The Landlord Has Just Left

I haven’t seen our landlord since last summer until this week and now I’ve seen him twice.  He’s thinking of selling the place and prospective buyers and an inspector are coming to look at it on Friday and Saturday.  He wants to be sure the units are presentable.

America, let’s just talk about bullshit here for a second.  I live in a small two-story town-home-y duplex box between the interstate and the railroad.  There are two other boxes just like ours, each owned by a different person.  Rent is between $750 and $800, which is cheap for this part of town, but it’s because we live at the end of a dead end between the interstate and the railroad.  The neighborhood doesn’t look particularly grand and the trains come by so loudly that they’re shaking cracks into the walls and knocking the doors off plumb.  Also, when one of these units goes vacant, it takes between four and six months to fill it.

Since I’ve been here, three years now, I think, I’ve seen every unit in all three buildings turn over except the woman who lives across the lawn from us to the south.  So, I would say that people live here on average a year or two and then the units stand empty for a quarter or half a year.  And the buildings are slowly falling apart.  And they need new roofs.

Directly across the interstate, folks are tearing down old houses and putting in four or six story apartment buildings or condos. 

You cannot get me to believe that anyone is interested in buying this place to  continue to rent it out for very long.  Anyone who would buy this building without plans to tear it down and put up something they can sell for a quarter of a million dollars is an idiot or just doesn’t see which way the neighborhood is changing.

Anyway, so, for the first time in six months my landlord comes by to finally trim the bushes and weed and pick up a little bit.  He’s also very worried that our place will not be cleaned up by Friday.  To which I’m dying to say, “No, it probably won’t, just the same way the plumber never came when the house flooded, just the same way you cut down all the beautiful trees because one limb fell onto the back stoop, just the way you never mow the lawn, etc.  Just like all the ways you let us down, I will let you down.”

But I did not say that.  Because I really want the Butcher to clean some.  And because of this–we have two cats and a dog.  Where the fuck are we going to move if he decides he’s pissed at us?

The Butcher’s all like “We should buy a house.”  And I’m all like, “Who’s this ‘we’?  You have some friend with a down payment? Because that friend should have bought your ass a car.”

Y’all, what I am about to say is so petty and ridiculous that I hope you won’t hold it against me.  I do not want my parents’ money.  They don’t even have any money to give me, if I did want it.  But they’re paying the recalcitrant brother’s child support and his phone bill and, sometimes, his car insurance and have been for a while.  When I think about the thousands of dollars they’ve given him over the years and how much it would mean to us to have a place of our own–just the emotional security of it, god!–I’m really, really jealous, in ways that are not very becoming for a grown woman.

If we have to move, I’m sending the cats to Mom & Dad and, if he complains about it, the Butcher is getting boxed up and left on the Yellow Brand Hammer Co.’s front doorstep.


Anyway, anything having to do with housing always makes me anxious.  And here it is, 9:14 and I’m not motivated to go to bed.  I am going to go try to lay down, though, even though, I guess, I should be mopping or something.

I don’t know.  Normally, this would be one of those times when I bitched and cried about how lost I felt and how I’m trying but I just can’t get things together in any real meaningful way, but I’m kind of past that.

That’s been another interesting thing I’ve learned this week–that there’s a place past pissed off or fearful or hurt or lonely and it’s this kind of quiet, calm place where you might cry a little and then you stop, because the sun hits your face and it feels nice and so you smile until you realize that you’re not.  And the things which usually make you happy don’t and so you do other things and they don’t suck, so you keep doing them until you find something else to do. 

I’m probably not explaining it very well.  I’m drifting.  But I don’t care.  It upsets me or it feels full of possibility or I’m angry or I’m totally feeling the love.  Whatever.  Whatever happens, I guess we’ll deal with it.  Or I’ll deal with it and the Butcher will do his thing.  Or he’ll deal with it and I’ll go to bed.

24 thoughts on “The Landlord Has Just Left

  1. Man, when I bought my house, I didn’t have to have jack shit to put down. I gave them $500 earnest money, and I got that back at closing. Look into new construction, you’d be surprised at how affordable it can be.

  2. Too bad you don’t live in Cleveland. My version of "The Butcher" let’s call him "The Paint Maker" moved out last year ’cause he got custody of his kids. It’s a little scary trying to make the mortgage and all the bills since I am a self-employed graphic designer with a low level of ambition. But, it all seems to work out. Take a deep breath and look into buying something — you may be surprised!

  3. The other thing to look at is the fact that, unless you have terrible credit, it is generally SO much cheaper to own than to rent.

  4. I’m buying my first place soon (if they every finish building the damn place). It’s very nerve wracking, but I’m looking forward to it. There are quite a few affordable places in Antioch. A couple of them in the neighborhood right next to where I’m moving.I’ve heard Exador’s comment about it being cheaper to rent than buy many times, but it hasn’t been the case for me. I think that may just be because I have a good deal on a small apartment. When I move in to the new place my mortgage will be slightly higher than your rent.

