For those of you who haven’t seen my braggy status updates and Instagram photos – I moved to Three Anchor Bay over the weekend!
I saw an ad on Gumtree on Thursday evening – I called, went to the viewing and 3 days later I moved in. I was very fortunate to find the place, because getting a place in Cape Town is HELL. I started looking last year in November and only found a place at the end of February.
I know people who found their place within a week, and then I know people who found it after 6 months. It takes even longer if you’re looking for a bachelor flat, because it’s just you – you have to look, call, follow-up, go to viewings and most importantly: you only have your salary to show.
Looking for a 2-bedroom/3-bedroom place is slightly less vomit-worthy, because there are three people trawling Gumtree and three salaries to impress owners or agents.
That said; I don’t think it’s easy for anyone to find a place in Cape Town. If you don’t have endless time or money, it will be a mission.
Here are the 9 circles of hell of apartment hunting in Cape Town.
Circle one: People who list ‘wanted’ ads
There’s nothing as disappointing as seeing a well-priced flat and then realising it’s some poephol who listed a “wanted” ad.
I hope you never find a flat. Kidding, just kidding…
Circle two: Ads with no contact number
Oh, thanks for only leaving an email address. I’m sure my email will stand out among the 90000 others you’re going to receive today.
Circle three: People who don’t respond to calls or emails
Look, I know it gets chaotic answering all the mails and calls, and I don’t actually expect you to respond after your ad has reached 1000 pageviews. That said, if your ad has only been up for a few hours, or even a day – YOU CAN TAKE MY CALL.
And let’s not forget those people who only let you know about a viewing one second before it is meant to take place. “Hi there, we’ll be having a viewing at 14h00 today. Please confirm if you’ll be able to make it.”
It’s now 13:45. No. I will not be able to make it.
Circle four: People who forget to remove their Gumtree ads
Forgetting your ad on Gumtree is the same as forgetting your child at the beach.
Please remove the ad once you’ve found a tenant – don’t give people false hope.
Circle five: Estate agents
The really great thing about being an estate agent is that you never have to worry about what you’re going to have for lunch, because you’ll always have a wide variety of souls to eat.
I’m not sorry.
Circle six: Group viewings
The history books have it all wrong. Darwin actually based his Survival of The Fittest theory on a group viewing in Cape Town.
There’s no camaraderie – don’t think that you can talk to anyone just because you’re in the same boat as them.
I made the mistake of trying to be nice to people at group viewings (luckily I only went to two) and in return I got the stink eye.
Circle seven: “Per day” adverts
Me: Oh, wow! This place is gorgeous! It’s only R4000 per month.
Gumtree: LOL, it’s per day, fool.
Circle eight: Geographically challenged advertisers
I saw three ads (by different people) advertised as Cape Town CBD.
They were all in Strand.
Moenie stront praat nie!
Circle nine: Euphemisms
Charming = SMALL
Recently renovated = One cupboard was fixed
Ample off-street parking = You’ll be able to park 2 blocks away
Popular apartment block = Noisy as hell
Yup. That concludes the 9 Circles of Hell.
[divider type=”dashed” spacing=”10″]
Some tips for those of you who are flat-hunting
Gumtree is king
I went through a phase where I thought I wouldn’t be able to get a place through Gumtree. I felt defeated because I kept seeing ads with 1500+ views. But Gumtree truly is the best place to look – it’s where I found my place. They recently launched this incredibly handy property tool, which shows you what the average price of a flat is in the area that you’re looking in.
It also shows you how the rental prices increase over time – something which is very useful if you’re looking to buy/rent long term. The tool also lists the properties in that area.
Tip: Bookmark your search term on your phone and check it whenever you have free time. I checked mine in queues, in the bathroom (that’s right) and on the train. You can also subscribe to a Gumtree alert, which will send you a digest of ads under your search term once a day.
Don’t ignore ads without photos
If the description sounds good, arrange a viewing. Talya over at Shades of Gold found her flat that way, and so did I. You are also welcome to contact the advertiser and ask for some photos. Just don’t expect an answer.
Use alternative search engines
Call – don’t email
Avoid emailing as much as possible. I know it’s difficult to call when you’re at work, and I also know that advertisers don’t always answer their phones. But your odds are still higher when you call.
Have your documents ready
Make sure that you have the following at all times:
- 3 Months Bank Statements (Stamped by the bank)
- A copy of your ID
- Proof of residence
- A copy of your latest payslip
If you can gooi in a few references from your employer/freelance employers/previous landlord – that’s great.
Finding a place in Cape Town is a bitch, but once you live here… It’s so worth it!
P.S. Stay tuned for a post about my place – it’s still a work in progress.