I really didn't think it would be so difficult to rent the house; honestly, I didn't. And it's not even that there aren't prospects, there are! In one weekend, I had three different people want to apply for the rental. Today, Monday, I met them -- and it has shattered my confidence in being able to choose a reliable renter.
Shall I introduce you to the people? Of course.
First there is the "retired" gentleman, age 58, who has had two heart attacks, claims he is retired as a sales rep for a well-known nationwide business. He moved to a nearby large city from Florida, but doesn't like where he is living and wants to move to a "smaller town." On the surface, he seems middle-class, perhaps well-off financially...charming, and as we talk, he says he's so certain he'd like living in the rental house, he'll write me a check on the spot. OR he'll pay the ENTIRE year's rent right now. [At first, I'm excited...then recall the worst "renter-from-hell" movie ever "Pacific Heights" in which almost this exact scenario occurs and the guy gets in, then his check bounces and ergo, chaos ensues when the young couple (landlords) can't get this nutcase out of their house.] I declined, told him to fill out the application, which he did half-heartedly. Upon close inspection later, it looks like the man doesn't have any income except $895.00 from "other sources."
Second there is a young couple who looked at the house Sunday afternoon, and said "their parents" needed to see it today. The young lady is pregnant, abundantly so, and the young man (both in very early 20s) looks like he'd rather be ANYWHERE else than trying to rent a house for them to live in. He shuffles from foot to foot, anxious, worried...a look not unlike a deer caught in the headlights in his eyes. The couple (not married) are now living with HER mom, but his parents also want a look-see, and since the young prego girl is SO anxious and excited about the house, they all (no surprise) like it too. The thing is, I felt sorry for the girl and boy -- for her, that she didn't have sense enough to get married and have adequate housing BEFORE becoming pregnant. Him, because he obviously is feeling trapped and (I fear) at the first chance will bolt. Leaving the girl and a screaming, hungry baby to fend for themselves. He does have a good-paying plant job, but the salary would not be enough to pay the rent AND provide for essentials. It goes without saying the girl had no job.
Third was a mid-40s couple who looked like they'd seen the hind-end of life and made extremely BAD decisions to boot. The man was a talker, likeable and kept up the conversation throughout the whole time. The woman just walked through the house continuously, looking wistful and sad. They both work full-time, but seemed evasive about actually filling out the application, which I gave them anyway. The woman seemed so very sad, and I felt bad about realizing they probably couldn't rent the house.
In short, I don't think I'm cut out to be a rental agent. I have too much compassion for the sad stories, sad people, and it overcomes my better judgement. Thus, I'm thinking about turning the rental house over to a real estate agency to manage. Better to let them take a percentage of the rental fee than to lose it all because I'm a sucker for a sad story and hopeless cases. Not to mention the emotional toll this took on me when I'm already emotionally vulnerable. Bad day, sad stories, NOT fun. And I haven't even run an ad, just put a "For Rent" sign in the yard!