When I am looking for a house in the UK I go onto Rightmove and flick round the website, or pop down to the local estate agents and pick up a load of house details to browse through at my leisure. I can see floor plans photos of inside and out and room measurements. When I find a house I will go onto the internet and check out the amenities in the local area.
In Cambodia I have few options, I can either ask someone to look for houses for me. They will drive around and find houses for rent and then arrange viewings. The alternative is I can drive around and look for houses which involves taking photos of the houses and the phone number to ring if the house is for rent/sale. Here are some I found…
At this point I will have no idea what it looks like inside, how many bedrooms or what the rent is. I then give these numbers to my helpful house hunter and they will ring up and find out the details and then arrange viewings.
Then when we go to view a house there is no special treatment. You see the house as it is warts and all, or rather in the case of one house I saw today loads of dust and bats!
If you like the house you then need to negotiate the rental price, amount of deposit, start date, what improvements the landlord is prepared to do such as screens, air-con, painting, furniture included and hot water showers. This is all done through the house hunter (or if you speak good Khmer you can do it yourself!) It can go back and forth several times before both parties are happy.
Once you have agreed this there is the final negotiation of what goes into the contract which determines who pays for what if it is broken.Then the contract is drawn up and checked. It is important to make sure the contract has been drawn up and on official paper with the stamp from the local government chief or Sangklat (local area/village) otherwise it is not official. This requires you giving your passports to be copied by the Sangklat officials, your finger prints and a passport photo. This is usually sorted out by the landlord and is a legally binding document.
So after a lot of driving round by myself and Sam our house hunter we finally found some lovely houses in our budget…only to find yes there are others looking too!! Arrgh! Most of them wanted to rent straight away which we cant do so that ruled most o the houses out but one was willing to wait until June to start renting…however it was the most dirty and with the least extras of the houses we saw so we are in negotiations now to see what they are prepared to do. Watch this space!