Latest Blog From Apartment Living Locators in Houston




Doug Spector
Apartment Living Locators

"ALL BILLS PAID" ARE YOU SERIOUS? 

Back in the 60’s & early 70’s, seeing apartments in Houston with signs and banners advertising their rental prices along with the words “All Bills Paid” (ABP) or “Utilities Included” was commonplace.  These days however, apartments that still boast of such deals are few and far between. 

If I had to guess as to why the change, I’d suppose the main reason probably was it just started getting too expensive for apartment owners. They saw electric prices steadily soar from only $.02-$.04 cents per kilowatt hour from the 60’s thru the early 80’s up to $.12 cents and higher in the following three decades. 

Also, it’s a fact that most tenants knowing that their electric and water are “on the house,” they tend not to be too concerned about conserving energy…you know like letting the a/c run all day and not turning off lights when not needed.

I remember as a kid growing up in my parents’ house that it was 'law' to turn off the lights and if I ever forgot, I’d get the same lecture that always started with, “do you know how much money it cost to run the lights… It’s not free little man”

With this in mind, i
n 1973 the Texas legislature passed a law that there could be no more "All Bills Paid" apartments. This was because of the oil embargo and energy crisis that was going on. Some properties that were already ABP were grandfathered so they could stay ABP. This is why you never find ABP properties built after 1973.

Also in the early 2000's the legislature mandated that properties had to charge for water and that's why most apartments charge for water now.

With all that said, believe it or not, there are still a few apartments in the Houston and surrounding areas that include all utilities.  My recent count that include both water and electric is 24 complexes (three of which are in the Galleria area) and 9 others with the free electric but not the free water. 


Their rent prices vary depending on location but many are actually very reasonable.  For example, the three above mentioned complexes in the Galleria area start at only $705 for 1bd, $925 for 2bd, $1,225 for 3bd & $1,685 for 4 bd.
 

 

For a list of these rare Houston apartments still offering No Electric Bills, some with No Water Bills also, contact a good reputable Houston Apartment Locator who knows about these and other great apartment deals in general.



Posted by Doug Spector on March 15th, 2017 11:34 PM
 
Doug Spector 
Apartment Living Locators 


How Important is Rental History Anyway?

When applying to rent an apartment in Houston, your rental history is super important being at the top of the criteria list of what management companies and owners look for when considering you as a potential tenant.  In terms of importance, rental history ranks just below criminal history. 

The main reason why your rental history is so major is mainly because apartment management figures that whatever you’ve done in the past, you’re prone to repeat and thus sees you as a higher risk than someone with ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ rental history.

You could be the nicest, kindest and greatest person in the world but if you have bad rental history, those wonderful traits most likely will be overshadowed by the simple fact that you also unfortunately possess a flawed rental background.

  

BROKEN LEASES-

Though not as bad as evictions, previous broken leases are a big red flag to most complexes. Still, some apartment managers might work with you if you are up front about it upon your first visit to or contact with the property. It just all depends on their company policies, usually set forth by the owner(s).

Sometimes, 
they’ll look at the underlying circumstances as to why you had broken your lease. If it's something they feel is legitimate,such as "Job Relocation" or "Family Emergency" as examples, then there are greater odds they’ll take that into consideration in the approval process.

There might be other circumstances too which will give them cause to take a second look. So, if you feel you had a good reason for breaking a prior lease, by all means explain your case in detail and it's best to do so in person as opposed to text, phone or email. Go dressed professionally as if you were applying for a job...you know, first impressions.    

They’ll also take notice if you broke your lease owing money to any previous landlords. If you don’t owe anything, then your chances are a whole lot better; however, if you do have an outstanding balance, that makes things worse. The new place certainly doesn't want the same kind of treatment.

If you’ve broken a lease in the past and know you still owe that landlord, then it’s a good idea to pay it off first before even applying for another rental somewhere else.  If you’re unsure if you owe anything or don’t know the amount, simply contact the manager where you broke the lease and ask.  Also, if you’re unable to pay the amount in full, ask if you can start a payment plan.

Either way, complete payoff or payment plan, be sure to get it in writing and signed.  Then bring that receipt or letter (as proof) with you to the new complex you’re applying for...it will make a huge difference in your favor!

