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Old 05-11-2011, 10:09 AM
 
12 posts, read 65,477 times
Reputation: 18

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I may be relocating to Abilene very soon. I'm not an apartment kind 'o guy. I prefer detached, single-family houses with a lawn (no duplexes, townhomes, etc.). To narrow that down a little more, I'll be looking to rent a house with:

* Either a 2-car garage or a 1-car garage with large-ish storage in back yard.

* Curbed streets (nice, clean lines between pavement and lawns).

* Neighborhoods where the neighbors realize their behavior can affect property values. Examples: No one parks on their front lawns (I see a lot of this on google maps' satellite images); Boats and trailers are either parked on concrete drive or completely in the back yard with a privacy fence; "Some day I might want to use this" trash and junk is stored completely in the back yard with a privacy fence (again, I see a lot of homes on google maps with all kinds of junk scattered in the back yards, and more than a few with junk on the sides of the house and front yard).

* Site built houses (no mobile homes or manufactured homes).

* Internet-only service available. I don't care if that's ADSL or Cable or really fast delivery boy with great sneakers. I don't want TV service. I don't want land-line phone service. Just Internet service (I use VOIP and I don't watch TV that much). I won't pay for TV and Telephone service just to get Internet service.

* Non-student neighborhoods. Been there, done that, now I like to sleep at night, thanks.

* Otherwise I don't care if it's 1 or 2 stories, clapboard, brick or masonite exterior, brand new or 30 years old. I'll be renting it for 1 year until I can find a house to buy.

* I don't care if it's north or south, in Bufallo Gap or Clyde or anywhere else that's 20 miles or less to downtown Abilene.

I've found a few listings here and there of homes that meet my criteria, but there seems to be a wide variance in prices per quare foot and features included in a lease.

Where I would like the benefit of your experience is:

* Is the advertised lease price negotiable at all? Even a little? Suppose a house is 1100/month. Is it reasonable to counter-offer the 1100/month advertisement or are advertised leases typically "take it or leave it?"

* I've seen houses which come with and without fridge and/or range. What's the usual? I would have thought all kitchen appliances are provided as a norm. Is it acceptable to offer to pay the requested price provided they throw in a fridge and range?

* Lawn care. Who does it (the labor)? Who pays for it (equipment and gasoline)? None of this is mentioned in the lease ads. I have no idea whether it's customary or not for the owner to hire someone to take care of the yard at owner's expense. Does the owner provide equipment but I have to do the work (which I don't mind doing)? Or is lawn care usually left to the tenant to figure out how to get it done and pay for it?

* Alarm systems. If a house doesn't have one, is it reasonable for me to request a non-intrusive, simple system be installed on doors and rear windows? How about if I pay for installation and removal?

Just trying to figure out where my negotiating room is. What is customary tends to vary from city to city. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Richard
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Abilene, Texas
8,746 posts, read 9,034,799 times
Reputation: 55906
I have rented two homes here in Abilene in recent years. Both were 3 bedroom with a garage and central heat & air in nice quiet neighborhoods in the southwestern part of town. If you want to stay away from college students don't rent anything on the northeast side of the city in the vicinity of Abilene Christian University. If you rent on the southern/southwestern side of town you'll avoid most of the students. The rent for both of the homes I rented were non-negotiable. While choosing a place to live I looked at probably about 60-70 rental homes. Most of the homes I looked at had rents that were non-negotiable. Most of the homes I looked at had all appliances provided, however, one of the ones I rented didn't have a stove/range. That particular landlord agreed to buy one and put it in the house before I signed the lease (no extra charge for me). None of the rental homes I have ever looked at here in Abilene provide any sort of lawn care. I always just hired someone to mow my yards. Neither of the homes I rented had an alarm system and most of the homes I looked at didn't have home alarm systems. I hope my input helps, good luck to you!
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:30 AM
 
12 posts, read 65,477 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks, Dave.

