The relief I’ve longed for is finally here: I found a lovely rental home and put a deposit down on it, to move in next month! The process to find a new home wasn’t without its stress, though. Interestingly, I found the experience to be quite similar to stories I’ve heard from friends who do online dating.
You’ve probably heard those tales, too: the man who looks great on paper but throws up all kinds of red flags when you talk to him. Or the woman whose profile pic is super attractive but when you meet her it’s like another person.
Then finally, you find someone who seems to be right–not perfect–but just what you need. Check out the parallels in my recent house-hunting experience:
The Smoky, One-Bedroom from Another Era
That last one didn’t seem apparent at one house I looked at recently. It looked OK from the outside, but walking in I could smell some old odor–smoke, I believe. When I asked if the previous tenants were smokers, he said no but they had cats. Um, no, that was definitely not a cat smell.
He may have been right about the last tenants not smoking, but there was still an odor. And since the carpet was burnt orange I’m guessing it was pretty old. Which means carpet from the 70s comes with smells from the 70s.
Oh, and the bathroom was located within the only bedroom. So if I had guests over, they’d have to walk through my bedroom first. Talk about crappy design (pun intended).
The In-Law Suite-slash-Garage
This one seemed great from its ad: a guest house/in-law suite set back from the main house, but on a large spread of land. All appliances were included (even the washer & dryer!), it seemed to be a great neighborhood, and the bathroom even had dual vanities. It was also a one-bedroom, but I could make it work if the living room was large enough to include my office/workspace.
When I called the realtor for more info & to schedule an appointment, I got some red flags. I asked if the landlord lived in the main house. I wanted to know this because it could be a bad situation if they did and were really nitpicky. The assistant at the real estate company wasn’t sure. She also wasn’t sure how far away it was from the main house. I asked if I’d be responsible for snow removal and mowing the lawn; again, she wasn’t sure–nor did she offer to find out and call me back.
She did offer that my home was connected to the garage for the main house’s tenant and that I’d have a carport. In other words, my neighbor would be a car—that’s not mine. That means I could possibly hear the car at any time of the day (and night). I’m moving to no longer have to share walls with neighbors, so that’s a no-go.
I also took that to mean this unit was originally a huge garage and was partially converted to include the living area. Which means I wouldn’t truly know if it was built to code. Again, pass.
The Passive-Aggressive Landlord
I found another small unit set on a large piece of land that included all appliances (which is rare, I learned). I emailed the owner for some more info and he/she responded right away. When I asked if I could view it this weekend, they replied simply with, “Lots of interest. May not be available this weekend.”
Um, OK? So you don’t want to ask me if it’s possible to check it out sooner? I took that to be a selling tactic, like how car salespeople will tell you there’s other interested buyers. Plus, if you’re not interested enough to keep me around as a potential customer, how distant will you be once you have my money & lease?!
The Fire Hazard Home
One home I looked at online seemed great until I got the photos of the kitchen. It had a gas stove with a wood cabinet placed right next to it. I haven’t had a gas stove in ages, but I’m thinking that’s gotta be a building code violation. I could see that being one on of those Farmers Insurance Hall of Claims commercials.
Poorly-Designed Home #2
This was another home that interested me until I saw the layout in the photos. Here, the toilet is directly across from the vanity, leaving about a foot in between. So if you stumble into the bathroom at 4AM, you best be awake enough not to lean forward while getting off the toilet to avoid knocking yourself out.
The (Maybe) First-Time Landlord
The real estate agent below notified me of a home for rent, so I called for some info. The owner was super friendly and nice, giving me lots of info on the home. She and her hubby were moving into a new home, so they wanted to rent this one. One drawback is that it wouldn’t be ready until early July and she didn’t have a definitive date. My lease ends in July so that would really be pushing it.
Another drawback is that it sounded like it would be their first time renting a home; one sign being she gave me a range on the price. A first-time landlord could still end up being great, but the possibility of them not knowing what they’re doing? I didn’t want to chance that.
Not all of my home-hunting journey has been tough. Here are some happy stories, including my soon-to-be home:
The Facebook Friend/Realtor
I have a Facebook acquaintance—you know the kind, you don’t know them but you have lots of mutual friends. So you accept their friend request and they’re cool enough that you don’t have to block their posts to hide religious propaganda, non-stop drama, or political BS. Although, he is an Ohio State fan…
I asked him if he knew of any house rentals, so helped point out a few to me (including the next one). I believe he deals a lot more in selling homes than rentals, but he was helpful anyhow and didn’t try to sell me on being a home-owner instead.
It’s about 850 square feet, which is the size I was hoping for: not to small that I feel cramped and not too large that I have crazy gas bills. Hopefully, this will be my Goldilocks home. I got a great vibe from the landlord and the house itself, plus it’s in a good neighborhood.
It’s not perfect—there are a few caveats but they’re not dealbreakers. For instance, I won’t have a dishwasher. Oy, the struggle. I also have to buy a lawn mower since I’ll be responsible for the lawn, and I won’t have a washer/dryer (but I’ll probably buy them later on). If anyone has any tips on how to buy a good, used mower and washer/dryer, I’d appreciate them! This is a whole new experience for me so I’m clueless.
But back to the good stuff: lots of natural light, an open floorplan, a light gray kitchen. And this kitchen is bigger than any I’ve had. It’s large enough I could have a small dining table in it, but I probably won’t. I’ll probably just use that extra space for storage/another surface area. That much space makes the lack of a dishwasher worth it.
The bathroom is a pale yellow so that could be a challenge but my current bathroom palette of soft warm pink may work. Although, I’ve already started a Pinterest board with ideas on how to decorate it, LOL. I have a window in the bathroom, though, so I’m stoked because I can keep a few plants in there.
I may not decorate my bedroom like the watery blues moodboard I recently created, but I likely will down the road. I’ll just have more pressing issues to deal with beforehand, like all the fun stuff about moving.
I’m actually looking forward to the decorating “challenges” the new home will present. Most importantly, I look forward to having a quieter, peaceful home… and one that feels more like a home than any other I’ve had.