From Renting to ‘Rents

Two years ago, Mr. Wow and I did something crazy!  Something neither one of us ever thought we would do, especially within our adult and married life.

We were in an interesting spot in life.  A few big changes had already occurred and we were looking to make a few more.

During and after college, we had both lived with roommates.  Then we both found ourselves individually  enjoying the life of having a one bedroom apartment without roommates.  It was glorious!

But then Mr. Wow (boyfriend Wow at the time) entered the picture and after dating for awhile, we decided to forgo our separate places and stay together in the fantasy suite move into together.

Fast forward a few years and we found ourselves acquiring two more roommates.   But it wasn’t pets or kids or friends that were in a tight spot…

We actually moved in with my parents.

I’m sure you are probably wondering who in their right mind would ever willingly move back in with their parents as a married couple?

Well, we totally did.

And this wasn’t due to any health issues on their part.  It also wasn’t a result of a desperate financial situation for us.  Although it had a financial undertone, it was 100% voluntary.

 

First, let me explain the situation we were in.

Our Pad

Prior to the move, we lived in an cute, beach front apartment that had a huge view of the ocean.  The view was unbeatable!

Yep, this was what we saw from our couch! 

There were times that it was so sunny in our living room that we needed sunglasses and sunscreen just to sit on our couch.  We were steps from the sand and from a slew of bars, restaurants and shops.  [Sidenote: If you listened to our latest podcast interview THAT bar was only 2 blocks from our place.]  It was perfect for two late 20s- early 30 year olds.

On the surface, this place was awesome.  To this day, we still have friends ask why we ever moved from that “great” place.

But the beach pad definitely had some sharks in the shallows.  And a sky-high monthly rent meant that it wouldn’t take many sightings to send us to another beach.

The first thing of notice was the entry stairs.  They were slowly falling apart and Mr. Wow actually stepped through one as he was walking up one evening.

Then we noticed holes in our floors.  Low and behold, we had a termite infestation.

The kicker was when we found **trigger warning** termite larva in plates and bowls in the cabinets.  It was just gross!

Being renters, we brought this up to our landlord.  And yes, we actually put the larvae into a plastic bag to show her exactly what we were dealing with.  She then left us a can of raid to fix the problem.  Needless to say, it didn’t.

 

Domestic Violence 

Not only did we have unwanted critters crawling up through our floors and joining us for breakfast in our cereal bowls, but we also got front row seats to an ongoing show of domestic disturbances happening in the apartment below us.

To put it lightly, our neighbors were experiencing some relationship woes.  Doors slamming, dishes breaking, incessant yelling, blood curtailing screaming and endless bouts of crying were sounds that became a usual occurrence.

Then came the police, again and again and again.

Unfortunately, our front door was the one closest to the street so in the beginning, the police came pounding on our door at all hours of the day and night.

On one Sunday afternoon, the neighbors were at it and bad.  I was trying to go about my day and in the process of baking some cookies, while Mr. Wow found himself a nice spot on the couch and took a nap.

Bang!

The whole apartment shook from the door slamming shut.  Yelling ensued.  It was quiet for a few minutes and then…

Bam, bam, bam!

I thought our front door had been broken down it was so loud.  Alas, it was the police.

Quite startled, I opened the door.

“Is there a problem here?” they ask.

“Just trying to figure out if I should make chocolate chip or sugar cookies” I said as I pointed them downstairs.

By the way, despite how loud it was, Mr. Wow slept through the whole thing.

 

On the worst week, the police were called pretty much every day.  It was happening in the middle of the day or the middle of the night and it was getting out of hand.

 

Work Life

There were also some big changes happening within our professional lives too.  Mr. Wow’s company at the time had been recently acquired.  Although he received a nice payout, it also meant that his position was made redundant.

He was given 2 months to find another job.  This would be the first time in his adult life that he would not have a job.

What was he to do?

