Latest Blog From Apartment Living Locators in Houston

4 Ways to Save Money While Renting an Apartment

If you’ve recently moved into a Houston rental apartment, whether you’re new to the area or you’ve just moved out of your parents’ house, you’re probably thinking about how to save money in your new Houston apartment rental. Life can throw unexpected expenses our way sometimes, so it can be handy to save money wherever you can. Here we offer you 4 tips for saving money on your Houston apartment rental!

1. Buy fewer things

It might seem obvious or patronizing, but the vast majority of people who are “broke” are not broke – they just spend their money on things which aren’t important. Although we all need to put a little bit of cash away for “treats” and “fun”… do you really need that brand new iPhone when you’ve just moved into your new Houston rental apartment? Probably not. Think twice before buying things which aren’t necessary for your survival, especially if they’re expensive.

2. Go to thrift stores

Larger thrift stores and charity shops tend to sell furniture and household items, much of which is just as good as new! If you’re furnishing your own apartment and you don’t have the cash to be splashing out on a bunch of new sofas, try heading down to the local thrift store and seeing what they’ve got in stock. As with any thrift store or charity shop, you’ve got to find the diamonds in all the rough, but those diamonds could serve you well and save you a pretty penny when you’re scraping together your rent money!

3. Stop buying physical entertainment

The vast majority of media can now be consumed via digital streaming services, meaning you no longer have to buy DVDs, CDs, books, and many other forms of entertainment. Although you inevitably have to pay for these services, they “pay for themselves” if you use them enough, especially if you’re binging Netflix shows for hours on end. Not only will you save money on buying all those physical discs, but you’ll also save space because you won’t have a bunch of DVDs, books, and CDs which need storing somewhere in your apartment.

4. Be mindful of your energy consumption

The best way to reduce your utility bills is to simply form good habits and stick to them! When you first move into your Houston rental apartment, you may have some bad habits such as leaving lights on (when you’re not in a room) and forgetting to turn off your A/C when you’re not home. Automation and sensible habits can go a long way, saving you lots of money in the process!

Posted by Doug Spector on October 10th, 2018 10:42 PM

Noisy Neighbors?

How to deal with noisy apartment neighbors in Houston, TX

Does it sound like you are living underneath or above a herd of elephants, is it party central or just thin walls?

When it comes to renting apartments, its the luck of the draw hen it comes to neighbors, sometimes you have good luck but sometimes you can be stuck with the neighbor from hell.

It is a common occurrence, but how do you deal with it? And are there any noise laws in Texas that directly address this issue at your disposal?

The actual act confronting your neighbor can be more stressful than anticipated because you don’t know how they will react.

We are going to look at two possibilities that can help you with the noise at hand.

How to communicate with your noisy neighbors:

It seems like the simple and obvious solution right? Well not always, like we have already highlighted you cannot predict how your neighbor will respond to your complaint. Nine times out of ten you will have an empathetic and understanding neighbor, but occasionally you may have that neighbor who may take it the wrong way completely…which could be quite difficult, especially if you are in an apartment where you are bound to cross paths on a regular basis--Two completely different outcomes.

Before lashing out at your neighbors, even if the noise levels have been ridiculous, going in with a level-headed calm approach will guarantee a far better result than if you go in ‘hot’ headed…where you are more likely to receive the same unfriendly response in return, no matter how justified you may be.

So if you approach your neighbor in a calm and polite manner, you have a far better chance to get him/her to keep it quieter or at least work on a compromise.  

Speak to your Landlord

If speaking to your neighbors has crashed and failed, then the next option is going to your landlord/manager directly. He/she may speak to the noisy one on your behalf, because at the end of the day it’s the apartment responsibility to keep the peace between neighboring tenants, so it is in their interest to remedy the problem.

Also, you will find in most tenancy agreements in Texas there are certain noise limitations and restrictions, particularly in apartment complexes. Your landlord/manager should be well aware of state laws as well as their own bylaws at the specific complex and deal with the issue accordingly on your behalf.

However, whether you approach your neighbor directly or inform your landlord, you should make one or both aware of the problem. Too many times, renters tend to just let it slide” as to avoid being labeled the “complaining tenant/neighbor” but you pay good rent, work hard and more than deserve peace and quiet in your own home.

Doug Spector/broker

Posted by Doug Spector on May 10th, 2018 8:05 PM

Tips for Apartment Maintenance in Houston, TX

Although it’s usually your landlord’s job to look after their apartments when things go awry, there are some things you can do in order to prevent problems from occurring in your apartment in the first place. Renting an apartment in Houston, TX comes with challenges which may not exist in other cities, so it’s helpful to follow these tips and ensure that your apartment continues to run smoothly!

