Between hiring and transferring in the Research Triangle Park, the local universities and the sought-after healthcare systems, Raleigh experiences a fairly steady flow of new residents, and not everyone is ready to buy right away. Many would prefer to rent first and get to know the city; however, finding a rental property, especially from outside the state, can be a frustrating experience.
Unlike major markets like New York and Los Angeles, the constant interest in rentals is of little benefit to North Carolina realtors. Luxury rental markets can lead to luxury paychecks for agents, some even equaling the first month’s rent. Rentals around here? Not so much.
Raleigh resident and renter Oriana Yost knows the struggle of finding a rental all too well. “I have moved several times in the last few years, and each time it was a challenge finding a clean, affordable rental that allowed pets,” she says. “You have to be on the lookout for rental scams. One [rental] company wanted us to hand over a security deposit and first month’s rent before even viewing the property. A different agency tried to engage us in a bidding war and wouldn’t return our application fee until we threatened them with legal action.”
With so much potential for headaches, what’s a renter to do? Buying a home can be a major investment, especially when you’re not confident it’s the forever location for you and your family. If you’re new to the area or looking where to start, a realtor may still be able to point you in the right direction.
With a little research and the right connections, new residents who aren’t ready to jump into homeownership can find the right agent for their circumstances. Where other agents may see wasted time, Victoria Riddell, with Coldwell Banker Howard, Perry & Walston, sees wasted opportunities. She has been in the Raleigh real estate business for 14 years and will gladly help newcomers find a home in the area, buyer or not.
“Agents can make a lot of judgments about rentals when many can be executive renters,” Riddell says. “A lot of agents think that if people can’t a afford house or don’t want to buy a house right away, that means that they don’t have any money, which is simply not true.”
And it’s not all about finding future high-dollar clients for Victoria. “I’m proud to highlight the local area while giving tours. I want to build a personal relationship to find out their long-term goals,” she says. “To me, it’s not just about the home, it’s about the lifestyle. It’s rewarding for me to show how fantastic the Triangle is.”
“While I don’t always work with renters, I am happy to help supplement information for their search, especially for clients looking to form long-term relationships,” says Keller Williams Realty agent Maia Lee Brooks. “Drive around areas to narrow down what you may like and keep an eye out, as many owners only advertise rentals with a sign in the yard. Also, be sure to factor in your commute, daily activities and hobbies. Once you’ve narrowed down a few locations, I can gather information on rental companies or set you up on a search for the area.”