We moved out of state thanks to Offbeat Home & Life!

Guest post by Dana B.

“Moving house” by Nathan O’NionsCC BY 2.0
A few months ago, I wrote to Offbeat Home & Life with a question borne of frustration and hope. My boyfriend and I couldn’t figure out how to move to another state (it was a horrible chicken-and-egg problem). The question was posted and I got dozens of answers! So many were so helpful, especially those that suggested finding a private landlord who would be understanding about people earnestly looking for work in a new state.

This is how we pulled it off, with your help…

After my parents moved to Oregon, (foothold established!) I started flinging resumes at job postings faster than ever before while using their address as my own. And then, something new happened: I got a call from a potential employer. I told them I’d be available for an interview next week and started packing the good china.

Once in Portland, we slept on an air mattress in my parents’ brand-new micro-apartment for three days. We drove around looking for apartments during the day, while I prepared for the job interview at night. Our first day of searching was fruitless. All the rent was too high and the complexes were too corporate to take us without jobs. I started to tear up at every mildly hopeful song on the radio, and brace myself for going back to California without an exit strategy.

The second day was another day of searching followed by the job interview. No pressure. My partner was calm and solid as a rock, while I was trying to pretend that the whole situation didn’t turn my insides to Crampy-Gelatin. We pulled into complex after complex, and kept finding that the manager was Out to Lunch at the oddest hours. We were near the end of our list and met with one astonishingly skeezy property manager, whose tiny little dog jumped me and left my legs bleeding. I was Deeply Unhappy. As we pulled out of the skeezy complex, we saw a smaller, brighter set of apartments right across the street.

We pulled in, just to check it out, and everything was so Very Nice. But, we couldn’t see any likely management office and my legs were still throbbing from that hateful little dog. I’d given up. Solid as ever, my boyfriend pointed out the man who was using a rake on the lawn and suggested we ask him. He turned out to be the owner of the place!

We adored him. He was kind and seemed to like us, too. I told him about my job interview and we mentioned our savings. The three of us chatted awhile and we found ourselves filling out applications that night, right before the job interview.

The next day, I had high hopes about getting that position and a desperate need to hear back about that awesome apartment. Jobs are nice but what I wanted was somewhere to live. Then the Landlord’s wife called… my credit report came back in the red. I was floored. When I told her that I had never used a credit card because I had a substantial savings and didn’t see the point of going into debt, she forgave the whole rating thing entirely. She chuckled and told me not to panic, that they considered other things in the application. It also helped that my boyfriend had just paid off his car and had a sterling rating.

We had an apartment. Shortly after, I had a job! We had an egg, and a chicken.

Thank you, Offbeat Homies for giving us the hope and courage to go on an insane road trip and actually find a human landlord rather than a corporate one!

Comments on We moved out of state thanks to Offbeat Home & Life!

  1. “..my credit report came back in the red. I was floored. When I told her that I had never used a credit card because I had a substantial savings and didn’t see the point of going into debt…”

    And this is why it is important to establish a credit history. Having a credit card does not mean you have to go into debt, just be sure only to charge what you can pay off each month and you won’t pay any interest. I hate being in debt, but I find credit cards very convenient. Mainly because of using credit cards I now have an excellent credit score because I pay my bills on time and in full every month.

    You’re lucky your landlord was willing to overlook it, but for the future you really should look into building a credit history.

    Congratulations on the move!

    • Not to derail this too much, but I’d heard that having a card that you always pay off every month is not necessarily helpful and can still lead to a lower credit rating – because you’re not seen as profitable.

      Can’t win really!

      Well done to the OP for finding someone understanding about this. It’s so exciting to hear that OBHome was so helpful in this situation! We should definitely have more of these “hey I took your advice” posts.

      • Where did you hear that paying off your credit cards every month leads to a lower rating? I’m curious about the source. It’s not what I’ve heard, and it doesn’t match my experience.

      • I heard something somewhat similar, but a little different about the effects of paying off your card in full every month (uncertain of source, sorry…). What I recall hearing was that paying off your card in full every month does give you a good rating, but a really good credit rating won’t always help you get a credit card, because they don’t see you as profitable.

        • I have had a credit card since i was 18 (ten years) and intentionally put small charges on it every month and paid it off in full. When it was time to buy a house, I had perfect credit, but “not enough” credit, since I had no student loans or other large debts that I was paying off. We got kind of a lousy interest rate. The whole system seems kind of whacked.

      • Having zero debt ever will not get you a good credit score (the theory is that if you’ve never had loans or debt it’s not known that you can handle them responsibly), but my credit card has been paid off every month for the eleven years and my score is now in the excellent range.

        Please do research on it but I do concur with kahlanamnell that it’s important to establish a credit history.

      • I’ve heard that too, but I think it’s total bunk. When I was in my teens my mom added my name to her credit card so I could do the grocery shopping. She paid the card every month, and when I turned 18 all those years of credit rating suddenly popped up on my own credit score.

        So when I got my first apartment, I was the only roommate with enough credit to get the utility bills set up without putting down a huge deposit. Go me?

      • What I was told (by my mortgage broker) was that the big thing they look at for credit rating is debt-to-credit ratio. So someone who has $1,000 in debt and a credit limit of $10,000 is better off than someone who has $0 in debt and a credit limit of $5,000. If you’re carrying a small balance, you might actually be better off calling your bank and asking them to increase your credit limit.

    • After many horrible years of bad credit (due to my immaturity and lack of knowledge), I’m just now venturing into learning how to have a good credit score and what to do. Are there posts on OBH like this, or can someone write one for those folks like me who have no idea how to get started or build it back up?

    • Yeah, I do this too and I have a really low credit score. Every year my card limits get lowered because I don’t use the cards enough to even qualify to get more than a few hundred dollars. You really can’t win.

  2. My husband had the problem of no credit rating which is just as bad if not worse than a bad credit rating. He thought he was doing the right thing by not having a credit card but it was an issue when we were house hunting because he made the most money but without a credit history they still won’t consider you a good risk. By the way in Canada government student loans don’t count for your credit rating, so even though he has paid off about $40,000 in student loans, it didn’t count towards his credit rating. In the end he got a pay as go Master Card just so he could make purchases on line and after a year of using that, the bank offered him a regular credit card and since then he has had a great credit rating.

  3. This might be out of OBH&L’s wheelhouse because of the intrinsically personal nature of finances, but could we have a post on credit cards and credit scores? I know when I applied for my first credit card last year I had no clue what anything meant and had to do a bunch of googling to learn stuff.

  4. I concur! I do not have a credit card and I know I should get one… but they just seem so stupid. I mean – obviously they are good for many people, but I just don’t buy that much stuff. I make a point of not buying much stuff.

    Thus: I would love a guide to credit.

  5. Aww, that’s sweet! I’m glad that everything worked out for you!!!

    Also, I totally agree with Stephanie and Dentata. Can someone write up a how to for credit? I’ve been trying for the past year to bring my credit back up to par (thank you student loans, ugh) and I’m still struggling with it a bit. >.<

  6. I’m so glad you were able to pull everything off, and you got to move to where you want to be!
    Me and my husband were debating the idea of a cross-country move – the idea came up over a year ago, but we finally seriously discussed it this evening. I remembered seeing your original post requesting help, so I searching OBH&L for it, and then found the follow up. Both have been…kind of helpful! – Things work a little differently in Canada, but overall both posts make me believe we could actually pull it off….
    Granted, the psychological side of leaving everything (friends, family, etc) to set up a new life in a city where neither of us have ever been…..is the much more daunting idea.

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