There’s no guarantee that any given complex will approve you with a broken lease even if you follow the advice above but it will definitely improve the probability greatly!

Also, if you have a broken lease, it never hurts to have someone go to bat for you and speak kind words on your behalf.  A good reputable Houston apartment locator who has a good rapport with lots of management companies, would be the perfect choice for that situation. 

 

EVICTIONS-

If you’ve been evicted (asked to vacate a property) in the past, that is much harder to negotiate than a broken lease.  Once again, be up front about it.  In either case, a broken lease or eviction, if you try to “slide it by them” by omitting it on your application, the likelihood of their "catching it" is high, especially these days with advanced technology and shared databases.  And if they find out that you've falsified that vital information on the application, they’ll probably keep your app fee along with your deposit.  Trying to get your money refunded, will probably be an uphill battle which you’ll most likely lose.

But even with an eviction, there’s still hope. Once again and more than ever, you’ll want the help of a good reputable Houston apartment locator who already knows which management companies and complexes might work with that situation and save you time, money and lots of aggravation--but still no guaranties.

Also, in either the case of a prior broken lease or eviction, once you find favor with an apartment willing to give second chances, don’t be surprised if they ask for a higher deposit and/or two or more month’s rent up front.  

SUMMARY-

It is so important to always do everything possible to protect your rental history.  Keep open communications in a friendly civilized manner with your manager/landlord before breaking a lease or getting evicted (even if you feel justified at the time).  Try to work things out first.  If that still goes nowhere, then you might contact The Houston Apartment Association (https://www.haaonline.org) or file an online complaint with them at: https://www.haaonline.org/Custom/RR_Complaint_Form/default.aspx.  You may also consider obtaining legal counsel. 

Simply put, try to avoid at all costs getting bad rental history--it will most likely come back to haunt you if and when you ever want to rent any type of home again, not only in Houston but the entire country.

Posted by Doug Spector on March 12th, 2017 9:57 AM

Paul Murany
Apartment Living Locators

Hi there... Paul here...just some random thoughts about various apartments in Houston and related subjects...
Did you know there is an apartment complex in Houston that borders Addicks reservoir and has an access gate to the reservoir and about a zillion acres of wilderness and trails?
Paul 713-478-7755

Did you know that there is a very nice complex in the Memorial area that has a house in the middle of it? And you can lease the house?
Paul 713-478-7755
Along the same vein...there is a luxury apartment complex in the Medical center that is built completely around a house because the owner of the house held out and refused to sell, so the complex was built around the house.
Paul 713-478-7755
Did you know there is an apartment complex in North Houston that is all houses and duplexes? You rent them and they are treated like apartments including having 24 hour maintenance and having the complex mow your lawn.
Paul 713-478-7755
Did you know the oldest complex in Houston started life as a cotton warehouse in 1880? They are now lofts and the massive beams you can see while there came from trees on site that were cut down and used for the original construction.
Paul 713-478-7755
Did you know that legendary Mayor and County Judge Roy Hofheinz once had a ranch “outside the city” that is now an apartment complex in the middle of the Galleria area and one of the swimming pools was the original one on his ranch?
713-478-7755
Did you know if you were curious about any of these you can call or email me and I will gladly tell you where they, or any other properties, are?

Posted by Doug Spector on March 7th, 2017 2:16 PM

 
Doug Spector
Apartment Living Locators 

Houston has figuratively exploded in the last 5-8 years with tons of beautiful Luxury Apartments, High-rises and Mid-rises.  These luxurious places are so numerous, each one claiming to offer something different and unique from their competitors.  


Here is just a short list of some of the amenities that the luxury Houston Apartments offer:

Fitness center, Pool, Business center, Gated entrance (guarded), Assigned parking, Theater room, Club house, Picnic area, Outdoor Grills, Game/Sport room, Elevators, Community garage, W/D connections, Walk-in closets, Garden/large tubs, Private patios/balconies, Attached garages, Cable ready, Hi-speed internet, High ceilings, Storage closet outside, Non-carpeted flooring, Custom built-ins, Ice makers, Self cleaning ovens, Dishwashers, Garbage disposals, Ceiling fans, Miniblinds, Microwaves, Frost free refrigerators, Wine chiller, under counter lighting, island kitchen, Off the leash dog park and monthly Yappy Hours for pets, Dry cleaning, valet & refrigerated food delivery lockers, Massage and facial spa & Yoga/stretch studio, Pool & sundeck – views of lakes, downtown skyline, parks, Galleria and more, outdoor kitchen & fireplace, wood floors, concierge.

