There are many things that I can discuss about as a single mother and one of them is RENTING!!!
In my 12 years being divorced, I have moved 5 to 6 times at least. I have lived in a mobile home, in a home that needed lots of work, in a Townhouse, that my neighbors were drug dealers and smoked in a car that did not work that was parked in front of their home just to "smoke." I also lived in a place where someone keyed my car because I told them to move out of my driveway...Now Mind You, that was in a very nice & not cheap city in South Florida. I had a wonderful landlord...once. Now, I have a landlord that does not take much care of the home, I rent and if I am late threatens to evict me & my family. So, I had my share of experiences as a renter.
It has been very exhausting, I will not lie. Every move has had it's own unique story. U-Hauls stranded, on 2 different moves, having to meet the move out deadlines, having to paint prior to moving so I can get my deposit back and they ended up keeping the deposit, plus sending me a bill because they charged me for 10 days of the townhouse being empty after I moved and so on. Each one has a positive memory too or at least a memory of some type of laughing moment we had.
Many do not realize the struggles a single parent goes through. Some have it better than others but I am sure we all have our stories. I have a dream to someday be able to own again a home. After my divorce, as I have said before, it has been very difficult. With that said, my credit rating is not the best right now, but I am starting to set a goal for myself to possibly and hopefully move once more but see if I can find a home "RENT WITH OPTION TO BUY". I need to do some research and speak to some realtors to see how it works. I have some plans, goals with large hopes, but in life if one does not have hope or fight in them, one will not move forward in life.
My struggles have made me a stronger woman, mother, friend and person. I have learned from many of my mistakes. I have a goal to not only better my life with my girls but to some day be able to help out other single parents.
If there is any advise that I can give other mothers who are renting, they would be;
* BE SURE TO INSPECT THE PROPERTY, PERSONALLY, PRIOR TO SIGNING A CONTRACT. The house I currently live in now, I found online because I was living in another state. Of course, the landlord, emailed me the best pictures of the house. I, not thinking but excited to move to another state, trusted a stranger (BIG MISTAKE). After I signed the contract & saw the house, I came to see the truth. The bathrooms have purple, black and red tiles and very very ugly. The shower heads are super outdated and old. The windows in the entire house, DO NOT OPEN, so if there is a fire on the second floor or any emergency, we will have to break the glass of the window. It seems either squirrels or chipmunks love to live in the walls and so much more. And he doesn't seem to fix it yet seems to threaten if I am late on the rent.
* Try to have any damages or problems fixed prior to your moving. Try to have the landlord sign a document to be sure it will get done. If you don't have a document signed and move in, you have a higher tendency that the problems will not be fixed by the landlord.
* Be sure to read and learn the RENTING LAWS WELL IN THE STATE THAT YOU LIVE IN. Each state has it's own laws.
* If you can afford it, try to GET RENTERS INSURANCE. You can always call your auto insurance company and see if they offer it. Be sure to know exactly what is covered.
* Prior to moving, be sure to make it clear with the landlord that you will get your deposit back. Do a walk thru with your landlord, if possible, to be sure he is fine with how the house is being turned it.
* It might take a little more sweat, but always try to leave the premises cleaned, lawn mowed, holes in the walls from hanging pictures patched and if you had painted the walls, paint them back to it's original color. Always ask the landlord for the original color and brand. The brand can actually make a difference.
* BE SURE TO READ THE "ENTIRE" CONTRACT PRIOR TO SIGNING, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT CAN BE. I know it can be a nightmare to read a long contract and some wording might freak you out because you might not understand but it is very important to know all the stipulations prior to signing. If you have the funds, hire a realtor lawyer, and ask them how much would they charge just to review the contract, read it and be sure it all is okay. I had not done that with the townhouse that I was renting and when I moved out and had painted ALL the walls to it's original color, cleaned the entire place spotless, cleaned inside the kitchen appliances and all. I came to find out once I moved out that I received a bill for a little over $400, plus they kept my deposit of $1,700.00, because after I moved out, they had the townhouse empty for 10 days waiting for the other tenants to move in. After I was told this and looked over the contract they were right and I lost not only my deposit but had a bill of over $400.00 that was totally a bill that I did not need to have added to my budget.
* If you can, try to sign for more than one year to lock in your original rent price, If you feel you like the home after you have personally seen it. I did not do that with this home and the landlord, after a year, raised the rent by $300 and the next year by another $300. Hoping I can move out prior to the final increase and just give my 30 day notice.
* The one advise I always give is to ALWAYS communicate with your landlord. Be honest. Contact the landlord, if you are late with your rent but be sure to try your best to pay before the month is over. Communicate with the landlord and make a payment plan, letting them know when you will be making payments, that will be equivalent to your rent plus the possible late fee.
These are just a few pieces of advise that I can share with you as I am sure that I have forgotten many others not meaning to. Just REMEMBER THIS IS NOT ONLY WERE YOU WILL BE LIVING BUT ALSO YOUR CHILDREN!!!
I wish all those the best while renting as a single parent!!! Hope this might have helped someone at least.