Howdy Aggie grads & Aggie Parents! This is Grant from Homebase Services. We’ve helped thousands of graduating students find their first apartment in Houston, Dallas and Austin. This is written for Aggies that are graduating in the next 12 months, to help you find the best place at a great price…with MINIMUM STRESS!
We get a lot of questions each year about things like best timing, things to look for and best areas of town. I’m writing this article to answer questions on how to find your perfect place, save time and keep stress low! This will give you key tips for your planning. So, let’s begin!
BEST TIME TO START YOUR SEARCH?
Great question!! This is really up to you! It really depends on when you have received your career offer in your new city? You might have accepted a full time offer right after your internship the past summer. So you basically are ready to search one year in advance!
Or you could be exploring other options and waiting until the semester before (or just after) graduation to accept your offer. Regardless, the key here is that you should start looking is right after you have accepted your new offer.
Now, unlike CSTAT housing, where you can actually reserve & sign a lease for your new place even 9-12 months in advance…you can’t actually do that in Dallas, Houston or Austin! You will need to adjust your timing more into the 2-6 months time period for actually signing a lease. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start looking and narrow it down before that point!!!
You may also have a lot going on right now after you have received an offer…and don’t want to get into huge search mode. For example, what if you are getting your CPA license and don’t really have time to look right now? Or you have an offer next year but your company hasn’t given you a start date yet? In these cases: you might want to maybe get a little starting information…then wait to do the serious part of your search until after you have taken your first or 2nd CPA test or actually have your start date for your career.
Bottom line: You can start looking as soon as you get your offer, up to 12 months in advance of your start date. Or if you are sure you are moving to a new city even before you have the offer, start then. But you may want to carry out your search in manageable stages that make sense, to better manage your time (and reduce stress!).
After you read our suggestions below, sign up for our 100% Free-to-You Service to find your perfect apartment. It will save you hours of time and remove your stress. We serve new grads & young professionals moving to Dallas, Houston and Austin. Free Signup: HERE When you apply, you will also receive a free $100 Amazon card as well as a thank you for using our free service.
OK I’M READY TO START LOOKING! What’s my NEXT STEPS?
So what can you do if there aren’t housing openings yet in your new city, but you want to start looking? Here are some great ways to begin!
ONE – PICK YOUR FAVORITE AREA: This is a new city, and it’s a lot bigger than your university surroundings. So it’s important to figure out the best areas or neighborhoods that would work best for you. Dallas, Houston and Austin all have areas that are super popular with new grads. Typically these are the areas that are nearest Downtown. Best Areas of town are constantly changing in each town! New areas spring up, while other areas become run down or even unsafe. It’s super important to use very current information when picking your area. Consult with a relocation expert and also ask friends that have RECENTLY graduated and moved there.
You can sign up for our Free New City Orientation Call. This is a one on one call to give you a great overview of your new city and the most popular areas for new and recent grads. You can ask questions and get personalized advice. Super valuable and highly recommended! Also, here is a super quick list of popular neighborhoods for Dallas, Houston and Austin: Popular Texas Neighborhoods for New Grads .
You can also pick up a free deck of our new city playing cards! These are a full deck of poker style playing cards for your new city. We’ve got one (or in the works!) for Austin, Houston, Uptown Dallas and West Plano. This is a great way to get to know your new city! We will ship one deck to you for free.
TWO – DECIDE YOUR BUDGET! Housing in your new city is typically going to cost a bit more than your college situation! 🙂 But the good news is, you will be making some great money in your new career to pay for it. Apartments in your new city are going to require that your rent be no more than 3X or 3.5X of your GROSS monthly income. So for example, if your gross income is $5,000 a month, then take that and divide it by 3. $1667 in this case That should be your max monthly rent to shoot for, and it’s ok to go under that amount!
THREE – DECIDE IF YOU WANT A ROOMMATE! Getting a roommate is a personal decision. Sometimes if you have roommates throughout your university career, then you might be tired of this and want to explore the pleasure of not having to share the coffee machine or see other people’s dirty clothes! But for others, it’s more exciting to share the adventure of a new city with another similar colleague! Another great benefit about having a roommate is that you can typically afford a better part of town!! Two bedrooms in Dallas, Houston or Austin are less expensive per person than one bedrooms. Three bedrooms are even less per person! Typically about 30% of university grads pick a roommate for their new city!
