I had to write this little rant because frankly, I don't get some people. With the current state of the US economy, you'd think people would have learned not to repeat one of the mistakes that led to the situation we're in, but nuh uh!
So I've been looking for a new crib because Fairfax is everything but cheap when it comes to housing. Before I moved to the US, I had to check out apartments online and only had 1 day in VA to visit them. I ended up taking the one that was the cleanest and the closest to work. That translated in a hefty $1600/m nothing included which was a little over 3x what I was paying in Montreal. Add to this another $200 for utilities, cable/internet, that made me cry every month :P
Almost a year later, I'm looking for something more reasonably priced for a single person and was even considering a roomy. So I see this ad about a fancy pants mansion where the lady wanted to lease a room or private suite to a single person with prices ranging from $800-$1100 everything included. So even with the suite, I'd still be saving $700 a month which is nothing to sneeze at.
I go check out the place. The house is honestly badass. Beautiful hardwood floor on the first floor. The kitchen & dining room area alone are as big as the entire condo I currently live in. Six bedrooms, wine cellar, wine tasting room, at least 3 fireplaces, the works! Except turns out her so-called suite is a set of 2 bedrooms and the prices have jumped from $800-$1100 to $1200-$1600. She also omitted to mention that she was planning on renting 4 of the 6 bedrooms in sets of 2, the 5th bedroom individually, keep the 6th one for herself, the wine cellar , the wine tasting room and the basement living area each as 3 individual room. So altogether, there would be 7 roommates sharing the house.
I'm like wtf?! So me, miss reluctant to have a roomy to now be living with 6 strangers? errrrr....
At that point, I already know this isn't for me, but the lady (who happens to be very charming btw), is very talkative and gives me and Sue (another lady who was visiting the place at the same time I was) a full spiel about the situation. So this $1.x million dollar mansion was for sale. She just bought it and is signing tomorrow. But since she can't afford it on her own, she's trying fill it up with tenants to cover the mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities. She also doesn't quite have the down payment so she needs us to commit today, sign the papers and give the security deposit so she can have everything on hand the next day when she meets with the other folks for the closing.
I'm just speechless and trying not to slap her unconscious to try to knock some sense into her. She even had the nerve to complain that the lenders would not allow her to rent all 6 rooms individually or she would have had 9 people altogether (including herself) and made more money to cover her expenses. After I left, I went to check another place. By the time I got home, she had called my place 3 times in 1 hour and sent me 2 emails to see if I was ready to commit and remind me that she needed the deposit right away.
Now I don't begrudge the woman trying to get some help meeting her obligations by renting out part of her house. Everyone is doing it these days in Fairfax. But let's be real. Why the hell would you try to buy a house you KNOW you can't afford on your own? Why put yourself at the mercy of total strangers who can walk out on you any day and default on payment every other month? Tenants don't give a hoot if you lose your house. Why set yourself up for failure? Doing such an investment with family or long time trusted friends is one thing, but this is sheer stupidity.
I initially planned on buying too instead of renting a new place. Seen many I can afford, my favorite though would require me to stretch myself a little thin. But in the current economy, I made the choice to wait few more months, lower my expenses (especially rent) and build myself a safety net. Maybe I'm being too careful, but I don't care as long as I'm not yet another statistics.