The house hunt started about a month before we were due to move to Phuket. There wasn’t much online apart from houses way above our measly anything under 10k budget, apartment-style condominiums (with a cat and a house full of furniture to home a condo just isn’t workable) or beautiful holiday villas with sea views and private pools (who needs a private pool when you are next to the real thing?). Clearly the online advertising was aimed at a certain type of clientele that simply wasn’t us. There was one website that did come up with houses in our budget and in the style that we were after, but when we rang up these houses were often already rented out, or would be by the time we arrived in Phuket.
It seemed that the best thing to do would be to wait until we arrived in Phuket and to look for a house in person. I made sure I had a week between the end of my old job and the start of the new one so there would be no rush; only the quicker we could find somewhere the less we would be spending on 500฿ a night accommodation.
We did one last check online the day before we were due to go to Phuket and the perfect house was there – in budget, only partially furnished, in the right area and with access to a pool and tennis courts! As soon as our bus arrived in Phuket and we had checked into our guesthouse for the night we rented a bike and headed to this perfect house – only to find that it was very much not for rent anymore and was very much occupied.
I guess that’s the thing with looking online – it’s never 100% up to date.
I was a little bit gutted (pool access!) but a quick drive to my new school confirmed that what looked close enough on a map was actually too far away anyway. The perfect house wasn’t so perfect after all.
The next morning we woke up early and went on a mission in the sun to drive around the residential areas near my school, looking for ‘house for rent’ signs.
Sometimes these signs are in English, but it seemed that in the areas we were looking at this wasn’t the case. Thai people are a big fan of signage and many houses have some form of hand crafted sign pinned to the front gate – some advertising a business, a washer woman, no parking, beware of the dog… so if you ever find yourself looking for a house in Thailand, make sure you can learn to recognise the Thai script.
We saw signs, phoned numbers and had a couple of viewings. Some houses were OK, but small for the price. In Hat Yai we were renting a massive house for 4.5k – we were looking at places double the price and a third of the size now.
As is usually the case, the last house that we came across was the one. It’s in the right area, at the right price and it’s actually really nice. Most of the houses we had seen were kind of old and grubby, but this place is freshly painted and clean. It’s in the outskirts of Phuket town and is only a short drive from my new school – this truly is perfect!
What’s more, we now have an actual address that people can send parcels to!
We’ve moved in sans furniture – it looks like it will be a blow up mattress until T gets the time to go back to Hat Yai with a pickup truck next week. I can’t wait to have our furniture inside so it starts to feel like home – it kind of feels like we’re camping in someone else’s house right now.
And of course I can’t wait to move Cat in too, especially since I discovered that next door have a very friendly male cat…