Well, I sort of had a…

Well, I sort of had a feeling this might happen. Our rental house has in fact sold (we only had a six-month lease). Or at least it's under contract, as of this morning. Inspection on Saturday, so if it passes inspection, then we're out of here. Closing is set for April 15th. I'm sad for us, but happy for the owners, honestly, who seem like nice people. They've been trying to sell it for quite a while, and they were anxious about whether having renters there would stop it from selling. Apparently not -- guess we did a decent job of keeping the place tidy for showings. (I'm also just generally happy to see houses selling; bodes well for economic recovery.)

We've put in a request to rent back from the new owners -- we'll see what they say. I'm honestly not sure what the best strategy is if they're not interested in renting back. Here are a few possibilities for what the next six months will look like. Keep in mind that while work is scheduled to be completed on our actual house around the start of September, construction projects are regularly known to run months over schedule.

  • Option A: Move into Wisconsin house as is. Um...this one is pretty much not feasible right now, as the floors and walls are all ripped up, there's no working kitchen, etc. But in theory, I guess we could get Pam to have her guys clear out the one room on the second floor that is mostly going to be untouched (Kevin's study), and we could put our bed in there for sleeping, and we could eat takeout, cook outside on the grill, get a hotplate, use a microwave, and live through the renovation. This does not sound appealing, and I know Pam and her crew are going to absolutely HATE the idea of having us and a toddler and an infant in the house while they're trying to work. But hey, we save several months of rent money, which is probably $10,000 - $15,000. That's a lot of money. Maybe not something to be completely discounted, especially if they can prioritize finishing another room or two on the second floor (floors and walls clean and functional, at least, if not perfectly finished), so we have a little more space to work with.

  • Option B: Rent another house or condo like the one we're in. Simplest, in some sense. Costs probably around what we're paying now, plus a couple thousand dollars for the extra move in-out of that location. Extra hassle of an entire additional move, of course, so expect at least two weeks' worth of lost work time to packing and unpacking factored in. I've JUST finished unpacking at this house (after six months of living here, although to be fair, I didn't get a lot done in the first few months due to brand-new baby), so the thought of packing up and unpacking, just to do it AGAIN six months later makes me want to cry. But that's just the exhaustion talking. I'm not sure it should be listened to.

  • Option C: The nomad option. If the new owners will let us stay in the house 'til the end of April (end of semester), or if Daniel and Anne will let us move back in with them for two weeks, then an option would be to move most of our stuff into the garage or basement of our real house, and then spend the summer travelling, probably mostly visiting Kevin's family in California, although my family has also put in a bid for us to spend some time with them. There's obviously some hassle there too -- living out of suitcases, managing kids in unfamiliar places, dealing with relatives (much as we love them, there's such a thing as too much closeness, you know?). But saves the same significant amount of money as option A, without getting in the way of the contractors and their work. Of course, if the job isn't actually finished by mid-August (or at least finished enough to let us move in), then we run the risk of having to find another rental and do another move then, because of course Kevin and I are both teaching in the fall and need to be back and relatively settled in Chicago.

I think those are the three main options. Any thoughts / other ideas are welcome.

5 thoughts on “Well, I sort of had a…”

  1. Since you have little ones, you may want to scratch option #1 off of your list. The house that is being renovated is pretty old, and likely has lead paint in it somewhere. The renovations will create dust that your kids could easily ingest. Even small amounts of lead in a child’s system have been shown to cause problems in IQ & development. It’s nearly impossible to create an effective dust barrier when that much renovation is happening.

  2. Catherine Shaffer

    Here’s an idea–and this depends on how much space you have on the property. We had friends who did a major renovation of their big old farmhouse, and they bought a very cheap single-wide trailer and parked it on the property, and lived in it for the better part of the year. I think it cost them about $3000. You could probably find such a thing, and if you can’t park it on your own property, maybe a friend with a large lot or some acreage could let you park it there? My friend and her husband lived in their single wide with two dogs and two cats–it was actually kind of nice and cozy. You could use un-disturbed parts of your house for storage of things you don’t need every day, and when the renovation is done, you could try to sell it, or just give it away like my friends did.

  3. You guys are welcome to come stay with me on your visits to relatives this summer. I need a dose of actual children to offset my desire for the fantasy ones! 😉

    Would you be able to find a furnished rental of some sort, and just put most stuff into storage until the house is finished enough?

  4. I say nix the co-habitating with construction idea. Not good for the kids or your mental well-being.

    As much as I will miss your summer writing workshop, I really like the family and friends visiting idea. My main concern is someone to monitor the construction project and to be right there to answer immediate questions or to put that sense of urgency on the crew. I know you have a contractor, but I could tell you stories about contractor decisions that cost the homeowner weeks and tens of thousands of dollars.

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