I have been hoping for SOMETHING to happen that would set us on a path. While the house has been on the market, we are just at a crossroads. We can't move forward. We can't move back. We just sit and wait for something to happen. Be careful for what you wish for....or in the least....be careful how you word your wishes....
Renting out the house
Many people over the past months have said to me to "just" rent out the house. "Just" has turned into my least favorite word. Nothing is JUST. There is a much larger picture. Maybe it is a blessing...or a curse...to be able to see the next ten steps in these cases, but it isn't as easy as JUST doing it. All decisions have consequences.
We considered renting out the CT house for August 1. In this scenario, we would be forced to also rent a home in our new location. If we wanted the kids to start school there, August 1 would be the drop dead date to have moved (school starts 2 weeks later). They would only have one year at their new school, and then they will be in high school. Bossy has his "triennial" testing due (by law, the school has to test Special Education students every 3 years....and it is a huge ordeal), and this will determine how we structure his high school program. So it is important that we stay in the same district.
This leads us to a very narrow area to look at. And in that area, rentals are not plentiful. We have been looking. It isn't even the cost....there just aren't many rentals. Additionally, we have no idea how long we would be there....hopefully only a year. But depending on what happened here, it could be longer. Also, the owners of that house could be trying to sell as well, and may decide to not renew a lease. This would require another move, and if we are trying to stay in the same area, once again our options would be very limited. So this whole scenario is very up in the air.
But back to renting out our house here....
Being 800 miles away, we would not be able to monitor the house. If a faucet leaked, we couldn't come over and fix it. And if the house was on the market....we would be at the mercy of the tenants. None of these things are good. So we contacted property management companies to find out how their services worked.
Basically, they get paid a "finders fee" of one month rent (we could get around this by going through our realtor to find a tenant, but then the management company is absolved of any "bad tenant" issues since they were not part of the vetting process). Then they would charge us about $150 per month for their services, and realistically for most months...all they would do is collect rent, take their share, and then forward the remainder. They would really "earn" their money if something went wrong with the house. We would also have to keep $500 in a "maintenance" account to draw from for basic repairs. (If the tenant turned out to be a pain, this account could disappear fast). A major repair (such as the furnace dying)....then they would charge us 5% above the cost of the repair to put it on a CC, or we could forfeit our rent money until the repair was paid for. (In this scenario, we would then be covering the mortgage on the house until the repair was done, in addition to the monthly rent we would be paying for the house we were living in).
Additionally, we would still have the pool to deal with. They would not assume any liability of the pool (which we figured). They also treat the pool the same as you would if you were renting an apartment that had pool facilities....AKA the landlords are responsible for the day to day upkeep of the pool. That would require hiring a pool company who would charge about $600 for opening and closing the pool, and another $1200-$2400 to maintain the pool (depending if we went with weekly or bi-weekly service).
We didn't even get to the insurance portion of it....because our insurance would also change. Some people told us it would go down, since it wouldn't be an owner-occupied dwelling. Some said it would go up because of the liability of the pool.
PLUS, if we tried to sell the house toward the end of the lease, the management company would not ask the tenants to deal with showing and such (the promise of quiet and peaceful living), so we would have to wait for them to be out, then show the house empty, and assume the monthly cost of the house until it sold, or then have to get another tenant. We were also told that most people won't want a 1-year only lease (because "you know, it is expensive and time consuming to move"....gee, really??? I didn't know that.....) And if all of that wasn't already rainbows and sunshine....we were also told that many people who know that a lease is only for a year may stop paying rent toward the end because they know that an eviction process takes time, and they will be gone anyway. We would then have to chase after them for the back rent, and in most cases it is such a hassle that people give up, and if they do pursue it...it is questionable if we ever would really see the money.
We did not talk about lease to own, because we were already at a point where we were beyond a financial point that we could handle. The average rent for our type of house would just about cover our mortgage, but then we would be kicking in $150 a month to the management company, and almost $2000 (which would be all paid in a 3-4 month time frame) for the pool (probably more, because the water bill would come after a tenant would leave, and we would end up responsible for that).
So we made the very hard decision that the kids and I would stay in CT until the house sold. We can always re-evaluate as we go, but for now, we will continue to live our separate CT/NC lives. We are having to change our game plan for the kids, since now we will probably be here for the summer and into the fall .
Unless something changes with the house....wait.....something has changed with the house. Stay tuned.