing how many separate flats were in a building. It’s not the most unreasonable thing – after all, plenty of people are going to cross something off the list as soon as they see it’s sharing a house with 3 other groups of strangers – but still, we’re going to do that *anyway* after we ring you to enquire, so save everyone some time, already!

  2. No pets! (for rentals, obviously). I mean, raise the bond and get a reference for its temperament, but why a complete non-negotiable ban? Surely, children or noisy hobbies would be more of a problem than two chubby house cats. What are they going to do – damage the foundations with the resonating frequency of their purrs? Sell catnip to the neighbourhood kids? The problem isn’t pets – just irresponsible pet owners, which you shouldn’t be renting to anyway.
    Also: how it isn’t even worth looking for property unless you’re planning to move in the next week. It’s useless looking for a place to be available in a few months’ time, and stressful not being able to make firm plans.

  3. They do cover the rest of the house, but the why-dangle lens is used several times more.Must be a new purchase.

  4. But where are the velociraptors?

  5. [giggles] Well, I can only share rental stories; but from my current property? Check to make sure that there’s hot water coming out of the kitchen tap. Run it forever if you have to. Don’t find out when you wash up the first night you’re there… ;-P
    WildlyParentheticals last blog post..Champagne Days…

  6. Velociraptors in the laundry = definitely a deal-breaker! 😉

  7. Does it say bad things about me that I know they did their kitchen at Ikea?
    Even the Velociraptors look flat-packed. . .
    Grendels last blog post..Back in the Third Place again

  8. Does it say bad things about me that I know they did their kitchen at Ikea?

    I had exactly the same thought. And how much nicer would that teeny kitchenette look if it was done with the barely-more-expensive IKEA cabinets?
    Now I want flat-packed IKEA velociraptors to decorate my kitchen. Waaaa.

  9. I want to live in the magical twisty curvy house in which the conventional geometrical laws of space-time do not apply!

    So, um, how much is the bond?

  10. I once found this with the description
    (can someone do the magic that makes the photo show up pls?)

  11. I really hated it when rental properties were left on websites well after they were rented out. I lost count how many times I rang up an agency to inspect a place I saw on their website, only to be told it was gone. And not just ‘oh, someone rented it this morning’, some of them had been taken days before.
    I can understand this coming up on a print ad in a newspaper, but there really isn’t any excuse not to take something down – or even mark it as ‘taken’, on a web advertisement.

  12. I can understand this coming up on a print ad in a newspaper, but there really isn’t any excuse not to take something down – or even mark it as ‘taken’, on a web advertisement.

    Sadly, way too many websites are designed so that only the webmaster, or the one key employee who knows their way around HTML, can alter content. This means that even if the business wanted to mark it as “taken” they can’t do it themselves.
    But there is no real excuse for it for a real estate website. They’re obviously managing the images with gallery software unless they’re total masochists, and all decent gallery software has a watermark feature. It would be so easy to add the ability to tag the images of “taken” properties with a quick edit of the entry so that a big-arse watermark “TAKEN” showed up on those images.

  13. When I was househunting my peeve was the same as everyone else’s: the chronic, deliberate underquoting. Such a pathetic & ridiculous waste of everyone’s time. We made an offer on a house once that was right in the middle of the advertised expected selling price range, and the agent openly and rudely laughed in our faces and said she wouldn’t be even bothering to pass that on to the vendor.

  14. My rental horror story: was very very desperate, viewed a place on an overcast day with no lights installed. Moved in only to find blood stains and bullet holes in one of the rooms.

  15. Eep! I’ve never had anything that bad. The last house we lived in (a rental) had had a cat pee – likely repeatedly, and over a long period – in the only room with carpet. We aired the house for weeks, and in desperation I dripped essential oil all over the carpet. The landlords refused to replace it. That house was also the one where the “garden” when we moved in consisted of well-established weeds mown to lawn height. I slashed my foot open on one of the weed trunks on the “lawn”.
    This house – which we’re buying (ha!) – had major plumbing issues, despite being inhabited before we moved in. The only tap in the house that didn’t need replacing was the bath. The washing machine taps just plain didn’t work at all. The “hot water system” wasn’t. The “built in wardrobes” were homemade jobbies made of tip plywood, raw asbestos sheets, and mirror tiles.
    We had three weeks between settlement and move-in to fix all of this, install flooring to half the house, and install air conditioning. Somehow, it got done.
    I’ll tell you about the indoor water feature in the kitchen some other time.
    We love it here.

