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The Ultimate Go-to Checklist for Apartment Hunting in Austin

Written by Austin Archuleta

Whenever possible, I combine my love of tech and my passion for real estate. When mixed with my analytical skills, attention to detail, creativity, and business acumen, tech helps me deliver innovative solutions! In the end, my clients have the highest level of satisfaction!

September 6, 2019

Finding yourself an apartment in Austin can be tricky. It not only involves due diligence on your part but also requires financial planning. So, for such an important decision, it’s better to think thoroughly and look at the advantages and disadvantages of renting a specific apartment in Austin. The apartment you choose is what you will call home, so it should fit your lifestyle, and reflect who you are. We believe that a fresh new Austin apartment is also a kick start to a new beginning.

If you are looking for a fresh new Austin apartment, but you are not sure about what to look for, here’s a quick checklist for finding the ideal Austin apartment. 

Pre-Plan Everything!

Since we aim to get the best prices and save some bucks, it’s better to start looking for a place two and a half months before you have to move out of your current home. Pricing and availability of lease properties in Austin start becoming available 60 days before your target lease start date. This will allow you to observe the Austin market trends and be more informed when making your decision. The market does not stay constant all year long; it keeps fluctuating, so make sure you’re observing and are up to date regarding prices. Moreover, most leases require a notice 30-60 days before you move to the new apartment, so you should start hunting for the apartment a bit earlier.

Formulate a Budget

Budgeting is essential. It helps you focus on where your money is going, how much you’re investing, and how much is wasted. Moreover, it helps determine how much you are spending on luxuries and nonessentials each month.

Be realistic when creating your rent budget. Know all your expenses thoroughly, such as transportation, education, groceries, electricity bills, and savings. When moving into a new place will have to pay the application fee, the administration fee, rent, pet fees, and deposits, moving into the house will also require money, utility bills, maybe setting up a new internet device, etc. Even if these expenses look minor, when they accumulate, they can make a larger impact. When you work with a leasing specialist, they can help layout the hard costs for your new apartment including required fees and deposits.

Get Help

We help people find apartments and rental homes in Austin, Texas. Our process for locating apartment and rental properties makes it simple, easy, and at no cost to you. Our extensive knowledge of the Austin rental real estate market is a powerful tool that can help you find the perfect place to live. Our service is completely free to you, lessors pay us out of their marketing budget, all you have to do it write us down on your application as your referral source. You get an awesome new place, we get to feed our families, and the property gets a rad new tenant. Triple win! Click the button below to Start Your Search.

Important Considerations for Location

Location is essential when choosing a new apartment in Austin. Choosing an area that fits your lifestyle can increase your quality of life tremendously. Maybe you would prefer an area close to your office, or near parks, or a grocery store. Make sure you research the area, so you know what kind of neighborhood you’ll be residing in. Our leasing specialists are well versed in the neighborhoods in Austin and can help you choose the right neighborhood for you.

Do Your Homework

Make sure you drive through the area in day time and night time, to get a feel for the area, certainly if you go to bed early, you wouldn’t like a boisterous street that would disturb your sleep.

Take notes of the places around the neighborhood, list down the restaurants around, the gym, the places for fun, and shops you could buy your groceries from.

Lookout for Laundry Facilities 

Will you have a washer and dryer in your apartment? Do they have facilities on-premises, how many machines do they have? Is there a charge, how much? What’s the ratio of the people living there and the amount of machines available?

If laundry services are not provided at the apartment, look for one nearby, check their rates, you’ll need to travel here every time you need to do laundry, make sure the necessary facilities are not too far. This would save your time, money, and energy.

Consider Parking Space

When evaluating the parking facilities, first you want to find out if parking is included. If it isn’t, how much extra will you need to pay for parking per month? Next, you need to determine if parking spots are assigned. If parking spots are not assigned if will be helpful to know how many spots are available and how many units they are shared amongst.

No Survival Without Grocery Stores!

Checking the nearest grocery store is a great way to get a feel for the neighborhood and the people residing within. Plus, having a quality nearby grocery store can make restocking and running quick errands substantially less demanding.

When parking, take note of what kinds of cars are parked around, and if they’re substantially different from yours, your potential new neighbor’s lifestyle may differ significantly from your own.

Other Considerations

Information regarding the nearest gas stations is essential in today’s time, do consider whether the gas stations are operating late at night or not.