  1. Clean your floor regularly

    It can be easy to let your floor get dirty and dusty over time, but try not to allow this to happen! When dirt gets embedded into carpets and rugs, you can quickly begin to ruin the carpet itself. Wooden/laminate floors aren’t safe either, as dirt can easily cause scratches and discoloration in the wood, all of which tend to lend themselves to an unhappy landlord! Placing “welcome” mats around the entrance to your apartment may help to reduce dirt on your floors. Nevertheless, clean and vacuum your floors regularly, sweeping on a daily basis and mopping on a weekly basis.

  2. Look after your HVAC units

    When renting an apartment in a climate such as Houston, TX, you’re going to be encountering heat levels which might not be common in other parts of the country. As a result, it is imperative that you look after your heating and A/C units accordingly. The best way to do this, as a general rule, is to ensure that they are receiving proper airflow to all of their parts. Every now and then, it may be a good idea to vacuum your vents, as this prevents the air from getting dusty and unpleasant. If the filters need to be changed, don’t wait to do so! If you think that your HVAC units may need a professional clean/maintenance, don’t be afraid to contact your landlord.

  3. Keep your drains clear!

Keeping your drains clear of sticky debris is the easiest way to extend their lifecycle and avoid things such as leaks or blockages. Avoid pouring things into your pipes which could block them; they already have enough to deal with in terms of food debris and shower-hair! On that note, if your shower plug is clogged with hair, remove this hair before it makes its way down the drain completely. You should also ensure that your toilet is kept clear, using a plunger to remove any unsanitary clogs.


Keeping your Houston, TX apartment well-maintained is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you build a positive rapport with your landlord, so be sure to use these tips on a regular basis!


713-783-1441

Posted by Doug Spector on May 2nd, 2018 11:15 AM

 4 Tips for Personalizing Your Rental Apartment in Houston, TX

Although some landlords are strict with their policies, others allow you to personalize your apartment to a certain degree, as long as you don’t make any major changes to their furniture and amenities. When you rent an apartment in Houston, TX, you need to make sure what your landlord’s rules are before you make any modifications. However, with that said, here are some tips for making your rental apartment in Houston, TX, feel a little more personal and homely! 

1. Buy practical items

Some apartments in Houston can be small, especially if you’re renting a studio apartment. In this case, you should consider buying some furniture which has dual purposes. For example, if you’re looking for more storage space and also require a coffee table, why not buy a coffee table which has built-in storage space included? Many European furniture makers, such as IKEA, sell furniture and items which have built-in storage space and smart designs which could be helpful in smaller apartments. At least in Houston, you probably don’t need to store any bulky winter coats or blankets!

2. Put mirrors up

Mirrors can help to make a small rental apartment look much bigger than it actually is, and this is a trick which is frequently used by interior designers and decorators. Having a lot of mirrors on your walls in Houston also encourages more light to enter your apartment, meaning that the sunlight streaming through your windows illuminates your apartment more easily. 

3. Keep things tidy

It’s no secret that some Houston rental apartments can be small, so its best to organize your belongings and keep your apartment from getting cluttered. If you don’t need something, then throw it away! If you don’t wear an item of clothing for more than 1 year, throw it away! When you have limited apartment space, you can’t afford to be a hoarder. Keeping things tidy also makes your apartment appear larger!

4. Use light colors

Although you may not be able to repaint a rental apartment in Houston, try your best to find one which embraces a color scheme with lighter colors! There’s a reason that so many Spanish and Italian towns are covered in white paint – it helps to reflect heat and keep you cool. Although Houston isn’t the Italian Riviera, it no doubt receives just as much heat, if not more.

Doug Spector/broker

ApartmentLivingLocators.Com

Posted by Doug Spector on April 25th, 2018 11:41 AM

Tips When Applying For An Apartment in Houston

  Doug Spector/broker

After asking numerous Houston apartment managers what advice they might have for anyone wanting to rent an apartment at their complex, the number one answer they gave was that the applicant be "upfront and honest."

Chances are, in this "information age", that there's a great chance that any falsified information given either verbally or written on the application, will be caught anyway. 
And if that happens, the person applying will most likely lose their application fee, admin fee and many times even their deposit.

Most managers are helpful when the applicant is upfront about any previous rental or credit problems.  They can usually tell the person right away whether their past issue(s) would prevent them from being approved at their place, thus saving time and money.  Also, managers can possibly assist by referring them to another property they might know that would work with them or refer a good reputable Houston apartment locator.

Something else potential renters should  do when applying for an apartment, is to fill-out the application as thoroughly as possible, leaving little to none of the questions blank.

" Leaving a lot of blanks sets off red flags," says Charles Bruce, manager at Tanglewood Place Apartments.  Another manager at the Whittfield Apartments, strongly advises to fill out the entire application, both current and previous information that is requested.  "We have a point system and sometimes you need the previous info to have enough points [to qualify]; having to keep calling to get info holds up the application."

Manager Charles Bruce also suggests to be "neat" on the application.  By "neat" he means, try not make mistakes when entering information... this may come back as a negative result which could delay the application approval.