For some time, he had considered signing up for a coding bootcamp.  Being that he finally had the opportunity, he found a local course he liked, applied, got in, and started a week after his last day of work.

His course schedule consisted of 15+ hour days, 6-7 days a week for 12 weeks. Basically meaning that I wasn’t going to see him.

As for me, my company had taken off and I was working crazy, long days as well.

 

The Financials

During the 12 weeks that Mr. Wow would be at the course, he would not be bringing in any income.  But since we had already set ourselves up, he was able to take this opportunity without it being a question as to whether or not we could afford it.

The two of us could continue to live comfortably on just one income NBD.

But we were unhappy with our living situation.  We were paying way too much rent for the crappy neighbors and creepy crawlies.

One night driving home from work, some thoughts rummaged through my mind.

  • It was time to move.
  • Maybe we could save some money while Mr. Wow attended the course.
  • It would be nice to have someone around since he’s going to be gone those weeks.

 

It was time for a change

And like Mr. Wow had always said, it takes a little discomfort to make a big change.

Hmm, what could we do?

I had an idea.

Maybe we could move in with my parents?

Their house is big enough. It’s within the right geographical area.  We’d save a sh*t ton on rent. And I would actually have some people to hang out with while he was gone.  Seemed like a win-win-win in my book.

But Mr. Wow was going to think that I was crazy.  Hell, I most likely am.  But I mustered up the courage and told him my idea.

To my surprise, he thought it was a great idea.  Ok, maybe not a great idea, but he agreed that it might actually work.

In effort to keep this post a decent length, I have decided to write a follow-up post with the details.  Stayed tuned to find out if the reality matched our exceptations.

But in the mean time, I’m curious who else has done something crazy in order to save money?  Anyone else moved in with their parents long after they should be moving back in?

 

29 Comments

  • Mrs. Adventure Rich February 14, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Haha, wow, what an experience with the former rental! The view is amazing, but I can definitely see why you’d leave it!

    When we moved back to MI, we moved in with my parents to figure out our next step (rent? buy?). It made our cross country move easier because we just focused on packing up and leaving vs. setting up logisitcs in our new home, but it was a bit odd to be back with my parents… with my husband and son! But it all worked out well and we were there for about 3 months until we closed on our house 🙂
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    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      I totally agree that it can be odd to live with the rents again, but in some instances it can actually be nice to have some time before making any big decisions, i.e. buying a house or even just figuring out where you want to live. I bet it was nice to have your parents to help out with you son too!

      Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach February 14, 2018 at 6:05 am

    I think at one point or another we all have to move on from the beach. It’s like a rite of passage. Unless you can afford a house away from the craziness! The only time I moved back in with the rents post-college was for a month when I decided to move to Seattle. I gave up my apartment and sold most of my things and stayed with them while I planned my trip.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…January Recap: The One With No Debt

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    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Sounds like it was exactly what you needed at that time and that you didn’t wear out your welcome being there for only a month.

      Reply
  • Dads Dollars debts February 14, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Many cultures grown children live with their parents to make due. It is not for everyone and definitely depends on the relationship but can be a good solution.

    Domestic violence is tough to be surrounded by. I am sure you want to help but there is not much I would know how to do. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      Don’t think that I could do it on-going on a voluntary basis, but there are definitely worse things in life.

      It doesn’t help when the DV parties involved were drunk or hopped up on drugs and couldn’t even be reasoned with during their tiffs. I wanted to help, but there really was nothing that I could do.

      Reply
  • Frieda February 14, 2018 at 6:37 am

    Hi, heard you guys on the BiggerPockets money podcast! I’m in LA, albeit on the other side. Moving in with the parents seems like a smart move in your situation. Landlords can get away with a lot of, um, “deferred maintenance” here. My husband and I once had an apartment in Silver Lake that developed a horrible mildew smell. The landlord claimed not to notice and of course it was rented the second we moved out. I also suspected it was termite-ridden and that a support beam was about to fall on our heads but never found termite larva. That is beyond the pale!

