February 25, 2019

Yellow door and things.

I think a nice spring wreath will help. I'll put it on the command hook...that they hung in the middle of the door. Ugh. Better look for a fluffy wreath to cover all that up.

I could go on and on about the disadvantages of renting. It's a waste of money, yes. It's less work than homeownership, sure. Basically it means that Scott can't rip things apart whenever he feels like it and I can't paint a room when I don't like a color. While some of this is a definite plus, some is considered a minus.

To be perfectly honest, we've never rented an "older" house.

Our first house in Alaska in 2009 was built in 1993 but it had been gutted and remodeled on the inside so it was "like new". Our second house was built in maybe 2005? It was still very 2005 on the inside but it was spotless when we moved in in 2011 so I took it, happily. To date, that was my favorite house. Our house in Missouri was probably also built in the early 2000s but was very clean and kept up-to-date. It was probably the prettiest on the outside.

And, well, our Colorado house was a mess on the inside, and we knew this when we low-balled with our offer to buy it. It was 100% intentional to buy a remodeling project because the land that went with it was worth it.  We completely redid it all because we owned it.

Our Laramie house, also one we bought, was built in 1966. So it was older, definitely, but we had the ability (but not the time) to do what we wanted to it. Scott fixed up the kitchen a bit before we left Wyoming. But since it wasn't a rental, it was at our mercy and I did do some painting.

This Pittsburgh rental was also built in the 1960s, I'm assuming. Maybe the 1950s based on the timeline the neighbors have given me.

Good things:
The outside has been nicely landscaped so it's just upkeep on our end. Landscaping was a never ending battle in Colorado because of the prairie wind.

There's a covered patio, nice sliding door, flat yard, shed, and one-car garage.

It's a ranch house, which is what we're used to and is so much easier with the baby (and for the purposes of moving in and out).

It's in a nice, settled neighborhood that is off the main highway but is still just minutes from everything we could want/need. Better than both our Colorado house and our Laramie house in this way (Laramie didn't have much and the Colorado house was far from town).

I believe most of the walls are freshly painted and, when looking at the color choices, Scott realized it was the same color palette he used in our Colorado basement. The paint for this house is in the basement here and yes, whoever painted all the rooms used the same Pin from Pinterest as inspiration and it's identical to what Scott used in our Colorado basement.

The main bathroom has just been redone with subway tile and a double sink.

There's a full Pittsburgh potty in the basement, with a sink and shower (and a door), but it was soooo dirty when we moved in. Not like bathroom-dirty. Like actual dirt. We don't use it and I took pictures of it and the rental company will see those eventually. I suppose it'll be fine for dog-bathing.

The bedrooms are pretty large for a ranch. Our furniture, which is huge, fits perfectly.

The kitchen has almost brand-new appliances and a ton of storage. This was the only reason I came to look at this house in the first place. The person who posted the pictures did a horrible job and didn't post any of the outside.

I like the lighting in this house. No fluorescents. Dimmer switches. LED/can lights in the kitchen.

The basement is the same size as the house and has a ton of storage. There's also a finished family room but we likely will just use it for storage because this is our staging grounds to get rid of all.the.things. before our next move. It's time to consolidate. We did that with furniture before we left Wyoming. Now it's time for all the boxes full of stuff.

There's a nice washer and dryer and, while they're not guaranteed for the duration of the lease (they won't replace them if they break), this was the only rental I looked at where we wouldn't have had to buy a set. We have had our own in every other rental and left those in Colorado. The Laramie house came with a set and they also stayed put.

The bad:
The front door is pale yellow. I don't know who thought that was a good idea, but I'd like to talk to them and then I'd like to paint it navy blue.

The guest room could also use a coat of paint. It was the only room you can tell they didn't do anything to, as well as the half bath. It has updated features but still has striped yellow wallpaper.

The backyard isn't completely fenced in. We're going to be putting up a temporary fence around the gaps, but we haven't gotten to it yet.

I'm 99% sure the outside walls of this house aren't insulated and it's not exactly been a warm winter. The bedrooms, especially the master, run like 5 degrees cooler than the rest of the house.

