Flathunting should be a sport – The Bangsar Boy in London
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article in my The Bangsar Boy column in Star Metro about taking a break from the column. I had just moved over to London, and “The London Boy” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. That, plus the fact that I wouldn’t dare to stake claim on that moniker.
I have decided, however, that the legacy must live on and from today onwards, I will write a blog post tagged “The Bangsar Boy in London” every alternate Monday. The idea is that I will write it in the same style and format as The Bangsar Boy (which means a longer than usual blog post).
This is for myself to chronicle my life in London, the same way I did in KL using my column, and also so that those of you who have told me how much you’ll miss my column (I am so honoured, and grateful for the support and love) have a reason to drop by my column every couple of weeks.
Picture taken from Belfegore on Flickr under the Creative Common License.
By NIKI CHEONG
JUST over a year ago, the idea of purchasing a house popped into my mind. Thanks to a stroke of luck and having paid off most of my credit card debts, I was able to rake up enough money that could be used as down payment for my own place.
Many of my friends were in the process or had just made their purchases at the time, and so I went to them for some advice. A couple had offered to go house hunting with me, while some others gave me tips they felts I should equip myself with.
From just asking around and flipping through newspaper advertisements and online classifieds, I got a major headache. There were so many things to consider that I had never thought about before – bank loans, installment amounts, renovations and more.
That dream of being a houseowner diminished as quickly as it came to my mind.
It’s not that I’m such a slacker that I wasn’t willing to put the effort in. It’s just that it required one major skill that I lack – decision making.
Due to my seemingly confident nature, it is often assumed that I am decisive as well. Family and friends would know that this is far from the truth. Dad always talks about how I struggle to make decisions on where to travel to, how much to pay and what mode of transport to take when I decide to go on a holiday.
When I go out for meals with friends, I rarely want to make the decision because, well, I just can’t. At most, I’ll suggest the kind of cuisine I felt like having.
What is most strange about this is that I’m not the kind who regrets my actions. I am generally pretty blasé about the past, in that there really is nothing much we can do to change it. I prefer to be optimistic and look forward.
But I leave the stress to the time when I decide on a particular action.
This is especially so when there is a huge investment involved, such as looking for a room to live in here in London where I will be based for the next year.
It is week-three of my flathunting adventure and I am still technically homeless. Thank God for good friends who are letting me crash over at their place.
But it has been a struggle and there are so many layers of decision making that it’s all doing my head in. First, I had to decide which areas I wanted to live in, which was pretty hard initially considering I didn’t know many areas over here.
Once I fixed that and got my invites to view places, I had to decide if I wanted to make an offer for the place. These are decisions you had to make quickly as the demand for rooms here is nothing short of ridiculous.
So far, I’ve visited almost 10 places and have made offer for about 80% of them. Two others were easy enough to decline – one room had virtually no walking space while another was so gross the flat smelt like someone was cooking in the toilets (yes, put those two pungent smells together).
I struggled initially on whether or not to put down my offer (decisions!) but I did eventually. Now, I don’t even consider it too much. Because of how difficult it has been, I’ve put down an offer on almost every one I’ve seen just to try my luck.
Which has lead me to dislike “decisions” even more because I can make an offer all I want, the ones renting the place out will then decide if they will let me have the place. None of them have, which is terribly demoralising.
As the days go along, however, I am finding making decisions easier. Perhaps, in times of desperation, things click in your head faster. Or maybe it’s because I’ve decided to see flathunting as a sport – and in sports, you react mostly by instinct and reflexes to make snap-decisions.
The only good thing, I’m imagining, about this flathunting is that when I do come back to KL and am ready to purchase my house, I would have had all the experience in the world.
Until then, anyone knows who I can pay to help make some decisions for me?
12.54am Greenwich Meridian Time