On Wednesday, I received an offer letter from the scoring facility. Yes, they want to hire me! Starting day is April 6. I had a lot of paperwork to complete online before I go in later in the week to prove I am who I say I am by showing my driver’s license. I spent most of the afternoon doing that.
Later in the evening, I got on Craigslist and started looking for a housing situation.
There are several reasons not to live with my current host family while working at the scoring facility, the foremost of which is distance. The host family lives 22 miles from the scoring facility. I really don’t want to drive 44 miles a day, during morning and evening rush hour. I much prefer to be closer. Besides, anything I’d save in not paying rent, I’d spend in gas.
I’d been checking out “seeking roommate” posts on Craigslist for the past month, and I never saw anything that seemed promising. I guess the time wasn’t right.
After reading about a dozen ads (including one from a guy living in a one bedroom apartment and hoping to rent out his couch), I found an ad that seemed to be offering everything I wanted.
The room for rent was in a house, not an apartment. I’d have a private bath. Rent included water, electricity, and WiFi. The rental was short term, no longer than the end of the summer. The best part? The poster was only asking $400 a month for rent, but if the subleasee was willing to pay to money up front, rent for two months would only be a total of $600. It seemed like a good deal for $300 a month. Heck, even if I left in the middle of May, $300 was a pretty good deal for two weeks in this market.
(At the onset of my search for housing, I called a Motel 6 near where I will be working, as well as one of those extended stay places that cater to business people, and those places were asking $1,200 to $1,400 a month. Most of the posts I saw advertising rooms for rent were asking at least $400 a month.)
I quickly wrote an email to the person with the temporary rental. Here’s what I said:
My name is xxxxxxx. I saw your post on Craigslist advertising for a short term roommate.
I have been staying with family…and just got hired for a temporary position scoring essays… I want to be closer to my work and not have a big commute twice a day. So I am looking for a temporary, short term place to stay while I am working. The position would start on April 6 (so I would probably want to move in on April 4 or 5) and last through mid May, probably May 20th. I would definitely be willing to pay $600 in advance for two months, even though I would (most probably) not be staying for the entire two months.
I understand that you are looking for someone to move in now and would probably prefer someone you could get in soon and who would stay until the end of the summer. However, I wanted to contact you in the event that a situation could work out for both of us.
A little bit about me. I own my own jewelry business and have sold my jewelry…for the last three summers. I’ve worked [scoring tests] twice before…I am primarily a traveler, visiting friends and family across the country and house sitting when I am not staying in national forests, state parks, and on BLM land in my van.
I am 44, female, sober. I don’t smoke anything, don’t drink, don’t party. (Yes, I’m kind of boring.) What I really want is to have a clean, no drama place to come home to after working all day. I just want to take a shower, eat some food, write for my blog, read a book, then go to bed so I can get up in the morning and do it all again. Having a pleasant roommate would be a plus.
I don’t have any pets (or any kids). I don’t even have friends…that would come over and visit. If I’m not working on weekends, I am likely to visit my family…and likely stay over with them at least one night.
My one concern…Are you renting the house, and if are, do you have permission from the landlord to have a roommate, temporary or otherwise? It would be a huge inconvenience to me if I paid you rent, then your landlord found out about me and I had to move out.
Let me know if I am perhaps the roommate you are looking for. Please feel free to ask me any questions. Also, if you want references, I can provide them.
The guy who’d placed the ad wrote back to me the next day. Here’s what he said:
Thank you for replying. I think that this sounds like a good situation for both of us, except I am trying to get someone in sooner rather than later. That said, I will be willing to hold the room with a 200 dollar deposit, which would then go towards the rest of rent owed upon move in. Of course, I will provide you keys and a receipt with an agreement statement upon receiving the deposit to hold the room. I hate to do it that way, but I’ve had 3 people back out last minute over the last couple of months (mostly because they didn’t have money to move in when it was time to do so).
Yes, the landlord has given me permission to sublease the house. They are a close family friend, actually…I have a sister who will be moving [here] in June or July, so the short term stay for you is actually perfect.
Please call me if you’d like to come see the house.
So I called him. He sounded like a nice guy over the phone. He answered my questions, didn’t say anything weird or pushy, but let me know he had folks scheduled to look at the room over the weekend.
I’d been in touch with one other person about a room. That person was looking for long-term roommates, but said she (he? hard to tell with an androgynous name) would consider me short term. That person worked and stayed in another town for some portion of the week, but left pets (two dogs and two cats) in the house where I would be staying. She (he?) stated in the ad that if a roommate cared for the pets, there would be compensation. I wrote to her (him?) saying I am an experienced professional pet sitter who would be willing to care for the dogs and cats. We set an appointment to meet early next week.
The more I thought about it, the more I felt lukewarm about that situation. The rent there was $425 a month, and the ad poster was not likely to knock $125 off the rent in exchange for pet care. Besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to caring for animals while working a full time job. Maybe I’d rather get an extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning instead of taking two dogs for a walk. Maybe I’d want to leave on the weekends and not have to work around exercising and feeding critters. Also, that rental situation did not offer a private bath.
So I decided to go see the temporary rental house. I had to drive during rush hour because the guy doesn’t get off work until 5pm, and I didn’t want to look for the place in the dark. There were a few moments of stress, but I did fine and got there with no mishaps.
The house is nice. Spacious. Big comfy couch and flat screen television in the living room. Everything was very clean. It’s in one of those neighborhoods where every house looks the same, the garage is closer to the street than the rest of the house is, and the entrance door has metal mesh over it. It seemed very Mormon to me, tidy, a little regimented, no kids playing ball in the street and no one hanging out.
I like the house, and I like the guy, and I decided to take the room. We signed an agreement, and I gave him a deposit. I’m almost like a normal person: I have a job and a lease and a bank account, and I even drove back to the host family’s house in the dark, on not one, but two interstate highways.