You Want What? For How Much?

We get calls weekly (sometimes daily) that seem to defy logic. I have a sign on my wall in my office that reads “I live in my own little world, but it’s OK… they know me here.”

When I get calls like the one last week.. I really do wish that I could sometimes live in their little worlds – it seems like a quite interesting place.

So… a caller had a budget.. they could not exceed $514 with all utilities included. That may seem like an odd number… but assuming they were using some type of housing subsidy payment, those federal and state agencies like odd numbers like that.

So, what did they want for $514 – all utilities included?

A three bedroom house, but might be willing to settle for a duplex (but an apartment was not an option). It had to allow pets. It had to have a garage. And, again, all utilities included. And, a nice neighborhood too.

In the immortal words of Frank Barone (if you are a fan of Everybody Loves Raymond, Frank is the dad) – HOLY CRAP!

If you take a look at the classifieds for three bedrooms, good luck in finding any three bedroom unit under 600 + utilities, so they really had their work cut out for them. Also, a house or duplex with utilities included is fairly rare as they are easily separately metered, an apartment is your best hope.

The cheapest 3 BR unit I have is a house that I manage for a friend of mine very close to downtown for $550 + utilities, no garage. Once you want utilities and a garage included, for $560 I could have hooked them up with a 1 BR apartment in Weston that doesn’t allow pets.

I wish this person luck in their search, but they really need to take a look at some priorities. First of all, where do they get that $514 number from? I work with Section 8 housing quite a bit and although I have not called in some time to see what their limits in rent are, I do know that I have Section 8 tenants paying over that $514 number in a 2 BR unit, so the limits they are willing to go for a three bedroom have to be higher than that.

Also, an important thing for people to do is separate NEEDS from WANTS. If you are working with a housing budget of just over $514 per month, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

– Can you live without a garage – is that a need or a want?
– Can you really afford pets – is that a need or a want?

The whole thing just defies logic. Like I said, we get calls almost daily from people looking for something, and the amount that they are willing or able to spend comes no where near reality. But that $514 number with those demands is probably the farthest from reality we have had in some time.

A few weeks ago someone wanted to rent a house that at the time, we had listed as for sale only. We sharpened our pencil and decided we were willing to rent the house for $1,500 per month, however they were not willing to pay over $1,000 as it was not worth it, “that was a mortgage payment.” Let’s completely forget for a second that this house is listed for sale north of $250,000. Let’s completely forget for a second that if you purchased this house (putting 20% down, or $52,000), and were able to get a mortgage at 5%, your monthly payment would be over $1,100 month not including nearly $400 per month you would need for taxes and insurance.

For some people, I really would like to live in their world… I wonder if they still get gas for $0.50 per gallon.


About drrent

Wausau, Wisconsin Landlord, past president of the Wisconsin Apartment Association, Host of the Dr Rent Radio Show on WNRB-LP, 93.3 FM, Wausau, WI
This entry was posted in Reality, Section 8 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to You Want What? For How Much?

  1. Grinning Soul says:

    My pops sells cars nowhere around here. One day he gets a call from a real “heavy hitter” as they call them. Someone who is very firm, abrupt and set on getting something for nothing. He was looking for a somewhat higher-end car, 3 years old with very low miles for a price that was insanely low. 10k’ish. Pops, without skipping a beat says to the guy, “you know, I don’t have one of those on my lot, but I know where you can find one.” The caller, “really, where?” “Are you anywhere near a computer?” my dad asks and the man replies, “yes.”
    “Well go to, I am sure they will have exactly what you are looking for there.”

    Your story reminded me of that story. Unreal!

  2. That is a GREAT answer… not very customer service focussed… but I love it.

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