After purchasing a house a year and a half ago, we have finally decided to sell it and start renting again. We took on a little bit too much mortgage thinking my husband was going to get a pay raise. Due to a pay freeze he does not. And the house is old and we have been having to put work into it. We need to live more within our means.
We found two rentals that we can't decide on which to go for. We have determined our pay range is $900-1,200. Here are the details:
Duplex - 3 bed/2 1/2 bath, $1,100
Pros: This duplex is in an area we love, about a mile from our current house. It's in a quaint part of town with old homes with character and walking distance to shops and stores. I LOVE this area! It is also close to all of my friends and my daughter's friends. It's completely updated with newer cabinets and stainless steel appliances and beautiful hardwoods throughout. A big back yard where my daughter can play. A beautiful deck. The landlord is amazing. She said she has had to turn down 30 applicants because she is really picky and wants the right people in here. After showing the house to us and talking with us for an hour, she said she would love it if we moved in. She even said we could paint if we wanted since the walls are white.
Cons: No dining room. The living room and kitchen is kind of all one big space. We could probably fit a small table off to the side on a wall, but I currently have a really nice, large World Market table and hutch that would not fit. We would more than likely use the high, granite top counter with the barstools that separates the kitchen and living room for eating a lot of meals or doing homework and things of that nature. There is also no fireplace. We really love having a fireplace. There is a one car detached garage that has an opener, so it's very functional but we currently have a double garage with quite a bit of stuff in it. Also, the basement doesn't have storage space or closets. It is one big large room that is newly redone with carpet, and a full sized bathroom off the room. So basically no room for storage. And it has a smooth top electric stove, but I LOVE gas stoves.
House - 2 bed, 2 bath, $850
Pros: We rented this house for 3 years before purchasing our current home. I am still friends with the owner. She said she would love to have us back. The previous renters had an accidental fire and they are having to do a completely new kitchen and new carpet throughout home. She has asked me to help her pick out cabinets and flooring, but we have completely different taste. She is a lot more traditional, almost old-fashioned than I am. So even though everything will be new, it definitely isn't my taste. But she is a perfect landlord. The rent is super cheap because they would be giving us a deal to get us to move back in. This would allow us to pay off debt quicker. It has a gas fireplace. It has gas stove. It's a nice, solid home. The landlord takes extremely good care of it. There is also a community swimming pool.And it has a huge unfinished, yet very dry and not scarey, basement. My son actually had his bedroom down there previously. I would also say it's safer than the duplex area, but only because it's in the burbs. The duplex area is safe, just closer to crime. This house also has a two-car attached car that has air and heat. It's really nice. This house is way more spacious than the duplex.
Cons: It's way out South, about 15 minutes out from where we currently are. Most of what we do is more mid town, where the duplex would be. We would be driving a lot. My daughter's ballet and soccer is super close to the duplex, which we would be doing 3 times a week. This house is in a safe neighborhood, but it's not my favorite. It's actually a retirement community, so no kids in the neighborhood. Not my taste in style of house either. House was built in early 1980's. The backyard is not really conducive for kids (I have one 7 year old daughter and one 19 year old that will be moving out on his own soon). It is shared with backyard neighbors, so no fence. Could not put swingset in like I could duplex. Older aged neighbors would not like that. But there is a screened-in sun porch that my daughter spent a ton of time playing in when we used to live there. Also, I remember being so frustrated that I couldn't decorate to my taste because she won't let me paint (she loves white flat paint) and she has lots of dark stained cabinets with gold pulls in the living room. Blech! But, I could make it work if I had to.
I am really torn. $850 is such an amazing price for a nice house. It would allow us to get out debt very quickly. On the other hand, it's only $250 more than the duplex. We are looking at a 2-3 year plan. Do I want to have my 7 year old living in a neighborhood with no kids and no backyard of our own until she is 9 or 10. Of course, I guess that's what parks are for, right?!
I would love feedback and maybe even point out things I haven't thought of. I'm basically asking..."what would you do?"
Toss a coin. See if you like the answer. Go based on your gut response, not the actual answer.
Is the rental market that tight that you can't look at other houses?
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
Is there anyway the duplex would let you sub-let a room or the basement space?
It sounds like its location would be ideal, but is really more house and more rent than you need. If you could off-set the cost of rent by subletting the basement for like $300, it would be a no-brainer to go with the duplex (IMO). The driving, just DD to her co-curriculars would take about $80/mo (I don't know what you drive, but I figured about $5 a trip?). If that's a fair estimate, the real price of living further out of town would be $930, making it a $170 difference.
I think if you could find a way to save by being in the duplex (rent a room, ditch a car and take public transit, save on gas/driving) AND as long as you're not going to double your utility bill (it is a bigger house- how do the two homes compare in age?) I'd pick that one- there's something to be said for being close to where you need to be and to just really love the area you're in. If you're seeing this as short term and getting out of debt is a number one priority, I'd go into the cheaper one and attack!!
Laurie, wife to DH (Aug/04), mom toDS1 (Nov/05) and DS2 (June/12).
But I was wondering- what will happen to your current house? Did you sell it?
I would go with the first house. The 2nd one may be cheaper, but you'll be spending more money driving back & forth. The landlord may let you develop the basement with more functional rooms/storage space.
I am wondering this too. I would think that it would take so long to sell a house that the ones that are available now would not be available? Or am I missing something?
Unfortunately, the house has not sold yet. We just put it on the market. If it doesn't sell we are looking at foreclosure because we are a couple of months behind on our payments. We were preparing ourselves to find a rental in case we get that foreclosure letter. It's a scary feeling. But, we have decided not to move into either rental and stay in our house until it sells or until we HAVE to move. I hate being in this predicament. We are already getting letters from our mortgage company. I think with our bank they move pretty quickly. I have heard of people staying in their homes months and months before they have to move out. I don't believe that will be the case for us. We are just so ready to be out from under this burden. I am praying that it sells!
Is renting out your current home while you rent somewhere more modestly priced an option?
I can see how it would be best to sell and just be free, but thought I'd throw it out there as an option...
Laurie, wife to DH (Aug/04), mom toDS1 (Nov/05) and DS2 (June/12).