Apartment Locating Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Your Service Free?
In some cities like Chicago and New York, the broker charges a fee for finding an apartment. In Houston, we don’t charge a broker fee because we are compensated from the advertising budget of the apartment communities. Our compensation does not affect your rent, deposit, or application fee in any way. As our client we represent your best interest, but we are compensated by the property that approves your lease. Most of the apartments in the Houston metroplex work with locators, so we can help you find a place close to school or work.
Why use an apartment locator ?
Very simply, we will save you a tremendous amount of time, trouble, expense and stress during the apartment hunting process while providing accurate and reliable community and neighborhood information. David, our apartment guru, has lived here for 52 years and is truly an expert in the marketplace. The service is 100% absolutely free to you and you are actually working with caring agents who are providing objective and subjective insight and information that a website cannot. It is a dedicated and personal service that is focused on giving you solid information to make an informed decision. Let us do a lot of the work for you so the experience is a much easier one!! We truly care about your decision on where to live.
Do I need more than one Houston apartment locator?
It may appear to you that the more agents you have working for you, the more access to properties you have. This is simply not the case. All real estate agents have equal access to all of the properties. No one has exclusive rights to a certain property over another. Also, it is important that you choose the agent/service that provides the most value and since that person will be spending their time, resources and skill, they should be compensated for their efforts. If you are using several different locators, only one will get compensated. Choose one you trust and like and remain loyal to them.
How do communities calculate their rental rates?
The easiest way to explain this is to think of airline pricing. Approximately 80% of all of the communities in the entire Houston metropolitan area use “dynamic pricing”. This means that pricing for a specific available apartment changes daily and are different rates depending on exact move in date chosen, the lease term you select, the day you visit the property and other sophisticated internal market factors that are built into the system. Since pricing is dynamic, we like to call and check availability for you the day before you visit so you have accurate and reliable information before getting in your car to visit properties. This is a great help to you and will save time and gas !!
How do I ensure my Houston apartment locator gets credit for the services they provide?
So, your locator has provided a good value and service to you. You want to make sure to follow the proper protocol to ensure they receive the credit you want them to receive for making the process so much easier for you. Very simply, every time you email, call or visit a property please let them know your locator sent you. If the leasing professional at the property asks you to fill out a guest card or asks you “how you heard about them”, please note David Moore with Keller Williams Locators. If you log onto a specific apartment portal and do an on line application, always choose “Locator”, “Locator Service” or “Realtor” when going through that on line process or simply type our name in whatever space is provided. Basically, it is important that you understand that the community is only going to give credit to one source, so please call the property if the process is not clear or simply call us before you log onto any specific property website. Thanks for loyalty and understanding. We are very grateful for your loyalty.
Why should I consider an apartment over a privately-owned rental?
Good communities offer reliable maintenance. Private landlords may or may not. The application process is standardized and objective for apartments, not necessarily so for private landlords. Fees to secure and move into an apartment are much less than with a private rental. If you are the first to apply for an apartment, no one else can come after you and apply for the same apartment, which means if you are approved, you get the apartment. Not so with private landlords as they may field as many applications as they want which means you could lose out just because the landlord chose someone else for their own reasons. This means you have to start all over again. Most apartments offer amenities that a private community does not ( ie: pools, fitness centers, business centers and resident activities) These are just a few examples and we are always here to answer all of your questions. Of course, if you are more interested in renting from an individual, we can definitely assist with that and we have developed a great protocol for that process.
I am coming from out of town, how do I get around?
Most people either drive to Houston or fly into one of our airports when coming into town to secure a place. We do not have an elaborate mass transit system here, unfortunately, so renting a car is your best option if you fly here. You can certainly use a taxi service or UBER/Lyft to get around if you like and there is our bus and light rail system to utilize. (Go to www.ridemetro.org) As licensed real estate agents, we obviously offer to valet our valued clients to properties when you are ready to secure an apartment or residence.
How do I secure an apartment and get it off the market?
The way things work here, it basically comes down to whoever completes an application and surrenders a deposit and any other required application/processing fees first. That means someone on a computer can submit an application on-line before you apply so a unit you want to apply for can go quickly. The bottom line is, whoever pays a deposit first and submits an application will be the first one to get processed and if approved, will get the unit.
What documents may be required to lease an apartment?
First of all, to view an apartment, most places will require a photo ID to tour the property and the units. When you apply, most places will accept a personal check for the deposit and the application fee. A lot of properties also collect a non-refundable processing fee as well. It would be ideal to bring your last 2 paycheck stubs or an offer letter if you are a new hire and if you are self-employed, your last tax return and last 2 months of bank statements. If you are not a citizen of the US, a passport will be required and if you have a social security card, please bring it with you as well.
Can I lease an apartment for less than 6 months?
Preferred lease terms are 12 months and pricing is usually best with longer term leases although not always the case because of the dynamic pricing models that most communities use now. However, generally, 6 month leases are offered as well. There are many places that will offer less than 6 but the up-charges can be quite stiff. It is not uncommon to see a 3 month price be more than $500 difference from a 12 month lease. Basically, short term leases are available but you will pay a premium for them.
Do apartments come furnished?
Very few apartment communities offer furnished units. In our experience, we know of about 3 or 4 places in all of the Houston area that actually offer furnished units that you lease directly from the leasing office. However, this is very confusing to consumers because there are advertisements for furnished apartments all over the internet but that is a third party company that has master leased units and then furnished them and turns around and rents them to you. These are generally referred to as “corporate apartments”. These are quite expensive, usually starting on the low end at $100.00/night and up. If you want a furnished apartment, there are two options to consider and one of our agents can explain these options to you.
Are there All Bills Paid apartments?
Yes, they do exist but 90% of them are truly bad places to live…roach invested, crime infested and in poor condition, etc…. There are a handful of decent ABP properties in Houston and we can tell you which ones to consider.
What about pets in an apartment?
Pets are allowed at most properties and almost all allow cats. There are a few that do not allow dogs, but not many. Those that allow dogs have different weight and breed requirements. Some properties may allow dogs up to 40 lbs, others up to 100 lbs. If you own a German Shepherd, Chow, Rockweiler, Doberman, Pitt Bull or any other breed that has been profiled as an aggressive breed, you will not be able to live at 99% of the apartment communities in Houston. You will have better luck with a private owner in this case. Also, the vast majority of apartment communities will only allow you to have 2 pets maximum.
What additional fees may be added to my rent?
Apartments advertise the base rent but here are other fees that may be added to your rent:
Valet trash……………$20 to $40/month
Pest Control…………$2 to $6/month
Water…………………..Usually billed based on use but could be allocated billing
Technology Fee…….Very rare but can exist at the most upscale places
Gas………………………Very rare but some complexes have gas and it is billed through the office
Water is almost always billed from the office and added to your rent so you do not have to worry about getting water service set up. With the few rare places that have gas, this is the same set up. Outside of these two items, you will have to choose your electric provider (there are many choices and we can help you with this) You will also want to choose your cable, internet and phone provider (if you chose to have a home phone). Generally, Comcast, ATT and DirecTV are available here but some communities may have a contract with a local provider you are forced to use. Good question to ask if this is important to you.
Can David The Locator help me if I decide to purchase in the future?
Absolutely! David built his real estate business by helping renters become owners!! We have experienced and caring Buyer’s Agents that will really take the time to educate you on the process and who listen to you. We will represent you with integrity, care and professionalism. We truly thank you for the opportunity to be of service and are very grateful that you are placing your trust in confidence in us to serve you. THANK YOU!!