If you're living in Dublin and considering a move to somewhere nicer or bigger in Dublin, here's a friendly bit of advice to you - DON'T DO IT. DO NOT DO IT. STAY WHERE YOU ARE.
The Dublin Rental Market, also known as Thunderdome, has become just that - a post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the strong (and rich) survive. So when we say it's awful out there, we speak from experience.
Herein lies a scientific explanation of the various physical and emotional stages you will go through trying to rent a place in Dublin.
STAGE 1 - Optimism
You think you find a place, right? Sure those property sites do be hopping with activity. There'll be plenty there. This is the best stage - it's blissful ignorance. You're optimistic about things. You think, "Hey, I can picky about these things." You're going to hold out for a spiral staircase and parking in an underground carpark that's on the Luas / DART and has a nice coffee shop nearby. Oh, you sweet, poor, uneducated fool. How quickly this will change for you.
STAGE 2 - Unexpected Hurdles
Oh. Oh dear. Well, it looks like it's not as easy we first thought. Not to worry. We can wait, right? We want to find the right place, after all. It's probably just a busy time, isn't it? Yeah, that's it. Something will come up...
STAGE 3 - Reality Sets In
OK, it's a tough game. We know that now. You set up e-mail alerts for the area you're looking in. You're prepared to roll back on the high ceilings and the nice bathroom and you'll accept on-street parking.
You knew trying to find a chic cafe with a cute barista was a long shot. At this stage, you'll settle for a McDonalds / Burger King / Mizzoni's that is within delivery distance or, failing that, a decent Chinese place that has good spring rolls. Either way, you're bartering.
"Yeah, we're finding it a bit difficult, to be honest."
STAGE 4 - Crushing Reality Sets In
You thought you were aware of how bad it was. You knew it was tough, no question. You were certainly a fool to believe you could have it all. Now, you know. Now you understand all those news reports about 'housing crisis' and 'rental market shortages' - because it is your life.
STAGE 5 - Possibilities?
You've found a place. It looks great. The location is good. It's got everything you want. The price is reasonable. You think you're in, right? You meet the landlord, it all goes well. You make an offer. You think you have it, it all feels good.
Just as you're walking out the door, you notice another person walking in. Two more behind them. Two more after that. And another two. And another. And another. Remember - you are now a statistic. You will be ranked according to what you're prepared to offer.
Long-term lease? Pah. Up the rent? TRY DOUBLING IT. This shit doesn't end until you offer up your first-born child, a blood-signed contract and a deposit that involves gold bullion.
STAGE 6 - Entering The Thunderdome
You've gone to more than a few viewings now. Now it's about speed, precision and decisiveness. You've scoped out the property. You've Street-viewed the surrounding areas. You're watching the price for rises.
You get to the viewing an hour beforehand to case it for other viewers, making a note of their car registrations in case you need to off them to get the place. You are desperately polite to the landlord.
"Be nice. For the love of God, be nice. Should we bring them something? Is that too eager?"
STAGE 7 - Locking It Down
You like the place. You want it. You offer to rent it immediately. You tell the landlord you can move in this second, that you're basically living out of your car and that you will grease yourself up and fight whoever else is in the bidding process.
Oh, you want to raise the rent because of the interest in it? No problem. Go for it, bro. But eventually, you realise that you're just saying words. You know the place isn't available, but you're desperately clinging on to the idea that you can get it.
STAGE 8 - Total Resignation
You've given up. No more. You can't do it. You stay where you are and settle in to the fact that it's not going to happen. You simply have to give up on the idea of renting a nice two-bed in Ranelagh for under €1,000. The whole experience has left you cynical of human nature, bitter towards anyone living in Dublin and resentful of everyone you meet on apartment viewings.
You have a unique form of PTSD that makes you hate the very site of a 'To Let' sign and you grow to hate property websites.
In short, you're out. It's over. The Dublin Rental Market has finally beaten you.
And that's basically it. On the OFF CHANCE you do find somewhere, stay there. Never leave. Ever. Because you don't want to go through this all over again, do you? Well, actually, that place is nice. And cheap? That won't go up, right? Right?