Friday, March 13, 2015

Going On A House Hunt

A friend who has been living in Australia in the past few years made a homecoming trip and a surprising announcement: she wants to buy a house. She is two years younger than me, she doesn't have a permanent job and yet, here she is, braving all odds to acquire a property.

Having lived in the capital, she said that she wanted to live in the suburbs, or to be precise Bogor, which has lower property prices, less traffic, better air quality and most likely flood-free. "Honestly, I can't imagine myself living in the traffic congested Bekasi, like you. It's just too much hassle for me," she said. Hey, I wouldn't want to live there too if it wasn't for my parents.

After a few days of house survey, she told me that she found a house on sale for Rp 170 million in Bogor. I was like: whoa, where is it? Are there more houses on sale too? Can we be neighbors? Hahaha.

Background information (for my foreign readers who do not live in Jakarta, or Indonesia): By the time I write this post, a 32/70  square meter house in the suburbs (Bogor-Tangerang-Depok-Bekasi)  is worth at around Rp 250 million - Rp 350 million. So Rp 170 million is super cheap!

She said that she would do another survey to the house and invited me to join her. I said, sure. Anyway, during her stay in Jakarta, she is working with a documentary film director on North Jakarta's sea wall and asked me if I knew anyone living in that particular area. I gave her a former colleague's number who lives in North Jakarta but recently moves to a rented room in Bogor because she gets a job there.

I told this former colleague and another colleague, who is also a Bogor resident, about the cheap house and they got interested to do some house hunting. So I asked my friend if they could join, she said yes. 

Now that we have more than two actors in this post, let's give them some nicknames to easily refer them and protect their real names. The house-hunting friend is Dinsky, the former colleague is Giant (in my defense, it is really her nickname in real life) and the colleague is Metalhead Boy.

I met with Dinsky at Tebet station on the first day of Chinese New Year and we headed to Bogor. We then met with Giant and Metalhead Boy, who kindly picked us up amidst the rainy day. The cheap house is located somewhere in Ciomas area, and the road to that place is potholed. 

Long story short, we got to the house. The house owner showed us around and told use how the house grew from just a one-bedroom house to the two-bedroom house. They have been living in the house for seven years and they wanted to move to Cibinong, which is closer to the husband's workplace.

I checked the house condition and gave some home renovation recommendation to Dinsky. We interviewed the owner to check any possible house dispute or problems on house ownership. We also looked around the neighborhood. Once we're back to the car, Giant and Metalhead Boy told Dinsky that she'd better look for other houses because the house needed a lot of renovation and the location was not strategic.

And so, they took us around Bogor to see other housing complexes. At first, Dinsky was a bit excited, but when she saw that the prices were over her budget, she got disinterested. On the other hand, Giant, Metalhead Boy and I got more excited as we moved from one house to another. We kinda pretended to own the house, dreamed about making a reading room in a corner or imagined what it was like to cook in the kitchen.

I asked Dinsky what exactly did she look in a house. She said that she just wanted a small house to keep her stuffs in one of the rooms and that she planned to lease the rest of the house. Therefore, she added, the house did not have to be too fancy.

The next day, I heard about a property expo in JCC, so I decided to see it with a friend, let's call her Miao (yes, I give cute nickname to my friends). She lived in Tangerang with her parents and so she narrowed down her house hunt to Tangerang for the convenience, while I Bekasi all for the same reason.

I brought a lot of property brochures and showed them to M. She classified them based on location, price and size (now, you can see where I pick up the OCD tendency). She also did some calculation to check the land prices per square meter. This house hunt excitement does infect people easily. Or maybe it's just my mother.

When I told Dinsky about it, she said,"OMG. Have I created a monster?"

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