26 October 2012

Letter of Doom

I apologise in advance if this post doesn't make too much sense.

I live in Christchurch and I've been here since January 2004.  I have lived in exactly ten different places since being here.  I absolutely loathe moving house.  I can't imagine anything that disrupts my life more than moving house.

The build-up, searching, packing, throwing out, finding a house, appointments, photocopies, sigining leases, getting bond moved over, moving, unpacking, reorganising, throwing out, simplifying, getting used to new areas, feeling safe with different neighbours, decorating, making home feel like home.

All up, from full start to full finish it can take months.  And then it's time to a. look for a new house again or b. stay.

In alphabetical order (because that's how I roll):
Avonside Dr
Barbadoes St
Brynley St
Craven St
Eden Pl
Elizabeth St
Harakeke St
Mandeville St
Mona Vale Ave
Strickland St

My favourite house by far was the one on Strickland St, I stayed there the longest out of all of them, over a year, I can't remember how long.  It was my last 'flat' before I got married.

My husband and I dream of owning our own house, and even more than that, building our dream home one day.  That would be so awesome. But right now we're renting, and in our 4th rental since being married.

There is currently a rental shortage in Christchurch due to a number of factors namely the earthquake destroying homes, and other homes needing to be unoccupied while fix-ups happen which means those families need to rent short-term and no doubt several other reasons.  But my point is, rental prices are going up.  And not just the usual $5 - $15 rise they usually do after a year has gone by.

I was informed that it wouldn't be surprising if our own rent was to go up by at least $60 a week and that the 'market rate' for the rental we're in now is $90/week more than what we're paying now.

It feels criminal, but that's just the way it is right now.

When we get the (potential) 'letter of doom' in a week or two notifying of what our rent will be put up to, we may have a few serious decisions to make.  If it's too high, we'll try to negotiate.  If it's not too dramatic we'll then have to decide if it's worth it to stay here or to try find something better for the same value.  If there is no room for negotiation, then we'll need to decide if Christchurch is where we stay.

Since we were married there have been several reasons why we decided to move from each of our rentals so far.  The first house was rotten, Winter was barely survivable.  The second house was too small with a baby on the way.  The third house we wanted to stay but the homeowner wanted it back.  Now we're in the fourth and waiting for that letter that I'm told is coming in the next week or two.

I am getting anxious, that's obvious.  It's so hard to let it go, let God take this one.  He always finds us a home that works 'enough' for us.  We've had exactly what we needed every time, no more, no less.  Well, except for our first flat together, that was pretty budget, haha.

I feel like I'm just beginning to get settled into this place.  We moved here in December last year, 11 months ago.

I've been slowly, very slowly, trying to figure out how to make this place feel like home.

One day I draped a big plain sheet over our dark, plaid couch.  I kid you not, it intantly made the room feel bigger and made me feel more peaceful, somehow.

Since then I've been thinking and thinking up ways to hide things or get rid of things simply by covering it up (couch cover one day) or by removing the clutter.

I turned this:


Into this:

Haha, can you spot the difference?

Simple, still not the most beautiful thing to look at but at least it's less distracting and usually keeps my toddler's hands away from my books.

I look at it and feel satisfied that the little curtains do their job, and I feel a little closer to feeling at home.

Now I'm back to wondering about that 'letter of doom'.


  1. Ohh I am so sorry to hear you are waiting for the letter. The house we are in now is longest I remember having ever lived in one house. This is now home. I enjoy the process of moving just all the stuff that goes along with it.

    1. Yeah, there are always pros and cons. I enjoy 'making-house' when we have moved in the past, like organising the kitchen just so. Meh, we'll see what happens.

  2. Oh Holly. I've been trying to come up with some words to encourage you and comfort you.

    The first is, don't let your worries over take you. I know it all seems doom and gloom, but the rental and buying market is unpredictable. Our home (that we're renting) has been on the market for over a year now. We've only had one couple in to look through it. They're not expecting to sell it any time soon. People are too scared to buy. Because of that, landlords also desperately want to keep their good long term tenants, rather than have new people through every 3 months. We refused a rent increase (we said we'd have to move out because we couldn't afford it (and it was only $10), and resigned for another year with our landlords (even though they had strict rules they only do 6m leases (the rental agency, not the landlord). But they were so desperate to have good people paying their mortgage they wanted to keep us.

    Moral of the story is, don't freak out and jump to conclusions. Before the letter, your reply, and their response there's nothing you can do. So don't worry!

    Also, I love that you're doing things to your home. I think its important us renters do what we can to create a loving home environment for our men and little people, no matter who owns the walls.

    LOVE x

    1. Thank you Sophie! I do feel super encouraged. You're right, I'll just have to wait and see. I will be coming back to this to re-read every now and then. :) So, in the mean time, wait I will and worry I won't.

  3. I agree with Soph, our place has increased by $30 per week but we just accepted that because when we first got the house it was super cheap for what it is. However we have a flatmate to help soften the blow and if things were different we would be looking at a much different situation.

    My advice: keep your head in the rental game, be aware of what is renting for what price and where, even dare I say it, put an ad at the supermarket - young family wanting long term rental under X amount per week. Sometimes people see this and feel a bit more compassion than sticking an ad on Trademe.

    Plus you have a bargaining chip with your *ahem* neighbour issue, use that to your advantage, and pull the young family card. It is probably much less hassle for the landlord to keep the peace with you than go through the process of finding new tenants.


    1. Totally, I forgot to mention. We also had a bargaining chip - we had SUPER constant noisy upstairs neighbours. Although it was helpful that our property agent was also theirs. After many complaints from us, when we got around to a price increase we said theres no way we would pay more with them as neighbours, and we didn't even want to live here with them. Us or them. She voted us and gave them their notice. Landlords like good tenants!!

  4. That is really lame. I've moved around heaps so I know (kinda) how it feels. Wish I could buy you a house. I don't have any good advice unfortunately. I love you lots though <3

  5. I can hear you girl! I've lived in New Zealand 4 years, this is our house number... wait, I got to count on my fingers... six. House number six this is.

    Moving the first three was easy: didn't have much furniture - or a baby. Pretty much camping stuff + clothes + tidbits and that was it.

    The last one was... ahem! Furniture down to carpets and curtains, baby-stuff (only another parent would understand), plants, washing machine, fridge... Crazytown!

    So I'm totally with you on this.

  6. You should calculate what you spend in rent (money in someone elses pockets!) and figure out if maybe moving into a small starter house of your own. Equity over time will be in your favor if the property is kept up & you'll profit in the end, not someone else.
    Here in Canada, we pay more a month renting than it is to pay monthly in house payments, and it's not cheap to live here! A home business so you can stay home with the kids will bring in extra for groceries etc. (baby sitter for a friend). Even if the house is small to begin with you can always add on later as you get more settled. Rural living is GREAT for you and your family. Good luck in your future life and I hope you can find what you want.

    1. Thank you! You're totally right, even here in Christchurch, New Zealand it is a little cheaper to buy your own home. But, then there are all the other expenses, rates, maintenance etc that add up. And before that, the deposit...
      We're looking at moving to the states in the next 6-12 months, not sure where, but we'll no doubt be renting for a little while until we find a place to call home. So I won't be an NZ blogger for too much longer.
      Rural living is my dream! I was brought up on a dairy farm, we had a couple horses, farm dogs, a house dog, cats. I think it's the perfect environment for children to grow up.
      Thanks again for great advice!


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