April 7, 2008

Looking at Rental Places

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I looked at houses on Sunday with my friend in Hillsborough and my younger sister. We drove around Hillsborough and Carrboro (a little too far away from work to be feasible).

One house sounded good: old Mill house built in the early 1900s with one bedroom/one bath for $600/month. No problem with pets. Sounded great. Things always sound better in ads than they do in person.

The house turned out to be less exciting than anticipated. It is very small but doable. The rooms in the house are large, which helps. Cats aren’t a problem, which is a good thing. Deposit is reasonable: $600 first month’s rent and $300 deposit. Still going to be hard to come up with that amount of money.

The real shock was the utility bill: it is about $150-170/month. I was paying $60-150 in Knoxville for a house with about 2-3 times the floor space for electric, water, and sewer. The $150-170 includes electric and gas, not water, which is another $40.

The house is cute and the neighborhood is okay, but really cramped. The guy who owns the house reminds me of the guy I bought my house from. Nice enough, but a slob and a pack rat. He knew we were coming over at 2:00 on Sunday. He didn’t even bother to clean.

The house interior was a *wreck*. He said it was laundry day — and I believed him. Clothes were piled every where. He was mortified when I started taking pictures. He claimed most of the clutter would be gone and the house would be emptied. He said it might be available on May 1, but that would be pushing it (honestly I don’t see how he could have everything cleaned out by then). Parking was nonexistant because of the way the guy had the entire two-port carport cluttered with crap. It was a mess.

The place has potential to be really cute, though. Nice flower garden with a lot of amenities. So not bad overall.

I asked the guy how long he would lease the place, he said at least a year, but wasn’t sure about longer than that. If I get settled some place I don’t really want to have to move at the end of a year. I’d like to have the option to stay longer, you know?

I left that place feeling like I won’t be able to afford anything. It wasn’t the house so much as what my budget could reasonably do, considering the difference between when I was expecting to pay for utilities. (And did I mention I’ve had to take on an additional expense to have the lawn trimmed at the house in TN?)

I called maybe 5-6 other places around when we were driving. I’m waiting on call backs from most of them. So far two of them hvae called. One house in Hillsborough (3 bedroom/2 bath) was $900/month; another place out in the middle of no where was $400 for a 1 bedroom/1 bath — no kitchen, no nothing but the bedroom and bathroom.

One place looked really good. It’s a duplex in Hillsborough. The back yard comes right up to Eno River. There are woods and places to hike right there. It was beautiful. (Have pictures to send you of it.) Place rents for $650/month. No idea on availability. Laura said that she had called about it earlier in the week. Apparently, one person has offered to rent both sides of the duplex. Within the next two weeks, the realtor will know if the duplex will be available or rented. I called the realtor and left a message — can’t hurt to get my name on the list. It would be a stretch, but it’s so pretty out back behind the house. (Unless being that close to the river breeds mosquitoes.)

I spent some time looking through Craigslist for additional houses. Found one place in Durham where a lady is looking for someone to take over a five-month lease. It’s a 1 bedroom/bath apartment off of 15-501, which is relatively close to work. Maybe 10 miles? The rent is $600/month plus utilities ($60) and cable/internet/phone combo ($100). That’s about what I budgeted. I’ve emailed the lady to ask about pet policy.

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