Saturday, June 02, 2007

Moving On
During my long drives I have been listening to a radio show. The host gives financial advice with a no-nonsense attitude. "My company gave me a bunch of their stock ... should I sell it?". His responses always seem logical to me. "If you had the money, would you buy that stock? - Probably not. Sell it. Buy yourself some mutual funds with a guaranteed and steady return". Other times you have people calling in saying that they bring home $2,600 a month in income, and have a $1500 mortgage payment. We're not that bad off, but the advice is always the same. MOVE. So that's what we're doing.

I have done my usual business with the bank. I send them my household budget, a couple pay stubs, and a "letter of hardship". In return they send me a letter in the mail that expresses sympathy for my situation, and reminds me that if I pay what is due in full - all is forgotten. Of course, we have done that before (cleaning out most of my retirement) and have nothing to show for it now. My concern turned from "how will we keep our house" to "where will we live next?".

We had several strikes against us when it comes to trying to rent property. First, we are in a foreclosure situation and we are fleeing a home that the bank will soon be repossessing. Secondly, our credit is "less than perfect". Sure, we have no debt other than the house (which is nice), but that's not helping our credit score either. Lastly, we have two dogs. Would I rent a house to someone with two dogs? Hell no. So we knew it would be difficult to find a place to live, and we were prepared to settle for "less than perfect living conditions".

Thankfully that would not be necessary.

After several trips to the town of Mount Vernon, we had traveled up and down nearly every street in town. There are plenty of houses for sale, very few for rent. The few homes we could find for rent wanted nothing to do with dogs. One home owner seemed far too lenient about the dogs and it made me wonder about the home. After a quick drive by of the property, I knew that we did not want to live there (it was a dive).

This past weekend we called a number from the local newspaper and talked with a Realtor who was renting a property for an out of state owner. The "curb appeal" told us that we were very much interested in seeing the house.

After meeting with him and having a look around, we knew we wanted to live in this house. It's quite old, but well cared for. It had the three bedrooms we were looking for, and a large basement (especially considering the age of the home). It also featured a front and back deck, and a fenced in yard. And yes, they permitted pets.

Worried that I would be turned down over the phone, I waited until after we had met the Realtor before mentioning all of the reasons he would not want to rent to us. Before leaving, he handed me some paperwork which I promised to fill out and drop back off to him ASAP. They were your typical over-faxed and over-photocopied rental papers.

I wanted to make a good effort on this one. So I later scanned in the documents, converted then to PDF files, and then entered the text on my PC. I made his filled in rental application look better than the originals. Then, I wrote out a nice letter explaining my situation with brutal honesty.

We had seen the house on a Saturday. Sunday night he called my cell phone. "Do you think you will be interested in renting out the house?". I told him that I had all ready filled out his paperwork and had planned to drop it off to his office the next morning. He had me drop it off to his home instead where he has a nice office over his garage.

Then, I waited. Nervously, I waited throughout the holiday weekend. Monday came and went. Tuesday was nearly passed. And then my phone rang. It was the Realtor! It could be good news ... could be bad news. I answered. And my phone bricked. These wonderful phones. Fancy as they are. Full size flip-out keyboard. Full email and unlimited Internet. Camera for picture taking. The works. But every time I get an important phone call, the damn thing freezes up on me.

Alas, he had good news for me which I would retrieve from him five minutes later (after "restarting Windows Mobile"). He was going to rent to us.

And so yesterday I stopped by his home, a few blocks away, and filled out the standard rental agreement. I have keys. I have a new home.

It's weird having a new home after all of these years. My wife has always said that we would never move out of this house. I don't know that I ever believed that in my heart. It was financially difficult from the beginning. And then it became financially impossible in the years to come.

I suppose every thing is going to "plan". But I still keep stressing over the many uncertainties.

Now, I have to get back to figuring out how to get my VW Bug moving again. Time is of the essence!

Historic Comments
"It's a quiet, unassuming little town WITH A DARK SECRET!!" Sorry, that's the way those horror movie trailers always start out. Looks like a nice place, and it's good that they let you have pets. If there's not a lot of industry in town, the rental market is probably a bit weak and a renter is more likely to rent to a slight risk than to let his property sit empty. Good luck on the move. You may have to push the bug.
Acid Country | 06.08.07 - 5:33 pm | #

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