Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Exploring options, some musings

This town has few rentals, and of those, few are within my price range. My needs are as follows:

-3 bedroom
-1 1/2-2 bath
-wood floors
-pets allowed
-laundry on site (I have my own w/d if needed)
-covered storage for car (can be a carport)
-energy efficient
-fireplace for supplemental heating in outages
-ideally on one of the few, lower acreage lots
-ideally a shorter driveway vs a long to reduce plowing fees
-a local landlord, as dealing with someone 1100 miles away has been far from ideal

There are currently 4 rental homes that I am eyeballing(note that my lease is up mid Aug), I've ranked them in order of my initial impression, not yet physically seen them.

1-1684 sq foot Ranch from 1953, 3 bed, 2 bath, one car garage, recently remodeled, new kitchen appliances but no microwave (not a biggie), new bathrooms, storm windows, ceiling and attic fans, wood floors except for tiled kitchen, bath, unfinished cellar, 1.38 acres  No mention of pet policy. $100 less than my max. budget

2-1266 sq foot Raised Ranch from 1965, 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage underneath, all appliances included, neutral decor, wood floors except for bath/kit and looks like carpet in family room, deck, central air, 2.3 acres Pets OK. $100 over my max budget

3-1616 sq foot Ranch from 1948 on 2.43 acres Listed as 3/4 bedroom in paragraph description yet ML listing states 3 bedroom. Perhaps an office space? 2 bath. Recent upgrades include all new appliances but no M/wave-again not a biggie, flooring, counters in kitchen (original knotty pine cabinets), wood floors, wood burner insert in LR fireplace, deck, 2 car garage, updated baths (no photos however), unfinished attic and cellar for storage. Pets OK. $100 below my max budget

4-1864 sq foot colonial from 1930 on 2.56 acres. 3 bed, 1 1/2 bath, stone foundation, fireplace in LR, Appliances listed as fridge, range and m/wave yet photo shows a D/washer-I'd have to ask for clarification. No mention of w/d hook ups. I own a set, so not a big deal, again-need clarification. I must have on premises laundry, 2 car garage and there appears to be either a rental above it or a separate office. Nothing mentioned in the listing-another question to ask. Central air. Pets OK. $100 over my max budget

In light of my oil bills, the configuration of this rental, the desire to give DD a proper room, for me to have a room that is not a walk through to the main bathroom, and the latest fiasco with the ice dam (should hear back from my attorney on that today), I am looking. No idea/inkling if the LL will allow me to break my lease early w/o penalty, and I don't want to miss out on what few rental opportunities exist. Due to my divorce decree, it's best that I stay in town. Fine. Another factor is that I should have another surgery on my hand this Summer, giving me those months to recouperate. Moving at that time wouldn't be an option, although putting the procedure off yet another year is.



Florence said...

Could you lease a condo or a townhouse? I would not want to try to do yard maintenance on acreage property especially having had surgery so recently.
The first property would be the best budget wise but houses built in the 50s may not be sufficiently insulated. Also, does it have a/c if you need it?
If I remember correctly, you said in a previous post that you would be able to leave the area in a few years. If the current LL takes care of the ice dam, would you be willing to stay where you are until you can make that move? Moving costs $$ and is such a pain.
Good luck whatever you choose.

CTMOM said...

This is a rural, suburban town with 2 acre zoning, many properties have even more land than that. Occassionally, there is a grandfathered lot that is an acre. There are no townhouses here, and the one very small condo complex is a 2 bedroom condo place, with most tenants being owners. We rarely need A/C in CT,nice to have on humid days, bad air quality days. I own 2 A/C units (one needs to be replaced as the side "fins" are ripped) and would spring for 2 new ones, if needed, so at least the bedrooms would be A/C'd. Gotta sleep at night, even if you sweat all day. Often closing windows, curtains and running box fans to keep the air moving, and keeping the lights off, helps to keep a home cooler. This is a largely wooded town, and homes are usually shaded, so cooler in that respect as well. I ranked the homes in order of my initial preference. Agree that the 50's Ranch wouldn't necessarily have the insulation of today's standards but this was a home purchased and refurbished to be a rental. I would be inquiring about the insulation, if there was an upgrades in that dept (there are new, thermal pane windows), what the oil bills are, etc.
I need to stay here 2 more school years, just to keep things uncomplicated. Love this town, not a hardship, other than finding a rental that I can afford. I already took care of the ice dam, to the tune of $$$. It really was the last straw for me. Yes, moving is a major PITA, but quality of life is important as well. They are several reasons, stated in post, as to why we should consider a move within town. Please note that I pay a landscaper to mow the lawn, and would continue to do so. A new lease would specify which areas I was responsible to maintain. Ditto, just where I have to remove snow. Grrrr!

slugmama said...

