My father's parents owned a house in Redwood City; a cute little 1100 square foot house my grandfather built for my grandmother before they got married. Anyway, my grandmother died in late-2007 and left the house to my father and my aunt. It's just been sitting there vacant as it's a bit of a fixer; mostly because the systems need to be upgraded from their original installations in the early 1940s.
I understood my father was going to sell the house as soon as they got it cleaned up, but I recently learned my aunt doesn't want to sell it and now they're planning to turn it into a rental. So, I think Jeff and I are going to go ahead and rent it from them. We'll be paying a reduced rent cost in exchange for helping with the work to upgrade it (dealing with contractors, painting, easy repairs, etc.).
While the house is smaller than I would want to buy, renting is another matter entirely. Now that we've been paying truly astounding rent for a 4 bedroom in Cupertino, I think I can try and live with a smaller house for a while. At least I'll get to help choose the paint and the carpets. And we'll be able to save about $2,000 a month, which will make me feel much better than our current financial situation.
I've been looking at houses to buy for about the last two weeks and I haven't had much luck finding anything. The bank owned houses that finally hit the market seem to be in very poor condition, often needing structural work. And the nice houses still have unrealistic prices for their sizes; often costing in excess of $400/square foot which in the current market is too high in the neighborhoods we're shopping in. Or, sometimes they're short sales, and I haven't been willing to deal with those yet. We may consider trying on the house on 5th (the bungalow with the great woodwork).
So, I predict that we're going to squeeze into my grandmother's house in Redwood City and put a bunch of stuff in storage. We'll stay there while we save money and I finish school. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a decent job and that will help us to figure out where we should look once I also have a commute.
The commute we'll have from Redwood City is not so great, but at least it's pretty convenient to CalTrain and Apple has a good shuttle system set up that picks up from CalTrain so it will really only be me commuting to school and then a job when I find one.