Sounds about the same as Dallas and Austin rentals, except the lack of installed security systems. Simple ones can be installed these days with just a minor screw hole here and there so I don't expect a landlord would object to my installing one anymore than they would object to picture hangers tacked into the walls.

I gathered the south side was probably the area I'd need to look in. I read a lot in these forums about the SW, S and "extreme" NE (whatever extreme may mean?) being the more upkept neighborhoods.

But what about SE? I don't ever really see it mentioned as an overall decent location, but then again, when I look at houses for sale (not particulalry rentals), the highest priced homes seem to be in the SE. I think it's called Lyttle or South Lyttle or something, and maybe Pelosi (doing these town names from memory). I may not find rentals in a price range I'm looking for, but is the SE side, in general, comparable to the SW, S and extreme NE? As far as clean, tidy, low crime neighborhoods go, I mean?
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Texas State Fair
8,560 posts, read 11,217,763 times
Reputation: 4258
South east Abilene is principally industrial, along Treadaway Blvd. Further to the east of that is Lytle Lake, a shallow lake belonging to West Texas Utilities. It's a fairly shallow lake, suitable only for sailing, if you can catch a wind. On the east of that is a new area of subdivision which might be the Lytle south or area to which you refer. Along the loop on the east side. Lytle > light L > lie tel.
Quote:
The lake was built in 1897 to secure a water supply for the city and to attract a proposed state hospital for epileptics. The reservoir was named for early settler John Lytle, who trapped mustangs in the area to sell to the Mexican government.
About ten miles to the south east of Abilene is a small country town named Potosi. Flat and brushy, with mesquite and cedar trees, and rattlesnakes and rocks.

Quote:
In 1893 R. A. Pollard applied for a post office and chose the name Potosi, after the town in Mexico.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Abilene, Texas
8,746 posts, read 9,034,799 times
Reputation: 55906
Quote:
Originally Posted by TXFeller View Post
Thanks, Dave.

Sounds about the same as Dallas and Austin rentals, except the lack of installed security systems. Simple ones can be installed these days with just a minor screw hole here and there so I don't expect a landlord would object to my installing one anymore than they would object to picture hangers tacked into the walls.

I gathered the south side was probably the area I'd need to look in. I read a lot in these forums about the SW, S and "extreme" NE (whatever extreme may mean?) being the more upkept neighborhoods.

But what about SE? I don't ever really see it mentioned as an overall decent location, but then again, when I look at houses for sale (not particulalry rentals), the highest priced homes seem to be in the SE. I think it's called Lyttle or South Lyttle or something, and maybe Pelosi (doing these town names from memory). I may not find rentals in a price range I'm looking for, but is the SE side, in general, comparable to the SW, S and extreme NE? As far as clean, tidy, low crime neighborhoods go, I mean?
There are some very nice homes in southeastern Abilene, mostly around Lytle Lake itself. Those lake homes are huge and most are very expensive indeed (one of the most expensive areas in town). There are also some nice homes/neighborhoods just outside the city limits to the southeast in the Potosi area. Many of those homes are in new subdivisions and sit on one acre or larger lots. As a result, those homes are much newer and more expensive. The homes in Lytle South are much smaller than the huge luxurious homes around Lytle Lake and the newer subdivsions I just mentioned. I looked at some of those homes when I was looking for the last house I rented. Three of the homes I looked at in Lytle South were newer than some other homes I looked at elsewhere but the quality of construction didn't seem to be much better than an average apartment complex, IMHO. The homes in Lytle South are also on smaller lots compared to the older areas in southern/southwestern Abilene, if that matters to you. I'm not sure about crime in Lytle South, however, I've never heard anyone that lives in that area complain about crime.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:44 PM
 
12 posts, read 65,477 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tofurkey View Post
...a small country town named Potosi. Flat and brushy, with mesquite and cedar trees, and rattlesnakes and rocks.
Ah, sounds like Heaven! All that's missing are ticks, chiggers and an occassional 'coon turning over the trashcan at night!

Richard
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