Given that the larger the space the more it will cost to heat/oool, I'd go with the smallest house that would work for me. That all depends on the insulation factor being equal....which it hardly ever is.

Lili said...

Hi Carol,
As you are renting and not buying (and saving to buy in the not-too-distant future), I would go with the one that would cost you the least, in total -- rent, but also utilities and maintenance. You're still in the off-season as far as rentals go, so you can take a bit of time to investigate each property (get past utility bills, check on length of driveway for snow removal costs, etc) and negotiate what the LL will cover.

You learned a lot from your current rental, about what to specify in your contract for this next go round with rentals. I think you'll benefit greatly from your knowledge.

CTMOM said...

Working backwards up my list:
House # 4 has a stone foundation and I stongly fear would be cold, as this home has been; it's also the largest @ 1930 sq ft.. Built 1930, sure to be drafty with little/no insulation. Oil bills would confirm, to be sure. Larger lot, goes mostly uphill; I know where/I've seen this house as it's on a main road
House # 3 from 1948 should* be better than # 4, but you never know. It was purchased to covert to a rental, upgrades done. Again-I seek oil bills. With this larger lot, I'd add language to the lease specifying just where I would have to mow. Also on a main road, I am familiar with it's location, seen it often. Wetlands and woods in back, so that would reduce just what was to be mowed
House # 2 1965-best chance at actually being insulated and smallest home. ML listing notes that the back of the garage and side of home will be repainted once the weather clears. So maybe* these LL's actually care and will maintain the home? I've been through 2 Summer/fall seasons with this LL-we still await the exterior (not that there is much exposed wood, it's mostly stone)paint to be redone. There are also areas inside that need to be repainted (peeling/flaking). Sigh. House # 2 is the smallest of the 4, and I like that it's a RR so there is a finished basement. I only require one LR area so that could become a sewing room for me. : )
House #1 has the smallest acreage=a good thing and it has new, thermopane windows.

CTMOM said...

Yes, I am a quick learner. Things will be specified as far as who is responsible for what, regardless of where I end up next.
Agree, I keep my bottom line in mind as I "shop" for my next possible place.

paidinchickens said...

I'm surprised by how many are ok with pets. Over here there are very few people who rent to people owning pets.

CTMOM said...

Probably a 50-50 split on private home rentals. I think appartment and condo/townhouses are more restrictive here.

Mary Lou said...

I, personally, would prefer a ranch. All on one floor so you're not heating two floors. If you go for the colonial it would be nice if it had 2 zones for heating so you are not heating the whole house all the time. I would try to go for one of the homes under budget.

If you need surgery over the summer again, maybe you could have the doctor write a letter explaining your situation as to why you have to move early. I don't know how compassionate the LL would be, but it might be worth a try. The ice dam incident would push me over the edge at this point also.

CTMOM said...

Mary Lou
Budget and creature comforts are certainly ruling my selection. I prefer a Ranch, as I also have hip tendonitis-this over 50 stuff is no fun. Besides, I am hoping that my next forever home is a ranch as well. Choice # 1-it's unclear if pets are allowed or not. If forbidden, then I'd have to go to choice # 2, the raised ranch. Both are "newer" compared to the circa 1940's revamped ranch and the 1930's stone foundation colonial, which I suspect would again be awful on heating.

slugmama said...

If all 4 are oil heat I'd probably go with #2 from what you've said. Perhaps you can get them to come down $100 on the rent if you show them a comparison to other rentals(point out that all the other 3 are larger). Maybe heating the less sq. footage over the course of a year will negate the $100 over your max budget problem for #2.
You can always warp the water heater and exposed pipes to be more energy efficient for a reasonable cost.

Good luck with this.