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Things to Remember for Moving into Rental Property in Austin

Updated on August 5, 2016

If you are trying to find the best places to rent in Austin, TX without going Insane, then this article can help you finding the right place at the right price.

To find an ideal apartment or rental home in Austin really depends on your budget and how big you want the place to be. Austin is not cheap, especially if you want to live in a safer neighborhood and closer to things like restaurants etc. Austin now has one of the top 10 highest rental rates in the country and its almost impossible to own a home in the city limits at all for under 400K (unless its small as hell and should be gutted) and while people from California may be used to those prices, it has come as sticker shock for people who are used to Texas' generally cheaper costs of living.

It's no one's fault specifically but the demand to live in Austin ever since it was named one of the top cities in the country has resulted in bidding wars on properties.

To make the search go smoother – there are a number of steps you can take to ease the burden and expedite the process:

1. Don’t rely Solely on Classified Advertising Websites like Craiglist or Backpage

It is wise to find homes or apartments in other cities online through craigslist or other free-for-all classified websites, but In Austin, where market for renters is so high landlords. Also, Craigslist ads aren’t always up to date or accurate, and there’s always the occasional scam. Locators load up Craigslist with spammy ads in attempts to get you on the phone. You’ll likely find a better deal on a house, condo, or apartment when you work with a rental agent anyway.

2. There are only Advantages to using an Apartment Locater/Real Estate Agent.

Until homes are put into the MLS, the only people who know they are coming on the rental market are the realtors in the listing agents office, the landlords and maybe some of the landlord's friends. When a realtor knows a homeowner is about to put a home on the market, it is called a "pocket" listing (because the realtor has a potential listing in their pocket). Use a local realtor or apartment locator like Buena Vista Properties to find an affordable housing for rent in Austin, Tx.

Some locators will only show you apartments, because that's how they get paid. If you have places you’re interested in visiting, tell the locator which ones you want to see. Be upfront about wanting a house, and ask them if they can show you houses. If they can't then walk.

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3. Try Hunting for Homes During the Off-Season

This can be quite wiser to avoid moving during summer. since summer marks the peak of moving season. Because this time of year is so busy, houses or apartments availability becomes scarce and prices soar.

You might get a better deal, but you will have fewer homes to choose from. If you are looking in a "tract home" area where all the houses are virtually the same, this may not be a big deal.

4. Understand the Neighborhood and Wider Area you’re Looking to Rent in.

There aren't many urbanish neighborhoods in Austin, and those that do exist (Downtown, Pemberton Heights, Hyde Park, Tarrytown, Clarksville, maybe parts of Travis Heights and areas near S Congress) are pretty pricey. If I were you, given that you're interested in a little more space, I'd check on the South side...but you're going to want to find a place to live that's close to your work.

I think you should look toward the eastern side of things, as prices are going to rise significantly out west in the hill country and/or next to a lake.

Smaller communities like Elgin, Taylor, Lockhart, and Bastrop might fit your bill. They tend to be more conservative than Austin proper but there are plenty of cityfolk living on land around those towns looking for a nice quiet place take it easy like you're describing.

5. Get Everything in Writing

Be aware of all of the conditions of your lease when leasing an apartment. Most property managers use one of two leases, the TAR (Texas Association of Realtors) or the Apartment Association lease. The TAR lease is 14 pages long, and it is very thorough. Know what the tenant responsibilities are, and what the late fees are. Some property managers are more strict than others. You will get a better deal if you rent a duplex or some home owned by an individual owner, than if you rent in a large complex. Ask to see a sample lease before applying.

I can furnish you a copy of the TAR lease, if you are interested. I am a real estate broker.

Source

6. Document Your Move-in Conditions with Photos

Before you move in and sign the lease, it's also best if you can get a tour and take photos as well.

When looking at an apartment, check it out as thoroughly as possible. Turn on the water faucets and ensure that water pressure is good. Turn on the stove to ensure that it works. Check that the windows are secure. Ensure that the AC is working. The apartment should be in excellent condition. Do not accept any verbal promises concerning repairs; all promises should be in writing, and signed by the property manager. If the dwelling appears not to be in good shape, do not rent it. When you decide on a place, take photographs of the condition of the unit. Clearly note all defects in the "move-in condition" form. Make a copy of the move-in condition form for your own records.

7. Consider apartment security

Check on an online map of the high crime areas. Crime is sky-high in the Southeast part of Austin (South of the river, East of Interstate 35). Do not rent there. Check out a neighborhood at night before renting an apartment, to be sure that you are comfortable with the neighborhood at night. Some areas change quite a bit from day to night. Hope this helps. Take advantage of this article on Ways to Determine Neighborhood Crime Rates before You Move to research and prepare your options before selecting a new home.

These ideas may be tough, but they're a necessary path to the apartment of your dreams. Happy hunting!

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