Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Housing search

Over the past three months, we have been searching for a new place to live.  It means that we are moving over an hour from where we currently live. It means finding a new place to rent that fits our needs. Our needs are:
  • more closet space
  • great neighborhood
  • must be close to our price range
  • better commute to the hospital, while still being an okay commute for Ian
  • no high-rise apartment building

Sadly, the area we are moving to is a much pricier county. We knew it would mean sacrificing on how new or updated the place is, and possibly on the size (we currently have a 3 bedroom, but know that we might have to sacrifice and get a 2 bedroom). But as long as it was clean and healthy for Luca, we'd make it work.

Well, a place kind of fell into our laps. A 4-bedroom house, just slightly over our budget, in a great neighborhood, a fantastic commute for both of us, and a lot more space. It certainly is an old house - no updates to the kitchen or bathrooms, but hardwoods throughout (that are not in the best shape) and a fenced backyard. We were super excited.  We said we needed to see the house once they were finished with the work before we signed a lease.

They started working on fixing some stuff up in the house - it needed to be repainted and they tore up the old carpet in the bedrooms. The house had not been occupied in over 7 months so it was kind of stale.

Then, I tried to make a better deal. We would take care of refinishing all of the hardwoods (all two stories!), we would sign a 2-year lease instead of a 1-year lease, and we would get the house cleaned instead of them doing it, if they would drop the price by $100-$150 per month.

Any business person would have looked at this and said, refinishing of hardwoods alone would make up for that difference in rent.  The increase in value would be a bonus.

Instead, the real estate agent listing the house got pissed.  She avoided saying she would even present our offer to the owners.  I finally just asked her to present it and get back to us.  That was 4 weeks ago.  I called her over 2 weeks ago and she said she was waiting to hear back from the owners.  And I still have not heard back.

I am angry.  Even if she did not agree with our offer, or thought it was a terrible idea, she could have kindly replied "I do not think the owners will agree but I will ask them and get back to you."  She could be cordial and nice.  Instead, I got attitude and a lack of respect.

So, Ian and I have decided to walk away.  We are so hoping to find a new place that meets our needs.  When that happens, I desperately want this real estate agent to call me back and say that the house is available for us, and me say "oh, we signed for another house.  Have a fine day."

We searched for places yesterday.  We saw three places.  1 - we didn't love.  The bedrooms were small and everything just seemed kind of eh.  Nothing updated, and not as close to town as we'd like, and was also the highest price.  2 - perfect and we would love it except the previous tenants smoked.  It has already been repainted and the carpets have been replaced in some areas, while other areas are hardwoods.  And it still smells terrible.  Not sure we can do much to change this.  3 - if it was just Ian and I, this 2 bedroom condo would have been great.  If it had a 3rd bedroom, we would take it.  But it was just too small for all that comes with Luca (medical supplies in addition to all of her baby crap).

We have not had much luck with finding anything on craigslist.  We have mostly been using our realtor, and looking on real estate websites as well.  How do you find where you're going to live?


  1. The EXACT same thing happened to us when we were looking - we found a house that we loved but that was a little over budget, so we offered to do a bunch of the repairs needed, which would have improved the property in the long term, for a slight consideration on the monthly rent. We never got a call back until we hounded the landlord and he just said "I rented it for my asking price - good luck." It was incredibly frustrating, but we ended up finding a perfect place that was much more in our price range (by literally STALKING Craigslist for 3 weeks - and e-mailing/viewing every conceivable listing) It does all work out in the end, but the process is so frustrating and people are so inconsiderate! Good luck though - I am sure something even better will come along!

  2. I want to punch that listing agent on your behalf.

    We own our condo, and we initially found it in one of our general searches. On paper it sounded WAY too small (just under 700 sq feet), so we almost didn't come see it. Then we checked it out in an Open House, and it was great. It was a great use of space and very open and airy -- people have a hard time believing it's as small as it really is. Also, it's not far from the beach. That said, I'm DYING to get out of here. As soon as I get another FT gig, this puppy is going on the market.

  3. That stinks about that listing agent but good for you guys in knowing when to walk away.

    Nanette - I think you need to do a blog post on your condo! We have a small house (1200 sq ft) so I'd love to see what 700 sq feet looks like and how you make it work.


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