So my landlord wants to increase the rent. Argh. We've been here two years; moving in during the GFC when prices were kept low. Plus we're a little out of Central so the rent's not too high, however as the new MTR will reach us soon rents are starting to creep up.
To see what else I could get for my money (rent is $17,500 now, landlady wants to increase to $19,000) first I had a bash at the online real estate websites (fail) and then spoke with two different agents. With their help I'm now aware that nicer (i.e. renovated) apartments identical to mine in the same apartment building are going for $18,500+. Ok, so she's not being totally unreasonable however our flat is not renovated; our bathrooms are pretty hideous, as is the kitchen.
Now initially we thought we should move - why pay $19k for an unrenovated flat when we can pay the same for a renovated one? My apartment complex is pretty old and no-frills (you step out of the lift onto my floor and it looks like you're in some dirty industrial complex - manky white tiles and ugly lighting...weird cooking smells). So I thought for my $$ I should splash out on swanky 'gweilo' digs with the whole gym/pool shenanegans. Boy was I disappointed. The complexes close enough to Central, in my price range, were 'all looks no substance'. Beautiful fittings but such a terrible layout with zero storage. I have a LOT of clutter...storage is pretty high on my list.
As if my frustration wasn't bad enough but its summer here and sweltering. So I'm losing patience fast, treking around in the stinking heat only to be disappointed again and again. And I do what any self respecting person would do...I quit. That's it, white flag, I'm going to stay put. The cost of moving is too expensive (removals + one months rent as fee to the agent + 2 months rent as bond) plus the 2nd agent told me now is just not a good time in the market for tenants to be negotiating.
Fine. We're staying. But, we were able to negotiate a little. We took a quick video of a nicer flat in our building, same layout only renovated, renting for $18,500. After showing the landlady, she agree to reduce our rent to $18,500. That's a saving of $6,000 a year so not to shabby.
And for the fun part. Because our place is still not renovated, My solution - I will spend one month's rent jazzing the place up so it feels like a new home!
Which brings me to announce my new challenge - Jazzing up a HK apartment for $19k. A big challenge on a small budget but let's see how we go.
First item in the 'Jazzercise' - $26 spent at Japan Home to buy a lid organiser for the kitchen. Yes, this is petty but my kitchen is so small its a joke and the lids falling on my head has been driving me nuts forever.