amsong wrote:2. Is it common for students to rent houses, and are there any nearby neighbourhoods you would recommend? I have a big dog and I like my privacy and also want a yard (for said dog), so I'm considering renting a house instead of going into an apartment. I did a casual search and the prices didn't seem all that different from the apartments, but I don't know if I was looking at extraordinarily shitty, far or fake places.
It's not uncommon for students to move out of the apartment complexes (Pinnacle, Alexan, etc.) and into houses after 1L year. I live in a house, and I much prefer it. It's also cheaper.
I would try to find something as close to East Campus as possible. There's a lot of housing going east from Ninth Street to Duke Street, with Club Blvd as your northern border. There are also houses south of East Campus but north of W. Chapel Hill Street, in the little triangle between East and West Campus. To the southwest of West Campus (heading down Anderson) is the Duke Forest. Some people have found nice houses there, too. There are also people who live in between Durham and Chapel Hill. Feel free to PM me for more information.
amsong wrote:3. A family friend tells me that allergies are the fucking worst in the springtime there. Is this true?
Yeah, I think this is true. I don't have allergies, but I know people complain. On the bright side, it is absolutely beautiful in the spring. The whole place is in bloom. You can smell the wisteria just driving to class. The weather is perfect. I've never lived anywhere with a better springtime.