A guide for anyone who has to move to Fayetteville at the last minute. The links are my advice only and I was paid zip-zero-nada to post them.
I’m here for you- and in the exact same boat. Must move now!
We moved into a lovely house last year, when I got a teaching position in Fayetteville. The landlords were cool, and the house was AWESOME. It was down the street from an elementary school that got rave reviews. We had struck gold!
Then, our landlords decided they wanted to sell the house. We are not ready to be buyers, and so… out we go. This has been my screen for the last few days.
That’s where I am now.
After the initial surprise had sunk in (we had only lived here for less than a year when they gave us 40 days’ worth of notice), we resigned ourselves to the situation and started looking for a new place.
I realize, now, that we really HAD struck gold last year. If you want to rent a house in Fayetteville, you are in for some hard work!
Since this is such a renter’s city, with the military population moving in and moving out with frequency, you’d think renting would be easy. Actually, it makes it harder.
The real estate companies and landlords are absolutely assured of rental traffic. You know those dedicated realtors who will bend over backwards to make the customer happy and strike a deal?
They don’t exist in Fayetteville!
I am calling agents and calling agents to try and set up a time to view houses. So many are saying “I will have to call you back” and never do.
Dedication is key, here.
So, after trying, flailing, and (hopefully) learning, I have some advice.
There are a number of steps to look out for:
1.) Many rental offices will not schedule times for a viewing.
The secretary who answers the phone simply says to come down with your ID and a $20 deposit, and you can sign out a key. You will arrive fresh from the ATM, a crisp $20 in hand, only to be told “Oh, honey, I rented that house out a week ago,” OR, “That house won’t be available to be viewed for three more weeks.” Always check that the house is still on the market before you traipse anywhere, no matter what the “just go to the office” secretaries say. Don’t get off the phone until you know you still have a chance for that particular property!
2.) Most of the official companies I have talked to will not “hold” a house for more than 10 days.
You found, applied, and are trying to put a deposit down for your dream house on May 15,th but want your contract to start on June 1st? Ain’t happening. You will be roped into paying prorated rent starting May 25th. I am coming from Charlotte, where renting is not as assumed, and the 10-day rule never came up there. It is practically a religion with the leasing companies here in Fayetteville.
3.) Crime. Something for those who are new to the area: If you google Fayetteville, you will probably get a ratemycity type of summary that talks about the crime rate.
I know that crime rate is sadly connected to the poverty level and, yep, this city has a high one. The city is also stratified, however, and there are plenty of “good” parts and plenty of “I can’t believe I see 7 year olds walking to school by themselves” parts. Research your neighborhoods! The Fayetteville PD uses http://crimemapping.bethebadge.com/ on their website to show what crimes are on the map. Do you want to live in the neighborhood that had 20 robberies in a two-mile radius?
I also search the sex offender registry. They look just like everybody else, y’all. Here’s a link: http://sexoffender.ncsbi.gov/search.aspx
4.) Schools. Once you think you have a nice house, in a reasonable neighborhood, another big hurdle pops up: school districts.
We really did have it made in the shade with the last house. We found it quickly, saw that the assigned school had a good reputation, and snatched it up.
This time, every house we find that seems reasonable to nice is down the street from the school from hell. When you see the ratings for these schools, you may want to march down there and rescue the poor babies who are attending them.
We are trying and trying to find a reasonable house next to a reasonable school. Some search engines, like Zillow.com, offer a school district map. You can select a good school and it will show you what houses are for rent in that area. The Fayetteville tricky part is that the good school zones don’t have a lot of available options, and the not-so-good school zones have multiple gorgeous manors- on sale.
Home school? Is home school an option?
So, let me summarize:
Fayetteville schools are hit or miss. Watch where you are searching for a home.
Second, check your neighborhoods out. At least do a crime zone check, to give you a general idea of the area’s history.
Third, nag real estate agents on the phone to answer as many questions as possible. They are not easy to get ahold of.
And, finally, once you have found “the one” make sure you are ready to be under contract for it, and start paying the regular rent, in ten days or less.
*Oh, and don’t forget about militarybyowner.com! They have rental listings that you won’t find on the general search engines, like Zillow or Trulia. You just need to make a free account to use it, and you don’t have to be military.
The search continues! Good luck with your move!