This Friday Ryan and I will sign on to lease an adorable old house with a yard. Make this my #9 move in 8 years and I'm not even military. I just gave our landlord 30 days notice on our condo. It's been a pretty sweet flat, sweeeter if you're retired, quiet, and don't want animals. I'll miss the sunsets from our balcony and the awesome full view of the bay from the bedroom window. I'll miss the super-sized walk-in closets and the free cable television.
But I'm really excited about the prospect of getting a puppy, which is finally a tangible possibility. The new house has hardwood floors (waaay easier to clean), a fully fenced backyard, and also makes for an even shorter drive to work. And public access waterfront is still not far away.
The last month of real-estate/rentals shopping has been hairy. Very, very few rentals allow for pets, and fewer of them allow for dogs > 25lbs. (Besides, I'm not sure dogs < 25 lbs are real dogs anyway.) After hours of searching padmapper, realtor.com, hotpads, etc., we happened upon our place-to-be simply by driving through the neighborhood and eyeing the FOR RENT SIGN. Apparently we were the fourth party to inquire about the house and the sign had only been up for one hour. We came to the viewing with our applications filled out in advance; I've lost too many great rentals just because someone else beat me to the punch oh so closely. The landlady took them and immediately removed the sign from the front yard; I don't think she wanted to be harassed any more. We did appreciate that she is the home owner. It's really difficult using a property manager as a middleman.
After the Enrique fiasco I've come to read lease agreements even more closely. They are sooo biased in favor of the landlord, and you really don't feel like you have much going for you except your credit report/background check. In this market, there is a dozen people behind you willing to sign on blindly. Landlords just don't need to negotiate (though the nice ones will). Some friends say we're stupid for not buying. We so want to be king/queen of our castle and not deal with all this leasing business. But I feel that if you don't put down a big chunk when you buy, what are you really buying? Your name is on paper, but that's about where your ownership ends. Too many folks got burned buying what they couldn't afford. Maybe next year.
Meanwhile, knowing the new place has much less storage space, I've gotten more ruthless in chucking stuff out: clothes I don't wear, old perfumes, dvds, books, lipsticks, etc. I should be a moving pro at this point, but too much of me is a pack rat with a depression-era mentality. I might need that one day. I might finally hem that thing. Some stuff I could probably sell online, like on Amazon, but I just don't see ourselves having the time to organize and arrange all that between now and moving day. I just need lighten the load . . . quickly.