Milestone: Renting a House

Today is a good day to note. We finally secured a home lease after a week of intensive hunting and we are moving tomorrow, Saturday.

House viewing is normally in the morning or late afternoon. This time round we aimed for the houses opened for viewing in the morning. First, I could view the houses because I do not work until 3.30pm. Second, there would be less competitors viewing the places as it was normal working hours for most. I will write down my house hunt 'success tips' in another post.

The problem with our house hunting was that I was almost short of sleep everyday, sometimes having needed to wake as early as 0900hrs - 1000hrs. Baby Albany didn't have a good time either. Each time we would wake her from sleep, tucked her into car and sped off. She would be awaken again shortly after she managed to doze off in her car seat as our choice locations were mostly nearby. After viewing she would be back to her car seat and be disrupted one final time when we reached home.

Poor Albany, I'm glad we do not need to go through this process anymore, at least for 6 months minimum. Our meals were poor during this period as well. Jen didn't have much time to cook. My dinner last night was an uncooked potato with hardened butter and cheese in the slit.

The offer came as a surprise. I almost forgot we applied for that one. I was placing my hopes on a pretty old house in Langford. I did a lot of small talk, my utmost effort, to convince the owner to rent his place to me - which was a very rare thing as I don't like to talk to strangers. True enough, we were offered but only after we signed the lease for the place we gotten. He was too late. I knew it was bastardy of us but we didn't have a choice. Should we wait for him and reject the current one, we might end up with nothing.

Our new place is a neat 3 x 2 in Gosnells. Gosnells is a very big place. There are good and bad streets. Don't start off with the 'Gosnells is a shit place' statements. We were desperate enough to almost apply for a 30 year old house in Camillo. This part of Gosnells is decent. The only drawback is a slight train noise. However the trains here are very short (compared to Singapore) and very fast (compared to Singapore) and don't make much noises (compared to, yes, Singapore). So I guess we'll be ok. I'll probably snap some pictures and post it if anyone is interested.

We always wanted to move but we were hampered by Albany's arrival. Procrastination was always on the agenda for a lazy couple like Jen and I, who hates to venture out of our comfort zone. The catalyst was Sandy, Eugene's wife, who wanted to raise our rental from A$160 to A$180/week, citing carbon tax as the reason. We decided that they were pushing their luck so it was time to bid goodbye.

The house is fairly new, at about 4-5 years old. The master bedroom is about twice of the size of the room we are squeezing ourselves - and all our belongings into at the moment. That alone should be enough for us, technically. With 2 more rooms, 2 toilets n baths, a fairly decent living room, our own kitchen, a garage with automatic shutter that can accommodate 2 cars, a small paved yard, I reckon we are fine with the A$360/week rental they are asking for. Yes we need to pay utilities and all those shit but it's about time we experience an independent Aussie life. We moved here for freedom in the first place.

At 0900hrs tomorrow, comrades with big cars will be outside waiting. I have no idea how we are going to succeed in moving everything without a large van, trailer or whatever. All we have Stephen's 4x4, Patrick's Mazda 3 and the most powerful super duper ultimate Barry White. We do not have huge items. Our queen size bed is the only challenge here. I'll figure. By tomorrow, Jen and I will have some privacy for the first time since we got married, though not for long. It's alright, at least we are finally in charge of our own business. It's not our house yet, we are still renting I know. 

A step a time, a step a time...


  1. Good on ya!!!!

  2. To add on to the above comment... See: to hire a UTE or Van from Bunnings at around $25-34 for an hour. Bunnings open real early, so you can try to book it before your anticipated move at 9ish.

  3. Hi

    I have been following your blog for a few months and has always look forward to the next post. We don't know each other and I am based in Melbourne since leaving Singapore 9 years ago. If it help, I rented for 2 years before we got our own home and have since moved twice after selling our first house in Melbourne.

    Just a short note to you to wish you luck and enjoy ur rented place.


  4. Congratulations.
    Now you should start planning to buy.
    Cheers and good luck!

  5. hey hey, congrats on finding your own place! :) You must be feeling very relieved.

    We also rented for a few yrs before buying our new place. One step at a time...

  6. Congratulations! That's great news.

  7. hi,
    I am glad u managed to rent a house. I am sure u will find this better than just renting a room. We also rented for a few years before buying our dream house.
    Let me know if u need any furniture. I do have some spare ones which I am sure u can put to good use.
    Will be very happy to help.My email address is
    Singaporean lady in Perth

  8. Cool... now you can start your own vege garden!

  9. Congrats to your new home. I hope soon u will buy a small hse of ur own. It will soon come if u keep working hard towards ur goal. Cheers.

  10. Congrats!

  11. Congratulations! I am very happy for you. It will be the next milestone for you and your family.

  12. will there now be a " Milestones:Break Even II"?

    1. Hi Singaporeanson,

      Dennis here, a pity we could not meet today due to wifey's work commitments.

      Just to give some idea, wifey and I moved to Perth from Singapore in 2008.Back then, I was alone here for the first 2 months finding a job and a place to rent before getting the wife and dog over.

      So I know how you feel on securing the first rental house, the feeling of freedom!

      We built our own house and moved in more than a year ago. While fulfilling there was a lot of stress and heartache....

      Winter is coming, have you got all your heating solved? I know you have not experienced a winter yet but it can be really cold and dreary.


