Apartment Locating Service

Roommate Living: Budgeting Tips for Shared Expenses

 

Sharing your Dallas apartment with a roommate or two can be a great arrangement, but figuring out how to divvy up the bills can sometimes be challenging. The fact is, it’s not always as easy as just splitting everything 50/50, and different people have different viewpoints and practices when it comes to budgeting and spending. Establishing some guidelines in advance can help prevent disagreements, misunderstandings and financial issues from arising down the road. Below, our apartment locating experts draw off their decades of experience to offer some pro tips for budgeting shared expenses.

 

Create a plan and commit to it.

The goal of creating a budget in advance is to help keep the peace for the long-term. This requires that everyone involved be on the same page and happy, or at least comfortable with the plan. However you choose to divvy things up, whether it be each roommate taking a particular bill or splitting all bills proportionately, make sure these details are all hammered out and fully agreed upon before moving forward.

 

Think ahead.

Future problems can easily be avoided if you try to anticipate what issues may come up down the road. For example, let’s say you decide that each roommate will take one or two utility bills. Anticipating in advance the possibility of one utility being overused can help you plan for how to prevent an issue down the road. So, you may agree that the A/C will be kept at a certain temperature to prevent the electric bill from skyrocketing disproportionately.

 

Decide what expenses are worth sharing.

Obviously, not every expense will make sense to share/budget for. Some things are more subjective and therefore more difficult for more than one party to agree to. For instance, everyone has their own taste and preferences on things like décor and furniture. Agreeing to split the cost of such items may not work in situations where one roommate has more expensive taste than the other(s). Therefore, it might make more sense to stick with the more straightforward bills, like rent and utilities.

 

Consider the unexpected.

From time to time, expenses may arise unexpectedly, such as repairs, rental increases or unforeseen fees. It’s a good idea to decide in advance how these unplanned expenses will be divided if and when they do come up. Ideally, setting aside a little extra each week or month can help cushion the blow and prevent these last-minute costs from causing financial hardship.

 

Keep track.

It may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but keeping track of all your expenses can come in handy should any questions or concerns arise throughout your tenancy. Having a record of the bills that have been incurred and paid can also be helpful in case you decide to audit things down the road. For example, you might decide to revisit your budget agreement annually to make sure everyone is still paying his or her fair share. Having all of the details handy can make this step infinitely easier.

 

Sharing your living space with someone else can be an excellent way to save money, but if you’re not careful, financial disagreements could erode an otherwise perfect arrangement. The budgeting tips above should help keep the atmosphere in your home happy, peaceful and respectful.

May 17, 2020 / by / in , ,
Thinking of Breaking Your Lease? 4 Important Things to Do First

 

There comes a time in every renter’s life when it’s time to move on, whether it’s due to a relocation, a better opportunity, changes in circumstances or something else. When that time happens to arise in the middle of a lease, however, there are a number of things to consider – especially if you’re looking to break your lease without incurring too much hassle or expense. While there’s no way to guarantee you’ll escape unscathed, there are a few things you can do to improve your odds.

 

Check your lease.

The first thing you should do is dig out your lease and read through it, looking specifically for an early termination or break clause. This section should provide more details around the requirements that must be met in order to break the lease and what the consequences may be in the case that you do. For instance, most landlords and property managers require, at the very least, a written notice. There will also most likely be a fee involved.

 

Give your landlord a call.

Even if there are specific requirements spelled out in your lease, you may be able to negotiate a better outcome if you give your landlord or property manager a call. At the very least, he or she may be willing to work with you to make the penalty a little easier to manage. For instance, if you are required to pay two month’s rent in order to get out of your lease, the landlord may consider allowing you to make that payment in several installments. That way, they still get their money but you’re not financially strapped.

 

Find a replacement.

The reason landlords have tenants sign leases and put early termination clauses in them is because they want to limit vacancies as much as possible. If you know of someone suitable who would be willing to take over your lease, you may be able to negotiate a transition without having to pay any penalties, since you’ll be saving your landlord time and prevent a vacancy. Don’t know anyone? Ask around or place an ad. Your effort in getting the ball rolling will likely be greatly appreciated.

 

Justify your stance legally, if possible.