The kitchen also gets a bit chilly.

Pretty sure the windows are just very old single-pane windows.

Wells' bedroom carpet is purple.

The owners have two locked closets in the basement and we're pretty sure there's pot-growing equipment or something in them. Whatever. Not my problem. Everything is still as illegal as can be in Pennsylvania (even transporting a gun in your vehicle apparently!), so when the DEA shows up, I'll just point them to the basement.

The master and the guest room have the same wood floors as the rest of the house (the original wood floors) but those two rooms simply had the carpet pulled up and weren't refinished like the living room, dining room, and hallway. They're kind of a mess to look at.

This really is just about the physical features of the property, but it's worth mentioning...

The company we rent from double charges us for the dogs. This is the only place that not only made us pay a huge deposit, but we have to pay monthly, per dog. I mentioned before that rental pickings were slim, so it is what it is. The lady I deal with is nice enough but that's not the point. I'm pretty sure I dealt with pure evil in the agent we rented from in Wasilla, Alaska, so this lady isn't that bad in comparison, but still. Agencies are agencies. I would've much rather rented from one owner.

Anyway. Good and bad everywhere. I know Scott hates renting so, so much and I hate the complications that go along with it, like getting bad landlords, etc. If our house in Colorado would've been under contract in December or something, we would've looked to buy instead, but it would've been far too complicated to try and buy a third house right now, otherwise. While renting can be a huge waste of money, it does give us a chance to just reset and decide what we want to do next. We'll *most likely* rent again when we leave Pittsburgh, just because in July of 2020 we'll be heading to another base for just a one-year school. After that, going to a regular duty station for 3 more years, we'll be ready to buy again.


  1. That would be super annoying about being charged monthly for each dog along with the rent. Wow. Also, the non-refinished wood floors in two rooms...man, why didn't they just finish the job? And two locked cabinets in the basement? Definitely weird. Our apt. in China had an entire bedroom full of the landlord's stuff. I just kept the door closed and ignored it. But why keep a whole room full of random junk?
    We will never be able to buy a home here (because it's the law that foreigners can't buy any property under the equivalent of $250k, and yeah, that's never going to be remotely possible) so I'm resigned to the inevitability of renting as long as we live overseas. Like you said, there's definitely perks as in less work to do in maintenance and renovating--you just have to live with whatever the condition is since you can't really paint or fix things up.
    Landlords can be such a headache that we are really lucky with ours--she's the grandma of the kids I take care of so she has good reason to love me. And our apartment was remodeled the year before we moved in, so it's in really nice shape, although they used flat white paint, which I'm not a fan of, because it doesn't clean well. I don't love living in an apartment as far as having no outdoor space of my own--and all the noise in the hallways is annoying when the baby's sleeping, but it's home for now. It's a really convenient location for everywhere we need to go, so I'm hesitant to leave the location. We're thinking of maybe giving it another two years at least and then seeing if we can move into a house.

  2. renting is tough but works well if the situation calls for it. i never rented other than when i was in uni but when i was done, it was back home until i could save enough money to buy. i like being able to tear something down if i didn't like it.

  3. Hold up - they have locked doors in the basement? That's just weird to me.
    I'm a yellow person so I wouldnt mind the door - but I'd hate the un-fenced yard - or the lack of insulation in the house.
    Just cover your yellow door with a BIG navy wreath.
    What would they do if you 'accidentally' painted it?

  4. Whoever thought painting a door that color was a good idea has lost it! Haha!

  5. Yellow hmmm...Do the shutters and garage match?

  6. My friends tried to convince me to paint our front door yellow. Umm nope. It's blue now.

  7. The yellow door is.... not great. Ditto unfinished floors and walls that need repainting - they're particularly annoying because they're not huge tasks, yet as renters you still can't do it. I've been renting for 14 years now (just did the maths and now I want to cry) and I am SO fed up of not being able to fix even tiny things that would make day to day life so much better. At least I'm not a particularly handy person thus am limited by my own inability - if I was like Scott and used to just bashing down walls and things I think I'd find it particularly frustrating.


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