This is a sequel to last year's post about our housing situation in Midland. As most of our friends and family know, Midland has a booming economy, one that is driven by oil and leading to outlandish increases in the costs of housing. Last year, our rent increased 40%...this year, the increase was set to jump 11% from our current rent (or a 56% increase from our original 2011-2012 rent, roughly).
We weren't happy about it. As a young couple, just two years out of graduate school, our priority right now is saving for our future. With these crazy jumps in the cost of housing, that is becoming harder to do. Literally, the only thing allowing us to cope with the crazy rent jumps is the fact that we've seen salary increases every year since we moved here (due to the combination of both new jobs for me and raises for Brendan).
We began weighing other options, and got pre-approved for a loan on a house. A house would be more expensive, but, we figured, at least then we'd have an investment on our hands and more square footage.
Then, something really lucky happened. I went in to the leasing office to talk about our options. The woman there knows us well by now. I sat with her and was totally honest: we were going to look into a house...the month to month rent (which would be a 25% increase on current rent) was almost un-doable for us. We didn't want to be rushed to move if we couldn't find the right house (we have to give a 60 day move out notice). The situation seemed bleak. I mentioned some students in my building who where getting a slight discount on their month to month rent. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. "You guys are teachers!" She exclaimed. She cracked a smile and then said five words that were music to my ears, "Our teacher discount is back." That's right, as of last week a new property manager and new managers at the management company decided to bring back the teacher, police, and fire department discount, which we had benefited from in 2011-2012. I literally gave our new manager a hug and asked why she did this. She had read this article and had been asking for permission to reinstate the discount since March, telling the property management,"We could do something good for this town."
Today, Brendan and I signed a 13 month lease. Our increase? Less than 2%. We breathed a huge sigh of relief. At our apartment, breaking a lease is doable, (with a financial plenty of course), so we can still look for a house, and in the event that we find a perfect home for the right price, we can take the plunge.
But if we don't...we have a comfortable place to live. A place where we are happy.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to my best friend, Corley. My job situation wasn't settled, the housing situation wasn't settled, and I was feeling the stress of it all. "It will all be worked out soon," Corley said to me. And within a few weeks, it was.
We get married in 9 days, and I'm so happy that these big issues are off my radar. I can fully enjoy our day (and the honeymoon!) knowing where I'll be living and working when we return.
We are very thankful to the property management, and I fully intend to write the new manager there a letter of gratitude, as well as our manager here. In times where great profit can be made, there are still some people who can see past that to the bottom line: It feels good to help people. And good things come from helping people. And that is something I want to pass on. This is a great reminder to do as much good as I can, whenever and wherever I can, and especially in this community.
We may still be paying more rent than friends in Brooklyn or Paris (or so I'm told), but despite that, we consider ourselves lucky. We've made a home here and many good memories too, and for now, it's nice to know we can stay.
<3 S, B, L&Z