Started from the leasing office now we here!
Leasing agent turned apartment locator’s guide to your next apartment.
Apartment hunting in the near future? Here are a few tips and tricks to the apartment hunt from a girl who was onsite as a leasing agent to now I help people find apartments all over Texas.
WHEN PICKING THE DAY TO TOUR
Weekends are when everyone goes apartment shopping which means you usually wait even with an appointment. Leasing offices are short staffed on the weekends which means the agents are usually in a rush to help each person and you miss key information. Shorter office hours on the weekends means you can’t view as many properties. Look and lease specials are typically 24-48 hrs so view as many properties in one day as you can to take advantage of specials. The last week of the month is a great time to apartment shop. It is “close out” and properties are trying to hit their leasing numbers which means SPECIALS.
ON THE TOUR
Call ahead for pricing! Most properties are on computerized pricing systems that change frequently based on inventory. Some websites are up to date and you can determine this if it allows you to see the day the apartment is ready for move in and the unit number. Ask to view the apartment first and amenities second. Do not fall in love with the property and overlook how the apartment might be too small or have an awful location. Use your smartphone! Take a picture of each property name first and video the apartment second. If you view multiple apartments in one day you may mix up which property had the apartment you loved.
WHAT TO ASK CHECKLIST
- What view will your apartment have?
Make sure you know where your windows are facing. The direction you have will determine morning or afternoon sun which affects your utility bill.
- What finish is in the apartment you are looking to lease?
Most apartments have multiple granite, cabinet, and flooring colors. Make sure you like the finish your apartment will have.
- What location will your apartment have within the community?
Make sure you know how close parking is to your place. Grocery shopping is what I always consider. If you are near a trash shoot you may have a disturbing smell for yourself and guests if they do not maintain them. If you are a light sleeper being close to an elevator may not be the best. You will hear everyone come in and out of your hallway.
- What extra fees are on top of the rent?
Do they charge for parking, valet trash, amenity fees, pest control, trash, etc. Do not forget to ask.
- What about parking for you and your guests?
Where is it located? Is it gated and covered? How close will it be to your apartment?
- What are average utility costs?
They can usually tell you the average electric or water bill. Make sure to ask if your water is sub metered or allocated. Always shoot for sub metered because you are getting charged for what you actually use. Allocated depends on your square footage and occupancy size. Allocated bills are usually more because if you have someone in the building who uses a lot of water but lives in a small square footage or only has one person listed on the lease the rest of the building makes up their costs. Ask about electric bills. Is the building LEED certified or have any eco-friendly features? Some apartment buildings have electric bills as low as $30 that are energy efficient and other buildings have you at $150 for the same square footage.
Housing laws dictate that properties have to offer the same deal to everyone but that doesn’t mean they can’t give you a couple weeks free, free storage, no pet rent, waive move in fees, etc. Properties usually cannot reduce your rent, however, they can sometimes give you a “move in special”. Specials can be prorated out during your lease to make rent cheaper. Ask if you can “self-prorate” the special or if you have to take it up front. Find out if you are on the “preferred employee” list. Most communities have a list of employers they can waive application fees, administration fees, and/or deposits for but you have to ask! Let the leasing agent know you have been looking at other places. They may even ask what the pricing or specials are at the other communities. This is usually an indicator that they may be able to negotiate a better deal.
DON’T DELAY LEASE TODAY
Pricing is all computerized based off of supply and demand. This means pricing can change the second the leasing agent’s computer refreshes because inventory changed. Apartments also can now be leased online. Someone else may be applying online when you are in the leasing office “thinking about it.” Be sure to always ask the leasing professional if they can give you a “quote” for the price. The quote guarantees the price for 24-48 hours even if the price changes in their system. Have the quote emailed to you for documentation.
Well there you have it! Moving season is upon us so if you are looking fora new apartment in Texas this year I would love to help. I can be your easy tool to finding the best price, move in special, location, and building for what you are looking for. As an apartment locator with TopNotch Locating, we are in constant contact with the apartments leasing professionals so we are the first to know about specials. Plus we are pretty knowledge too!