I feel like one of the abandoned kittens at a pet shop. All I really want is to find my “Forever Home”. I am relatively cute, very, very loyal, a great homemaker and housekeeper, I love to quilt, cross stitch, research my genealogy, and spend time with my family. I don’t make much noise, and I’m really quite easy to get along with (most of the time!)
I’ve worked very hard over the last 21 months to make our current house really warm and homey. I’ve decorated it with lovely things and Gaylon and I have tried to be extra good about upkeep. For example, we’ve installed very nice ceiling fans in all of the bedrooms. We replaced the really nasty, crusty, hard-water-damaged faucet in the downstairs bathroom with a very nice, shiny, pretty one. We tore out all of the huge, gumpy, globs of caulk in the master shower and replaced it with smooth, clean, aesthetically pleasing lines of caulk. We replaced the water heater for free. We fixed the leak in Abby’s bathroom that was dripping like crazy down into the garage, again, for free. We’ve had the Heating and Air units serviced (and even repaired one time), yep, you guessed it: for free. Gaylon even re-plumbed the drain in the kitchen sink so that when you run the disposal, gross stuff doesn’t spew forth from the drain on other side of the sink! We are AWESOME TENANTS!
So why do our landlords keep raising the rent? The last house we lived in (in Brushy Creek) was not a home we were particularly fond of, so when they raised the rent on that one, we felt like it was a sign to move on. And so we did. Even though our landlady there was fantastic, and we hated to leave her. But we did need a bigger home, so we started looking around. And we found this perfect house with lots of room and trees, where we’ve lived very happily for the past 21 months. Our landlord has seemed to be very happy with us, too.
But a couple of days ago he emailed us (Dear Gaylon and Valarie) and asked if we were planning to stay. Our original leased actually ended May 2013, and then it converted over to a month-to-month agreement. We have been very prompt paying the rent and have never been late, even after the lease expired. We felt like the fact that we were being such great tenants spoke for itself. So anyway, Gaylon responded and told him we liked it here and planned to stay. To reward us for this loyalty, we got another email. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Brooks. Definite tone change here. This email informed us that they would like to increase our rent by $200/month. He assured us that this price was still below market value. YIKES!! $200?!?!?! That seems really extreme to us! (And to every single last person we’ve spoken to: other landlords, our hairdresser, other renters, friends, family, and one attorney.) EVERYONE agrees that that’s one heckuva hike.
And, I’m questioning his market value. The kitchen cabinets are very old and not in very good shape. The countertops are laminate. Unattractive laminate. The drawers stick, and some of the paint is peeling off of them. The linoleum in the upstairs bathroom is coming away from the floor all around the shower from some long ago leak that predates our residency. And speaking of leaks, almost every downstairs room in the house has a ceiling that has been marred by some sort of leak! There is no grass in the backyard, (hasn’t been since before we moved in) and there is no fireplace. No rain gutters. And so on. It’s a great house, with fantastic potential, but it is not worth $200 more per month. Not without a ton of upgrades. All the houses we’ve seen that are comparable have “fully updated kitchens”, “granite countertops”, “new carpet and/or tile/wood, etc.”
Naturally, my first assumption was that this was a ploy to get us to move out. Why else would he do something so extreme? Gaylon thinks it’s just a business decision. We’ve spent the last day obsessing over what to do next. Do we stay, suck it up and pay the extra $200? Do we move? Do we try to negotiate? **SIGH** (All my Facebook friends advise negotiation!)
So, this is my blog, and I’m going to whine. Remember the old whiner skit from SNL? Imagine that whiney voice here: But I don’t wanna move!!! I don’t wanna negotiate! I just wanna stay home and make quilts and not have to pack my stuff up again and move!!! (/end whine)
Seriously, though, I really wish I had a forever home. Where I could plant my vegetable garden, and have goats and chickens and maybe some fruit trees. I wish that we had been able to sell our home in North Carolina for even half of what it was worth before the economy tanked. Then, we could buy our own home here in Texas and not be dealing with landlords. Or, at the very least, that our landlord could see that this is our HOME. It’s his house, yes, but for us, it’s HOME. And we love it here, and we very much do not want to be forced out. Or at least, I don’t. Gaylon is sending out some very mixed messages about what he wants. He keeps saying things about needing a shop, and room to spread out.
We’ve been looking online at rentals, and there are lots of them. And we can totally find a house that’s about this size, for the same amount of money, or even less, if we are willing to move down to Buda or Kyle. And, I’m not totally opposed to that plan. I mean, I think Buda is an adorable little town (once you get past the big, ugly Cabela’s just off the interstate!) And, one of my very favorite quilting stores is down there: B&B Quilting! But I don’t think I’m ready to be so far from so many of my friends in this part of town. And I’m not sure I am ready to leave our wonderful church!
But we did find this house in Hays County with a chicken coop . . . 🙂
Image credit: ginasanders / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: kearia / 123RF Stock Photo