There are certain situations in which breaking a lease is legal and can be done without consequence. Some of those situations may include, but not be limited to:

  • Unsafe or otherwise uninhabitable apartment conditions
  • Property manager or landlord has violated entry rules or engaged in harassment
  • Reassignment due to active military duty
  • Apartment is considered illegal and therefore un-rentable

 

If you believe your situation may fall into one of these categories, do some homework and be prepared. That way, when you notify the landlord or property manager of your intention to break the lease, you’ll already be armed with the information you need to back up your case.

Ready to break your lease or find a new Dallas apartment? Looking to relocate to the DFW area and not sure where or how to begin your apartment search? Our experienced apartment hunters can match you with the perfect place for your needs, preferences and budget. Get in touch today to get the ball rolling!

May 13, 2020 / by / in ,
How to Land a Killer Dallas Apartment for Less

There’s nothing better than snagging a great deal. So, what if you could land a kickass Dallas apartment and save money at the same time? Yes, it is possible to get a good deal on an apartment, whether it’s a one-time upfront savings or a lower monthly rate. That being said, there is a bit of a science to it. If you’re in the market for a new place (or you just want to know the tricks of the trade for future reference), here’s the inside scoop from our experienced apartment locators.

 

Do some research.

Rent costs vary based on a variety of factors, many of which are tied to the physical location of the property itself. Obviously, the more affluent the area, the higher the price tag will be on the available apartments. That’s not to say you can’t still land a good deal in a nicer area. You just may have to be a little more diligent. But if you’re on a budget, researching which Dallas neighborhoods have the most favorable rent rates may be worth the extra effort.

 

Understand that prices may fluctuate.

Many property managers rely on software that prices apartments dynamically, similar to flights and hotel rooms. Certain factors, such as timing and demand surges, play a role in how much a particular apartment unit might go for at any given time. Dynamic pricing enables property managers to enter various criteria, such as occupancy rates, nearby rent prices and unit location, and automatically generate the best rate. Keep in mind, however, that this is just a baseline. There may still be some wiggle room. 

 

Try to time your move.

Not everyone has the luxury of waiting to move until the perfect time, but for those who do have that kind of flexibility, it may be well worth your while. For instance, research indicates that the months between November and February tend to be the slowest as far as the rental season in Dallas is concerned. That means if you time your move during that window, chances are you’ll get a better rate on your rent as well, since landlords and property managers will be scrambling to fill vacancies.

 

Be prepared to negotiate.

One of the best kept secrets in the Dallas apartment scene is that rent rates can sometimes be negotiated. Even if you can’t convince a landlord to charge you a lower monthly rate, you might be able to work out a deal where you get a discount on the first month or perhaps have certain fees waived, such as application or amenity fees. Again, apartment owners want to maximize occupancy, and many are willing to compromise in order to do so. In any case, it certainly can’t hurt to ask.

 

Lean on a pro.

The good news is, getting the best deal on a Dallas apartment isn’t something you have to figure out on your own. In fact, if you partner with the right team, they can negotiate the best rate and/or perks on your behalf. Our Dallas apartment locators have established relationships with property managers all over the DFW area. We also know about great deals, some of which are not even advertised to the public. And we don’t charge a penny for our services. Ready to get started? Get in touch today!

April 29, 2020 / by / in ,
Relocating to Dallas? 5 Tips for Renting an Apartment Sight Unseen

According to recent reports, Dallas leads the entire nation in relocations, with nearly 250 new people arriving on a daily basis. Often times, those moving to a new city face the challenging task of finding a place to stay without being able to do a walkthrough or inspection first. While signing a lease on a new apartment sight-unseen can certainly be risky, there are a few precautions you can take to protect yourself and improve the odds of landing a place you’ll actually love. Here’s what our experienced apartment locators recommend.

 

Create a List

Before launching your search, it’s important to have a clear picture of what your needs and preferences are. You don’t want to waste your time looking up listings that don’t match your criteria – especially if you’re under pressure to find something fast. Sit down and write a list of what you want in a Dallas apartment. What amenities do you absolutely need? How much rent can you afford? Will you need public transportation? These are all essential things to know upfront.

