I’ve had so many people ask about an update on our move, and I’m sorry for the silence on the details. There have been A LOT of moving pieces. No pun intended.
Even as we update family and friends, it seems like everything changes anyway and then the next time I catch up with someone and they ask how some part of the move is going, I’m saying, “Oh yeah… we’re not doing that anymore.”
When the news of the move first happened, we were thinking we’d sell our house here, move, buy a house in Springfield, live there for a couple years, then sell it and move back here to the same general area and buy a new house here.
Well, we’re pretty much doing the opposite of that. We’re keeping our house here and renting it out while we’re gone, and we’re renting a cool old house in southern Illinois (nope, not Springfield, more on that below) outside of St. Louis. In a couple years when we come back to Milwaukee, we’ll hop right back into our house and life here that we love so much.
I talked about the whole selling our house versus keeping it to rent out in my blog post when I announced our move, but basically, we love our house and don’t want to give it up.
After we told our neighbors and friends we were moving, I kind of panicked and thought, “Wait why are we doing this?!” We love our house and our location, and, after looking into the financial side of things, we figured we could make it all work if we got renters in our house while we’re gone.
Plus this takes a huuuuuge item off our to-do list when we come back. We won’t have to scramble to find a house because ours will be right here waiting for us.
So about all of the questions …
How did you find renters?
We had visions of spending a ton of time searching for and vetting renters – and then ending up with people we weren’t thrilled about. Well, the opposite happened here, too.
Friends of our neighbors are going to rent our house while we’re gone, which is so awesome. They just happened to be looking when we first started telling everyone we needed renters, and the timing worked out perfectly for both of us.
They’re excited about our house, which makes handing the keys over to them much easier. (Even though the day they signed the lease, I wanted to cry because this is OUR HOUSE!)
So if you’re in this weird same boat we are and need renters, I can’t stress this enough, TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW. We had multiple inquiries about our house, all from friends of friends. For weeks, we told everyone we saw/talked to. Tell neighbors, siblings, friends, co-workers, post it on Facebook, tell everyone. Word of mouth works.
What happened to Springfield?
Um … Springfield was just not what we were looking for. We went down a few weeks ago to look at houses, and the city was much smaller than we thought. It’s just not the lifestyle we’re used to.
Plus the houses we were looking at online were just way more work than we thought once we got there to see them in person. We love, love, love renovating and are all about a project or two (or ten), but in the end, it just didn’t make sense to pour a bunch of money into a place we know we’re leaving so soon after we get there. It all started to sound like a lot of selling and buying of houses in too short a time period.
Especially when there are still some projects we want to do to our house here (I know I keep saying it, but I’m painting that darn fireplace brick white as soon as we get back here), and we’d rather spend our money on the house we’re going to be in long term.
That being said, we were really looking forward to renovating another house. Actually, it was one of Kalen’s major selling points on getting me to agree to the move, but in the end, it just didn’t make sense. We don’t want to be stuck trying to sell a house in Springfield after we’ve moved back.
Where will you be living?
After house hunting in Springfield, we hopped in the car and drove further south till we were in the St. Louis suburbs (still in Illinois). We had pretty much talked ourselves into renting instead of buying at this point and made a few appointments at condos/apartments to look at.
We also happened to drive by a property management office, and Kalen being the outgoing, friendly guy he is, suggested we just stop in and ask if they have any rentals coming open in the next few months.
It actually worked out really well. They had a cool old house that just opened because the couple that was renting it moved to another city for a job. We were all about it and went to take a look. We liked it.
It will be fun to live in, but it would be even more fun to renovate. We obviously won’t be doing that, but it’s just always something we always think about when walking through an old house.
The kitchen and master bath (yes, we’re real adults now, we’ll have a master bath!) are updated, so that’s great. The layout is actually pretty similar to our Cincinnati house, which is funny. The yard is fenced in for Oakley, too, whew. And there’s a cool sunroom we’re excited about.
Plus there are all sorts of bars, restaurants, shops (we already stopped in the cutest home decor boutique there!), parks and walking trails, a TJ Maxx (whew!!!), etc.
And we can easily get into downtown St. Louis now. I’ve mentioned this before, but my brother David, who’s in Seattle now, lived in St. Louis for years so we’re familiar with it. We really wish he lived there now but, of course, sometimes that’s just how it goes. But he does have a couple weddings in St. Louis this year so we’ll get to see him when he’s in town.
We looked at smaller condo options in this area, too, but they just seemed too small compared to what we’re used to. I hate saying that because it makes us sound spoiled and terrible, but we just felt like this move is already going to be emotional, and moving into a small place where we’re cramped and low on storage space probably isn’t the best idea.
Plus those places just felt more temporary. We’ve lived in houses for a good number of years now, and we’d love for that part of our lives not to change. So even though we’ll be renting, living in a single family house will make it seem a bit more ‘ours.’
Let’s see the house!
I wish I had some pictures to share of our new rental home, but we COMPLETELY forgot to take any when we walked through the house.
We were a bit stressed about the fact that Springfield totally didn’t turn out like we thought, the whole ‘we’re going to buy a house’ to ‘we’re going to be renters again’ thought process, committing to living even further from Milwaukee than we were already planning, scrambling to find a place to live in a city we weren’t even looking at the day before and just pure exhaustion from everything else that comes along with an out of state move.
So pictures didn’t happen. We were just relieved we found a place to live because it was starting to look a bit dire. We’ll be down there again soon so I’ll post some ‘before’ pictures then.
What are you going to blog about in a rental?
I kind of worried about this for a hot second, too, but it’s all good. So we won’t have any renovations to blog about like I thought this Illinois adventure would give us, but the truth is, if we were staying in Milwaukee the next two years, there wouldn’t be any big renovation projects around here anyway since you know, we already took care of those in this house.
I’ll still be talking all about decorating, furniture makeovers and smaller DIY projects, so that won’t change. It will be more of a challenge to decorate a rental, but I think it will be fun. I’ve already been shopping and picking up a few (okay, fine, several) fun new pieces that I’m excited about. We’ve gotten rid of a LOT of stuff lately, so the rental definitely won’t just look like we packed up everything here and unloaded it there.
Plus I know as readers, renters can get sick of seeing all these great home ideas knowing they can’t implement those at their rental homes. Well renters, we’ll all be in this together for the next couple of years! I’ll be figuring out how to tackle making a rental feel like ‘home’ so hopefully you’ll find some great rental decorating inspiration along the way. And if you have tips about decorating a rental, please send them over!
Of course, rental ideas pretty much translate to ideas homeowners can do, too, so all my home-owning readers won’t have anything to worry about either.
Whew, this blog post got really long.
Thank you so much for all of your emails and comments wishing us well and asking about what the heck we’re up to. Basically changing our minds constantly about our living situation while trying to move. 🙂
It’s been a crazy time, and I’m sure it’s only going to get crazier before it calms down. If you have tips on moving, decorating a rental or being a landlord, send them over. We’ll take beer, too.