On Thursday, we visited two properties in Homestead, well south of Miami but still in Miami-Dade County. That's pretty much where we've concentrated our efforts so far, but we'll start covering more ground come later today or, today being Easter, on Monday. This was our favorite so far, but the leasing agent who was supposed to show us around never came back to her office that day and has yet to return my calls. Boo! We're running into a lot of that down here, and I know from experience that that tends to be part of the culture of Miami. Suckage, but true.
This was the large lake in the center of that development. The picture doesn't do the neighborhood justice; it's an absolutely beautiful property.
This was a house in the second development we looked at on Thursday (we did do some househunting on Wednesday, but nothing panned out, and apparently I forgot to take any pictures). The leasing agent made an appointment with us to come back at 1:00 PM on Friday, but we ended up rescheduling the appointment. Hopefully we can still have a look this coming week, since it was also a beautiful neighborhood.
On Friday (since it was after 5 PM when we finished looking on Thursday, by which time most places are closed to prospective renters), I called an agent, Moronica, to ask about several listings on her realtor's site. There were plenty, and they looked promising. We were supposed to meet her at the first of four properties at 11:00 AM. However, Cuban time - which I mention now since we'll encounter it over and over during the course of our life in Miami, and you'll get familiar with the concept if you keep reading along here - dictates that one is always much later, so it was no surprise that Moronica said she was running about an hour behind schedule. I told her it was no problem, and we would go grab some lunch.
I stopped at a Cuban pizzeria to pick up some food for my hungry family: Cuban sandwich for Rob, Povo y Queso (turkey and cheese sammy) for Jack, yuca frita (fried yucca with a yummy garlic dipping sauce) for me, Cuban cheeseburgers for the girls (seasonings they're not used to, with julienned papas fritas - French fries - on the burger)... and I think that's it. It went over with the kids like a lead balloon. Haha! They've been asking for McDonald's and such since we got here. No dice, kiddos. Get used to it.
By 1:00 PM, we still hadn't seen hide nor hair of Moronica. Oh, we'd tried. She got to the house by noon, and texted me the address about a hundred times, but no map would pull it up. I finally said, "Are you sure it's NE? No map will pull it up." She replied with, "Oh, SORRY, SORRY, SORRY, it's SE!" I was pissed, since we'd wasted nearly half a tank of gas looking for a non-existent address. Then we finally got to the development, with the correct address in hand, and there was a gate that required a code. Rather than just give us the damn code, Moronica said, "I'll be there in five." When she hadn't showed up 30 minutes later, I told Rob to drive away. I gave up. I was beside myself and ready to fire her. We got to a gas station with a Dunkin' Donuts, and I went in and got some food for the kids (who were starving and still refusing the Cuban food I'd bought earlier) and some iced coffees for us. I needed soul-soothing refreshment after our frustrating day!
Well, after a few sips of my coffee, I was calm enough that we decided not to give up entirely on these promising-looking properties, so I had called the realtor, pitched a fit about Moronica, and asked him and have another agent meet us at the Dunkin. He was terribly apologetic and said Zippy (so-named for the way he drove his little blue Miata) was in the area and had just finished up with another client. He'd meet us there soon. And guess what? He was there within five minutes. Amazing!
This was the first house Zippy showed us, of the four planned. Rob and the kids absolutely LOVED it. I liked it but was underwhelmed. Rob gave it 5 out of 5 *****, and I decided it was worth four stars. We told Zippy we liked it but wanted to keep looking around. He agreed.
This was the second house. It was okay, but we decided to pass on it since there were people still living there and we wanted to move in right away. We may consider it yet; we'll see.
This was Casa Numero Tres on Friday; Rob didn't care for it too much, saying it was acceptably shabby on the outside, but way too shabby on the inside. I trusted his judgement and didn't even get out of the car to look. (One of us had to stay in the van at all times, since we had to leave the air running for the four cats we'd brought out of the hotel with us; the cleaning people attend to our weeklong stay just twice a week, and we didn't want them to, um, find six cats there...)
After that, Zippy told us that we were going downhill and would probably not like the neighborhood or the house for Number Four too much. I trusted him enough to say that we really liked the first house and what do we do now? He told us that we needed to call Moronica (UGH) to do the paperwork.
Well, we returned back to the hotel to deposit the cats there and then headed up to Kendall (a lovely area south of Miami where former Florida governer Jeb Bush used to reside; I don't know where he lives now) to visit the realty office for paperwork. Rob went in to fill that out while the kids and I stayed in the van. I couldn't face Moronica. Hee!
It was just as well, because here's the breakdown: We'd have to pay $100 application fee and still wait another week to see if we were approved to continue. After that, the neighborhood HOA needed another $100 application fee - and three or for WEEKS - to decide whether we were fit to live there. What?! So after a month of waiting, and $200 in fees, we could still be turned down. Double UGH! I was so verklempt. We took the paperwork home with us and are still debating about what to do, but in the meantime, we wanted to go have some Friday night fun.
More about that in the next post! Stay tuned...