The Chase: Couple looks for rental house in NoDa or Wesley Heights for $1,600/month

The Chase: Couple looks for rental house in NoDa or Wesley Heights for $1,600/month

Photo: Brianna Crane/Axios

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Finding a home in this market is a whirlwind, and these renters took us along for the ride. This is The Chase, a new series featuring real Charlotteans and their house-hunting stories. Read past editions here.


Shannon Chaney and her partner Tim moved to Charlotte from San Diego in October 2020. Here’s what it was like finding a rental home in Charlotte.

Who: Shannon is 27, a copywriter and content strategist for embodied fem CEO’s. Tim, 28, is a server at The Bottle Tree in Belmont.

shannon and tim the chase axios charlotte

Hi Shannon and Tim. Photo courtesy of Shannon Chaney

The house: The couple was on the hunt for a rental in NoDa or Wesley Heights for around $1,600 per month. A gas stove, bathtub, in-unit washer, dryer and hardwood floors were on the top of their wishlist.

  • Yard space, a fireplace, tons of natural light and an open layout fell on the nice-to-haves list.

Timeline: They moved to Charlotte in October 2020 and stayed in a short-term, three-month rental in Wesley Heights. The pair moved to a month-to-month shared rental in NoDa until they found their dream, long-term rental home this May.


Option 1: Walkable condo

Monthly rent: $1,394 (rent Zestimate)

Neighborhood: NoDa

Specs: 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,006 square feet

Why it made the cut: Shannon and Tim loved the walkable location and price of this condo. It was comfortably within their budget and in their preferred location.

521 Donatello Ave, front

521 Donatello Ave, interior

521 Donatello Ave, bed

Courtesy of Charlie Miller at 5 Points Realty


Option 2: Smallwood stunner

Monthly rent: $1,600+

Neighborhood: Smallwood

Specs: 2 beds, 1 bath, 1,306 square feet

Why it made the cut: Though slightly over budget and a pretty good ways outside of NoDa, this house had just about everything on their wishlist, including a fenced-in yard and fireplace. Plus, they loved the look and neighborhood.

Smallwood stunner the chase noda rental

Smallwood stunner the chase noda rental living room

Courtesy of Edwin Wilson


Option 3: Adorable bungalow with Airbnb

Monthly rent: $2,200

Neighborhood: Ashley Park

Specs: 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,471 square feet

Why it made the cut: It checked a lot of boxes, including a bathtub, in-unit washer and dryer, hardwood floors, large backyard, quiet neighborhood and lots of light.

  • While this spot was quite a bit over budget and again fairly far from NoDa, there’s a separate studio space they could use as an Airbnb to offset the rent.

axios charlotte the chase noda rental


Which house would you pick?

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Which house did Shannon and Tim pick?

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If you chose Option 3, you’re correct.

How it went: The rental market, much like the for-sale market, moves quickly; homes are snatched up within hours of being listed on Zillow, Shannon said. They were ready to find their dream home and didn’t want to select a spot out of desperation.

  • They finally found their ideal house when Shannon got on Zillow, deleted her filters (including budget) and searched Wesley Heights.

Even though the home was over-budget, Shannon was drawn to give it a chance. Once they took a closer look, they realized they could offset the rent by running an Airbnb from the private attachment  — a long-term dream the twosome shared.

  • “A week later we toured the place, sat with our decision overnight, and signed,” Shannon said.
  • They rent the Airbnb for around $78/night now.

No. 1 piece of advice: Be patient, Shannon said. “The market felt cut-throat and stressful but we remained patient and trusting an aligned home would come our way  — and it did.” 


If you are house (or apartment) hunting right now, we want to follow your journey. Email me at brianna.crane@axios.com with what’s on your home wish list and your budget. 

  • This series was inspired by the New York Times. If you’re curious what home-buying in New York is like, take a peek at their series, The Hunt.
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