 
Then, their prices too can vary from a little to hundreds of dollars per month. 
So, how do you know that you’re making the right choice?
  

Well one way is to “go at it alone” if you’ve got the time, patience and knowledge of the different locations/areas.

But another way, which won’t cost you anything, is to use the Free Services of a good reputable Houston Apartment Locator company that has been around for for a good while and whose agents know the Houston Luxury Apartment market like the back of their hands. Also choose a licensed locator who follows the rules and guidelines set forth by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

They can turn what could’ve been a very daunting and frustrating task of finding the right Houston apartment into a simple and fun experience.  Plus you should get the feeling that you didn’t leave any stone unturned--that you chose the best place that matched your budget and style...and you got the most bang for the buck when it comes to amenities/luxuries.

Happy hunting!

Posted by Doug Spector on March 1st, 2017 7:00 PM

Doug Spector/broker

Apartment Living Locators

 credit score is a statistical number that depicts a person's creditworthiness. Scores range from the worst being 300 and the best being 850.

Credit score is a number assigned to a person that indicates to lenders their capacity to repay a loan.  Originally, this was used in the housing market for obtaining mortgage loans. Then it started being utilized in the vehicle purchasing and leasing industry.

--And now, guess where it’s being used…In the Apartment Rental Business.

Many Apartments in Houston are now using credit scores to determine the likelihood of a potential tenant to pay his/her rent in full, on time, and throughout the life of the lease.

It is not a personal attack. It's simply a business decision. Most individuals or companies renting Houston apartments want credit scores from applicants to be around 620 or higher.

On occasion, complexes might make exceptions if you were to fall slightly short. Some might ask for a higher deposit, others might offer for you to pay two months rent up front and still some could possibly ask you to get a cosigner.  It never hurts to ask if they fail to offer.

There are ways to improve your credit score but that usually takes quite some time—months and even years. Get more information about repairing credit by visiting myFICO.com. Also, you can review all of your credit reports for free each year at annualcreditreport.com.

If you're not sure if you'll qualify to rent an apartment because of low, bad or borderline credit, call a good apartment locator in Houston.  They can possibly assist in overcoming credit issues you might have by talking to and/or working a deal with the apartment manager on your behalf.  Also, a good locator, will also know places that aren’t as strict about credit scores and might be willing to work with it pending other positive attributes such as good job security, long time employment, good income, good rental history, etc.

In my next blog post on Qualifying For Renting A Houston Apartment, I'll discuss how previous rental history can affect your chances of qualifying, both positively and negatively.

Stay tuned.....


Posted by Doug Spector on February 26th, 2017 2:03 PM

    Hello, my name is Paul Murany and I'm the Manager and a locator at Apartment  Living Locators in Houston,Texas. I have been in the business for 19 years. When I got in this industry ( way back in the 20th century), things were very different. The internet wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now and we locators worked out of a huge data book that had all the apartments in it and would just use a computer with a DOS system to type up the apartment information.

  Things have obviously changed and the Internet allows people to search for their  own apartments and easily contact the complexes themselves- so why would anybody even need an apartment locator? Why on earth call some stranger to have them do what you can do for yourself? Even though its always a frees service, calling someone to do something you think you can do yourself is sometimes a little off putting.

  Well, the truth of the matter is you really can't search all the properties. And certainly not as quickly or as thoroughly as a locator can. Yes, if you have driven by a complex and know that's where you want to live, you can probably find them online and do everything from your couch on your own. But, what if you want granite counter tops? Or stainless steel appliances or hardwood floors? Maybe you just want hi-rises. Perhaps you have a large dog. Do you have a data base of every apartment in the city that you can quickly and accurately search? Without the database you will spend your days on Google trying to get information-only to find that most of the Google hits that pop up are Houston apartment finders anyway.

