Any advice for people looking to a be a long term renter? How to screen your landlord, etc?

Abby Ferri ‏ @abbyferri any advice for people looking to a be a long term renter? how to screen your landlord, etc?

ANSWER: YES! Long-term renting is the only way to go. Everyone says, “oh, when I rent I’m just flushing the money down the toilet”. Ramit Sethi, in a letter to his subs this week said the very basic thing here that I wish I had said: if someone says that to you,ask them to do the math. For such an important life decision (maybe the second most important life decision you can make) you better be prepared for the math and compare that rent with the future investment income lost on that down payment, the rising property taxes, the interest on the mortgage, the maintenance on the house, the time spent (your time is worth something).

You NEED to do the math. Because owning a house is probably 3x what you thought it was.

Ugh. Ok, got that out of my system. Now….renting.

I rent in a great place. I love my landlord. I don’t know about screening. I didn’t do a background check or anything. But here’s what I love:

A) He owns this house and nothing else. So he doesn’t rent for a living. He doesn’t own big buildings and then slumlords them out. This is a house he cares about because it’s the only house he owns for all I know. He’s human and not a corporate renting machine.

B) He’s put about a million dollars into rebuilding the house. The house I live in was a hotel 100 years ago. When I first saw it, 10 years ago, it was slanting diagonally as if it were about to fall down. I still wanted to rent it but my ex-wife didn’t like it. Fast forward ten years and Claudia, by coincidence, comes 70 miles north of the city and finds the exact house I wanted to rent. Only thing is, it has a new owner and he fixed the entire foundation, the floors, put in extra ovens and sinks, fixed the plumbing, etc. He CARES about this house.

C) I have other conveniences. I’m right by the train station (2 minute walk) straight into the city. And I’m about 50 feet from the Hudson River. And it’s quiet.

D) The price was right. Less than half what I was paying in NYC. And it’s right by where my kids live.

E) Every single time I’ve called the landlord with a problem he’s called back in ten minutes and fixed the problem. He had a whole list of people to fix each type of problem. We saw the list before we moved in so we knew there was no problem he couldn’t solve quickly. Because he cares about the house so much I knew he wouldn’t disappear on me in an emergency

F) I have a five year rental. So he wasn’t just doing this to churn out every last dollar on unhappy renters who he would then replace with new losers. He wanted long-term people who loved the house as much as he did.

And it felt good. It felt like I was owning the house. Claudia has plants everywhere. We have whatever we want hanging up.

We got that loving feeling.

And you will, too,when you get the right place to rent.