About three years ago, my wife and I moved out of the 1 bedroom condo we own in Chicago’s South Loop into a house because we needed more space.
We had 2 big dogs and an 8 month old son, so our 915 sqft wasn’t cutting it anymore.
Searching for a house to rent was harder than I expected. We both worked full time, some odd hours and with the baby it was difficult to get us all out to the suburbs.
We ended up touring houses one at a time. If Tracy had the morning off, she would schedule an early showing. On weekends I would see as many places as I could.
The downside was there just wasn’t much time. There were a couple places we lost because we couldn’t act quick enough. But in the end we found a place that would do.
It was a cute Tudor style house in Des Plaines. The biggest selling point for us was its proximity to the Hospital Tracy worked at and the train I would need to take into the city.
The house itself was ok. It seemed sturdy, but outdated. The key for us was space. There was lots of space. Tracy and seen the house once and I had driven past it once. It was too difficult to arrange another showing with the Landlord.
With time running out because we had a tenant set to move into our condo, we pulled the trigger and rented the house.
In the first month the issues began. Water started pouring out of the ceiling from the bathtub upstairs down into the kitchen. Upon inspection from a plumber it wasn’t the first time this had happened. He pointed out some sagging in the kitchen ceiling. I never would have thought to look for that.
As through the Fall we had rain water coming down the walls where an addition and been put on the house about 20 years ago. Because of the dark wood in the room it was hard to see water stains there if you weren’t looking for them.
The winter was rough. With the thermostat set at 90* we still had to have fires in the fire place and space heaters in all the rooms to even keep the place slightly hot. My gas bill was $700 in the cold months.
By the spring all we kept talking about was wanting to move out of that house. But we hadn’t seen the worst of it yet. There was a raccoon nesting in the attic. It used a window that didn’t have a latch to get in & out.
Tracy developed a cough that was attributed to asthma. It wasn’t until a storm flooded the basement with inches of water that we thought maybe the asthma was from mold.
Sure enough, the whole basement had to be ripped out and mold remediation done.
This house was a nightmare.
I kept thinking, why isn’t there a better way to inspect rental property before you’re locked into a lease!?
That’s where RentSpek came from.
I started to study home inspections, talk to inspectors and researched things like the life of appliances and utilities to determine what is important to someone living in a house or apartment short term.
By using a patent pending method of inspection and a proprietary scoring system, we developed a way for anyone to grade an apartment for rent or rental home the first time they visit the property.
We launched RentSpek.com in November 2013. Each month our users grew by well over 50%. We have an iPhone and Android app in development that we plan to launch the end of this month.
We are so close to getting the RentSpek app out to the public. But with our users growing so fast, we’re having a hard time keeping up. In order to meet out demand, we launched a Crowdfunding Campaign on IndieGoGo. If we can raise $2200 in the next 10 days, we can get this app done and into the hands of the people who need it.
RentSpek is a free tool for people to use. It’s designed to offer renters more transparency when searching for a new place. Stop taking the. Landlords word for it. With RentSpek you’ll know the quality of the property in 20 minutes or less.
If we had this app when Tracy and I were looking for out first rental house, we would have avoided all of the problems we had that year.
If you can contribute to our IndieGoGo Campaign click here.