Around here it is HARD to find a reasonably priced rental house in good condition and in a good neighborhood. It's even harder to find a landlord who will accept less than a 1-year lease. We have to be out of our house in three weeks, so I knew our options were going to be limited for renting while we build in Aberdeen.
I checked the MLS, the newspaper and a few other sites for rental listings but nothing jumped out at me. Then I decided to start calling owners of vacant homes for sale to see who would consider renting instead. Friday afternoon I looked at about 10 of these in Southern Pines and Pinehurst.
It's funny how my priorities in a house have changed since Claire and Evan joined us. Having a fenced-in back yard is a huge perk that I would have considered a negative a couple of years ago -- I don't like the way fences look, but they sure are handy in keeping Claire in our yard. A split-bedroom plan is another big bonus -- I always preferred it for resale, but now I prefer it so whichever baby wakes up first won't wake up the other one.
Of all the houses I looked at Friday only one was a possibility. It had been on the market for a year so I was optimistic that the seller might be willing to let us rent. I called the listing agent, who told me it was an estate situation and the heir has no interest in renting, just wants to sell and be done with it.
But, the listing agent happens to own a house in that same neighborhood that she plans to renovate and move into once her own home sells. For the past year she's been renting it out six months at a time. And just that day, her current tenants had given their 30-day notice. Which means they'll be out four days before our home closes.
We met her this morning to walk through it and IT IS PERFECT. I don't have any pictures but believe me, I will. It's a late-1950s Cape Cod-style cottage in great condition with all the important updates and ALL of the character you could ask for. Plus a fenced-in back yard and a split-bedroom layout. The price is exactly what we were looking for -- even though it could easily go for more.
It even has a wooden swingset/clubhouse/sandbox that she said we can take with us when we move to Aberdeen. It's weathered and worn, but with a little work is going to be great -- especially for free.
I forgot to mention that this house is in a neighborhood Matt and I have dreamed of living in (Knollwood Heights, for you locals), but we could never afford most of the houses there. It is absolutely gorgeous and ridiculously convenient -- two minutes to church, a small park and the trails I used to run with Katie C.; five minutes to downtown Southern Pines and Matt's office; less than 10 minutes to the fitness center (which I joined today).
This may be the first house I get emotionally attached to. Actually, I think I already am.