When you land in a new city one of the things that starts out a fun but quickly becomes a hassle is finding somewhere to live. You’d think that it would be the same process the world over, but no, each place has its own idiosyncrasies.
In Hong Kong because of the small size of the apartments they don’t understand big furniture and in Singapore all the real-estate agents seem to be doing it as a second job and will just show you anything, what ever requirements you give them. At least you get agents where you tell them what you want and they tell you what they have available. Here in Auckland it doesn’t work that way.
In Auckland you have to do all the searching yourself. Once you find a property you call up and they let you know when the open house is. If you’re lucky they might be able to arrange a viewing that matches your time but that’s the exception, not the rule. If you ask “do you have any other properties like this” you immediately get directed to the estate agents website and asked to look yourself. This is a mistake as a lot of the agents websites are literally just a list of all properties they have with no filters. Basically they are saying please go find the needle in the haystack over there.
The only saving grace is Trade Me, this is New Zealands’ answer to Ebay. Not only is it an auction site to get rid of all your old stuff that you don’t want anymore but it’s also where people are selling cars, houses and even where some jobs are advertised.
So if your moving to Auckland and need to rent a house get on Trade Me to find your house.
Buying is another issue all together, in all the other places that I have lived the most popular way to sell a house is to put out a list price and field offers until you agree on a sale. This makes it easy to know at least the ballpark that you are going to be in as a new person to the area. Here the more popular way appears to be auction without a published guide price. This makes it much more difficult to budget for and means that I might have to attend a couple of auctions to see how they work ahead of when we are ready to buy.