 

Research the Area

Dallas is home to some of the best neighborhoods in the country (if we do say so ourselves), but they are not all created equal. Some may be more laid back and suburb-like while others are more lively and eclectic. Before you start your apartment search, do some research on each neighborhood to see which one(s) would more closely match your needs. And keep in mind that the DFW metroplex is pretty massive. If you’re relocating for work or school, make sure you’re looking in areas that aren’t situated too far away commute-wise.

 

Get Help

Once you’ve figured out what your needs and preferences are, as well as which neighborhoods you’d like to focus on, we strongly recommend enlisting the help of a professional. For instance, our Dallas apartment locators are intimately familiar with the area and have hands-on experience helping people with the relocation process. Plus, we’ve built a solid reputation that we would never want to risk. And, of course, our service is free. You could do all the work, but why would you want to???

 

Use Technology

These days, we have access to so much technology right at our fingertips. You can take advantage of this by asking for a virtual tour of each apartment. Some luxury Dallas apartments offer this feature right on their websites. If this isn’t an option, ask a friend or apartment locator to do a walk through while using a video-conferencing tool, like Skype, FaceTime or Facebook messaging’s video call feature. It’s the next best thing to being there in person.

 

Ask for a Shorter Lease

This may not always be an option, as most landlords and property managers prefer to sign long-term tenants, but it’s certainly worth a shot. Finding a place that offers month-to-month tenancy may be a decent option, although having to move again shortly after relocating probably won’t be fun. If you can find a place that offers a lease of six months or a year, you’ll have time to see if you like your new place before deciding to move on or sign a longer-term lease.

Ready to take the plunge and see what’s out there? Contact our Dallas relocations experts today!

March 30, 2020 / by / in ,
Bad Credit? Here’s How You Can Still Get a Great Dallas Apartment.

Bad Credit? Here’s How You Can Still Get a Great Dallas Apartment.

Bad credit can be caused by any number of financial issues, from missing a few credit card payments to defaulting on your student loans to having a vehicle repossessed, etc. Once your credit score has taken a dive, it can seem almost impossible to climb back out of that hole. And since almost every major life decision – including renting an apartment in Dallas – involves running a credit check, it can really come back to haunt you. The good news is, it’s not permanent. Here are a few actions you can take to start rebuilding your credit and improve your chances of landing that new apartment you’ve been wanting.

 

Pull your credit report.

The first step in rebuilding your credit is to find out exactly what you’re working with. There are a number of online services that provide an idea of what your credit score is, but they’re not always completely accurate. What’s more, some of them aren’t on the up-and-up. The only true and safe way to know your real score is to utilize the Annual Credit Report service. This service, mandated by the U.S. government, provides consumers with access to their credit reports from all three major credit bureaus once every 12 months, free of charge.

 

Look for discrepancies and inaccuracies.

Once you’ve got your updated credit report, go through it with a fine-toothed comb, paying extra attention to any negative items listed on each report. The truth is, mistakes happen, and if you’re not careful, incorrect information could be bringing your score down through no fault of your own. For instance, creditors occasionally misreport negative details to the credit bureaus, such as missed or late payments that were, in fact, made on time. If you spot a discrepancy, it’s up to you to take action. File a dispute with the appropriate credit bureau as soon as possible. Having these items updated and/or removed can bump your score in a more positive direction.

 

Negotiate with your creditors.

If you’re struggling to pay down your balances or keep up with your payments, it may be helpful to contact your creditors directly. Ask if they’d be willing to lower your interest rate, put you on a more flexible payment plan or accept a settlement in exchange for removing negative comments on your credit report. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful, but it’s certainly worth a try. If you do get an agreement, be sure to get it in writing, as it may be helpful to show a potential leasing manager or landlord.

 

Work with a pro.

Having poor credit doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never be able to rent a nice apartment in Dallas. It just may mean you’ll have to do a little more work to find someone who would be willing to take a chance on you. This is one of the reasons why working with a Dallas apartment locator service can be so beneficial. Our experienced locators have long-standing relationships with many landlords and property managers and may be able to match you with someone who is flexible and understanding. If you’re interested in learning more, get in touch and let’s discuss what your options are.