  5. W,Things must be different around the Atlanta area.Either that, or I went from a really nice apartment to a crappy house. (Ha)My mortgage (three BR house) is about half what my apartment (also three BR) rent was.

  6. Boy Scout! Look at you, coming through with the encouragement and wisdom. I have a lot to say to you. First, thanks. I hadn’t thought of this as a particularly happy post, but your comment–"There’s nothing sad about finishing a chapter as you read the book."–has caused me to rethink that.Second, I talked to the Man from GM last night and he said the same thing. I told him what I was paying in rent and he was flabbergasted, since that’s what his housepayment is and he’s been to my place and his house. His basement is bigger than my whole house.Third, I knew Sarcastro sold real estate. I hadn’t thought to ask his opinion on this, for various reasons. Ivy! Wow. Hmm.Well, y’all are making this seem very possible. First step is getting this place clean enough that our absentee landlord can sell it.

  7. Oh, and also, my mortgage is only slightly higher than your rent, and I’ve got a hell of a bachelor pad (which you <pissed>still</pissed> haven’t come over to see). I look at it this way: Compared to my apartment in Hermitage, this new place is fucking brilliant. My monthly living expenses have almost doubled, but the East Nashville branch of the Yellow Brand Hammer Co is a GREAT place to be poor.

  8. You can so get a mortgage payment for what you’re paying in rent. The big difference is, you’re not looking to actually own the house, but at some point you will get your payments back in equity rather than losing them to rent. I have a fat mortgage payment, but then I have a short term mortgage (10 years or less), a 30-year mortgage would be very manageable. Ivy is right, there are lots of people out there who want to loan you money.If not, around June there should be lots of interesting rental options available as all the students leave for the summer.

  9. Saraclark raises an interesting point; there are lots of options.I am of the opinion that a 5-something % mortgage is essentially free money. That’s why I chose to refinance my 30-yr mortgage with another 30-year mortgage. I was only about 5 years into it, so no biggy. This allows me the flexibility to pay more when I want to pay into the principle. (Make sure your mortgage has no penalty for this, and allows you to pay it off early)You don’t get the interest rate that you’d get for say, a 10-yr mortgage, but I think the flexibility is worth the difference.It sure beats having to come up with $800 every month or you’re kicked to the street.

  10. My mortgage rate is 6.25%. Which we locked at 2 weeks ago. The monthly will be bigger than my current rent, but I had a one bedroom apartment and I’m going to a 3 bedroom condo. Basically doubling my square footage. The real party for me is getting a garage though.I screwed around with the idea of buying for a long time. The numbers the mortgage agent showed me scared the hell out of me, but at some point you have to suck it up and go for it. (Ask me in 6 months if I’m happy with that.) There are people in much worse circumstances than you B and they own homes.It helps if you look at it as an investment. And real estate is good for that. I also hear that being able to deduct the interest makes a lot of difference on your taxes. Refund!

  11. Oh man, W, you have no idea! Before I refinanced (when rates were super low) I had about 7% interest, but it didn’t matter because I got a FAT check every April.It actually kind of sucked a little after I refinanced.

  12. Y’all! You make me feel so much like this is possible that I just want to make out with all of you right now.That or cry a little bit.W., I just keep thinking that–there are crack whores with houses and I pay my rent every month on time and am not late with my bills and really, I don’t need much–plenty of storage and lots of light and two bedrooms and a neighborhood I can walk my dog in the early morning in.Shouldn’t I have this? Shouldn’t I have this? Shouldn’t I have all of this and passionate kisses? Passionate kisses, from you?Ha, sorry. Got a little Lucinda on you there.

  13. LE and I were so looking forward to getting a tax refund for the first time in years once we bought our house. We still ended up owing but we owed a hell of a lot less. We also ended up in new construction, and we pay more than we did in rent, but had to put less little money down than you might think (we spent that money on stuff like a dining room table instead). You can do it!

  14. When I refinanced, it was with Wells Fargo, and I can’t say enough good things about them. Not only was the refinance super easy, they have been very good since then. They charged NOTHING for the refinance. Really. They didn’t roll it into the loan, or hide it in fees or any of the usual crap. Their website is easy to use, to pay the mortgage. Customer service has always been great.

  15. How appropriate, because I just looked at three condos today. B, it is much more than possible. Especially if you knew how much (OK, little) I make. Most of the other commenters have already said what I would have, and their advice is good.All I would add is that when you pay on your mortgage, the principle turns into equity on your property, while the interest you pay can be deducted on your taxes.With renting, you get no equity, and no tax break, and are simply flushing that money down a toilet.With renting, the money you pay simply goes to a landlord.

  16. Not only is it possible, it’s preferable.You’ve been out to my area before. Houses out here in excess of 1800 sq feet carry mortgage payments far less than your rent.

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