Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Or, at least that's what they say. So y'all have to be IN LOVE with me by now, right?


Seriously, though, I miss everyone. I miss writing. But believe me when I say that there is just NO.TIME. I have high hopes that life will return to some semblance of normal in mid-September. We shall see.

I did want to drop in for a little update, though.

First of all--we've reached a resolution (albeit a temporary one) with the condo. Last week, we were still meeting with potential tenants (found through Craigslist) pretty much every day. Things were getting somewhat discouraging. We had a lot of traffic, but no one had gone so far as to submit an application or make a friggin' decision.

On Thursday, however, we met with a woman who spent five minutes walking through the place and then turned to us and said the magic words, "I like it. I want to fill out an application." Music to our ears, I'll tell you. Things seemed good from the start, except for one thing--she couldn't move in until October 1st at the earliest. This wasn't entirely unexpected, given that we were now in the last full week of August, and most people cannot pick up and move within a week or so. But still, we figured if we could get a lease signed--great. It beats living with the burden of knowing we have an empty property for who-knows-how-long. So, when I got back to the office, I quickly shot her an e-mail with the application.

Meanwhile, our friends came back into the picture. You know, the ones who I told you about a few weeks back, who actually responded to our ad on Craigslist without knowing it was our place. It was only through e-mail that we discovered each other's true identities. HA! Anyway, when that first came about, we were hesitant to rent to friends (you know, the whole mixing personal and business thing), but brought them by to look at the unit anyway. After some consideration, they decided to keep looking because our town was not their first choice location. We figured it wasn't meant to be, and let it go, continuing to look for tenants through Craigslist.

Well, fast-forward to last week. A few weeks had passed from our initial conversations with our friends. We hadn't yet found tenants. They hadn't yet found a place, either. And so we somehow ended up back together, in a full-circle moment. They came back to us, asking if we would be willing to do a six-month lease with them, because now they're actually not even sure if they're going to stay in the state--they're considering moving south in the spring. After discussing, Michael and I countered, asking if they would bump it up to an 8-month lease instead. We didn't want to end up with an empty property in February, because it's a crappy time of year to try to rent/sell.

Done deal. Lease was signed that same evening. Win-win situation for all. Or, at least it should be, if everything goes according to plan. Which we think it will.

We still could've moved forward with the application and signing the lease with a stranger, but there were some obvious cons associated with that arrangement--the biggest of which was the timing. With her, we would've been entering into an October 1 to September 30 lease, and let's face it--that is not the best time of year to be doing ANYTHING related to the real estate market in this area. In a year (or whenever she decided to vacate), when we accounted for transition/vacancy period, we would likely have been looking for a new tenant for November 1 or later, which is not ideal. Plus, trying to put the condo back on the market that late in the year was not going to be great for us, either.

With our friends, the lease runs through April 30. Sure, it would've been nice to be able to breathe a little easier for a whole year instead of just 8 months, but this way, our friends have the option to move out of the area in the spring, and we are able to put the condo back on the market during the "best" time of year to do so. In the meantime, we'll be able to look for new tenants as well, and the spring/early summer is the best time for that, too.

Oh, and did I mention that our friends already moved in? :) That was one of the other benefits--they were actually squatting at his parents' house with most of their stuff in storage, so they were MORE THAN READY to get out. We signed the lease on Thursday night, they moved in on Sunday. And we were paid rent for September, saving us from that mortgage payment--meaning we never had to pay for the condo for any sort of vacancy period. AND they didn't want us to bother repainting the place for them.


With that quick turnaround, though, came some added stress, of course. On Friday morning, the condo was NOWHERE NEAR move-in ready. We still had random stuff around. There were holes in the walls from our frames and such. Everything needed to be scrubbed like whoa.

After Nora went to bed on Friday night, I spent 4.5 hours at the condo by myself, removing the rest of our stuff, cleaning blinds, spackling holes, etc. etc. Then, on Saturday, we had to spend the majority of the day out of town for our nephew's birthday. When we returned in the evening, I put Nora to bed and once again went over to the condo--but my mom came with me to help. And thank goodness, because the two of us spent 6.5 hours finishing the place. By the time we were done, we had scrubbed every nook and cranny. I painted touch-ups on the walls where we had spackled. I caulked. We swept out the garage. I pulled weeds. My mom made the kitchen and bathroom SPOTLESS.

And it was also 2:00 a.m. It sucked. But it was done.

(For the record, Michael was home working on some "new house" projects during all of this. Someone had to stay back with Nora. I just don't want anyone to be all, "Where was Michael in all of this?")

In short, I learned that preparing for tenants is ridiculously hard work. It was like preparing for house guests x 1,000. Especially since *we* had been the ones living there, and we knew the tenants moving in--we didn't want them to discover any grime and think, "OMG, Heather and Michael are so disgusting!" :)

As much as it REALLY stunk to miss out on all of those hours working on the new house, it was nice to have a resolution for the condo, and so quickly. We took the condo off the market, and will plan to re-list in (likely) March to see what happens. Our friends have already said that they'd do everything to help us sell it when the time comes--keeping it clean for showings and such. (Add another point in the "why this arrangement works" column.)

So, now we are back to busting our asses on the new house in prep for our very first house guest (yayyy for having room for house guests!)--MY DAD--who arrives next Friday for Nora's birthday party. And, you know, all of the short-term guests we will have at the actual party. Eeeek! Every night, we come home from work, feed/play with Nora, put her to bed, eat something ourselves, and work until 11:30-ish, falling into bed (hopefully) by midnight. It's exhausting.

Oh, and this has got to be Nora's least-photographed month of her life. :( It's sad; I feel like time is slipping away. We are so close to the big birthday! I hope to make up for it in the next few weeks.

That's the latest. Hopefully I'll be back with more soon!


Vanessa September 3, 2011 at 6:20 PM  

You're a hero - all that work sounds horrendous! I have missed your updates! keep on going - it will be SO worth it in the end! xx

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