I knew it was coming. But I didn’t know how fast or how hard.
My rent increase letter arrived in my mailbox today. In its perfect off-white envelope adorned with the elegant and harmless-looking apartment complex logo, the contents inside were more like an offer of a boxing match where the mailer was allowed to bring guns and a knife. I would, of course, have to fight bare handed.
When I moved into my quaint Silicon Valley studio apartment two years ago, it cost me $905 a month, utilities included.
Last year, when they bumped the rent up to $1050 a month (still, with utilities included) I was tempted to leave. But around here, I had few options anywhere near as nice. I wanted to live alone – that’s part of the problem. Still, other options for studio apartments that are cheaper than $1050 are, maybe, $900, and look more like a closet than an apartment.
Today’s letter, I knew, held the answer to my question – will I have to move out this year or can I stay for one more year? The answer… I’m moving out.
The utilities are no longer “included” although they’re offering $50 a month extra for them to be “included.” That brings the total rent up to $1300 a month to get what I’m getting now for $1050. A $250 increase? Are they out of their minds???
No, they’re just raking in the dough while plenty of people are losing their homes and the rental market is getting increasingly more squeezed. When my rent was $905 another company owned the apartment complex, in fact, I think it was family owned, so the rents were always reasonable. Then this big shot property management company came in, decreased the quality of life around here, and upped the rents. Gotta love capitalism and free markets, eh??
So… now I have to figure out what to do. To complicate matters, I’m leaving town for about a month at the end of May into June, which leaves me with about a week when I get back to find a new place.
The good news is that my friend has offered to let me stay with her while I look. So it sounds like I’ll be storing my stuff in storage for the summer, living with my friend, and trying to find a decent rental in this painful renters market. I’m almost tempted to look into buying. It seems like a really good time to buy. I’m not sure I’m in the right part of my life right now to buy property, but gosh, if I’m going to really be spending that much of my income on housing, I might as well be putting it into something I’ll own in the long run.
So right now I have about $25k for a down payment if I cash out my Roth IRA and all of my savings accounts. Of course that would leave me with no emergency fund – probably not the best idea. Perhaps I could convince my parents to give me a loan for a more enticing down payment, but I’m not sure they even have the money. Well, my dad will have the money in a couple of years when he can access his 401k, but he retired early and the money is apparently somewhat tight right now.
Do any of you think I should look into purchasing property? I’d probably want to buy a 1br condo – it seems to be in poor judgement to buy a studio (as I doubt it’s easy to resell a studio.)
There’s a lot I have to think about. I didn’t expect such a huge rent increase. I thought maybe they’d bring it up to $1200 and I was going to deal with that. But $1300 a month? For a studio? For a fucking studio?