Think buying in Black Mountain is hard? Try renting

Chip Craig
Special to Black Mountain News | USA TODAY NETWORK
Finding a place to rent in Black Mountain can be as hard as finding one to buy.

The recent tightening of the Asheville real estate sales market has some people wondering if they should just rent until they find that perfect home to buy. While that solution seems logical, in fact the rental market is just as tight, if not even more limited right now.

At Greybeard Realty, the rental staff manages about 230 long-term rentals. At this moment, only three of those homes are unoccupied. For Rachael Lee, rental manager at Greybeard Rentals, even property turnarounds have become faster.

“Lack of availability makes it tough for folks,” Lee said. “The occupancy rate is nearing 100 percent right now for long-term rentals, and oftentimes we have a very small window of time to get the house cleaned and ready for the next renter. We definitely don’t have enough supply for the demand right now.”

So just how quickly do these long-term rentals get snapped up? Most homes opening up in the current rental market will rent within a month. Homes priced over $1,800 per month can take a bit longer, perhaps six to eight weeks. Homes at $1,200 or less per month may be rented within days of becoming available, in some cases instantly, Lee said. Unfurnished long-term rentals seem to go even faster than furnished because most renters, particularly for yearlong leases, have their own furnishings and want to avoid having a storage expense.

While all areas in Buncombe County appear to be “hot” right now in the rental market, Greybeard Rentals has seen the majority of its calls with interest in the Black Mountain, Arden and Fletcher areas. 

Certain circumstances make finding the perfect rental even more complicated, Lee said. Trying to find a “pet friendly” home can slow down the process. Another challenge exists for people relocating from other states, which can make it more difficult to see a property first-hand before it gets rented to someone else.

“Not everyone is able to travel here to see a home,” Lee said. “We do everything we can to assist a potential remote renter with the rental process. We will do Facetime videos, for example. We try to make the process as easy as possible.”

In short, much as is true in the sales market right now, there appears to be a very tight supply along with a healthy demand, which means that finding that perfect long-term rental home may be a little challenging in Western North Carolina at the present. 

Chip Craig is owner of Greybeard Realty and Rentals.