Wednesday, August 14, 2013

International house hunting

How young is too young to have a stroke/heart attack? Cos I really think I might be about to. My sleep app recorded a miserable 36% sleep quality last night as I tossed and turned (and gave up altogether in favour of watching classic Father Ted), and today I feel like one giant ball of nervous energy.

My original plan for the new job was to base myself in Trier, Germany - easy(er) commute, cheap (normal-priced) housing and what fun to live in Germany for a few months! Once I started doing more research, however, it emerged that most German agents charge a standard 2.3 times the rent as their agency fees, and I can't/won't fork over 1000+€ plus bond for a 4-month lease. There are, of course, non-agency options, but it seems Germans aren't that keen to reply when you write to them in English.

So Plan B was to live over the French border in Metz, which seems a pleasant enough city although the commute is further and involves a train and a bus = multiple opportunities to run late. There's a lot of stuff going in my price range - this is very much the time of year to be looking, since there's a lot of movement with people changing jobs after the summer break or students coming to university, but that also means more competition. Hence I booked a trip to Metz this weekend to do some searching onsite. I don't really want to book something sight unseen, and there's not really any point emailing someone to say "hey, I'm hours away and can't visit and don't want the place until mid-September, but will you keep me in mind"? I've only enquired with one agency so far - who said they wouldn't rent anything to me. I have a sinking feeling this will be the case with anyone I ask, since I got rejected from every agency I tried except one back when I was looking here in Tours, and that was when I was only a couple of months into a (supposedly) renewable one-year contract. I understand I'm not a great prospect - only less a four-month contract and no French guarantor, but it still seems so harsh! Landlords aren't allowed to kick you out for not paying the rent in winter, so I suppose they don't want to take on someone whose income stream is forecast to dry up on the 1st of January and then is free to merrily squat there until April, or whenever winter is officially finished.

So, while I might try making some calls in Metz tomorrow (which is a public holiday here), it looks like it might be Plan C, live in Luxembourg itself. This obviously has the big advantage of not having several hours' worth of daily commuting, but the prices are insane. About 800€ seems average for a studio (or even worse, a flat-share, ugh), which is about twice the rent on my apartment here, which is a one-bedroom. Then there's the charges, bond and agency fees to think about...

I found one agency that is very flexible - leases start from 2 weeks, everything is set up for you and included in the rental price, but some of the properties they let seem the stuff of nightmares. Imagine sharing a house with 12 bedrooms in it but only one kitchen/living area/laundry, with people coming and going continually and no control over who you're sharing with, with the possibility that one week you could be sharing the space with 11 other tenants, and the next, with 22 (and still paying like 700€ for it)? I don't think I could stand it.

I feel like I'm going to take this job, and a few months later end up homeless with no money and no job. Something to look forward to then...

8 comments:

  1. Stressful! I guarantored you at your current place & could again if that would help!

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    1. Thanks! Will let you know xx

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  2. Have you tried Facebook? I am a member of a couple of Paris ones and there are always people listing their apartments when they leave or need to get out early.

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    1. Hey, thanks I hadn't thought of that. I bet things are a bit more lively in Paris than elsewhere though :)

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  3. Hope you find something suitable soon. of course not knowing the housing market there I have no helpful suggestions. Other than good karma!!! Love Denise

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  4. Ugh, I do not envy you! Keeping my fingers crossed that your living situation gets sorted :)
    P.S. I love, love, love Father Ted!

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    1. Cheers :) I know, I hadn't watched it in years, it was a lot of fun revisiting old episodes!

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