We did some work on tasks related to the business and getting ourselves relocated down to Pueblo over the past couple of weeks.
First, we met with a mortgage broker to begin discussing strategies for finding a way to finance the purchase of a property that we can use for the hostel. It’s quite likely that it’s going to take some time to put the pieces in place, after not having had jobs or income for most of 2015. There are a few approaches we can take but I don’t want to give away personal information here, so I’m just going to leave it at that and say that we have a couple of avenues open to us, but nothing’s going to happen overnight. We do have some thoughts about our strategy moving forward.
Also that week, we went down to look at a house in Pueblo, since we feel that we probably want to get down there and get the service side of the business going even if we can’t get the hostel up yet. We’d seen a house for rent that looked like a good prospect. It was in a nice neighborhood fairly close to the bike route. We are hoping for that since the service part of the business is also aimed at serving people riding on the Trans America route and/or the Western Express route.
We went down on the Thursday night in less than delightful weather. We stayed at a hotel so that we wouldn’t have to deal with rush hour traffic on the way down and could get some work done in the morning. This made it especially disappointing when we arrived at the house to meet the owners and learned that we had been misinformed that pets would be acceptable. This was after one of the owners had told us on the phone that it would be ok and how much the pet deposit would be. We were pretty bummed to have driven down in the snow and spent money on a hotel room to be disappointed in our quest.
We mitigated the disappointment only slightly by going to see an apartment complex that could be a back up plan if we can’t find a house. It was quite pleasant, but would be a compromise.
Early this week, we saw another house for rent online that we thought might be worth a look. Instead of going down overnight and spending money on a hotel, we decided to go down during the day, and set up an appointment to see it in the mid-afternoon. The house was in the historic neighborhood north of downtown, and the curb appeal was not bad, though not as cute as the houses around it, most of which had historic markers on them. This is not the house.
Our first impression of the house was that the downstairs was fairly pleasant. The hardwood floors looked worn but the space seemed nice. The kitchen was pretty ugly and it went downhill from there.
The house had one and a half baths and the downstairs bathroom was basically in what was a hallway to the basement stairs, and was also where the washer-dryer hookup lived.
The basement was one of those scary basements, with an ancient furnace and not much space (which is not a problem if you have plenty of storage space elsewhere). I have to say here, that scary basements for me have nothing to do with horror stories, it’s just about places that don’t feel right to ME. They could be perfectly delightful but if they feel wrong, then I don’t love them.
The upstairs was less impressive than the main floor and we got our first hint that the electrical system was probably more dated than we’d care for. The rooms were ok, but there was damage to the walls and we were not enthused. We decided to look at the garage even though we were not feeling this was the place for us by this point, noting on our way out a large pool of ice and water just to the side of the rotting porch (held up by cinder blocks) and a very dated fuse box. The garage was spacious but we were anxious about the way one of the doors was secured.
What sealed it for us was what we saw when we left the garage. We saw a squirrel on the roof that scooted along the underhang and into the house through a hole there. That drew our attention to another hole under the roof too. Where there was one squirrel in the roof, there were likely more. This was not a house we wanted to live in, rented or owned.
Since we were in town but had no other rental houses to see, we decided to take a look at some of the commercial properties Angie had scouted in various areas. As we drove away and turned the corner, we saw a “for rent” sign on a smaller house just around the corner from the Victorian. It looked small but we made a note of the phone number so we could chew on it a bit.
We didn’t see anything totally suitable at the properties Angie had singled out. There was one place that was based on a geodesic dome that looked like it would be kind of fun, but it didn’t have any outside space to speak of, or a garage, so it wouldn’t have worked for a workshop for the hostel. We sat in the car outside that property feeling a bit dejected. At this point we felt we had nothing to lose by calling the number from the “for rent” sign we’d seen earlier. The gentleman who answered the phone was the owner, and he kindly agreed to meet us at the house in 20 minutes.
We got there before him, so were able to get a good look at the outside. The house has a cute porch, a one-car garage and a small front yard. The owner arrived and let us in. We could tell right away that the carpet was new. The house is only 900 square feet, has one large living area, a good sized kitchen, and two bedrooms. The basement was not a living space, but had a washer-dryer hookup and space we would be able to use for storage. Although the house is small, we felt it would work for us, especially since we could use the basement and garage for storage. The owner seemed like a nice guy. He’s a general contractor who owns a few houses in town. We got a good vibe off him and the house, and he seemed to get a good vibe from us too, since he pretty much told us that he was prepared to rent the house to us. We exchanged information so that he could send us the application. We completed the application and practically received the lease agreement by return email.
We are planning on moving down there at the end of the month, so now we have to find movers and set up utilities. Fortunately, most of our belongings are in a 15×20 storage unit, so the move will be relatively straightforward, other than the distance the movers will have to drive.
We’re excited and nervous about the move. On the one hand we get to embark on a new chapter of our lives and really be in control of our own destiny. On the other, we are stepping completely out of our comfort zone, moving to a new town where we hardly know anyone. It’s going to be exciting, but I’m guessing it’s going to be challenging.