AptExpert.com  - Free Houston Apartment Locator and Finder Service
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 as long as 10 days - Every property is different. Applications are no longer processed by the onsite leasing or management staff. Each property uses a company to perform the process once fees are paid to the leasing office or online via their website and 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 any background issues on your apartment rental applications. Additionally, disclosing background issues with your apartment locator during initial consultation is recommended.   

5. Broken lease or Eviction - both or either of these issues will negatively affect your approval and should be discussed with me during our initial consultation and prior to applying for an apartment.   

Q.Why should I use your service to find an 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 will want to enlist the services of a licensed professional to assist you. A lease agreement is a legal, binding document. It's also a lengthy commitment involving thousands of dollars. My knowledge and experience will be invaluable to you in your search for your apartment. I have the skills and expertise to find the perfect place, hassle free, stress free and in the most timely and efficient manner possible and it's Free!  

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", however I can assure you, our service is free to you. We're paid by the apartment owner as a result of your rental for providing a new, qualified renter. We're only paid as a result of your move in. Our business model is similar to the way a travel agent is paid or a standard real estate transaction. It will not adversely affect your rental price. I can ordinarily find the best price, offered specials, discounts or look and lease incentives that you may not find on your own. We're in constant contact with the apartment leasing teams and their first line for marketing their properties for specials, lowered prices, and availability. We are paid from their marketing and advertising budget. Texas Apartment Locators has been doing business in the Houston and other Texas cities 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 I know properties that have some flexibility to work with certain situations. This may result in a higher deposit or risk fee from the apartment owner. 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. Not all apartments have the same qualifying criteria. They also 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.  

You can check all 3 of your credit reports prior to applying for an apartment at AnnualCreditReport.com on an annual basis without having to pay a fee and it's a very good idea to do so whether you're in the market for an apartment or not. 
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 even with a co-signer as the person or persons to sign an addendum guaranteeing payment for the rental. The guarantor will fill out an application too. This 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 any 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, otherwise I will likely refer you to a reputable experienced realtor. My specialty is apartment locating throughout greater Houston.   

How Long of a Lease Will I Need to Sign?
Most Apartments offer 12 to 18 months for best price and specials. Many offer 6 month lease terms but with dynamic software in place, the price can increase, sometimes significantly. There are select communities offering 3 month lease terms but those will come at a premium as well. 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, less than what most hotels charge and with many more conveniences.  Ask me about corporate apartments for more details.  

Q.Is it best to make an appointment to visit your office and meet with you in person? 
A. Yes, please call for an appointment if you plan to come into the office however, I work remotely. 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 further so that I can match your wants and needs. I'll carefully match your price range, location, lifestyle and amenity preferences with properties from my rental database, and prepare a personalized apartment search package that is sent to you via email. I can also assist you by phone. I'll discuss the details of each property, update pricing and assist you from start to finish. You'll receive 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, how do I get started!?
A. Simply click the link here to fill out the Start Search quick contact form or call me 281-414-5258 or 281-842-7965.  

Fill out the Start Apartment Search quick contact form and let Kathy Curtis, Texas Apartment Locators find the perfect apartment home for you! Click on this button here or call  281-842-7965

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 check!  
 “One Time Fees”
(These fees may be required to be in money order/cashier’s check form, unless credit card/online payments are accepted upfront prior to occupancy).

Typical Examples of Fees:
Application Fee 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).
Lease Fee/Administrative Fee
$75 to $250 is customary - some may waive with specials, ask me about more details.  
(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 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.
Utility 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.
(Monthly water usage measured and billed based on the prevailing rates as established by the local municipalities and will vary based on consumption).
Pest Control 
Gas – varies and if the apartment community has natural gas (hot water heaters, central heat units, ranges/stoves, etc.) 
Pet Deposit/Pet Fee – Part of which may be non-refundable*, a one time fee and varies by apartment owner/management.
Pet Rent* – recurring monthly – varies by apartment owner/management.
Renter Insurance or Renter Liability Policy
Most apartment owner/management require proof of renter insurance/liability policy. Check with your leasing office prior to application.
     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. 

Criminal history, credit history, rental history, employment history are all required, 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. 

READ Hot topics on AptExpert.com Blog  

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 a widely discussed topic for many years among apartment owners and management representatives. Most customers search out ratings and reviews before visiting an apartment community. Residents and non-residents have an open platform to post whatever concerns they have. There are few, if any apartment communities with a perfect rating, providing yet another reason to use a reputable, trusted apartment locator.  As your agent, I will do my best to address your concerns with properties I've recommended as considerations for rental.  When using apartment ratings and reviews, please do so objectively. 
Try to remain open minded - ask me about any questionable reviews or properties. I will answer your questions honestly and have worked with the majority of Houston apartments and their management teams over the course of 25 years.  Several apartment communities have been sold with new owners and management teams in place within the last few years. This has been in an effort to upgrade the communities, increase value for the owner and provide a more  satisfactory experience to the residents. 
As an experienced agent, I'm very knowledgeable with the properties I represent, having visited them and worked with the leasing and management teams repeatedly. I will provide an honest and objective opinion based on my experience, my customers' experiences and more recent information than what may be posted on review sites. 

 Call Kathy Curtis, save time, trouble and money! http://www.AptExpert.com
Serving the entire Greater Houston area from Clear Lake to Conroe and every area in between.  
   Call me as soon as possible to search for your new apartment home.  Most properties require a written 60 day move out notice! Be sure to read your lease agreement and satisfy the terms. Even if you're on a month to month lease, the terms are still in place, a written move out notice of 60 days is required from your management office prior to moving. If you do not give a written move out notice, you could incur a balance owed to the property you're moving from which would likely prevent you from being approved for your new apartment, or it will show up later, on your credit and rental history reports. 




AptExpert.com abides by all  fair housing laws and regulations. Enlist a professional licensed agent for your apartment search in Houston today. This Symbol represents Fair Housing  - Equal Opportunity.    We do business in accordance with Federal Fair Housing laws.  
Copyright © Kathy Curtis, Texas Apartment Locators Houston, LLC., also known as Kathy Curtis Properties; AptExpert.com; http://www.aptclearlake.net