Once we made the decision to move back to Bakersfield, everything really started to happen very quickly. Stephen accepted his new position on a Monday. We spent the entire week looking for a place to live without much luck.
The current rental market reminds me of what the house buying market was like when we bought our condo and then house 5-7 years ago at the height of the housing bubble. When we bought our condo we put in offers well over the asking price on a couple of different properties only to be outbid. When we bought and built our house, many of the developments we looked at had waiting lists.
We drove around looking at properties we’d seen listed from several sources only to call and find out that they were not going to be available until the end of May or early June. It was completely frustrating. Then we tried several apartment complexes only to find that they had waiting lists. We went to a few showings where there were several other people looking.
We talked to a few of the property managers and they said it is because loan verification is so much more strict than it was and a lot of people are having a hard time qualifying. There are also a lot of people that have foreclosed that are being forced to rent and a lot of people just don’t have the higher down payments that are now being required. It’s caused a flood in the rental market.
We finally found a place near Stephen’s high school alma mater, his parents’ and my sister’s that was near the top of our price range and available immediately. It kind of seemed perfect in a lot of ways.
We applied and were told we were the only ones that had applied. A week later I get a call saying we’d been approved along with another applicant. Another phone call to say that the tie breaker would be if one of the applicants was willing to sign a two-year lease. We were not. Neither were they. Another phone call to say that now it was whichever applicant could get down to their office first with a holding deposit and sign lease documents.
At this point we decided we were not going to play this game. We’d already played it twice and that is how we wound up with an under water mortgage. We didn’t want to be forced into making a rash decision just because Stephen had already started his job at this point.
So we already knew from our search that an apartment complex we’d wanted to live in when we first married had a two bedroom available and that we’d be able to sign a shorter term lease. So we decided to go through with that to give us six months to decide if we wanted to find a house to rent, move back into the house we own after our current renters move out, or buy something else. It gives us breathing room in our decision making process.
But not necessarily physical breathing room.
It’s been less than a week and I’m sort of getting used to it, but here are some of the challenges.
All three kids share a room. Two of them share a full size futon.
I have basically not stopped doing laundry since we moved in here. My washer only holds like five adult sized things and the dryer only can handle 7lbs of wet clothes. So I have to do laundry round the clock to keep on top of it.
We wound up having to put the kids’ kitchen and a lot of other beloved toys into storage. But we still managed to have room for the dress up clothes!
The toys we do have usually wind up dumped all over the hallway.
I have no pantry. But I do have quite a bit more counter space. So it is the new pantry.
Our gigantic dining table, even with all the leaves out and shoved up against the wall, extends into the kitchen.
But overall, I am actually happy with this current situation. Our place is in a really good location of the complex and of town in general. We’re around 5 minutes away from everything and everyone. Prior to our move and before we even knew we’d be moving for sure, I was on a bit of a simplifying and purging spree so for the most part it feels like we’ve just got the basics and not a lot of extra stuff to manage and being in this apartment has me even more on the lookout of ways we can simplify our stuff even more.