IF you are going to do a roommate, get moving quick on this because it affects the rest of your search big time! Here are a few things you can do to find your roommate:
- Post on University Facebook Groups: Your university has some great facebook groups that may get you instant success here. For example, most universities have a “housing & sublet” facebook group and a group for your class year. Post a roommate request here…it’s the best way to find someone you can trust perhaps more!
- Ask Friends! Post around on Instagram and ask friends. Also, post requests in the Student Organizations you are involved in!
- Roommate Match: Homebase has a free Roommate Match, you are free to use it. Don’t use this as your primary resource, but it’s certainly one way to find one! Make sure to check out any potential roommates very carefully for credit and background issues…it’s all up to you. You can start here for the Homebase Match: Roommate Match
- Here are SPECIFIC FACEBOOK GROUPS FOR AGGIES TO TRY:
FOUR: PICK SOME FAVORITE APARTMENTS! Now it’s time to find some great apartments to choose from in your new career city. Your goal of this step is to GET 4-6 favorite apartments!! So how do you choose from literally thousands of choices??? We help do this all the time, and here are some of best tips we have over the years to SAVE YOU TIME! 🙂
- Go with NEWER APARTMENTS: We always suggest going with newer apartments when possible. Why? They typically will have some huge features like Better Security and Better Amenities thrown in. For example, if you’d like to get a dog in your new city, wouldn’t it be great and convenient if your apartment had an attached dog park to save you time at night? Go with apartments built in the last 5 years whenever possible!
- Go with APARTMENTS OFFERING SPECIALS! Often newer apartments are not as full, so they will offer great specials like first month free to new residents. Older apartments won’t tend to offer these specials as much. When you have a one month free special given to you, you can use this to reduce your overall rent. Usually these are apartments built in the last 3 years.
- KEY FEATURES TO LOOK FOR: Here are some key features in general to look for that are in better places to live: Free Garage Parking, W/dryer Included in your room, Secured Keyfob access to every entry point, Decent GYM.
- KEEP CLOSE TO WORK: If you are having to go to your office frequently, you might want to stay super close to work. It might cost a bit more, but with the time savings vs traffic…and the gas/toll road savings…it really often makes sense to stay close to work! Also, free or inexpensive public transportation is a huge plus, even if you have a car! Why? Because if you are close to a Rail or Trolley for example that goes to your work, you can avoid the downtown parking costs of $200 a year!
- POPULAR SOCIAL AREAS: It’s super important to pick a neighborhood where you will enjoy living and has plenty of other new and recent grads! . Let’s face it, do you want to be in an area where your neighbors are also a new grads and you can easily meet people? Each city has several neighborhoods that are packed with recent grads!
- NEED GUIDANCE? Use our free service to get one on one personal recommendations on the best, safest and most popular apartments for new grads in your new city. During our area orientation call, we will help you quickly narrow down to 3-6 top apartments that are perfect for you to check out on your tour!
IT’S TIME TO TOUR!!
Ok, now that you have your favorites, it’s time to tour them! So when should you tour? GOOD Question, because timing is everything! Here are a few helpful tips that will save you time and reduce stress greatly!!
- FIT YOUR TOUR AROUND YOUR SCHEDULE! With apartments in your new city, you won’t need to sign a lease 9-12 months in advance like when you got your college apartment or dorm. So you have more time to work with. Working with natural breaks like spring break, winter break, holidays, etc are always best because they fit better around your schedule. If you want to come on another time that maybe works better, it’s no problem either! The key here is that your schooling and activities is much more important…the tour can fit the time you need it to fit. You want to finish the remaining time with your terrific university days in peace!
- TOUR DURING THE WEEK IF POSSIBLE: Properties tend to have much more traffic on the weekend, so it’s harder to get in to see a place! So if it’s easier to schedule on a Monday, Tuesday or even Friday, tour on those days. Less traffic and easier to get in and out of places.
- SIGN YOUR LEASE AT THE SAME TIME AS YOU TOUR: Again, timing is everything! We mentioned above that most apartments in your new career city will have availability for you starting 90 days in advance of your move in date! So if you want to tour and then be able to pick your place and put it on hold at the same time as you tour, I’d recommend to tour about 75 days in advance of your target move in date. For example, if your target move in date is August 1, then plan on touring around May 15!
