We’re just beginning our third year of living in our little rental house. I still love it just as much as ever (though I’d also love a teeeeny bit more space – maybe a designated office), and especially the location. We’re outside Tucson city limits, but still a short drive away. We are in the suburbs: lots of family-friendly activities, parks, hike and bike trails, etc. And when we do finally buy a home, I’d love for it to be in our same general area.
So although we’ve started talking about the idea of buying a home (not now, but probably within about a year), we know we need to stay put for now in our current rental.
Our landlord is really great. We live in the landlords’ previous residence. It’s not managed by some big property management company. The owner takes care of all the repairs and maintenance. He’s very kind. We’ve made friends with his family. So I think we’ve gotten a deal with the rent, particularly considering it hasn’t increased at all since we’ve lived in the place….
…until this year. When we approached the landlord to say that we wanted to renew our lease for another year, he seemed happy to have us stay. Of course it’s less work for him (advertising, showing the house, finding a tenant, doing make-ready cleanup, etc.). But then we got the email with the lease attached…and an increased price tag to go along with it.
We negotiated a bit back-and-forth (side note: does anyone else ever try to negotiate rent? When we were living in Florida they tried to increase our rent by a whopping $300/month at the end of a year, but we were able to negotiate down to a $100/month increase). Finally we settled (and signed) for our new increased rental rate. Instead of $1055/month, we’ll now be paying $1200/month.
I still feel like it’s a fair rate. I’ve seen what other houses in our neighborhood rent for and we’re still on the low side of rent, even though our house has a lot of nice, upgraded features compared to other properties in the area. That, coupled with the fact that we didn’t have an increase last year, makes me feel like this really is a fair rate. If we were to try to move, we’d be unlikely to find someplace comparable that we like as much for $1200 or less.
So, I guess that’s life. One of the big benefits of buying, of course, is that you get to lock-in your housing rate (assuming you get a fixed rate mortgage). My hope right now is that this will be our LAST year as renters. That by next summer we’ll be looking for a place all our own. That by August of next year we won’t be signing a rental agreement; we’ll be signing our very first ever mortgage!
That’s the dream, now off to work so we can make it a reality!