what $1975 a month can get you in Mission Viejo!
Dan & i are getting ready (sort of) to rent out our townhouse and rent a house-house. so I pretend I'm getting the house ready (what? i got a quote for new carpet!) and obsessively check Craigslist four times a day for cheap houses. it's been a while since i've been a tenant, so i'm re-learning the facts of cheap rent.
1. the houses will always be sub-optimal. there are no cheap diamonds. we looked at one yesterday that was only $1975, but the outgoing tenant said the landlord was "horrible" and the house itself had some shortcomings. the story on the LL was that he never returned calls, never made repairs. so the tenant would fix things and then deduct them from the rent, which apparently was fine because he never, ever heard anything at all from the LL. the house itself is small, 1066 square feet, but the garage is big and the backyard has potential. the bathtub is hideous, and the kitchen is pretty ugly (with faux brick on the lower half of the walls) but nothing a little paint wouldn't help with.
2. the yards may be hideous. looked at a 4-bedroom for $2200. the house was awful, but it was big so i could deal with it. but the backyard was the tragedy. good trees, good all-day shade, but almost every square foot of the ground was covered in concrete of one kind or another. it looked like somebody had put in a concrete pond at some point (about 2 feet deep), roughly 20 years ago. there had been a pool at some point, but there were workers in the backyard filling it up with dirt. the place was a D-U-M-P and Zillow estimates it at $671K. in a pig's eye. i'd have to rent a jackhammer if we moved in there.
3. lots of other people will be after it, too. this is the kicker. we need to be ready to jump when the right place comes along. if necessary, we may have to have our place vacant for two or so weeks in order to get our own good tenants in. this is the part that paralyzes me. at least our credit is excellent (or should be, guess i need to get my annual free reports & make sure there's no hanky panky). we'll be in line ahead of the people who've been foreclosed on and now need to find new homes.
in fantasy land, we'll hang onto the townhouse (even though half of me wants to sell it) and when the real estate market really hits the skids we'll be able to buy a house-house too. maybe even become real esate moguls. bwahahahahaha!