It’s been a while since I talked about our rental income. I’ve written about how we currently rent out a spare bedroom in our own home to a couple of our friends. And I mentioned that we spent about $750 on fixing up our first house to get it ready to be moved into for November. Here are our most recent updates on our adventures in landlording.
The $750 we spent on getting our last house move-in ready seems to have paid off. Our tenant moved in November 9 and only has had a few issues to fix. The first one was that the side gate to the backyard wouldn’t open without manhandling it. I had forgotten about that, but our neighbor over there offered to check in on little stuff like that, so I gave him a call. He fixed it within a couple of days and wouldn’t accept anything but gratitude.
When it became apparent that there was also a little leak under the kitchen sink, he also popped in for 5 minutes and tightened a loose connection. I dropped off a 24 bottle pack of his favorite beer as a thank you for both little jobs. He seemed super happy and I am too, so yay for great neighbors!
The only other thing that popped up was that the garage door opener’s battery started dying and beeping, so I replaced it ($25) last week. All future batteries and light bulbs will actually be our tenant’s responsibility. But, in my opinion, it is only fair to at least have them all working when she first moves in…
That said, we received $880 for November 9-30 and she paid her $1200 for December a week early. So far, so good!
Covering Our Responsibilities
We’ve started an ING side fund to cover any big breaks like the air conditioner that is 8 years old, but overall, that house is very low maintenance. It doesn’t have a gas line, so everything is electric, located in the garage or at the attic’s opening, and is all pretty easy to get fixed or replaced. Costly, but easy. Our biggest responsibilities are to make sure the air conditioner, heater, water heater, and house itself stay in good repair.
She is taking care of all of the interior and exterior maintenance except for having the lawn mowed for a year. I agreed to cover the lawn guy biweekly from April-October 2013 and she could take it from there. That will run us about $280 total at $20 a pop, so I didn’t mind the concession to have her move in as early as she did.
Our tenant seems to be great about letting us know about issues without acting like it’s the end of the world. I’ve been able to handle them all within a few days. Plus, she has paid her first full month’s rent early and sent me a few text messages on how awesome she thinks her house is. So if that keeps up, we both should stay super happy.
Spare Bedroom Rental
A couple of our boardgamer friends have lived with us since May 2012 (well, he board games and she likes the Sims). They are a very sweet couple – two college kids earning their degrees. She is in her mid-20’s now and is becoming a teacher for special needs children since she already had nanny experience in that area, and he is in his early 20’s and is becoming an EMT.
In our old house, all 3 bedrooms were upstairs and they rented the spare bedroom and full bath that was at the end of the hall. In our current house, they had a choice between the bedroom and full bath downstairs or upstairs. The main difference was that the one downstairs had a long closet good for hanging clothes but they would have to keep the bathroom super clean for guests. The one upstairs had an average walk-in closet better for shoes/storage and the bathroom would not have been shared with visitors. They chose the downstairs option since taking the stairs all of the time didn’t sound like fun and they do have a lot of clothes.
Overall, living with another couple is pretty easy. And they always pay their $600 at the beginning of the month.
But there have been some downsides recently that were not as annoying in our old house:
- This is a brand new house that I am trying to keep super clean. That means I do nag more. Especially about the bathroom and kitchen. I feel like I am training kids that were never taught properly the first time. But they listen and learn eventually, so at least the training is working…
- The young man never had stainless steel appliances before and didn’t know that he couldn’t use the dark green, scrubby side of the sponge on our stove top. Now my stove top has permanent surface scratches. I was pissed and had to be talked down the afternoon I noticed. It isn’t super noticeable, some scratch-be-gone may work, and they’ve offered to pay for the scratch remover or even a new stove top down the road. But it has been the most memorable bad thing thus far.
- His old truck leaks fluids. Not a lot, but it does leak. So our driveway has some spots in two areas and now there is a container kept under his truck to catch the crap. When they move out, I will be having the driveway power washed and maybe resurfaced depending on my mood. I’ve thought about having it painted since that cuts down on weeds in the cracks too. (Money Beagle, I know this one is going to hurt you the most since you have a thing for nice driveways…I almost didn’t want to write about it because it may bring up bad memories for you, lol).
- I’ve been parked in a couple of times. They left, forgot about his truck in the driveway, and I was forced to use hubby’s car or stay in. I sort of lost my mind the most recent time since I was already running late. They understand if it happens again, they will be in search of a new place to stay.
- When they move out, we will probably replace the carpet in their bedroom since it is already very lived on. We’ll probably also repaint their room.
Still Worth It
But despite some annoyances and a couple of really bad moments (the stovetop and being parked in), the $600 a month is still worth it. Overall, we live well together. They stay in their room the majority of the time that they are home unless they are cooking or using the living room while we are out. Sometimes, we hang out talking at home or walk out to the duck lake/pond with a bottle or two of Arbor Mist. They are both extremely nice people who really want to make everyone happy and they are always super apologetic when something annoying pops up. More importantly, they have been fixing the issues so they don’t happen again.
For example, there is a drip pan under his truck right now even though it’s parked in the street. When he moves the truck in at night, he replaces the drip pan underneath the problem area. It’s been about a week so far, but it feels long-term. I’m even happier they will be getting rid of the truck next year. He’s also learned the hard way that only paper towels, microfiber, and soft sponges are used in the kitchen. And they have been way better about cleaning up after themselves, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. I rarely even know when they’ve cooked.
So, in the realm of roommates, I think all four of us are pretty lucky. Is sharing a house for everybody? Nope. But it is working well for us and I sincerely like hanging out with them on the evenings we just want to chat. Right now, this makes sense for us. And they plan on finding a place of their own in a year or two anyway. They are just aiming to graduate and save a bit in the meantime.
So there you have it, so far the adventures is landlording have been more positive than negative. I’ll update you again if that changes.
Have you ever rented out a spare room? Or do you have (or have had) a rent house? Any adventures you’d like to share?