    2. Hi Dennis

      Just curious - since you have experience building your own home - can you advise, is it better to build a new one or buy an existing one?

      What are the pros and cons you faced? I hope you can share for the benefit of all aspiring 1st time home owners.


    3. In addition to hard wooden floorings, old character ouses have wooden window frames and door frames. Not so plastic-ky. These houses are common in areas like subiaco, nedlands, Claremont, shenton park, cottlesloe - all these are prime areas. In fact, houses in north of the river are better value than those in the south. In the western suburbs, there are the prestigious private schools, so houses there are very expensive but hold their values very well.

      My folks have built and moved several times. After building and living in a house, we realized the faults or flaws in the design, and we would sell the place. That's life in Oz though, moving around and moving interstates, very common and that's where the fun is.

    4. This is suppose to be the first part of my response: (had to retype)

      Hope you don't mind me chipping in. Buying existing houses or build your own is exciting, and definitely has its pros and cons. Build your own: you get to choose the house design, builder, furnishings, decor, landscaping, etc. and all these comes with the headaches and stress to build with the builders, making sure they keep to the timing and progress without boo boos. Whether to buy existing or build a house, it all boils down to location and one's budget. Let's say if you want to lve in a mature estate and close to CBD, you would buy existing house. Building your own there would mean having to buy a house, hopefully at block value, then demolish and rebuild. E.g. In south Perth, Como, Vic park, being close to CBD or Willetton, Bullcreek, Bateman, Riverton because of the Rossmoyne Hogh School, and you want to be in that catchment area. Those land that are big enough would cost around $800K to $1M in those close to CBD. Smaller plots will be around $500K at least. I am talking about South Perth or Como area - which are hot zones for sub-division.

      That means, if you want to have 800 sq m of land to accommodate your kids and pets to run around, you would have to look for outlying areas like Aubin grove, atwell, harrisdale, canning vale, etc. land cost around $300K on average. Building a basic single storey is about $350K and basic double storey is $500k. But then, you have to consider the amenities, schools and public transport access in those areas.

      Also, living in old character houses has its plus points - these are common in south Perth, Como, shenton park, subiaco! Nedlands, etc. they tend to have very high ceilings, higher than usual 28 or 31 course of bricks. The furnishings tend to be in timber, which are very costly these days.

    5. Good stuff... thanks for the tips!

      I was checking out land & home package prices - the prices seem quite alright, esp in distant suburbs. Are these packages to be trusted? They are advertising new homes at about AU$300-400K, and which look great on the photos and floorplans. But are they really that good? Or is it just great marketing?

    6. Very often, the advertising will attract prospective buyers to the plot sale. Need to see who the builder is and/or the land sale company. Also, need to verify whether the advertised price includes land or just the building cost. Would you give me an idea which location this is? Ascot area?

      Some new developing areas still have a long way to go. E.g. joondallup was in the middle of nowhere back in the 90s. Developers went to Singapore to launch land sale, and even threw in a Mercedes A or C class as a bonus to the land&house package. Thus, there was a teochew saying "choon ji liap" (i.e. only one remaining). Quite a few people got sucked in, believing in the promise that rental could fetch a couple of hundreds a week. Guaranteed rentals for two years, etc. Houses were built but no tenants. It's only after many years that Joondallup finally picked up. Now, it's become quite expensive after being a satellite town. So, if you are building for yourself to live in, be selective of the location, land size, position, facing and builder.

      Another area is Ellenbrook. It has developed quite a fair bit, not a bad area considering it's far from city but very much like Joondallup, except that there is no train access. A friend of mine bought a land and built there about 10 years ago. She's a school teacher in her 20s then. Worked hard to pay for land and house, upon building completion, she leased it out for next few years as she could claim building depreciation cost in her tax as part of her negative gearing scheme. After the 7 years, she took back and lived in it herself.

    7. I actually have no preference at this time - was just searching, and looked up builders with better user feedback from

      No builder had perfect feedback, but a couple of the builders with fewer negative reviews are Aveling Homes and Dreamstart Homes in WA.

      All of them advertise home and land packages all over WA for between $300-500K. And suburbs about 25-35km away from Perth city seem to be priced about $300-400K.

    8. Those two builders you mentioned must be quite new. You are right, there's no perfect builder but make sure they are not overwhelmed with many projects. Otherwise, the project supervisor would be too stretched to oversee yours, and that's when trouble starts. The price advertised is probably for the land and very basic building cost. When you start changing designs or add furnishings, or need to build retaining wall, etc the cost will escalate. Also, take note of which builder is good for single storey or double storey. The house design must suit your needs. I find that most people, and from my own experience, tend to be swayed by the lovely designs and blinded one's judgment of its practicality.

    9. LOL... you are right about that.. I am at the moment swaying here and there and everywhere by the various design elements!! Haha!

      Ok... time to get practical and do more homework!

    10. Ha ha.. This is the beginning of the headache in building your own house but I am sure there is no complain. Just go take a look at all the showroom or open house to gain more perspectives. I have always liked WB designs. Peter Stannard is not bad as well. Dale Alcock is popular. If you have time, go to Ellenbrook, there is a whole stretch of showrooms on weekends. Go to National Homes website to find out their address of showroom in Ellenbrook.

  13. congrats on clinching a rented house. Wish I could have help you with your move.

  14. congratz on another milestone hit, mate! =)

  15. A$160/wk for a small room compared to A$360/wk for the whole hse is worth it!