I've lived in the same house since I moved to Baltimore five years ago. It's not a particularly nice house, but it's big, and in a nice (though not hip or walk-to-exciting-places) neighborhood. I've had a number of roommates since that time, but haven't had any real ones since Fool left in November.
When she left, because the house was still in sorry shape, the landlord said she'd reduce the rent to $500 for me through March. Since the landlord has been busy and hasn't fixed up the house yet even now (still no washer/drier, the upstairs bathroom doesn't work, the downstairs refrigerator doesn't work, etc), she hasn't raised the rent yet - so I'm still paying the very cheap rate of $500. It's allowed me to do good things, like taking in and supporting Bobby for a couple of months, and taking in some friends in need before that, so I'm happy about that.
I ran into her this week, though, and she says she's going to be coming in soon and putting in a new kitchen and doing the work she said she was going to do, and plans on increasing my rent to $850 in October. It's never been that high - it used to be $750 - and I'll definitely need a housemate to survive at that point.
The problem is, I don't really want one. Actually, I'd take one, but I've been unhappy with 100% of the roommates I've found from the methods of advertising in City Paper or Sublet.com. It's only two, but one of them was a little crazy, and the other one just plain screwed me over by moving out nearly overnight and leaving me with $500 rent in the summer when I wasn't getting paid.
The other issue is that I'm sick of living here, in this house. I'd like a change of scenery, but have realized that finding a place as cheap as mine elsewhere in the city would be impossible. Once the rent is raised, it won't be impossible to find a cheaper place (though, with a housemate, $825 would be a pretty easy cover). What makes it difficult is having a somewhat large dog and a cat, so doing something really cool like renting a room in someone's house for $625 three blocks from Cross Street Market (that's avaialble right now on Craig's List) is impossible.
I could look into buying a house again, I suppose, but home ownership just doesn't excite me. In the two months after she bought this house, the landlord had to spend $10,000 replacing the furnace. That thought just really doesn't excite me. I realize that home ownership has a lot of benefits, but I've seen a fair number of friends regret their home purchases, and I just don't think it's something I want to do at this point in my life. I could change my mind, and came close about a year ago, but, eh, I just don't think I want to do it.
So, anyone know where I could live with a dog for $600 or so? I saw Fool last night and she was basically like, "If you want to move, just move, then!" because I've hemmed and hawed about this before. I guess I have until October to decide.
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