Fighting the rental blues

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Whenever I tell people my husband and I are looking to move to North Suffolk, everyone tells me the same thing.

“Oh, there’s so much great property in North Suffolk, and it’s all at great prices. You know, it’s a buyer’s market.”

But the problem is, my husband and I don’t want to be buyers just yet. We’ve only been married a year, and we aren’t looking to purchase a house right now.

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So, I ask those same enthusiastic people about rentals, and inevitably, their smiles fade, and they tell me they don’t have any advice or that there isn’t much to rent.

I currently live in Newport News, where apartment complexes are on every corner, and while I don’t mind apartment life, I would like to stretch my legs a bit and stop sharing walls.

I thought it would be easy to find a nice, small home with no more than three bedrooms and a manageable rent.

I started looking in April when I first arrived in Suffolk by driving around different neighborhoods and keeping an eye out for properties.

My initial searches were not very successful. I found very few rentals, and the ones I did find were gigantic houses with even more massive monthly rent payments.

I even approached some homeowners with homes for sale to ask if they would be interested in renting the property.

Most people aren’t interested, and once again, the ones that were offered too much space.

Even if we could afford it, there’s simply no good reason for my husband and I to move into a four bedroom, three-bath home.

We also looked at renting condos and townhouses, but with strict renting regulations, many condo complexes can only have a certain amount of renters at one time and a lot of the places have reached that limit.

We then turned to the professionals by contacting a few real estate agents in the area for help. We got shot down by three different offices, with agents telling us we’d never find what we were looking for at a good price.

Even apartments are scarce in that part of the city, which is a bit of a surprise considering its location and the reputation North Suffolk has for being a place with a somewhat itinerant military population.

Clearly the area is a nice one for families, but this experience has made me question the location’s warmth for couples without kids, both newly married and retired.

I imagine there are so few small homes in North Suffolk because there has not been huge demand for them, but in order for a more diverse community to flourish, there should be a larger variety of living spaces.

Until that happens, I suppose, our search continues.