    I

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Freida, thanks for stopping by and hoped you enjoyed the podcast! Its great to meet another LA-er, any chance you guys attend the local ChooseFI LA meet-ups?

      When we moved out of that place, the landlord pretty much slapped a coat of paint on the walls and then turned around and rented it out for $700+ more than what we were paying. Absolutely ridiculous!

      Reply
  • Mr. SSC February 14, 2018 at 6:39 am

    Mna, I lived below a couple like that for a year once. Needless to say, I moved as soon as my lease was up. Too much stress and I wasn’t even in the middle of that situation. The termites would also be a real factor on moving out.

    I couldn’t bring myself to move in with my parents at this stage, but it’s nice that you have the kind of relationship that it is doable. I did that for a short stint when I got back from hiking and it was horrid. My mom and stepdad tried to enact curfew, I was 21, and some other things that made it unliveable pretty quickly, so I moved. Wins for everyone!

    Looking forward to the follow up post(s)!
    Mr. SSC recently posted…Stick to the Plan or Chase Adventure?

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    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      Those types of neighbors are not fun to live around at all. And honestly the guy was super nice and we never had an issue for a few years until he started dating that crazy girl. Bad juju all around.

      Curfew? Really? That’s awful. Luckily we didn’t have any of that when we were there.

      Reply
  • wendy February 14, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Ugh, bugs. I’m good about most things but I can’t stand major bugs around (except spiders – I *love* spiders! they eat the other crawly bastards). I was renting a house where there were 6 exterior doors and none of them were sealed correctly, so I had creepy crawlies running around all over the place. Had to put a sticky line of death in front of each door (those adhesive mouse strips) and wear socks. Landlord would not fix the issue (among others) and couldn’t fathom why I was leaving…!
    Way back when, I ran out of tuition money in college during my masters degree and moved home for a couple months whilst waiting for the next raft of student loans… only a week or so into it, I got a call to go do a paid internship so I moved back to my college and did that instead. All for the best – love my folks, but I felt better to be off and working.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      “Sticky line of death” haha nice, although I don’t think that would work for termites and especially in that place since they were all over. We’d probably end up stuck to the tape as well since it would’ve been in every inch of floor and wall space.

      Nice to have the option to move back when you needed it!

      Reply
  • Peti @ The Leveraged Mama February 14, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Yes we totally did this for a bit! My husbands parents were so generous in allowing us (plus two cats!) to stay for a few months while we were between rentals. We actually considered staying until we were totally debt free, but ended up moving on just before we got pregnant! It was a fun time, they are relatively young parents, and both working still so it was like having nice flat mates 🙂 I think that having an open mind and flexibility around your living arrangements is huge if you’re thinking about FI, sometimes even just as a temporary measure. What an awful situation you had at that apartment ?

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      My parents are retired and were then at the time we lived with them, but they keep themselves busy and knew that we also had our own lives as well. I love your comment about having an open mind/ flexibility with living arrangements when FI minded. Moving in with parents, getting roommates, downsizing, etc can be extremely beneficial to help boost your savings or when paying off debt.

      Reply
  • SavvyFinancialLatina February 14, 2018 at 8:49 am

    We have lived with my in-laws two times. Once when we were 22. We were in between apartment leases, briefly considered moving in with them long term to save on money because they had the space (5500 square foot house). But we were only there for a few weeks. We just didn’t do well under one roof.

    Second time, a few months ago. I moved back for my job and my husband stayed in the old city for 2 months without me. In total we were apart 6 weeks. I lived with my in-laws for 6 weeks. As soon as my husband turned in the keys to our old apartment, we were out of my in-laws. Once again, we could not live under one roof. Too crazy…

    Maybe it works for some. But for us, living with family is just not do able, even if we save money. We like to live by ourselves.
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    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      Its nice to have the option if necessary, but also good to know that it didn’t work for you. It’s definitely not easy for most of us and there were plenty of things that drove me crazy and I’m sure things that drove my parents crazy.

