When Vanessa Rodriguez looked to move from her rented stand-alone house to a strata residence closer to her work, she bought with her a strict checklist of what compromises she was prepared to make, as well as those she wasn’t.
Any apartment or townhouse that couldn’t offer its potential tenant a lock up garage, an internal laundry space, a decent living space or a balcony weren’t even inspected, while those that were close to her work, boasted large free-flowing bedrooms, a minimum of two bathrooms and ample natural light were placed at the top of her list.
Rodriguez was prompted to begin her search for new digs after the tiresome one-hour-plus commute involving a “horrendous” bus and train ride from Sydney’s eastern suburbs to her office in the CBD began taking a toll. The advantages to sharing her living space with an assortment of flatmates had also begun wearing thin.
While the 37-year-old was prepared to give up on the idea of her own backyard near the beach for the convenience of a balcony closer to the CBD, she was not open to the idea of having to hand over more than $1,000 a week just to secure it.
But just a few short months ago, the sales manager struck it lucky when her fiancé’s flatmate made the decision to move out of their tidy Bondi Junction apartment, enabling her to add her name to the lease.
Located in one of two tower blocks in a secure north-facing building, it had the requisite internal laundry and LUG but also offered access to a host of modern amenities including a gym, sauna and swimming pool onsite.
At $830 per week between the pair, it made financial sense, but with a shorter and easier commuting time, adequate security and the two bedrooms, two bathrooms she so desperately sought, it also made sense from a practical level.
Rodriguez says her new apartment offers everything she had hoped to find.
“It’s secure, close to hubs, and we do not have to worry about upkeep like mowing the lawn etc. We travel a lot for our jobs, so our home is an oasis when we are back in town, our cocoon in winter, and we don’t worry about the security as the place is fortified.”
While there are aspects of strata living she doesn’t enjoy – such as constant renovations by owner/occupiers, the lack of green space and the noise from higher levels apartments – overall Rodriguez says she has no regrets.
She estimates that around 80% of her friends live in apartments – due to the proximity of their homes to the Sydney CBD and the convenience of renting – but argues that those of them who do do own tend to live in houses in the suburbs or the fringes of the Sydney CBD.
“The areas close to the city are scarce with houses and the price points are not affordable.”
A former property owner, Rodriguez first purchased a property in the mid-2000s but was forced to sell following a relationship breakdown.
While she’d like to own again, and could easily afford a small mortgage for less than what she pays in rent, she says saving the money to put towards a deposit is a constant roadblock.
“Sydney is an expensive city to live in and also commute in and the public transport system is ancient. I would consider buying in the ACT if there was fast speed rail like in Japan where once could commute in 30 mins from Canberra to Sydney.”