I've been a confirmed renter for my entire adult life. I've loved it, someone else takes care of maintenance (except when I need to change the breaker in the fuse box so the washer would work moments before the boy I was dating-the fella-showed up for dinner-I'm lucky he was more impressed by that than if I had actually made the dinner he was eating), I can move whenever I
need want to, and there's no debt involved. It's been the perfect situation...until now. I'm feeling the homeowner itch. The rental situation we are currently in is weird, and while I don't want to go into detail on the internet (what if they see it?!?), I've decided to write a post about things I've learned throughout my many years of renting.
1. Make sure you have enough money to cover all the bills, even if you have a roommate. It might save your rear from getting evicted someday.
2. Always fill out the form saying what is already wrong when you move in, it saves deposits. Also, when they ask about the holes in the door you have proof they were already there...leave out the part about adding more with a mallet.
3. Do not-I repeat, DO NOT-make the mistake of thinking that yourself and a roommate can live in a 1 bedroom, 3 story walk up loft when each of you has a full/queen size bed. 10 hours in, you'll be looking for another place.
4. Don't count on it when people say they will help you move out of said 1 bedroom, 3 story walk up. Sometimes a very nice cook from work will show up with a case of beer and help out, but most likely you'll be carrying a recliner down 3 flights of stairs on your own. Man strength!
5. Sometimes rentals are haunted....
6. Sometimes you have to leave things behind when you move (for the 4th time in 3 years) because it doesn't fit in your car and none of your friends have a truck, and you're tired because you've moved 4 times in 3 years (sorry porch swing that I left hanging on the porch on 3rd Ave in Columbus/Grandview...I miss you).
7. Don't paint the walls in an apartment. It's hard to cover and they take part of your deposit. Scratch that, that was the most home-y apartment I had in Columbus and I loved the colors for the 8 months that I lived there!
8. Don't count on property managers to know what they're doing. It's safe to assume that at some point or another your move in day will overlap with the previous tenants move out day. And no, telling the previous tenant to leave the key on the mantle is not professional. Neither is putting the wrong
dates year on a lease.
9. Make sure to call and switch the bills before you move in. Some companies shut off utilities for 24 hours before restarting it in your name. It's very inconvenient, especially in the middle of August in Virginia. You might end up calling the cops over some fly paper on the fans (long story).
10. Always, always, ALWAYS get a lease BEFORE moving in. It will save a lot of hassle later.
11. When someone says they will do something that needs to be done to the house tell them to call when it's done and you'll move in then. Don't move in before it's done, especially if you don't have a lease. Guess what, they won't do it.
12. You'll know when you're ready to be a homeowner. I never thought the day would come. Buying a house always seemed like a waste, especially for someone who wants the freedom to come and go and move and wander. But a day may come when you feel the itch.....but then how would you have ridiculous rental advice to give?