Allow me to begin with a quote from the The Hunger Games wiki:
“The Gamemakers’ job is to make the annual Hunger Games as spectacular, bloody, frightening and entertaining as possible. When the Head Gamemaker feels that the Games are becoming boring, they will introduce some new element such as a forest fire or tsunami or announce a feast to excite the audience to drive the tributes closer together and kill some of them off.”
The Head Gamemaker of our house hunt is clearly bored, and he has unleashed two muttations to raise the stakes on our heretofore stress-free search.
#1. This article was published in Crain’s Chicago Business: Can’t find a Chicago home to buy? Join the club (I used a Google search link which should get you around their paywall).
The supply of single-family homes on the market in Chicago is smaller than it’s been for at least eight years. Owners simply aren’t listing their houses. This article confirmed what we’ve been experiencing and, even worse, fanned the flames. Houses are getting bid up above asking price and above fair market value.
#2. When our lease expired in March, we asked our landlords if we could go month-to-month so that we’d be able to move out easily once we do find a house. They agreed because we’ve been good tenants for several years. Here’s what we didn’t think about: while a lease is a tether for renters, it’s also protection. Our landlords decided to sell the building and it was listed this week. It’ll sell fast.
It would have been much smarter for us to have renewed our lease. We could have easily found a tenant to take it over once we bought a house. That’s the most frustrating part: we could have avoided this, but we never had reason to think month-to-month was a risk. Learn from our mistake, dear readers!
If the buyer wants to owner-occupy, which is usually what happens with two-flats, they’d most likely want our unit because it’s on the top floor. And because we no longer have a lease, they can give us 30 days notice to move out. So, we may end up having to move to a new apartment while we continue our house hunt. That would be a major expense and hassle. Sonuvabitch.
We’re trying our hardest not to sweat it because there’s no way of knowing what will happen. Fingers crossed the inspection reveals something that’s bad enough to kill a deal but not so bad it could kill us.