When we moved to Asia, we planned on staying for 2 years. We knew that we would need find a house of our own. Can’t rely on hotels, guest houses and friend’s places for that long! So once we arrived, got over jet lag, we decided to begin house hunting.
Fun fact, we’ve actually never been house hunting in America. When we got married a few years ago, we moved into a 34-foot camper which was conveniently located on our organization’s property that we worked for. Made our work commute a breeze. But now in Asia, we needed a house. And even in my limited house hunting experience, I could tell things were going differently than we expected.
First of all, we can’t buy a house because we are not residents, so really we just wanted to rent a place for 2 years. But most places for rent, don’t have “for rent” signs in the yard, er…on the gate. If there was a sign, it meant an agent was leasing the place, so it’d cost 15-20% more. So after a week of practicing the words of “Is there a place to rent near here?”, we would be shown 6 bedroom villas [because, we are Western and clearly that’s what we want]. Or, if we asked the price, it’d be 4 times as much as it should be. We didn’t know where to look. We couldn’t look for ourselves. It seemed hopeless. After 2 months, we finally saw a breakthrough.
Many of our Asian friends were helping us look, and we had seen several places, but none felt right yet. We wanted at least 2 bedrooms, bathroom or two, a kitchen and living space, and windows. Within a 2 mile radius of the organization we volunteer with. All those things in one house are kind of a miracle to find. So we waited, and looked, and considered. And waited. And then one of our friend’s said his neighbor was trying to rent his extra house, the one he just had built. He had been trying to rent it out as a holiday house for weekly or monthly travelers, but wasn’t and therefore was losing money. Enter us.
Immediately we loved it. SO MANY WINDOWS! And 2 bedrooms. And 2 bathrooms. Kitchen, check. Living room, check. Dining room, check. Pool, bonus! It was already furnished, so we wouldn’t have to struggle to find furniture or get it made. It already had AC units in the bedrooms. It was perfect. He even came down on the price, because we were “friend of a friend”. Hallelujah. We paid for 2 years rent up front in cash, because that’s how it’s done it here. And let me tell you, that was a fun ATM withdrawal week! But now, it’s ours until 2017.
After 6 months of living in the house, we couldn’t be happier. We have neighbors that look out for us and include us in community gatherings. We are conveniently located on the way to downtown. The beach is nearby, but our pool is even closer. We’ve hosted parties and meetings, gatherings and movie nights. It’s a home. It’s our first home. And we love it.
Check out this “International House Hunters” style video we made of our house hunting journey!