  16. I like the swimming pool understatement. Look forward to reading a listing that says “Lean-To Kitchen (Needs a Bulldozer)”.
    Also, it may just be personal paranoia, but the only thing I find scarier than that the uber-cheapest Ikea kitchen, is the brass garden spigot on an INDOOR wall…

  17. Biggest house-hunting peeve? Real estate letting agents, of course! Even when you’re a landlord they are a bloody pain.

  18. This story is from a friend of a friend, but anyway – a couple, with children were waiting to view a flat in Sydney with a number of other couples without children. The real estate agent asked them if the children where theirs, and when they said yes, told them not to bother viewing the flat or putting in an application, since there were so many other couples without children viewing the flat,the landlord wouldn’t even consider them.

  19. My only tip is, watch out for flats where the place is presented with furniture in it but without a washing machine in the bathroom or laundry, and without a fridge in the kitchen. Classic space-maximising technique, but as soon as you put your machine in you won’t have enough room to move.
    My favourite story is a friend who was looking for a cheap single-person place in Sydney and answered an advert for an ‘indoor/outdoor garden studio’. Which turned out to be the back yard of this woman’s house, over which she had stuck a bunch of tarpaulins. When asked about security, she was assured that ‘it was a low crime area’ and also that ‘everybody gets broken into sometimes, it’s the luck of the draw’.
    The bedroom was the garden shed, and to use the bathroom, kitchen or laundry she would have to come inside the house, which was tenanted by another couple and to which she didn’t have a key so she would have been dependent on them being home and letting her in.

  20. MrLaurie and I have recently moved into a new rental – our first adventure in shared living. We knew we were good candiates – both having rented for more than three years, and both with well paid, secure government jobs.
    But the real estate agents couldn’t care less. They didn’t want to open anything for us at a reasonable hour (all opens were for 15 minutes ONLY, and at weird times of the day), and just did not want to help at all.
    Luckily, we didn’t take too long to find a place, but it was a very stressful experience. I wouldn’t want to be hunting as a ‘less desirable’ candiate (kids/pets/patchy history/average or below average wage). How students are managing to find anything is beyond me.

  21. OMG. I have so many housing gripes. I think my pick for the day might be the fact that in Canberra rental prices are ridiculous and it is impossible to live on your own because of that. Soooo many other gripes though.
    Kim, Lauredhel gave an excellent example of why many people won’t consider pets, particularly cats. Another two good reasons are, some people are allergic (e.g. me – to cats, anyway) and if people *don’t* keep them inside, some do attack wildlife.

  22. That’s the kitchen? Wow.
    Nothing as bad as some of the experiences listed here but when we were looking for our most recent house we found one in the area we were looking for with only outdoor photographs. So I’m assuming the place hasn’t been redecorated since it was built in the 20s. Then my boyfriend pointed out that the photographs must have been taken on an overcast day and the blue sky photoshopped in – there was a big gap where there was no sky on one of the photographs.
    Another one was a listing for a house on a main road. Instead of just talking up the benefits of the place, the agent spent the first four lines talking about how “you’d barely even notice the noise of the traffic”. If I was the vendor I would have had a fit.

  23. We are on the other end of this at the moment. We want to live together, so we would like to let the house that belonged to one of us so we can live in the house that belonged to the other. And the agents are being a Real Pain. All this reliance on ‘references’ (as if they couldn’t be faked very easily – I would!) has meant we have lost two applications so far. But if we tell them not to bother with all the reference palaver and then we do get bad tenants (which do of course exist) we won’t have a leg to stand on. And we are too old to enjoy falling over. And they are disorganised. Swapping to another agency would only prolong the process – we just want it to be over and some nice people, small pets or children no object, signed up.

  24. Ringing an agent, making the earliest possible appointment (they wont show properties that have tenants in them, so asap after the tenants move out) and then ringing back to confirm the appointment only to find that the property is gone.
    That and agents who put the phone number of a Chinese takeaway on the website instead of their own.

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