Yesterday, I spent 8 hours driving a new colleague around town looking at rentals, getting a bank account opened and generally trying to orient him to possible neighborhoods that feed into his school choices, and so forth. It was exhausting--calling numbers on rental signs, arranging times to tour homes, weighing the pros and cons of this or that home/layout/backyard, etc. I cannot imagine how he is processing all of this. He seemed really pleased with the rental options we looked at, but does not want to have to rent in July since he and his family will not be moving till August. I don't blame him for this at all--who wants to "waste" a month's rent? BUT, this calls to mind what we did when we moved here on a wing and a prayer--literally no extra dimes to our name, and stuck between a mortgage and unsold house back home and super high rental and home costs here. We returned home from a house-hunting trip with promises from a realtor that she would be on the lookout for the proper rental home for us until we could sell our house. SO, with several people "on the lookout" for us, we trusted a friend of TH's to check out a lead on a condo. He saw it for us, thought it would do, and TH signed papers from afar. But, when we arrived in mid-August with barely two weeks to spare before the kids had to head to their new schools, the place turned out to be disgustingly dirty by my own and MP1's standards (and probably only now would TH admit that this was true by his standards, too--but at the time he was feeling guilty about having not flown back out to find us a decent home). MP1 and I cried at the very thought of living there and we basically refused to move in. The landlord (a woman who had purchased the place 4 or 5 rental families ago!) agreed to allow us to sublet it as a way to get out of our lease. This meant we had to advertise it for rent while we scrambled to find a home in one of 3 elementary school zones that were acceptable. Unfortunately, we had a dog, which further shrank our options, and generally we had NOT much luck. It was incredibly stressful. We felt homeless and were freaked out that we might also have to pay rental storage for all our furniture that was making its way to new city in a humongous moving van. All the "good" homes in the premiere schools zones had been rented from August 1 on. Luckily a crappy looking (old and leaky, but well laid-out 3 bed/2 ba) duplex came on the rental market unexpectedly in our second choice school zone and we were able to rent it. We had to spend 5 days in a motel while it was turned around for us--and having come out of a single family (beautiful by comparison) home that we owned--it was the absolute worst start to our new lives out here. In theory I'm over all this (we bought our own home about 14 months later), but the experience of driving this father of two around yesterday in search of homes in a good school district brought back all these traumas full force. Colleague flies back to Canada tomorrow, then on to N. Africa with the rest of the family (the very same day) and the housing situation is not completely solved. I am crossing my fingers that we manage to do a better job of finding him an August 1 rental than TH's friend (or our realtor--whom we did end up using when we finally bought our home) did for us lo' those many years ago. We know where he wants to live, that 3 bed/2 ba is an absolute must (along with a fenced backyard), and he's done his homework re: school districts. Let us all cross our fingers.
[ETA: SO, this afternoon he rented a really cute house and was able to get a July 15 start date. I am super relieved for him and his family. It is truly a darling house. A small park we just love is just several houses down and across the street--his kids can walk across it to the back gate of the school grounds. The house is also directly across the street from the grandparents of a former school mate of MP2. They are a super sweet couple who are really active in their grandchildren's lives. Grandmother is actually the daughter of Dale Evans (of Roy Rogers fame). We hung out with them at soccer games for way too many years. Boy am I glad we have all graduated from the soccer tournament circuit.]