- TOUR SUPER EARLY AND APPLY ONLINE LATER: It’s also perfectly fine to tour super early, way before your move in date! If you do that, you probably won’t be able to reserve a place yet. But what you can do is figure out which place or 2 you like the best…along with your favorite floorplans. Then, when you are back at your university, check back with that apartment around 75 days before your move in date for openings. It’s super easy to apply online
- GETTING ALERTED BY EMAIL FOR APARTMENT OPENINGS: This can be a super big pain…to keep track of when your favorite apartments have openings that fit your future move in date! It’s so annoying to have to keep checking websites, email leasing agents and more. Ain’t nobody got time for that!! Instead, sign up for the free EARLY BIRD ALERTS from Homebase! The EARLY BIRD ALERTS will alert you by email on openings in your favorite apartments that fit your move in date by email. So you don’t have to keep watching the websites or checking with leasing agents. You just focus on classes and enjoying your last semester. Then get alerted by email easily and quickly for the openings that fit you.
BOOKING THE TOUR EASILY & QUICKLY
One of the biggest hassles of setting up a tour is actually booking the times with multiple apartments and their leasing agents! It’s usually so difficult to reach a leasing agent by phone or email. Then, figuring out a time that works with your schedule and their is also a hassle. In addition, apartments have certain set hours and days that are available and they may not fit your schedule. And then multiple all of this by 4-6 apartments you might want to see. This can take days if not weeks to complete!
Instead, use our new free ApartMinute patented system to book your tour! Why? You can literally book your entire tour in as little as ONE Minute! Just pick the date, then select available times for each apartment…and then book your tour! Voila, it’s done. 🙂 You can make changes and add properties instantly at any time!
If you get the Iphone App for ApartMinute, it will also help navigate you to each tour. And then use the App to rate each property and score it…and then you have an easy comparison on your phone to all properties you are seeing. ApartMinute App
GETTING THE BEST RENT PRICE
In CSTAT, rent prices don’t change much…maybe 1x or 2x a year! However, in your new city, rent prices are fluctuating often DAILY. So, the date that you want to move in is a hugely important factor in determining your rent. Your rent can be higher if you apply to rent one day, and lower if you apply another day.
Also, rent fluctuates big time depending on the TIME OF YEAR that you rent! For example, did you know that rent in the summer months can be 10-20% higher than rent where your lease starts in the winter months? Wow, something huge to consider!
One of our best tips to help you save money is to APPLY EARLY to your place, especially if you need to move in during the summer. This can literally save you thousands of dollars each year! Apartments will let you apply as early as they have availability that matches your start date. For example, if you apply in March for a July move in, you will typically save a nice amount of money and get lower rent!
Another interesting thing we notice that we mentioned earlier: Newer places will offer a free rent incentive (1 month free, etc). They tend to offer more of these in the OFF months, and less in the months of June – August! So, if possible, you will get the best deal if you apply in the off months for your lease to start in the Summer months!
One more money saving tip: If you live in the same area as your new employer, a good portion of newer apartments in that area will offer a PREFERRED EMPLOYER program. This won’t mean lower rent! However, it will mean a reduction in the fees you need to apply. For example, it could cut the total money you need to apply in HALF! So, always ask if the apartment has a preferred employer program, Ags!
And one more good tip to know: In CSTAT, you will often need to come up with 1-2 months of a deposit for your new place. However, in your new city for an apartment, you will only typically need about $400 per person total, including deposit. This can vary based on your new place.
BEST WAY TO MEET NEW FRIENDS IN YOUR NEW CITY!
One last but not least tip: Are you nervous about making new friends in your new city? Then use the slam dunk easy way to meet a BUNCH of like minded friends…Join your new city’s Former Student Chapter! Each chapter usually has a young former students sub group that is probably super active! They have regular activities going on that you can get involved with like game watch parties for away games and more. And instant shared history will mean quick friendship connections! You can find a local club here!
READ MORE TIPS BELOW !
- Finding Your Perfect Apartment In Your New Career City – Quick Tips!
- Popular Dallas Areas for New Grads – 2020
- College vs. Big City Apartment: Big Differences!
- Hot Areas to Consider Living in for Houston, Austin and Dallas
- Best Ways to Find a Great Roommate In Your New Texas City
- Your Stress Free Texas Apartment Tour – in One Minute
GOT THE FULL TIME DREAM JOB? Next Step, HOUSING.
When you get that full time offer for Dallas, Houston or Austin, Homebase Services would love to help you find your perfect new apartment. Our service is 100% Free and super quick! And you can use our new & free ApartMinute APP to set up your apartment tour in as little as one minute!