March 30, 2020 / by / in ,
No Surprises – 5 Extra Costs to Consider when Moving

No Surprises – 5 Extra Costs to Consider when Moving

When looking for a new Dallas apartment, one of the most important things to consider is cost. What will rent be? What type of deposit will I need? How much will utilities cost? How much apartment can I afford? These are all valid factors to consider. What many renters neglect to include in their calculations, however, are all those hidden costs associated with moving. To prevent any unpleasant and financially damaging surprises, here are a few extras you may want to prepare for.

 

Application Fees

Many landlords charge applicants a fee, which is designed to do two things: cover the cost of a credit check and background check, and weed out applicants who are shady or aren’t really serious about renting. Most of these fees are nominal, ranging from around $20 to $50, but they’re typically non-refundable, so be sure to factor this into your budget – especially if you’re planning on applying with multiple properties.

 

Moving Costs

Unless you plan on schlepping all of your stuff to your new place on your own, you’ll also want to factor the cost of professional movers into your apartment budget. Prices of moving companies vary and depend on a lot of things, such as distance and amount of property. You may pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well into the thousands. Even if you decide to go the DIY route, you’ll probably end up paying a couple of friends to help you, whether with cash or springing for food and drinks, so keep this in mind.

 

Utility Deposits

Many utility companies require customers to pay a deposit or down payment in order to activate services. These deposits typically range from $100 to $300. If you’ve already paid the fee and will just be switching service from your old place to your new, you’re probably all set, but you might want to double check just to be sure. You don’t want to end up sitting in the dark because you’ve used up all your extra cash and can’t cover the unexpected activation fee.

 

Renters Insurance

Not only is renters insurance something that’s strongly recommended for apartment dwellers, but there’s a good chance it’s something your new landlord or property manager will require. This insurance protects your belongings and limits your liability in the event of an emergency. The cost of insurance can vary greatly, depending on how much coverage you’re looking for. Figure anywhere from $10 for the bare minimum to a few hundred dollars a month for more comprehensive coverage.

 

Facilities Fees

Another added expense found in many Dallas apartments is an access fee to use the onsite facilities. Not all, but some apartments assess an additional monthly fee to use things like the fitness center, pool, laundry facility, etc. You may be able to negotiate this a bit, but it’s something you should at least inquire about so that you don’t end up disappointed after the fact.

 

When determining how much moving into your new Dallas apartment is going to cost, these five things – along with the basics of security deposit and first month’s rent – should all be factored in. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to manage your budget more effectively and avoid any unexpected costs you can’t afford.

March 8, 2020 / by / in ,
Timing is Everything – When and How to Get the Best Deal on a Dallas Apartment

Timing is Everything – When and How to Get the Best Deal on a Dallas Apartment

 

They say in life, timing is everything. Believe it or not, that concept can be applied to the apartment seeking process. We asked our experts, is there really a “best” time to rent an apartment in Dallas? While there’s technically no magical formula, there are certain factors that can impact the overall outcome. If you’re interested in getting the best apartment for the best possible deal (which we’re sure you are), here are a few expert tips to keep in mind.

 

Busiest Season

Nationally, the majority of apartment seekers list summer as their ideal time to pack up and move. For Dallas apartment seekers, however, spring is more favorable. This is important to know, because it means there is likely to be more competition during the months of March, April and May. Greater demand means fewer choices and lower chances of getting the best deal. Furthermore, moving costs also fluctuate accordingly. If you’ve got flexibility, choosing another, less popular season may net you better results.

 

Lowest Rents

According to a recent study by RentHop, the “slow season” for Dallas rental properties tends to be between November and February. That same survey revealed that rental rates during this slow season tend to dip anywhere from 2.6% to 3.2%. For a one-bedroom apartment averaging $1100 a month, signing a lease during the slower season could net a savings of $29 – $35 a month. That may not seem like much, but it adds up to an approximate annual savings of $350 – $420. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.

 

Best Time to Look

If you’re able to move when competition is lower, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to start looking for an apartment – ideally, we recommend a timeframe of 60-90 days. So, if you’re targeting a move-in date of February 1st, then you should begin your apartment search in November or December. By allowing yourself plenty of time to look for a new place, you’ll be in a better position to be able to negotiate the best rent rate and find deals on moving companies, if applicable. Leaving things until the last minute is never good for the budget.

