It was like the Hunger Games.
Twelve people standing outside a red brick terraced house, willing to kill or more realistically, hand over €1400 hard cash and a kidney for the chance to live in this Dublin 4 abode.
The tension was palpable. The air was heavy. Perspiration was the perfume of the day. The girl in front had a folder with all her information colour coded. The boy next to me had a backpack full of secrets, what hid inside I would never know. I sat on the ground and panicked, while I tried to charge my phone, afraid my roommate would not be able to find the location. My roommate had our paperwork (five different types of references, two PPSN numbers, four forms of photo ID’s, a full health history and a signed letter from God promising we are good people). If she didn’t make it, I was done.
We were told we were the chosen twelve. Hundreds of applicants had applied, but we were the select few. Was it our amazing attributes and carefully worded introductions that got us this chance, or was it the sheer desperation that the estate agent could sense from our emails? I would go with the latter. We were absolutely desperate. It was the kind of desperation you would find in Coppers in the wee hours of a weekend night. And the others around me were the same. I could see it in their eyes, pure unadulterated hunger for a part of the Dublin city real estate food chain.
House hunting exposes the most unfavourable parts of you. I did not know any of these people, but I hated them all. I am sure they are lovely citizens but within this terraced street, they were my mortal enemies. For 20 minutes, we eyed each other up, making assumptions about each other’s history and background. We judged clothing and mannerisms, trying to find anything that would put us above the other in rankings. The real estate agent appeared and announced that the first group was allowed inside.
For a split second, it was if we had all been shot up the backside. We ran that fast. Evolution had never happened and we were once again hunter-gatherers, but this time, we were hunting for beds and gathering nothing but bad credit.
After the viewing, my roommates and I fawned and screeched like the boy we fancied had just sent us a “Hey how u” text. We thoroughly believed this was the start of something new. It was like High School Musical on steroids. The agent had given us absolutely no indication that we would get the house but we were so blinded by a balcony and location that our peripheral vision was skewed.
The next day, when the initial buzz had subsided, I began to think; was the house really that nice? Due to the absolute lack of accommodation in the capital, it's hard not to be dazzled by a damp studio. Dazzled by something that is available, fairly ok looking, has good pipes and relatively cheap (but will still end up dreadfully expensive). It’s just like dating.
How has house hunting come to this? Should moving into a new home not be a lovely experience filled with champagne, laughter, fluffy pillows and potpourri? Not in Dublin. Dublin house hunting fills you with dread. The kind of dread that gives you cold sweats at night.
Like every search in life, the right fit, or less dodgy option will find its way to you. You must not give up hope. My roommates and I still have not heard if we have been gifted our Dublin 4 dream but if not, we will gather ourselves back together and continue our fight. And to all of you currently on your pursuit of eternal rental happiness, it is the fourth installment of the Hunger Games out there. So may the odds, and the opinions of the real estate agents, be ever in your favour.