Apartment Rental Questions and Answers
Below you will find important apartment search answers to the most commonly asked questions.
What will I need to take with me when I visit the apartment rental communities? What Should I Bring?
You will need a valid picture ID such as a driver's license or passport to view an apartment. To apply for an apartment, it's helpful to have your paycheck stubs or verification of income, or offer letter of employment, prior employment paperwork, landlord contacts and or copies of prior lease or rental history.
How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For A Lease? What Information is Needed?
As little as 10 minutes to 10 days - Ask me for more details. Applications are no longer processed by the onsite leasing or management staff. Independent companies perform the process once fees are paid to the leasing office or online via their instruction. Many apartment leasing and management offices now accept electronic or credit card payments for fees however there are some that require a money order or cashier's check for initial fees and deposits. Having all the required documents such as paycheck stubs, employment letter, driver license, copies of leases can expedite the application process.
What are the qualifications or criteria considered to be approved for an apartment?
Apartment communities look at these 5 items when evaluating your rental application for approval.
1. Credit History and Rental History - first time renters can usually be approved with a higher deposit or fee as long as other financial and background is met.
2.Verifiable Employment with Income or proof of ability to pay rent - most require at least 3 times the monthly rent as gross income, varies by property.
3. Acceptable Credit Rating/varies by property.
4. A Criminal History Background Check is required by every occupant over the age of 18, upon application. Disclose or discuss any background issues prior to the apartment search and on your apartment application.
5. Broken lease or Eviction - either of these issues will negatively affect apartment approval and should be discussed with your apartment locator.
Q.Why should I use your service to find my new apartment as opposed to looking for apartments on my own?
A. Just as you would hire a professional for any important service such as financial or legal - you should enlist the services of a licensed professional for a lengthy commitment involving thousands of dollars and where you will live. My knowledge and experience will be invaluable to you in your search for your new apartment. I have the skills, knowledge and expertise to find the perfect place, hassle free, stress free and in the most timely and efficient manner possible.
Q.How much does your apartment search service cost?
A. Our service is 100% FREE to you. I know you're thinking nothing is free, but our service is paid for by the property owner, after you move in, similar to the way a travel agent is paid or a standard real estate transaction. It will never affect your rent adversely, and I can usually find the best price, special, and look and lease incentives since we're in constant contact with the apartment leasing offices. We are paid directly from their marketing and advertising budget. Texas Apartment Locators has been doing business this way in the Houston area and other cities in Texas since the mid 1970's.
Q. My credit is poor ... can you still help me?
A. Yes - The majority of apartments prefer good credit history but there are exceptions and we know which apartments have the flexibility to work with certain situations, some may charge a higher deposit or risk fee. During our initial consultation, I'll ask you a few questions regarding your credit status, previous rental history, background, etc. Remember that I am here to help you so please be honest with me, the more I know about your situation, the better I'm able to assist you and avoid the chance of losing costly application and administration fees. Not all apartments qualify the same. They do not have access to your credit, rental history or background history and will not be able to identify the specifics of your denial nor can they guarantee approval.
Q.What if I am a FIRST time renter or have no rental history?
A. No problem - most Houston apartments work with first time renters, providing other employment and qualifying criteria is met. Some properties may ask for additional security deposits, students may need a co-signor or guarantor. In this case, you would still be responsible for the rental payment, however if you default on the apartment lease, your guarantor or co-signor is also held responsible. You will still be building your own rental history with a co-signer as the person or persons to sign an addendum that guarantees payment for the apartment rental. They too will fill out an application. This scenario is usually exclusive to Students attending colleges/universities in the area but can in some cases be used for insufficient income to qualify for the apartment rental. Co-signers or guarantors are held to a higher standard for income, may not have broken leases or evictions, no background issues, recent bankruptcy or foreclosure and must have maintained a good credit score to be considered. Qualification guidelines for co-signers vary from community to community, excellent to satisfactory credit, excellent rental or mortgage history, and a gross monthly income equal to 4-6 times the amount of your monthly rent.
Q.Can I buy a home through you in the future?
