So last week I mentioned we were having a little difficulty finding a place to rent. Well, actually I think I said I thought we were going to be homeless. Let me tell you about it.
Blinded by a Misconception
When Bill and I returned to Texas from California, eight years ago, we needed a rental and fast. I called a real estate agent friend of my mom’s and by the end of the day, we’d found something. A year later, Bill came home from Iraq and the tiny two bedroom duplex I’d been renting was suddenly too small. I did a little research and in no time at all, we found something and moved in. This one one time that my previous experiences were misleading.
Beware of Craig’s List
For my first stab at finding us a rental this time around, I went to Realtor.com. Bill didn’t like what I found, so he took the lead. The first thing he did was lead us into trouble.
I am not a fan of Craig’s List, but Bill uses it all the time. He’s bought books there, sold all kinds of things and also finds different kinds of contractors and workmen for the house. This time he found trouble.
During his first search, he found a house for rent that was right around the corner from where we’re building. The rental was only slightly above the budget he’d given me and Bill was ready to lease it sight unseen. I’m usually a worry-wart about things like that, but hey, I figured we’d only be there a year at the most and I can deal with almost anything for a year.
The Craig’s Lister sent us an application. Bill had it all filled out and was ready to send it back when a little bird sang in his ear, “Beware the Ides of March.” Well, actually, Bill just got cold feet about sending all that information to someone he didn’t know. So he had me check the tax records. The Craig Lister was not the owner of the home. OOOOPS!
Besides living through a cautionary tale about Craig’s List, Bill learned several things while he was researching rentals. For instance, he’d been unrealistic with the budget he’d given me. No way were we going to find something within the range he originally gave me. So he raised the budget by a couple of hundred dollars. He also found out researching rentals is a lot of work, so he delegated it back to me with a long list of the rentals he’d found on a variety of rental sites.
His priority was for homes that were being rented out by their owners, rather than homes being leased by agents. I just wanted to rent from someone who didn’t steal our identity and empty our accounts.
With fear and trepidation I started trying to figure out if the homes on Bill’s list were really real or just another scam. I quickly found that most of the houses were on Zillow. So I poked around Zillow a little more. The new price range made things a lot easier.
Eventually, I had to quit researching things on the internet and start making calls, but I’ll tell you about that next week.