How a Valley renter set herself apart in a crowded housing market

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Valley housing market has become so competitive, many people were looking for ways to stand out.

For six years, Crystal Scovel rented a house in Madera but she learned in March, the homeowner was selling.

Scovel explained, "Housing market went up. Now was the time to make money."

The Scovel family suddenly had 60 days to pack up and find a new home.

She said, "I was very upset. The only thing we could find was in Fresno and I wasn't paying $2,200 - $2,400 a month for a house. That's just way too much money."

Scovel wanted the family to stay in Madera. She added, "My daughter, she's three years away from graduating high school. I couldn't move. I had to stay in the same school district."

After another seemingly endless drive around town, Crystal found another rental home a mile away.

She worried though because "there were 101 applicants by the time I put my application in."

But the others wouldn't stand a chance.

Scovel said, "I went to the Open House and made sure we stood out over everybody else because that's what we had to do. We came dressed to impress with letters of recommendation. Whatever it took because everything's a bidding war right now."

One letter of recommendation came from her former landlord, who Crystal said was a good guy who just wanted to sell his house.

The family found a new place but rent has now gone from $1,325 to $1,700 a month. That meant less money for food but it was better than the alternative.

Scovel said, "I felt I had to have the house because we would've been homeless if we didn't get it."

Unfortunately, that concern was growing among many Valley families who were trying to navigate a rising rental market.

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