 

Other Perks

Because it’s more challenging for landlords and property managers to find quality tenants during the slow season (even with the help of a Dallas apartment locator service), they’ll often extend incentives, like gift cards or a free month’s rent. This is often on top of the lower rent rate, so it provides a second opportunity to save. Keep in mind, though, that these incentives typically only apply to new renters, so don’t expect the same fanfare when you renew your lease a year or two from now.

Are you in the market for a new Dallas apartment? Now’s the time to get the ball rolling, if you haven’t already. Our expert apartment locators can match you with the perfect place and help you get the best deal for your dollar. And it won’t cost you a penny to work with us! Act fast – before peak season starts. Get in touch today!

February 17, 2020 / by / in ,
Myth Busters: 5 Common Misconceptions About Apartment Locators

 

Myth Busters: 5 Common Misconceptions About Apartment Locators

When people hear about what we do here at Dallas Apartment Locators, they often shy away, feeling as though our service is too good to be true. In reality, there are a lot of similar myths and misconceptions that prevent people from taking advantage of a service that can truly help them find the perfect place. We’d like to set the record straight once and for all. Here are five of the most common mistruths about apartment locators and the reality behind them.

 

Myth: There’s got to be some sort of catch.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about apartment locators is that somehow we’ve got something up our sleeves. Prospective clients wonder if they’re going to end up having to pay some sort of hidden fee or extra charge once they’ve been matched with a property. This is simply not true. Our service is 100% free for apartment hunters. We make money from property managers or owners who pay us to find them good tenants.

 

Myth: Apartment locators don’t have my best interest in mind.

While it’s true that we are compensated by the managers and building owners, that doesn’t mean we only work for them. In fact, the opposite is true. Our main goal is to take care of our clients, regardless of who’s actually paying us. After all, it’s our reputation that’s on the line. At the end of the day, we’re not happy until both sides are satisfied with the outcome.

 

Myth: I can find the same properties on my own.

Some of them? Sure. But one of the major benefits of working with an apartment locator is the fact that we have the inside scoop. Because we have connections in the industry, we know about some pretty sweet properties that are available but haven’t yet been listed. We’re talking about some of the nicest Dallas apartments on the market. And you may never find out about them unless you’ve got an in.

 

Myth: I’ll pay a higher rent if I use a locator service.

Again, our compensation model is simple. Apartment owners and managers pay us to find them high-quality tenants to fill their vacant properties. That’s it. We don’t get kickbacks and the property owners/managers don’t magically charge a premium just because the tenant came from us. In fact, we may even be able to help you negotiate a better rent. So, don’t believe the hype.

 

Myth: Apartment locators just work from automated lists.

The fifth and final myth we’d like to dispel is that our service is cookie cutter. While this may be true for some of our competitors, at Dallas Apartment Locators, we pride ourselves on our personalized service. We’ll work with you to understand your unique needs and preferences, and then match you with properties that meet that criteria. If we don’t get it right the first time, we’ll adjust our sails and keep trying until we do. Getting you into a home you love is our highest priority.

 

The best way to determine what an apartment locator service can do for you and overcome any misconceptions you may have is to try it for yourself. What do you have to lose? Start your search today.

February 7, 2020 / by / in
Ultimate Guide of Must-Ask Questions When Touring an Apartment

Ultimate Guide of Must-Ask Questions When Touring an Apartment

New to the Dallas apartment scene? Deciding on a new place to live can be overwhelming – especially when you’re faced with signing a long-term lease. It can be helpful to know what questions to ask going in, before you make a decision, so you don’t end up locked into a contract you’re unhappy with. Luckily, our decades of experience as Dallas apartment locators have taught us exactly what things to look for and ask when touring an apartment. Here are a few of the main questions we recommend asking the landlord or property manager when considering an apartment.

 

Money Matters

  • How much is the rent?
  • Is there an application fee?
  • How much is the security deposit? Is it refundable?
  • Will I be required to obtain renters insurance?
  • Which, if any, utilities are included in my rent (i.e. water, gas, cable, trash, etc.)?
  • What other, if any, additional deposits, fees, or charges should I be aware of (i.e. pet deposit, usage fee for fitness center, etc.)
  • How long is the lease?
  • What happens if I need to break the lease?
  • Is rent negotiable?
  • Are there currently any special offers or discounts available on the apartment?

