With 95 percent of the housing units in the town being owner-occupied, your choices will be very limited and the market will be ultra-competitive. On top of that, 96 percent of the housing units are single-family units, whether they are detached houses, duplexes, or row homes. So remain realistic about what is available in Blue Bell, and don't forget that you're moving to a fantastic and highly coveted area you can brag about.
The great news is that almost all of the rental units are modern. 73 percent of the housing units in the town have been built since 1970, so chances are you'll be able to find units with modern layouts and amenities. Pretty much all of the housing built before 1970 is owner-occupied, particularly the historic buildings in the area. Thanks to this level of modernity, you'll be moving in to units that have newer, high-tech, reliable conveniences; big closets; and top notch weather proofing to keep drafts out in the winter time. Ain't nothing wrong with that!
You may need months of lead time if you've got your heart set on finding a rental unit in Blue Bell. The vacancy rate has historically been quite low, and with the small market, an open spot might even require hopping on a waiting list. The more time you give the rental agent you're working with to find you a unit, the more likely you are to get a good unit. Remember that guy who said "patience is a virtue," because he's totally right.
All of this means you'll need to be well prepared when you embark on your rental search. With the possibility of needing two or three months of rent at the start for a security deposit and first month's rent, you'll need to have quite a bit set aside. Rent in Blue Bell is some of the highest in the state of Pennsylvania, so you may need to save up for a while. You'll also need to make sure that your references and paperwork are air tight, filled out perfectly and submitted as quickly as you can.
Blue Bell is large enough to have neighborhoods, although there isn't a huge difference from one neighborhood to the next.
Washington Square: Sitting in the western corner of town, this is the best neighborhood to start searching for rental homes in Blue Bell. While so much of the town is owner-occupied, this section has the two largest townhouse and condo complexes in Townline Townhomes and ARK Blue Bell. Sitting along Route 202, this is one of the easiest neighborhoods to access, and is close to Norristown
Town Center: This is the historic town center, although the modern age has been slowly creeping in. There are limited housing opportunities, particularly for renters. There are some rental condos in the Oxford of Blue Bell development, but most units are owner-occupied. Blue Bell's airport, Wings Field, is located in this neighborhood -- it is a limited-use, general aviation airport, so you won't have to worry about large airliners flying in and out, just small prop planes.
Penllyn Pike: This neighborhood effectively separates the Town Center neighborhood from the rest of the neighborhoods. You won't find all that much in the way of rental properties in this area, just the odd rental apartment or possibly a condo for rent. It is home to some of the top restaurants in the area, including the historic Blue Bell Inn that lent its name to the town.
Getting around Blue Bell is fairly easy, but you'll need wheels of some sort due to the high-traffic roads that aren't the safest to walk along. Transportation options are quite poor -- there is a single Septa bus line that runs through the town, but it is very limited. Just outside of town, in neighboring Ambler, there is a train station that has commuter rail around and into Philadelphia.
Blue Bell residents have close access to some of the best golf courses in the area, so if you think getting out early in the morning for a couple of rounds in your best plaid outfit is a good time, you'll enjoy the town. Blue Bell Country Club, Meadowlands Country Club and Cedarbrook Country Club are all within three miles of the center of town. Unfortunately, they are all private courses. The only public links in the area is a nine-hole course at Mermaid Swim and Golf Club.
Aside from golfing, there's plenty more for the outdoor soul. Wentz Run Park is a very popular multi-activity park, with sports fields, pavilions, an exercise trail, and more. It's home to community athletics such as youth athletics and adult softball. If you prefer unadulterated nature, you'll need to head out of town to Fort Washington State Park -- with over 4 miles of trails through forest and fields, along with trout fishing opportunities in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter, it is easy to send a day there.
Blue Bell has a vast variety of restaurants -- you could eat out every day and not eat at the same place for a month or more. From local carry-out favorites like Pudge's Steaks and Hoagies -- some of the best Philly cheesesteaks you'll ever find -- to upscale places like Radice, the selection is great. International fare is well-represented, with Marhaba Blue Bell providing Indian cuisine, To Dam Gal and Gaya providing Korean fare, China Star turning out Chinese-American dishes, and Lai Lai garden covering all the Asian countries with a Pan-Asian menu. If you'd rather cook at home, make sure to stop by Maple Acres Farm Market just outside of town -- they are the best source for local produce and locally-raised, hormone free meat.