A. Depending on what you are looking for - if you're looking to purchase a new home, I will be happy to assist you, if you are looking for a resale home to purchase, I will likely refer you to a reputable agent so you have the most experienced professional to assist you as possible. I currently specialize in the area of apartment locating. You will want to use an experienced, successful Realtor for your home purchase. I have several friends that are realtors that are available to help you.
How Long of a Lease Will I Need to Sign?
Most Apartments offer a year and up to 18 months for best price and specials. Many offer 6 month lease terms but with dynamic software in place, the price can increase dramatically! For short term rentals of 3 months, there are some that offer the lease term but it will come at a significant premium. There are also corporate style apartments. The corporate style apartment offers the convenience of move-in-ready with everything included but will also be at a premium rate, yet slightly less than a hotel rate.
Q.Is it best to make an appointment to visit your office and meet with you in person?
A. No, you can simply call me! You don't have to leave the comfort of your apartment home or office to use my service. The most convenient solution is to call Kathy Curtis at 281-414-5258 or 281-842-7965 or fill out the "start search" quick contact form here. I will contact you to discuss your apartment search in detail to match your wants and needs and prepare a personalized apartment search package to send to you via email, I can also assist you by phone or fax. You can expect the most comprehensive information available, everything you need to make the most informed decision. Each property will be itemized with pricing, interior and exterior pictures, features, specific floor plans and square footages, assigned schools, community amenities, pet fees, utilities, interactive maps that show both directions and the map locations along with detailed notes that relate to your move date, lease term, and additional apartment search criteria.
Q. I'm ready, let’s get started!?
A. Simply click the link here to fill out the Start Search quick contact form or call me 281-842-7965. Please tell me exactly what type of apartment you are looking for, size, price, and location or area that you are looking for.
Did You Know when you lease an apartment in Houston . . . ?
There are fees to apply for an
apartment, and every occupant over the age of 18 must also have a background
(These fees may be required to be in money order/cashier’s
check form, unless credit card/online payments are accepted upfront prior to
Typical Examples of Fees:
per adult, may be higher for a married couple
$35 to $65 is customary
(Non-refundable fee paid by applicant for processing and verification
of application information).
$75 to $250 is customary
(Non-refundable fee required to offset expenses incurred by
management. If the application is rejected by management, the non-refundable
lease fee will be refunded as long as information is deemed truthful. If applicant cancels after the standard set
time listed on application, from 48 to 72 hours of submitting application, the
non-refundable lease or administration fee can be retained by owner/management. If the application is
canceled or rejected by apartment owner/management, the Reservation Fee is typically refunded).
Security Deposit or
(Becomes a refundable Security Deposit upon execution of
the lease agreement*. Amounts vary by property and floorplan. Deposit may be
applied by apartment owner/management to satisfy all or part of the resident’s
obligations upon move out.* If the application is canceled or rejected by
management, will be refunded unless there is false information).*
Sure Deposit – In
lieu of a standard security deposit the apartment owner/management may require
a sure deposit, this is non refundable.
Monthly Recurring Charges Paid to the apartment
owner/management where you lease, you are responsible for these fees. (This
does not include electricity – you choose the electric provider and pay that
company directly for your usage* unless sub-metered electricity or electricity
is included in your rent*).
Examples shown below:
Rent – as agreed
to per your signed lease.
Trash Fee – varies
by owner/management of apartment, may be valet trash service.
$10 to $25
Administrative Fee – standard fee for most properties
(Monthly administrative fee that covers the cost of reading,
billing and system maintenance for the utility billing systems).
Water Charges –
Sometimes referred to as sub-metered water.
Variable could be $8.00 to $50+
(Monthly water usage measured and billed based on the
prevailing rates as established by the local municipalities and will vary based
Pest Control –
(some properties will charge $1.50 to $3.00 monthly, example).
Gas – varies and
if the apartment community has natural gas (hot water heaters, central heat
units, ranges/stoves, etc.)
IF YOU HAVE A PET(S)
Pet Deposit/Pet Fee
– Part of which may be non-refundable*, a one time fee and varies by apartment
Pet Rent* –
recurring monthly – varies by apartment owner/management.
