i have spent the past few weeks scouting out rentals for my sis-in-law, chemynne, who will be relocating here with her husband, michael, and their daughter, athena, from bend. things were looking good early on, houses that seemed to meet the criteria of size, safety, and be in SE near us. but many places were available right away and they needed a place march 1st. so we let some slide by, then buckled down and got more serious around feb 1st as the one month countdown approached. i have visited countless properies in the last three weeks, countless. and the number one thing i can tell you is: things are not as they appear on craigslist. if something looks good, then there is something terribly wrong. like a bus stop outside the bedroom window. or a train depot a block away. or its beautiful, but tiny. or its perfect, but absolutely no cats allowed.
now this has not discouraged me. i love a good hunt, and i am downright happy to do this for them. i think i actually enjoy it, because really finding a good rental, is not much different than shopping for a great pair of boots--constantly checking online to see if something new is available since the last time you looked two hours prior, finding something exciting then getting to see if it mathces you expectations up close, or trying to snatch up something great before someone else does like those exciting last moments of an ebay auction. its challenging, but fun at the same time.
of course this is not merely a pair of shoes we are talking about--its a house for our dear family, who is leaving behind them a beautiful home they've lovingly created over the last 10 years together, and will be the place they take their first few steps in a new city....and the clock is ticking.
what i have found shocking is how many FAKE ADS, there are on craigslist. our first notice was a home in the SE, described as a 3-bedroom home ready for a family on a dead-end street, for way under budget. but something looked fishy about the photos...like they were scanned from an out-of-date magazine. chemynne replied to the ad and the response was weird. they guys email was rev.john86 (sounded religious to me, in an attempt to gain trust I believe) and he claimed he worked for Shell Oil (dropping a well known company name) and explained that reason he was asking so little was that money was not important to him (hmmmm, even so asking so little would attract the wrong kind of tenant.) he further explained that he was out of the state right now and "not to worry" he just needed us to provide some information for his "files"--all of this in very bad english and horrid punctuation, signed "mr, John" (his errors, not mine.) scamola. luckily, we didn't fall for it, but sadly people do all the time. suddenly it seemed that half of the ads we were interested in, seemed to good to be true, and all of our email inquiries were ignored. now i am getting good at telling what is real and what is not right away. something about the pictures, the attempt at using key selling points (like desirable neighborhoods) and leaving out other important information (like sq footage), and most suspicious, not including a phone number. any person who truly wants to rent out their property will leave a number.
only one house so far really passed the test. blake and i checked it out together and we ran home to call C so we could give her the go-ahead...
...but unfortunately, it had just been rented out to another person. damn! especially since it was directly behind The Takahashi, our favorite sushi restaurant.
saturday morning C called, totally pumped about a property that had posted at midnight in the Hawthorne district. a big Old Portland style place, and already 15 people were planning on seeing it at 1 o'clock for its open house. the lady warned that it was "rough around the edges" but they were going to do some improvements like new carpet and paint. my posse and i loaded in the Suburban (the offical rental-scoping mobile) and we were hopeful!
lets' just say "rough around the edges" was a gross understatement. if you have a property that needs this much work, by all means, fix it up THEN show it. here is where someones foot fell through the vent upstairs and tore up the ceiling. nice. that sounds safe for small children!
not to mention this:
and this. i am no electrician but i'd go ahead and bet that shit wouldn't pass code.
these little surprises were around every corner. i had to put the call into C that the place was not acceptable. the search continues. something has to open up, right?