Scratching Them Off the List
What we knew was that it was $100 less a month than the one we looked at the other day, at the cap I'd established for rent. It was smaller than the other house (and the third house up for rent was smaller still). From going to Mom's, we knew that it had been empty for at least six months, possibly a year. The smaller house has been vacant for a couple of months. It is a distinct advantage to look where we are, because we were in there on a regular basis. Heck, most of the neighbors wave when we come in, because they recognize my car.
We meet the realtor in the driveway and before we even walk in the door, she apologizes that we will see a lot of dead roaches. This is not promising and tells me that the house is not getting shown frequently, if at all.
Upon walking in, I like the layout, because it isn't an open floor plan. I didn't realize how much wasted space we have in our home because of the open layout. However, I liked that, I didn't like the extremely run down appearance of the house that is at most, three years old that probably had been occupied for only two of those.
The carpet was worn through in quite a few places, the linoleum had bald patches, the trim around the floors was all bashed to heck. The realtor told us the condition it had been in before-this was an improvement. There was a mural on one wall that required four coats of paint to cover. Another bedroom had blue handprints all over the wall, as if a child dipped their hand in paint and went to town. (My kids would be grounded for life if so much as one hand print went near anything!). She cheerily stated "Well, it's freshly painted."
She also said that the homeowner was undergoing chemotherapy and said she wouldn't be replacing the carpet because it was too expensive. To my mind that is penny wise and pound foolish. Potential renters are going to be turned off by the horrible carpet and you won't be earning rental income. Spend the three grand to redo it and you'll get someone in the house right away-you'll have your money back in three months. Don't spend it, and your house sits vacant for at least six months, losing you six grand.
Both of us felt slimy after visiting that house. They might get a taker at 800 a month, but definitely not at 1000, not in that condition. We thanked the realtor for her time and headed out. After seeing that floor plan, we knew the last house was even smaller and wouldn't work for us-we were wondering where our desks would go in this house.
We decided to go visit Mom since we were over there. On the way, we see the realty that is managing the property that's in a development up the block from the other houses. One turn later, we're in the office and meet the broker/owner. Their property manager isn't on site, but he calls her and hands the phone to Ed.
She has a house 'coming up' that is about a mile away from the one we wanted to see, but after a brief chat, she says she'll call back later. We thank the gentleman for his assistance and continue on to see Mom. As our visit was winding down, the property manager calls back and gives Ed the code for the lockbox on the door to the house we wanted to see. Back up the main drag we go!
I think if we hadn't seen the very first house, we would have said this one would do. It was nice, clean, well maintained. It's a hundred bucks less a month. However, the two smaller bedrooms will barely fit a bed and one dresser. The logistics of where the piano, and computers will go factored in to the layout. The master bedroom will fit half of our dressers (though I could always put the low dressers in the walk in closet. In fact, I think we'll do that no matter where we end up.
Over lunch, we decided that the extra 100 bucks a month is worth it. The kitchen is high end, the house was lived in by the landlord and there is that possible rent with option to buy to consider. Ed will call the owner later to ask if we can look again tomorrow and to ask a few questions. None of them are deal breakers, but we want to see if we can opt into the rent w/option later or have to do it now, if we can paint (already have it for this place) and if we can get FIOS over there.
Honestly, we drove back to look at it again after seeing the skeevy house and when I pulled into the drive, it felt like home. Ed says there's some romance to living right up the block from the family. I think that his mom loves the idea that we'll be there, too.
There's a long punch list to tackle in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to put it here on the blog as a separate entry so that we have an easy to access reference. No paper to lose and Ed can access it when I'm at work. (speaking of which, next week I'm back to 40 hours!)
A big worry about moving out is that I was afraid we'd be moving into a hellhole. Thankfully, for a reasonable amount of money, we can move into a house that is on a par with the one we're leaving behind. It makes this easier to accept.