Insurance or Renter Liability Policy
Most apartment owner/management require proof of renter
insurance/liability policy. Check with your leasing office prior to
You must provide a valid picture ID to tour a property such as a Texas Driver License
or Passport, and all adults (18+) must present this identification to tour the
apartment and amenities.
You will be asked to provide proof of income verification equal to 3* times or higher gross income of the monthly rental
amount for standard apartment approval via check stubs or offer letter of employment. Select properties will accept bank statements or IRS returns, varies by property. There are select properties that only require 2.5 times the rent as income.
history, credit history, rental history, employment history are all required and processed
and verified for every adult occupant over the age of 18 years.
Most apartments are not allowed to tour or show apartments in the rain due to liability issues. All require a valid Driver License or state approved ID to tour the communities, amenities and vacant or model apartments.
What are the differences in Townhouses, Lofts, Condos, High-Rise or Apartments?
The typical apartment community in the Houston and surrounding area is considered a garden style apartment, most are 1 to 3 floors with a pool, common maintained areas and amenities, manicured grounds and landscaping, and best of all, as a resident you enjoy free maintenance, 24 hour emergency, and other services from the management staff. The townhomes are usually within an apartment community, split level with no one above or below you. A High Rise apartment community has become much more popular in the Urban areas and with multiple floors, considered a luxury apartment listing with many luxury amenities. Condos in the Houston and surrounding area is an apartment that has been purchased by a private owner or investor and rented just as you would rent an apartment.
Across Houston, apartment rents have risen significantly and demand for new apartment units has been high, partly because of the strong job growth Houston has demonstrated. During the recession, apartment construction all but stopped, and there was an under supply of rental residential dwellings.
More recently, with the unexpected drop in oil prices, many new luxury apartments have started offering significant concessions in the form of move in specials and free rent to offset the luxury rental price. This has been more recently concentrated to certain areas such as the Inner Loop, Energy Corridor, The Woodlands, The Galleria, Katy and certain other parts of Houston. There are apartment deals and specials in all areas of Houston going on right now - contact me for details. I can help you save hundreds even thousands of dollars with select apartments for rent in Houston and surrounding areas.
What about apartment ratings and reviews?
Review and rating sites have been discussed at length for many years amongst apartment owners and developers. Most customers search out ratings and reviews before visiting an apartment community. It's understandable to be alarmed if what you are seeing is all bad but these reviews are not always verified! Meaning not all of them are accurate. There is always going to be an unhappy or angry resident or even a non-resident and while there are no perfect apartments, that is one of the main reasons to use a reputable, trusted apartment locator. I as your agent will do my best to put you at ease with this highly debated topic. When using apartment ratings and reviews, please do so objectively! Even the highest rated properties will have a complaint of some type at some point.
Try to remain open minded - ask me about any questionable properties. I will attempt to answer your questions openly and honestly. The apartment communities are constantly changing owners and management companies in an effort to provide the most satisfactory experience to the residents. They will then have the task of making improvements and need the time to do so.
In whole, the situation must be weighed and all things taken into consideration. Another reason to use my service – I know these properties, inside and out, having worked with most of them over the past 25 years of being in the industry. I will give you my honest and objective opinion based on facts (my experience, my customers experiences and more recent information than what may be posted on review sites)
Call Kathy Curtis – your FREE apartment expert and save all the time and trouble! http://www.AptExpert.com, licensed real estate agent serving the entire Clear Lake Area and all of Houston.
IS YOUR APARTMENT LEASE ABOUT TO EXPIRE?
Call me as soon as possible to search for your new apartment home. Most properties require a written 60 day move out notice, so be sure you have satisfied the terms of your current lease! If you do not give a written move out notice, you will incur a balance to the apartment you are moving from! This may prevent you from being approved for your next apartment.
I promise to respect the privacy of my on-line visitors. The information collected from my web-site's submission page will not be sold, distributed or shared in any form. The information provided will be used exclusively by me as a licensed agent to assist you in your apartment search. I am highly trained, experienced, and licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission.
We do business in accordance with Federal Fair Housing law.
We are also members of the Houston Apartment/Texas Apartment Associations, Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.