Getting the apartment rented has been more of an adventure than usual this time around. It is a nice two bedroom apartment. Small, well appointed kitchen, nice sized bathroom with the original hardwood flooring to old house (the only room that we could save it in) big livingroom with vaulted ceiling, dining room, walk in pantry/storage, balcony over looking the river. The doors to the closets and bedrooms are from the original house which is cool (to us, anyway...we were glad to save them). Garage with electric garage door opener, washer and dryer in the basement for tenant use.
The thing that I DON'T say is that the utilities are included. Tim thinks that this is a big mistake not to say this, that it is a big 'selling point' and it is, but it leads to phone calls from people looking to take advantage. People who wish to move three kids, their boyfriend and a coon hound into an efficiency apartment. People who want to rent, but during the conversation, you discover their intention is to bring a few friends in to live with them, stuff like that.
A sure ticket to chaos.
Since it is usually me who fields the phone calls, I am the one saying no, and this often leads to angry responses. "We are used to living in small spaces!" or "Once I begin paying rent, it is my space, and I can have friends living with me." Believe it or not, I even had a young man whose mother explained to him that he could not be punching holes in the wall every time he got pissed about something. So what I see is that there are desperate people looking for deals. You can't fault that, but they rarely make good tenants.
So. I don't put that in. I get fewer replies because the price is a bit higher, but the ones who you do get are prepared to pay the higher rent. They are not showing up with an eye to taking advantage of the situation. Finding out that monthly rent includes water, sewage, gas, electric, and the garbage pick up is a nice surprise for them, and we usually get a nice handful of applicants to choose from, as opposed to an overwhelming response with few suitable tenants.
The ad needs to be winnowed down into three lines. So. We ended up with: (name of town) 2 bdrm, upper apt, washer, dryer, garage and a phone number.
The ad generated just four phone calls.
One from a fellow just released from jail in July. Based on his records and his and his girlfriend's facebook pages, these were not the type of people we wanted in the building.
Another from a single woman in her forties who "was in love" with the apartment and wanted it badly. Except that we made the appointment to get the lease signed and give her the keys and the garage door opener. A few hours later, she called back to regretfully say that she couldn't sign the lease because her mother thought it was not a good idea.
Back to square one.
We received a call from a woman who said that she needed to speak with her boyfriend to set up a time to come and look at it. (She never called back.)
A call from a blocked number in a city two and a half hours away. He had a lot of questions. What city was it near? I tried to explain. What stores is it by? "Well, it depends on what you're shopping for, I guess..." to which he answered "Groceries." I said, "Well, there's an Aldi. Walmart." He interrupted to say that none of those stores were acceptable, and that he would need to grow his own. (I cautiously thought, "Boy, I hope we're still talking vegetables, here....) I said, "I guess that I'm a little confused here. You don't know the area at all here, but are planning a big move to a place you've never been. Do you have a job here, and you're transferring? Or will you be looking for a job once you're here?" He explained that he was on disability. "You do accept that, right? Most people do." I said, "Well, yes, but I guess that, not knowing the nature of your disability, it's rather unusal for someone just to move away from their medical providers, to a whole different state and have to start the process of setting up medical care all over again. He launched in to a hysterical recounting of the fact that his father cheated on his mother with several women and that he had fathered children with many of them and that he had a sister he was trying to get a PFA on... and I thought to myself, 'Mental illness. Very disordered thought process.' We have dealt with this situation before, and it is not an experience we wish to repeat. So I said, as gently as I could, "You sound like you really need to consider this move carefully and to take your time with it." to which he replied, "You don't get it! SUNY Binghamton is bringing in foreign students and I have to call the police on them over and over..." His voice was getting louder and louder. I cut him off. "You're pretty upset and we don't like a lot of drama." He began to scream. I said, "You're not even making sense right now," and hung up the phone.
The following day, we received no calls at all. I said to Tim, "I don't think that there are any sane folk with clean records looking for an apartment right now." He began to complain (yet again) that it was because I placed the ad in the paper not mentioning the included utilities.
The following day, we got a call. A quiet voice asked if the apartment was still available. I told her it was. She made an appointment to come and look at it. A young woman met us. She was with her mother. She was a quiet girl, 25, Tim had gone to school with her father. He hadn't come because he was grappling with the fact that 'his baby' was old enough to move out. The girl said in her quiet way, "I'm 25. It is TIME...." and rolled her eyes a bit. She is the cousin of another of our long term tenants (she didn't realize it). Non-smoker. She had two small dogs but they had lived with her parents while she was away at college and they had all decided that it would be best for the dogs to remain in the home that they had always known. She is a preschool teacher and had the income to afford the place. We explained about the security deposit and the first month's rent. It would not be a problem, she said in her quiet voice. She'd been putting money away for several months now in preparation for this.
This all seemed a little too good to be true. The more we talked, the more boxes were ticked off. I think that she and her mother were finding that we ticked off some boxes too.
We gave her an application, and told her to consider it carefully.
An hour later, she called back to say that she'd filled out the application and dropped it off in the mail box as instructed. I started to say that we'd let her know in the next day or two, but from his couch, Tim said, "Tell her she's got it."