Houston Apartment Search Tips — Getting the Best Deal

Lease a Houston apartment and get $100 in cash and a bonus gift

Houston apartments are expensive. But getting a great deal can make your Houston apartment less expensive. This article provides tips on getting the best deal possible when leasing a Houston apartment.

What Do You Want

A great deal for a Houston apartment varies from person to person.

1 Do you want the lowest possible price for a luxurious two-bedroom, 1200 square foot Houston apartment with granite countertops, hardwood floors and an enclosed garage? Do you want the very lowest price for an efficiency apartment in far northwest Houston? Or do you want the very lowest available move-in cost for a two-bedroom bills paid apartment in Pasadena?

Organize Your Thoughts

Precisely define the features and factors important to you in a Houston apartment. Think about factors such has location, rental rate, application fee, deposit, unit type, unit size, unit amenities, and property amenities.

2 There is an amazing variety of Houston apartments available. Organize your thoughts in writing before starting to search with a high-quality online Houston apartment search service.

3 Houston Apartment Online Search Service

Select a Houston apartment online search service which provides access to information on all Houston apartments and provides a $100 rebate. (You did say you wanted the best available deal, so you may as well get $100 rebate!) Some Houston apartment search services only provide information on 10 to 15% of the available apartments.

4 The services only provide information on properties which pay to advertise or which pay a locator fee.

5 However, it is unrealistic to get the best possible deal when you are only looking at one in six or one in 10 apartments which are available for lease.

Select Five to Twenty Houston Apartments

Use the online apartment search service to identify perhaps five to 20 Houston apartment complexes.

6 Start initially by focusing on geographic location.

7 Then use your other search criteria in descending importance to select target properties. In other words, use the second-most criteria (after location) next to further limit the options. Then use the third most important criteria.

8 Let’s Make a Deal

Use your notes (regarding what is important for a Houston apartment) to develop a list of questions. Call and interview the on-site leasing staff at each property. Focus on getting your questions answered. Listen both to what is said and how it is said.

9 Also ask for details on pricing. This includes information regarding application fee, deposit, first months rent and monthly rent. Ask if they have a “look and lease” special. (This is a special offer when you sign a lease shortly after initially visiting the property.)

Visit the Apartments

Select two or three properties after completing your phone calls. Before going to the office, drive around the perimeter and through the property to see if it means your minimum standards. (Don’t waste time visiting the office if you would not live at the property.) Visit the staff at each of the properties. Ask to see that the model and the unit you would be occupying.

10 Ask about their maintenance policy. Do they have any apartment maintenance work orders which have been outstanding for more than one week. Do they have a courtesy patrol? Ask detailed questions about the other factors which are important to you. If you are interested in a particular amenity, confirm that it is working and ask to see it (if appropriate). Before leaving, ask for the best pricing they have available for the unit you are considering. Can they waive the application fee? Can they reduce the first months rent? Can they reduce the monthly rent? What about a look and lease special?

Make a Decision

Choose an apartment which is best for you considering your criteria. Call once again and ask for their best deal. If you lease today, what is the best deal they can offer?

11 The Lease

Read and negotiate a lease. The lease is a legal document. You should read it. It describes what you must do to have your deposit returned. Ask questions if the lease is not clear. Remember, the lease was written by an attorney for the benefit of the apartment owner. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions.

12 Enjoy

A great deal is in the eyes of the holder. By carefully considering the location, unit type and features which are important to you, you clarified the first element in a great deal. By gathering information through phone calls and then negotiating with properties offering the best options, you have likely found the very best deal on a Houston apartment.

One The first step in getting a great deal on a Houston apartment is organizing your thoughts. Review the factors such as location, unit type, unit amenities and price. Rank your top three or four factors in descending order.

Two Select a location before proceeding with the other criteria. It is practically impossible to start searching for an apartment until you have selected the area where you want to live. However, it is possible this would not apply is another factor is more important. Realistically though, most people select a location before addressing other issues.

Three Your written notes do not have to be in a presentation format. Most people find writing notes while they are thinking helps to crystallize their thinking and increase the clarity of their ideas.

Four (If you were buying a car, would you go to a dealership that had 12 cars for sale or one that had 100 cars for sale? You have a much better chance of finding a car with the color and accessories you want at the dealership with 100 cars.)

Five It is understandable that some online Houston apartment search services only offer information on apartments which pay them. However, you are unlikely to get the best possible deal when starting with such a small portion of the available apartments.

Six There is nothing magic about the number of 5 to 20 Houston apartments. If you can comfortably narrow the list to only three apartments using the online search service, go ahead and do it. If you have time to call more properties, and want to shop the market very, very carefully, go ahead and call more than 20 properties.

Seven Consider the location of your job, family, friends and leisure when thinking about the location for your apartment. The decision regarding location is critical. If you change her mind regarding the location, you will have to effectively restart the search process.

Eight By narrowing the options using your search criteria in descending order, you’re more likely to include all apartments which are best for you. If you start screening out properties using less important criteria, you’re likely to eliminate properties which have features which are important to you.

Nine How something is said is often more important than what it said. For example, if the leasing agent is defensive when responding to the question regarding their maintenance policy, it tends to indicate there are problems with their maintenance.

Ten Apartment shoppers are sometimes shocked to find that their apartment unit looks different than the model. Expect the model unit to be in excellent condition and to have beautiful furniture. If the leasing agent can’t show you the unit you’ll be occupying, ask to see other units which have been made ready for the tenants to move in. This will help to avoid an unpleasant surprise.

Eleven Don’t be embarrassed to ask about pricing for your Houston apartment. Leasing agents typically have some latitude in pricing to close the deal. If you ask about their best price several times, it is highly likely they will give it to you. They are more concerned with closing the lease than with getting the best possible price.

Twelve Houston apartment residents often do not read the apartment lease. Perhaps it is because they do not want to take the time to read it or perhaps it is because they do not think the apartment management staff will change the lease. However, you are making a substantial financial commitment when you sign the lease. If you read the lease, you are less likely to be surprised in the future.

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