Do check whether there are hospitals nearby, and what specialist sit there if in case you or a guest might need health assistance in an emergency

The apartment security measures and systems should be analyzed, is just anyone allowed to enter the building? Are there any cameras, how long do they keep the recordings for? If surrounding places have belongings left sitting on the porches (toys, stoves, seating, decorations), it’s a good sign for little to no theft and a kid-friendly environment.

Living Space

Once you have seen the neighborhood, and it fulfills most of your requirements, the next step is to check the apartment thoroughly.

The first thing to consider is what floor you are going to live on. If the apartment does not have a lift and you’re residing on the 3rd floor, you’re going to be getting a good workout each time you leave or arrive. If there are elevators, consider how many people they will be servicing, rush hour traffic doesn’t just affect street traffic. Also, look into if a service elevator is available for moving, if so, make sure to reserve it well in advance to secure your desired move-in date.

Check Cell Reception

Next, check if you have strong cell phone reception in the exact unit you’ll be moving into. Some places don’t have good cell phone reception for one reason or another. It’s an often-overlooked item that can be a consistent annoyance.

Lookout For Pests

Make sure you thoroughly inspect the tops of the cabinets, the area behind the stove or fridge, as most insects live in these places. See if there is any rodent dropping around the unit and common areas. If there are any red or brown stains in the corners where the ceiling meets the walls, it is an indication that there have been past issues present. If you can spot a line of white powder along the baseboard, it indicates cockroaches, it may also mean that a bed bug treatment has been completed. Any traces of White powder behind the fridge or stove maybe boric acid, which is used to treat cockroaches. With a little research, you may be able to see if the apartment has reportedly had pest problems, you can also ask neighbors if they have had any issues before you move in.

Checking the Utilities

Check the water pressure in all faucets and showers, check the pressure of both hot and cold water. Bring a socket tester or phone charger and test all the outlets. Also, make sure there are enough outlets in each room, and on each wall.

Try to inspect the whole place thoroughly before renting it. However, if the landlord is hesitant to show you the exact unit you’ll be renting without good reason, be wary.

Check for musty smells, that could indicate a water leak. Too many air fresheners may be an attempt to hide scents as well. Fill all sinks and tubs and Drain the simultaneously, flush each toilet while it’s draining. If the draining is slow, it’s a sign of clogged sewage pipes.

Don’t Forget the Windows

Coming to the windows now, assure the windows are double-paned and are in good condition could save you on heating or cooling costs. Make sure the windows open and close easily and have locks.

Consider whether you would want a balcony so you can enjoy the view or afternoon sunshine or not? If yes, make it a must-have.

Other Considerations

What are the maintenance charges? Many people do not pay attention to this when exploring apartments and can end up getting stuck with unexpected bills. What are their policies on work orders? Can they be submitted online? What is their response time guarantee for after hour’s emergencies? If it’s just a single landlord and not a property management company, do they have someone you can call when they go on vacation and the water heater breaks?

Landlord & Complex

Consider how big the apartment is, can you throw a small party and can your close friend’s sleepover? Are you going to be sharing space with a roommate or living alone? Assess How many visitors can you have at a time and are there any parking spots for the guests?

Always play safe, once you’re done inspecting the house, make sure you write down any current damages present in the apartment and delivery to your landlord before the due date, so later you are not held accountable for any damage that you have not made.

Make your lease terms very clear, and know what utilities you would be paying for, such as electricity, gas, and water.

Make sure there’s an Internet provider suitable to your needs, check out their packages and promotions, and setup installation the day you move in so you can relax with a movie after a long day of moving.

Get an idea of the wide price range of utilities such as heat and AC for the unit. Ask neighbors in similar units the general price range for heating/cooling.

Check your responsibilities as a tenant. After moving in many landlords require you to pay the cost of a stopped-up toilet, pest infestations, and mow the grass on areas around the house, or clean gutters. They may also require you to pay the cost to fix supplied appliances.

When signing the lease, dress well, and ask for a discount, this leaves a good impression on the landlord, and you may save some money by just dressing up nice. It’s a win-win. If the leasing agent or landlord promises to do something before you move in, it needs to be written into the lease, or it may not happen.

Find out the rules of a homeowner’s association if any, to find out the policy on smoking, pets, noise, and visitors. You must also have a clear idea that what happens if you break a lease? What are the consequences?

Now that you have an idea of all the details you must know before renting an apartment, always go with your instinct and intuition, if you love a place and can envision yourself living there, go for it!


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