Having just signed our lease for another year, I thought I would give all of you insight on how it has worked for us so far. Enjoy!
Now, when we started this process, it was very delicate. Unless you have the time and money to explore and educate yourself about the new home you will live in, you have to take the word of agencies or private landlords and what they show you online. Yes, this can be a dangerous game of “I hope it’s what they said and shown it to be” but sometimes that is what life hands you and you just go with the flow on it. If someone asked me what I recommend, I would still stand by the fact that EVERY landlord is different and so is the place, so it is really a case by case thing when it comes to seeing it before you rent. It makes common sense to see it first, but when relocating across the U.S., sometimes the cost is not feasible in the budget to do so. We rented by pictures only and our gut feeling that these people were very kind and helpful. For us, this method paid off.
I will also continue to stand by the fact that renting for the first year, if not more, is one of the smartest things you can do when moving to a new city/state. In most cases you have enough to worry about with a new job possibly, new surroundings, new friends, new schools…why worry about now having BOUGHT a new home and then finding out you hate the area? You will never “really” know the area you choose, whether renting or buying, until you have lived there for awhile. You get the feel of the pace of the neighborhood, whether the store is close enough for all those milk and necessity runs, plus you find out quickly if you live in a safe area or not. Keep in mind that when someone is showing you a home, its more or less during the day, so everyone is usually at work and kids are in school. Take a look again after the 5:00 hour to see how it REALLY is… are the new neighbors playing basketball in front of your home, playing loud music with the rest of them, or all sorts of cars coming in and out? I know, I sound like a crabby old man, but you get where I am going with this. Trust me, I have lived in enough places to know what to look out for now.
We love renting, and we have great landlords. They live close by, but far enough away that we don’t feel we are babysat. I love the fact that when something breaks or is in need of repair, they foot the bill and the labor for it. Again, it’s a nice thing to know they will come and fix it when something happens and that I can concentrate on other things for the day. You also have to keep in mind that renting is a give and take process that if you allow is to freely happen, you are usually good to go. Be reasonable. If something breaks and it’s dangerous to us or my family, they won’t hesitate to help us. But if it’s a screen or a pool issue, they will schedule a time because they both work full time as well and have kids. I highly recommend finding out who your landlords are as far as their day to day life, because it helps you understand how things will work.
Now we have private landlords, where most homes down here are through an agency. They are a bit tougher on how much you have to have down, when the rent must be paid, BUT they will also cover your back with a bit more legality than a private might. I know that having the security of a big company it is comforting to some, but I really like being personable with mine and having a relationship that I know we can communicate without it being some huge deal as well.
Now we have to do our own pool upkeep and also the yard, whereas some do not have to deal with either and hire their people to clean and cut for a cost to you that may be included in your rent. For us, we really don’t mind since only when it really rains does the lawn need a good cut, and the pool us easy to maintain as long as you check it every day. We also have hired Bug people, then eventually to save costs, just sprayed on our own and it seems to usually do the trick.
We were able to have Dory, our beloved cat, with us in our home and had to pay a small pet deposit which is refundable at the end of our stay. Because Dory was a surprise to us, they worked with us very kindly on it and we appreciated their understanding on the situation. When they advertised the place, we had known that one pet would be ok, so we knew it wouldn’t be too big a deal when Dory came home.
I know that some say that renting is throwing your money away, but I feel the opposite. I feel like throwing your money away is buying a home where you potentially could hate the area in a year and now have to figure out how to sell it in an economy that is still struggling to survive. I would rather live out a year, then give notice and move without having to deal with selling anything then have to go through that entire process in AGAIN a brand new city and state where how they do things could be completely different. I guess it is all on how comfortable you are with what you find that will make the decision for you.
If you like to paint the walls, or change things in the place, most you just have to ask and read the fine print before signing. We were fortunate enough to find a place with a great color scheme, even though Kyra would love to paint her room, but we still have things we would love to change if we owned it. But here is the catch, to change them, like carpets, etc.. takes money when eventually they will do it on their dime and we can STILL enjoy it, so we will wait it out for now and see what happens. At this point they just need a good cleaning and we are good to go.
I know I have come to really enjoy the area we chose. At first, I was concerned with highway 192 and it’s looming tourist hold it had on me. But then I found roads around it, and it has just gotten easier and easier. I like that our neighborhood has huge yards and lots of space, I am not a fan of being on top of each other when it comes to homes. Yes it is an older area, but it is safe, close to Emily’s school, close to awesome places to eat and shop at, and of course, our beloved Disney World. If you had told me when we started this that I would find a home where I could see and hear Wishes and Illuminations every night I would have thought you were certifiably nuts!
We would like to own eventually, but with a child heading to College in the Fall and another one going back to school, my plate is full right now with those life changes. I would like to own in time, but neither Craig or I feel any rush to do so. It has been a positive experience so far and I feel we will be here for many years to come. I hope this helps someone who is trying to decide on renting or not, have a great day!