He also says it's a good idea to bring 2-3 recent check stubs or financial information and current ID .  Obviously, this not only speeds up the whole process but it also impresses the leasing and property manager staff as it shows the applicant is a serious candidate and deserves quick service in return.

When the applicant tours the property and later fills-out the application to rent, whether on the same day or not, it never hurts to dress nicely.  You know...first impressions!  Applying for an apartment should be taken almost as serious as applying for a job...both could be viewed as "selling yourself."

Posted by Doug Spector on April 18th, 2018 4:12 PM
It’s amazing how much time, work and effort people put into creating something fabulous...like a Houston lux apt for instance and then in seconds it can be swept away, effortlessly, by a hurricane. Hurricane Harvey to be exact. Leave it to Houston to bounce back better than before, although my complex flooded doesn’t mean all the other ones did. I guess having a great apartment locator to back me up in my time of need was just as important as Houston redoing its bayou system for the next hurricane. Houston has a better plan for hurricanes and for my next move I plan on using Apartment Living Locators again.

Samantha Fernandes
Happy Customer
Posted by Doug Spector on February 6th, 2018 11:01 PM

Tips When Applying For An Apartment in Houston

 
Doug Spector

After asking numerous Houston apartment managers what advice they might have for anyone wanting to rent an apartment at their complex, the number one answer they gave was that the applicant be "upfront and honest."

Chances are, in this "information age", that there's a great chance that any falsified information given either verbally or written on the application, will be caught anyway.
And if that happens, the person applying will most likely lose their application fee, admin fee and many times even their deposit.

Most managers are helpful when the applicant is upfront about any previous rental or credit problems.  They can usually tell the person right away whether their past issue(s) would prevent them from being approved at their place, thus saving time and money.  Also, managers can possibly assist by referring them to another property they might know that would work with them or refer a good reputable Houston apartment locator.

Something else potential renters should  do when applying for an apartment, is to fill-out the application as thoroughly as possible, leaving little to none of the questions blank.

" Leaving a lot of blanks sets off red flags," says Charles Bruce, manager at Tanglewood Place Apartments.  Another manager at the Whittfield Apartments, strongly advises to fill out the entire application, both current and previous information that is requested.  "We have a point system and sometimes you need the previous info to have enough points [to qualify]; having to keep calling to get info holds up the application."

Manager Charles Bruce also suggests to be "neat" on the application.  By "neat" he means, try not make mistakes when entering information... this may come back as a negative result which could delay the application approval.

He also says it's a good idea to bring 2-3 recent check stubs or financial information and current ID .  Obviously, this not only speeds up the whole process but it also impresses the leasing and property manager staff as it shows the applicant is a serious candidate and deserves quick service in return.

When the applicant tours the property and later fills-out the application to rent, whether on the same day or not, it never hurts to dress nicely.  You know...first impressions!  Applying for an apartment should be taken almost as serious as applying for a job...both could be viewed as "selling yourself."

Posted by Doug Spector on April 13th, 2017 7:41 PM
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Doug Spector

If you're looking for Houston apartments to rent, one of the things you might want to consider is the security of the apartment complex.  While there is no such thing as a crime-free apartment, there are certain things you can do while pursuing your Houston apartment hunt that could possibly help you be more aware of your surroundings and try to get the most secure place for the money. 
 
Recently, The Houston Police Department has instituted the "Blue Star Multi- Housing Program" which is a joint effort between the police and Houston apartment managers and residents to help lower the crime rate in apartment complexes.  
 
The police train the managers in a class in various ways to make the complex more secure and the complex has to have a survey of the property to qualify which takes into effect such things as lighting, onsite security and other such necessities.
You can see which complexes have been certified by visiting their website online: https://www.haaonline.org/BlueStar/ and to also learn more about this three phase program.
 
 
Online apartment rating web sites can be helpful too. You can check Houston crime data including crime rates by neighborhood online with Neighborhood Scout https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/tx/houston/crime
 
Another website is Spot Crime https://spotcrime.com/tx/houston
which has an interactive map showing what crimes have been reported via Google Map. 
 
You can also call the local library and have their research staff help you with finding out how accurate the information is on these web sites.
 
Once you've narrowed your search to a handful of places, you can also check with the police for the crime rate on that apartment complex itself.  You might do a walk of the community yourself, looking at the same kinds of things the Blue Star survey does. 

If it's a gated community, check the statistics of the gate, as to how often it's been repaired.  That could be a sign of a potential crime issue. 
 
Also many apartment complexes now run criminal background checks on incoming residents.  Check too, if the apartment has the "Blue Star Lease Addendum" which cites specific actions that will be taken by management if a resident or someone under the resident's control is involved in illegal or dangerous activity on or near the rental property. 
 
Once you find an apartment, you might consider getting renter's insurance, just in case.  It's usually not very expensive for the amount of coverage it offers. 
As always, remember, if you need assistance in finding an apartment in Houston, contact a good reputable apartment locator.


Posted by Doug Spector on April 5th, 2017 8:36 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

 
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

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