I attended a house viewing in Ranelagh with my partner recently. We'd gotten there right on time and we were initially heartened by the fact that we were the only people there. For once, we fancied our chances.
Until another couple showed up one minute later. Quickly followed by another. And another. Before we knew it, within a 15-minute window at being at the flat, about 20 people had passed through the place as well. We also discovered that this was to be one of several such viewings that the landlord intended to hold, leaving us with absolutely no idea of how many dozens of people will end up seeing this one-bedroom apartment.
The landlord himself was, understandably, tired and visibly apathetic towards all would-be tenants, merely asking us to fill in a form and be on our way. If he did speak to anyone, he was clearly only interested in what their jobs were.
As we left that apartment, we did not fancy our chances.
Of course, jam-packed house viewings like this are all too common for house-hunters in Dublin right now.
Lots standing in the back garden too, honestly never seen something like this happen before pic.twitter.com/lJrjvmDjGY
— Andy (@ImACultHero) August 26, 2016
I've been searching for a place with my partner for a few months now and most of these open viewings have all gone down the same way, where huge crowds gather to vie for the attention of an overwhelmed letting agent or landlord.
While we started the journey for our first place together with joyous optimism, our feelings have since devolved into grim determination. Now, we've learned to never get our hopes up.
After each of these viewings, we dissect our behaviour. Did we come off friendly enough? Were we memorable? We were better than those other candidates, right? Please let us be better.
Surely there's some secret to becoming the best prospective tenant that would solve all our problems (we've a sneaking suspicion that being somewhat older, richer and more textbook reliable than we currently are might be the key).
Now it's obviously no secret that the renting situation in Dublin is dire right now, but unless you've been in the market recently it's hard to comprehend just how difficult it is out there.
It's seeing your competition that's the worst, the sheer number of them, all lined up at your front and your back. The sinking feeling that, actually, you probably aren't going to get this place that you've set your heart on.
On the occasions when we didn't have huge competition to contend with, the apartments were dingy, our viewings got cancelled at the last minute, or it just turned out to be a scam (usually featuring an elaborate story about an Italian architect-turned-landlord).
Ultimately, we realise that it's all about grinning and bearing it until we get lucky, whenever that may be.
I mean, it can't take us that long, right?