When we first left the U.S. at the end of July in 2008, we had no renters for our townhouse. A church friend who owned a real estate agency in the Northern Virginia area was left in charge of caring for our home and helping us find renters. The wait became eight months. We struggled to make ends meet. Student loan money was helping our credit card debt from going too high, but we were watching our debt slowly increase over those months.
When we finally got the first renter in our home in March of 2009, we were so excited. That tenant signed a year contract and completed a full year of living in our home. We started to get a little anxious as March of 2010 approached. The tenant wanted to leave, but was trying to find a new job and requested to stay in the townhouse on a month to month basis. So, we agreed to that. The tenant finally moved out at the end of June. At the same time, our realtor friend told us he could no longer take care of our home, but connected us with a new real estate agency in West Virginia. We were fortunate to be able to coincide our visit to Virginia with signing on with this new real estate agency called Potomac Housing-Realtors®, Inc. of Martinsburg, WV. After filling out several papers and giving them all the information on our townhouse, they went straight to work and found a new renter for our apartment by the beginning of August.
We assumed that we could relax for the next year with the new renter firmly established in our apartment. However, at the end of November, we were still waiting for the rent money for that month when we found out that the tenant had moved out unexpectedly at the end of October, giving no explanation why.
Since then, our home has once again been empty. For those of you living in the north eastern area of the U.S. or have been watching the weather news, you’ll know that the winter storms have blown into our area. It’s a really hard time of year to find renters, because not as many people are interested in moving in the cold and often dangerous weather.
We are currently talking to the realtors about reducing our monthly rent on the townhouse to attract new renters and possibly offer half off the first month’s rent. It’s becoming a burden financially, as we do not have enough money to cover our mortgage without rent money being returned to us. The good news is that the recent tenant did leave the house in good condition, and our home is less than five years old.