Im actually moving to Manitou in 2 weeks or so. Im sure some long-time residents can give you a more well-rounded idea of things, but here's what we observed.
We, like you, searched online for rentals (since we always rent for a year or so in a new place before buying)...and we found some things...but nothing which really fit us. But that DIDN'T mean that there weren't things available: see, we went up there about 2 months ago. We went for a week, determined to find SOMETHING.
Within DAYS, we had several candidates and actually had to chosse what we wanted more. What Im saying is Manitou seems to be one of those places where you do better driving around town and jotting down numbers on FOR RENT signs and then just calling them. Thats what worked for us. The place we eventually got wouldve never been listed online.
As far as crime in Manitou...from what Ive heard and the little Ive seen, its very rare. It seems very safe. I saw tons of kids walking to the park by themselves, and even tho I still think thats dangerous, it was telling. Im from Houston, and I dont let me daughter play out in the front yard if someones not watching her. Its just too dangerous.
Whats cool too is that Manitou has that small, comfotable feel for a town, but drive 10 minutes due east and BAM! youre in Colorado Springs...so you can get your larger city fix/stuff when you need to. And tho there's continual business and population between the 2 cities (it never seems SPARSE) there is still a VERY discernable point in between the cities that divides them. So, you dont feel like a suburb of Co. Springs...even the businesses and look of the terrain changes. Manitou is its own place. Its very friendly...people have been so nice to us. On the first day we were there looking for stuff, one of the guys who owned some real estate saw we werent going to take his property...so he drove us all around town (actually he rode with us and directed me where to go) showed us all the local sites, helped us locate different neighborhoods, and then took us to lunch! And everyone was cool like that. Again, Im from Houston. So like...it was weird.
And depending on where you come from and what youre used to, the rentals will be CHEAP. Seriously...being from Houston...its weird. Im getting a cooler place, better quality of life, and Ill be paying LESS that I do in Houston.
Im in some sick, wonderful bizarro-world...
hope that helps a little....
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