The first weekend of new flat hunting wasn't fruitful, but it also wasn't a complete bust. It dawned on me that I've only been on this hunt twice in the last 13 years, and the last time I was 'out there' was in 2001! t least I know what I don't want.
My current agent isn't being particularly helpful, but all the other agents I've spoken to this weekend have been, which was nice. I now feel more confident about how the process works these days and can be sure to attack it properly.
There were so many other people looking at the same flats as me on Saturday, at least 10 at the first place (which was tiny, dank and not nearly close to the 'immaculate' as advertised). The next few places were just OK, and if I was desperate I'd have considered them but I believe I can do better. It's a bizarre sight seeing 15-20 odd people all swarming into a place and checking everything out.
The other thing I've realised is I've been completely unrealistic in the rent I can expect to pay for something decent in the suburbs I'm willing to live in. I spend a lot of time at home, so I want something that I want to come home to. I'm going to have to bump up the top end of my range $20 to get that. Choosing to live by myself attracts a premium. I just can't do the flatmate thing at 38, and I have to accept that there's a price to pay for that.
So it looks like I'll be spending up to 30-33% of my take home pay on rent. Ouch, but that's the Sydney rental market these days.
I've crunched my numbers and that still leaves a $500 per month snowball available over and above set minimums from September, so I can still achieve my goal of being completely debt free by May 2010, so I'm going for it.