      Reply
  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life February 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I actually changed my plans and stayed home with my parents during and after college so that I could afford to pay for all of us to live. It was, at the time, the smartest thing I could do to save money during the time my parents needed my help because Mom was incredibly ill (my commute was paid for, I was able to work TONS of overtime to make money even while having pets because my parents could take care of them).

    Compared to years later when I moved out and had to pay for two separate households, I made tons of progress keeping one combined household. And I saved a bit on taxes as the head of household filer.
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    • Mrs WoW February 14, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Oh yes, the financial implications can be huge and it helps when family can help out with pets or children too. Sorry to hear about your mom, but it sounds like you made the most of an unfortunate situation.

      Reply
  • Mrs. Groovy February 15, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Ummm. We’re about to do what you did in our 50s, not our 20s.

    Once we sell our house we’re moving in with Mr. G’s parents while our new home is built. From the logistical side it puts no pressure on us to sell our house by a specific date or accept a bad offer. It also allows us to be close by our property during the building process.

    Financially, it certainly will create savings because we already spoke to my in-laws about paying rent and they said absolutely not.
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…Building Groovy Ranch: Update 7

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    • Mrs WoW February 15, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      I didn’t know that you guys were doing that. Definitely makes it less stressful while selling and building. Can’t wait for the updates about that transition!

      Reply
  • Ms. FI-ology February 15, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Woah, what a view!! However, not beautiful enough to live with bugs and screaming neighbors. Egads! Hilarious response to the cops, ” Just trying to figure out if I should make chocolate chip or sugar cookies”

    Kudos to you for making a not so easy choice in moving back in with the folks. I really like what Mr. Wow said, “it takes a little discomfort to make a big change.” It sure does.

    I too moved back in with my parents after leaving the nest. I moved in at the lovely age of 44 to clean up my debt once and for all. In addition to practicing financial discipline, I got to work on things like patience, forgiveness, and self-control ;-). All in all it was totally worth it.

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 15, 2018 at 10:58 pm

      Yes, beautiful view in an awesome town, but it just wasn’t worth dealing with all the other stuff just to life there. Also to be honest, your story about moving in with your parents in your first post actually motivated me to write this one. So I owe you a big thanks!

      Reply
  • Firecracker February 16, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Wow, expensive AND you get bad neighbours and termites! No thanks! Good thing you were renting and not owning the place. I had one bad experience with neighbours back when I first started working–luckily I was able to mbe in with Wanderer to cut our rent in half. His parents weren’t a fan of the idea (since we weren’t married and they are religious) but we did it anyway. Best decision I ever made.

    Glad you guys decided to pick the most pragmatic solution and move in with your parents. As much as I love my parents, there is zero chance in Hell in would ever move in with them…there would just be WAY too much fighting. But it says a lot about how great your relationship is with your parents that you can do that. Curious to read part 2 to see how it turned out!

    Reply
    • Mrs WoW February 16, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Oh yes those are just a few of the obvious reasons that we continue to rent, among many others 😉 Having that flexibility to relocate in a pinch is key!

      Reply
  • steve poling February 18, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    The lesson to landlords is location, location, location. The beachfront attracted tenants who’d pay top dollar despite substandard amenities. I’m turning a 2BR now, but its location won’t justify more rent unless i do some bathroom upgrades.

    Reply
  • Mr. Tako February 19, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Geeze, that’s quite a rental horror story! When you look at it that way, moving in with your parents must have been a huge improvement.

    Sometimes you just have to get your feet under yourself first. You’re very lucky to have parents that were willing to take you in after you became adults.

    Sometimes this is called a “failure to launch”, but I believe it’s becoming far more ‘normal’.
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    • Mrs WoW February 19, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Yes, it was definitely a huge improvement!

      Reply

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