I was really struggling last week. I'm not sure if it's a difference between Seattle and Phoenix, or a change in the market since the last time I searched for a rental, but finding a vacancy is extremely difficult. I made a ton of phone calls, spent hours scouring the internet, and found only a few places that had units available for rent immediately.
It seems the seller is in control here, that renters usually sign leases without ever viewing the unit they are leasing. The last time I apartment hunted, I was able to view model apartments, have options in which unit I wanted, and schedule a date to move in! It seems these days that having a model unit is a waste of money, that management companies can justify leasing out the models because renters are desperate enough for a place to live that they will sign a lease without physically viewing the property. In my mind, that is crazy.
After much searching, after much prayer, we found an apartment complex last Wednesday with a unit available and put a hold on it. However, I didn't feel right about it. Something was wrong and I wasn't sure what. I just knew that it didn't feel like home and that we were supposed to keep looking.
Lisa, our brilliant realtor, sent us several more advertisements on Wednesday evening. We found a condo and a townhouse to tour and scheduled the tours on Thursday afternoon. The first condo was nice but on the second of three floors, something Jeff wanted to avoid. He's ok with neighbors being above or below us, but not both at the same time.
On our way to the townhouse, I was convinced we were headed home. I had been praying about it and kept repeating to myself the verse in my last post. "Trust in the Lord... He will direct your path." When we first arrived at the townhouse, the realtor couldn't get the keys! I was really disappointed but knew that we were supposed to live there. Finally, Jeff figured out how to open the key safe and we were able to enter the townhouse.
I fell in love. The place is gorgeous. All wood floors, something I've always wanted. Two levels with the bedrooms below and the living area above. Two patios. A flat burner stove, another dream of mine. A fireplace! A skylight that illuminates the living room. I felt like I was at home.
Now, could we qualify to rent the place? We were still waiting final approval on the apartment we had put on hold. We have good credit, a steady employment history, and a solid rental history (six years at our last address!). Do we make enough money to qualify for a townhouse instead of an apartment?
First thing on Friday morning, we submitted all of the applications and documentation. Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Our final approval for the apartment arrived but we were still waiting on the townhouse. Was I correct that God wanted us in the townhouse? I kept praying!
On Saturday evening, we received an email that our screening was complete and that we qualified for the townhouse. The only step left was to await the owner's final approval. With that, we cancelled our hold on the apartment. That was nerve wracking, knowing that we had no back up plan. I tried to hold on to my faith, reminding myself constantly that God was in control.
This morning, we found out that we are approved! We visited with the rental management company and signed the lease this afternoon. Tomorrow morning, we are moving in to the beautiful townhouse! God is very, very good. I am so grateful that He led us every step of the way, taking care of us on our trip to Washington, guiding us in our house hunting, and helping us learn to wait on Him.
We have spent the last week living out of a hotel and it's been a bit rough. It's hard to "keep house" when the house doesn't exist. Now I can cook again! Of course, we own not a single pot or pan. Some research and a shopping trip are in the works.
I can't wait to pick up the keys tomorrow morning. I will post pictures as soon as I can!