 

Daily Living

  • Are pets allowed?
  • Is there a guest policy and, if so, what does it entail?
  • What, if any, changes will I be allowed to make to the inside of the apartment (i.e. painting walls, hanging photos, replacing light fixtures, etc.)?
  • Are window treatments included?
  • Can I add a roommate after the fact?
  • Is smoking allowed in the building or on the premises?
  • Who should I call if I have any issues?

 

Logistics

  • How and when can I access the facilities (i.e. pool, fitness center, laundry room, etc.)?
  • Is there parking available and, if so, is there a fee or permit required?
  • Where is the nearest public transit?
  • Is 24-hour emergency maintenance available and, if so, how are requests made?
  • What security measures — including fire and carbon monoxide detectors — are deployed throughout the building/complex?

 

In addition to these basic questions, you may have specific questions that relate to your own personal needs or preferences. We strongly recommend writing a list of these questions so you don’t forget anything. The nice thing about working with an apartment locater service like ours is that most, if not all of these questions can be answered up front by our team. This will save you time and aggravation.

 

Finding the perfect Dallas apartment isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Don’t leave anything to chance. Asking the right questions will allow you to make a much more informed decision and avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.

 

Ready to take the plunge and start your Dallas apartment search? Our experts can answer all your questions and match you with the perfect place. Get in touch today! 

December 27, 2019 / by / in ,
I’m Outta Here – Dallas Apartment Move Out Checklist

I’m Outta Here – Dallas Apartment Move Out Checklist

 

As seasoned Dallas apartment locators, we’ve worked with hundreds of individuals and families who were in a transition period in their lives. Moving from one place t o another can be an exciting milestone. But the actual process of relocating can be incredibly stressful.

One thing we always recommend is to create and use a checklist. That way you won’t end up dropping the ball on anything important and possibly risk losing your security deposit. To make things easier, we’ve put together a template for you to use. Check it out below.

 

2 Months Prior

  • Sort and purge. Go through your apartment and get rid of anything you don’t need or want anymore. The less stuff you have to move, the better.
  • Schedule a mover. If you plan on using a moving company, the earlier you research and choose one, the better.
  • Create a moving binder to help you keep track of everything.
  • Give formal notice to your landlord. (Be sure to double check your lease for the specifics. Most require a minimum of 60 days, but others are longer, so be aware.)

 

6 Weeks Prior

  • Order your moving supplies (boxes, bubble wrap, tape, etc.). Don’t forget specialty containers, such as those needed to move fragile items.
  • Take measurements and make plans. Will your larger item be able to fit in your new place? If not, it’s time to come up with plan B.
  • Start organizing your stuff so it’ll be easier to pack.

 

1 Month Prior

  • Begin packing. Remember to label all of your boxes so you’ll know what goes where when it arrives at your new place.
  • Do a change of address.
  • Notify appropriate parties. Think utilities, credit card companies, banks, magazine subscriptions, your employer’s HR department, etc.

 

2 Weeks Prior

  • Arrange to take the day off from work.
  • Contact the moving company to confirm the details, such as the time the movers should arrive, approximately how much stuff they’ll be moving, etc.
  • Finish packing, if you haven’t already, leaving out just the essentials and a box to put those things in on the day of the move.

 

1 Week Prior

  • Clean! Remember – in order to get your security deposit back, you’ll need to return the apartment in the same condition it was when you rented it. If you need to, hire a professional cleaning service.
  • Arrange a date and time with your landlord to do the walkthrough and turn over your keys.
  • Plan for payment. If you’ve hired a moving company, you’ll need to pay them the balance of what’s owed on the day of the move, so plan ahead. And don’t forget to grab a little extra cash for a tip.

 

This list should help you get all your ducks in a row for a smooth, stress-free move. Feel free to print it out and add anything else you’d like.

Not quite ready to make the move, but curious to know what’s out there? We can match you with the perfect place to put this checklist to good use. Get in touch today!

November 27, 2019 / by / in