   The other thing that Houston apartment locators can do is weed out the properties or management companies that may have issues. Even the nicest, most luxurious property is only as good and the management company that runs it. Do you know which ones are the ones to avoid? You can look online for ratings but those are terribly inaccurate since pretty much the only people that post reviews are those who are upset; plus many properties send in bad reviews about their competitors and give themselves great reviews. A good locator will know the management companies and the apartments because they are dealing with them 40 hours a week all year long. In general a good locator can match you with then best property for the money or at least give you some clear and precise options. It’s not to say a locator can guarantee your lease will be trouble free-sometimes you just move next door to the wrong person or come up against the bad apple in a company but a locator can at least keep you in the most reputable property for the money.

  A good Houston locator will also do your leg work: call the properties for you to check specials, availability, make an appointment for you if need one and make sure you know the actual prices (prices these days sometimes change by the hour).

  All you have to do is give your locator the information they need and then go look and lease. Everything else has been done for you.

  Of course, all locators aren’t created equal and we at Apartment Living Locators think are the best. We are one of the oldest locating firms with an experienced, professional and conscientious staff. So, if you need a new Houston apartment and want to find the best possible place with all the features you are looking for, be sure to give us a call at 713.78.1441 or send us an email-or stop by-we love to meet our clients in person. And. as always, our service is 100% free-we get paid by the properties when you list us as your referral and move in.

   So, call us—and don't do this alone!

Posted by Doug Spector on February 23rd, 2017 12:57 PM

With Houston being the 4th largest city in the US and with an established economy, apartment community developers started building in surplus. Large companies like Greystar Property Management, ZRS and Roscoe started a ripple effect of growth to establish the newest and most luxurious communities to introduce to our thriving city.

With an abundance of apartment options to chose from, communities are offering increased upfront free rent combined with low monthly rents to outbid their competition.

Whereas a few years ago being offered 1 month free on a 12 month lease was an amazing deal we are now seeing apartments in Houston offering between 2 and 3 months free!

Our analysis shows that the average price on a luxury one bedroom is currently $1,145.00, but we are seeing them as low as $850.00 in areas with high concentrations of new buildups like the Energy Corridor. Additionally with December thru February being the slower leasing season, prices are being reduced even more to attract renters.

With rates going down and communities offering up to 3 months free, now is the time! Contact us today for a custom list of properties that meet your needs! 

 
Colin Patz
Luxury Apartment Specialist


Posted by Doug Spector on February 22nd, 2017 8:05 AM
SO HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR RENTING AN APARTMENT IN HOUSTON
FINANCIALLY SPEAKING?

Most Houston Apartment Complexes these days are requiring that your total monthly gross income (before taxes) to be anywhere between 3 to 4 times more than the monthly rent of the apartment unit you're applying for. (With the most typically being 3.5 times). 
As an example:  If the apartment in Houston is asking for 3.5 x income and the unit you want to rent is $900 per month, then to qualify financially, your gross income (from all sources combined) must be at least $3,150 per month.

The main reason why apartments require this is simply because they want to make sure their tenants can afford to pay rent comfortably each month.  They use this formula to account for other common expenses tenants might have such as car payments, insurance,gas,food,entertainment, etc... The last thing anyone wants to see is someone get in over their head, can't pay rent and thus turns into their breaking the lease or worse, an eviction (neither of which is good for future home leasing).  

*Note*  Always remember to include all sources of income (primary job,2nd job,alimony,child support,pensions,tips,oil well royalties...etc.)

On occasion, complexes might make exceptions if you were to fall slightly short by asking for a higher deposit, paying two months rent up front or possibly getting a cosigner. Never hurts to ask if they fail to offer.

If you're not sure if you'll qualify, call a good apartment locator in Houston

In my next blog post for Qualifying For Renting A Houston Apartment, I'll discuss credit scores and previous rental history.

Stay tuned.....

Doug Spector
dspector@apartmentlivinglocators.com
  
Broker at
Apartment Living Locators  
713.783.1441

Posted by Doug Spector on February 20th, 2017 12:13 PM