We've been talking about a future home without stairs, to make life easier for The Artistic One. Including a stipulation that we be allowed a cat and "a" dog, knocks 80% of the available rentals off the list. Further filtering for price leaves us with three or four maybe-feasible options, as long as we're willing to add an hour to our commute or live beside a busy road. Even then, there are lines of people at each open house.
Landlords no longer return emails or calls to answer questions. They fire out an announcement of a two hour time-window when the houses will be open. Like it or lump it.
One advertisement on Craigslist made me want to chastise this rude and arrogant person: "1,500 sqft. 3 bed, 2 bath" so far so good, although half the size of where we are now. "You must have the following to be considered:"
credit score over 800 over last 3 years
employment, 4 years with no gaps
family income in excess of $150,000
previous landlord references
Bank Statements to SHOW SAVINGS
Residency in Bay Area, more than 3 years
"If you do not have these don't waste our time!"
All this, for $3,500 a month, makes me think of my sidebar poneyism regarding puppies and dicks.
One other example of "same planet-different worlds" invites us to "Have it all!" for $4,990 we would get a "Huge, Fabulous back yard with Beautiful Artificial Turf". That particular oxymoron made me smile, I must admit.
If we attempt to find a place that's closer to our business, in this price range we're looking at two beds and one bath, on the wrong side of the tracks. TAO just states his wish-list and imagines it will materialize. He wants a country property, with a barn or other structure, that will serve as his art studio. That is not impossible, if we're willing to drive for hours every day. There is one that was advertized and the owner told us she'll be having an open house sometime this month. Of course everyone must bring their qualifications at that time, to compete. Now, if something else is vaguely acceptable, we must decide whether to wait for something better or jump at the compromise.
There's a house on my radar that we may be allowed to see later today. It's not completely a country house but it's an older home, out towards the foothills. It's in a rustic, neighborhood that's hard to describe as anything other than "Redneck". I'm using that to mean a blue-collar, born and raised here population that is increasingly rare and remains proudly ungentrified and unnaffected. It doesn't have a view but is within short walking distance of designated open space.
"Rick" is renting out his father's property, where he grew up. It's on a quiet cul-de-sac and has a huge extra building, where the Dad used to keep his heavy machinery. There's a big side-yard that they're keeping out of the contract, where all of his vintage vehicles are stored, and another back yard with some fruit trees. Rick is thinking of pouring a concrete patio but wants to wait and see what his renters think. (How unusual is that?). I told him I can advise him on what would enhance his property value, as I have a lot of experience.The house is one storey, almost 2,000 sqft. They don't mind pets and the price is 3/4 of what we pay now.
Rick called me back to chat, as soon as I sent him an email. I like him. We connected. I may have had an ulterior motive when I mentioned that I can skin a rabbit. Not something I drop into conversation on a daily basis. He has been painting and cleaning up the property, so he didn't want us to visit before now. He reluctantly gave me the address, when I asked him, and I promised not be a stalker and drive by uninvited. Promise kept. (Looking at satellite images doesn't count.)
I have my phone by my side. Rick wants to show us around today, depending on what time his daughter's confirmation, and subsequent family celebration, are over. Realistically, he may not call today. Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I like him more that he said he had to take care of the women in his life.
This might well carry over to Monday.