Houston apartment shopping requires many decisions and some information on you. You’ll quickly need to decide what unit type, unit size, unit amenities, property amenities and which area of town are right for you. You’ll need information regarding your rental history and income when you complete the apartment application. Organize this information at the beginning. It will make completing the apartment application less stressful and will impress the staff at the apartment.
Apartment shopping is a process of narrowing the options. In day one, you selected the type of apartment and the area of town. Use a high-quality online apartment search service to further narrow the apartment options. Be sure to use an apartment search service which has all apartments available in Houston. Some of the Houston online apartment search services only have information for 5 to 20% of the Houston apartments available for lease. It simply is not realistic to find the apartment which best fits your requirements when only considering 5 to 20% of the available apartments.
The Houston online apartment search service should also allow you to narrow your apartment search by geographic area, rental rates, unit type, unit size, unit amenities and property amenities. Attempt to narrow your search to five or 10 apartment projects by the end of day two.
Summarize these in a one-page table. Put the name of the apartment property across the top of the page and the features important to you along the left column. This will provide a simple but meaningful reference of the apartments are considering.
Call the apartments which best fit requirements. Gather information from the on-site staff by phone. Focus on getting the information you need, rather then answering the questions they want to ask. Be polite but the firm. Have a list of questions for the features which are important to you. You’ll want to include items such as application fee, deposit, first month’s rent, monthly rent, any move in specials, unit amenities, property amenities and any other apartment features which are important to you.
In addition to listening to what is said by the apartment staff, listen to how they say it. Are they knowledgeable, polite and attentive? Does the apartment staff give the impression of a professionally run apartment complex?
Narrow your list to two or three Houston apartment complexes on day three.
Meet the on-site apartment staff and tour the apartments on day four. Before going to the apartment office, drive around the perimeter of the property. If possible, drive through the property. Is the property clean and well maintained? Does it meet your minimum standards? If not, drive to the next apartment complex.
Visit the apartment office. Is the apartment office clean and well organized? Is the apartment leasing staff friendly and appropriately dressed? In addition to the model apartment, ask to see your apartment unit. (It might not be as nice as the model J) Also ask the leasing staff to give you an extensive walking tour of the apartment courtyards. Is the property well-maintained? Is it clean? Ask about their maintenance policy. Are there any work orders which have been outstanding more than one week? Does the property have a regular courtesy patrol? If there are limited access gates, are they typically working?
Finally, ask about the financial details for the apartment complex. These include the application fee, deposit, first months rent, and the monthly rent. Make sure you understand the offer or special they are proposing. Ask if there is a look and the lease special if you sign a lease tomorrow.
Decide which apartment is best for you. Finish negotiating the lease terms. If two or three apartments are acceptable, call each and ask for their best offer if you lease today. Select an apartment property and negotiate the lease. The lease is a legal agreement. You should read it. Don’t be bashful about asking questions for portions you do not understand. The lease was written by an attorney for the benefit of the apartment complex. If items in the lease do not seem reasonable, ask if they can be changed. In many cases, portions of the lease are negotiable.
Congratulations, you have used an organized process to select an apartment which fits which best fits your criteria. You have also been a careful shopper and have probably gotten a great deal.
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