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, along with details for prior employment, 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 a week - Ask me for more details. Applications are no longer done by the leasing or management staff. Independent companies perform the process once fees are paid and turned in to the leasing office. Paycheck stubs, offer letter of employment, valid state ID or Driver License (required to view & rent), money order or cashier's check, some accept electronic or credit card payments, copies of recent leases will all be crucial to expedite the 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 but first time renters are not a problem if other criteria 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.
3. Acceptable Credit Rating/varies by property
4.Criminal History Background Check is performed by every apartment upon application. To avoid losing costly application fees, be sure to disclose or discuss any background issues with your apartment locator prior to the apartment search.
5.Eviction or broken lease - these issues will negatively affect approval and should be discussed with your apartment locator prior to the apartment search in order to avoid loosing costly application fees.
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 - why not use a professional to help you with one of the most important decisions you will make. My knowledge and experience will be invaluable to you in your search for your new apartment. Let me help you avoid making a year long mistake! Work with a professional, licensed agent that has 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. The property owners pay our company a fee after you move in, much the same way a travel agent or real estate agent is paid. This will never affect your rent adversely, and I can usually find the best price, special or 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.
Q. My credit is poor ... can you still help me?
A. Yes - Apartments prefer excellent credit history but don't let that stop you. There are exceptions and we know which apartment properties have flexibility to work with certain situations with additional deposits or fees. 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 less chance of losing costly fees. Not all apartments qualify the same, but all use a third party company to process your rental application. They no longer have access to your credit, rental history or background history and cannot answer specific questions regarding that confidential information nor can they guarantee your 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 or factors are met. Some properties may ask for additional security deposits, students may need a co-signor or guarantor. In this case, the lease would still be in your name and you are building your own rental history with the 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. This addendum may be faxed, so your co-signer does not need to live right here in Houston, or it may be overnighted with a notarized seal, or emailed depending on the property requirements. Co signers or guarantors are typically not allowed for a broken lease and definitely not for background issues. 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. Most of my customers are interested in eventually getting out of an apartment and into their very own home. I would like to help you do just that.
I will refer you to the best possible agents that can assist you with your home search. I have many friends that are experienced and very successful Realtors. I can put you in contact with one that can help you with your home purchase - ABSOLUTELY!
How Long of a Lease Will I Need to Sign?
Most Apartments offer a year or longer term for best price and any specials. Most still offer 6 month lease terms but with current price software, the price can increase dramatically! For short term rentals 3 months, there are a handful that offer that as well as a corporate style apartment. The corporate style apartment offers the convenience of move-in-ready with everything included but comes at a much higher monthly 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! The most convenient solution is to call and discuss your apartment search and I can send your information via email or help you by phone. You will receive a customized apartment search package that includes everything you need quickly and will have each property itemized with pricing, pictures, features, specific floor plans and square footages, assigned schools, community amenities, and interactive maps that show both directions and the map point.
Q. I'm ready, let’s get started!?
A. Simply click the link here Start Search to fill out the quick contact form or call me 281-842-7965. Please tell me exactly what type of apartment you are looking for, and please be specific as to what 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
Examples of Fees:
per adult, may be higher for married couple
(Non-refundable fee paid by each applicant for verification
(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 in full. If applicant cancels after the standard set
time listed on application, from 48 to 72 hours of submitting application, the
non-refundable lease fee will be retained by management. If the application is
canceled or rejected by apartment owner/management, the Reservation Fee will be
refunded in full).
Security Deposit or
Reservation Fee (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 the monthly rental
amount for standard approval. There are select properties that require 2.5 times the rent as income. Either an "offer letter of employment" and/or paycheck stubs can be requested.
history, credit history, rental history, employment history is processed
and verified for every adult occupant.
Most apartments are not allowed to tour or show apartments in the rain due to liability issues!
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 been rising significantly and demand for new apartment units is high, partly because of the strong job growth the city has been demonstrating. During the recession, apartment construction dwindled and there was an under supply of 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 rental price. This is occurring in certain areas such as the Inner Loop, Energy Corridor, The Woodlands, The Galleria, Katy and certain other parts of Houston.
What about apartment ratings and reviews?
How do you use ApartmentRatings.com?
Apartment Ratings and Review sites have been discussed at length for many years amongst apartment owners and developers. Many 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 some are simply not accurate. Although there are positive signs coming out of new ownership of these review sites, their history hasn't been the friendliest to apartment communities.
Allow your agent to assist you with this hotly debated topic. When using apartment ratings and reviews, please do so objectively! There are "no perfect" apartments, try as they may. Even the highest rated properties will have a complaint of some type.
Take what you're reading with an open mind. If everything you read is negative, err on the side of caution. There are many apartment properties with new owners and management, they will 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 years of being an agent. I can 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. (Fair Housing Amendments Act 1998).
We are also members of the Houston Apartment/Texas Apartment Associations, Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.