You can’t buy happiness. But you can buy real estate, and that’s practically the same thing. A happy house has two bedrooms and a balcony. It has a cement floor and either cement or stone walls, plus a thin roof. The size of your apartment might bear a relationship to the size of your opinion of yourself, but it has nothing to do with your real worth. Don’t mind me, I’m just practicing my speech for when I have company over, and there’s nowhere for them to sit. Matter of fact, I don’t see why you should have more than one piece of furniture. Having more than one could be misunderstood as an invitation to stay. You don’t want that, do you?
Are you married? A question you should be prepared for. My advice? Lie! A small problem is that they could ask to see the Mrs, now you gotta pay some random girl to act like she’s wifey. Jokes on you, she actually likes it and moves in with you for real. Now you’re stuck with a make-believe marriage. Personally, I don’t think it’s fair that landlords ask if you’re married before making a decision whether to let you rent their apartment. But I get the thought behind it. If you’re married, chances are you might decide to stay longer and create little versions of yourself. Next thing you know, they’re going to a school nearby.
Where are you from? Around here, damn! What does it matter where I’m from? Are you scared I don’t use a tissue to clean my butt after doing a number 2? I’m well and truly done with this shit! No, not that shit. This shit! This one time I’m house hunting and this landlady goes, I don’t like your people. They’re usually trouble makers. First of all, you’re not wrong, but I’m going to be outraged either way. This other landlord said he won’t rent the place out to Muslims. So thieves, robbers, ritualists, lawyers, and gunslingers are all welcome, but it’s with Muslims that you draw the line? How profound.
Finding an Agent that isn’t half-mad, is 90 percent of the task. Brains are awesome, I just wish everyone had one, especially my Agent. He handled one particular visit very poorly. There was an altercation involving him and a street boy. Why is the street boy frothing in the mouth? So apparently the landlord made him aware of the vacancy, and agents swooped in and sidelined him. So I’m guessing he didn’t get a cut? For the street boy, it was a case of once shy, twice bitten. Now I had to act as a mediator for a fight I didn’t care about. Serves me right for getting a low budget agent in the first place. I should have seen the signs. Bloodshot eyes, and the smell of tobacco are the red flags for agents.
Damages. So the story is usually, “we will fix all the damaged parts as soon as you make payment”. Why don’t you do that before I make the payment? None of the words coming out of your mouth really inspire any confidence. Chances are, the minute I make the payment, it would be the last time I set my eyes on you. Next thing you know, I’m stuck with a toilet that doesn’t flush, a leaking roof, and two broken taps. And that’s why, if you put in any work on the property, when it’s time to go, better be petty enough to leave with the things you fixed. That’s right, I’m taking the toilet seat, one tap, three sockets, and one light bulb as I leave.
Pets. I am all for having pets you know. Dogs might bark like they just saw a ghost, cats might be your reincarnated grandma, but goats? Goats are where I draw the line. What are you doing with goats in your compound? If you think that’s crazy, I once checked out an apartment that had poultry. Yes, you read correctly, the landlord was rearing chicks. Not the type you see on Netflix. The entire compound smelled like sorrow. I gave the Agent a long hard stare and he knew it was time to leave. The disrespect of bringing me to that place in the first instance.
Noisy neighbors. Sometimes you have a noisy neighbor. You cannot do anything about that. They will always be noisy. You just have to get on with your life, put your TV on and turn it up a little louder. Your neighbors might decide to throw party after party. And nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there. Back in my former neighborhood, my neighbors were yelling so loud at their kids to clean up their room, that out of fear, even I started cleaning my room. Word of advice, borrow trouble for yourself, if that’s your nature, but don’t lend it to your neighbors. If you don’t want noisy neighbors, buy up the neighborhood.
When it rains it pours. The best time to look for a house is in the rainy season. During the rains, everything that has been hidden comes to the fore. The rain washes the whitewash off the buildings and they start to look like correctional facilities. It’s also a great time to check whether the road to your apartment is motorable. A friend of mine rented an apartment in a ‘choice’ area, only to wake up in a pool of water. You can imagine falling asleep, dreaming you’re at the beach and then waking up to find out that you’re floating on your mattress in a compound full of water? House hunting isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re not careful, you could get a deal so bad….
you begin to envy the homeless.
© Gottfried. All rights reserved