5 Common Mistakes Austin Renters Make

Mistake #1:

Not researching the neighborhood enough

While location is a top priority for most, it’s important to consider more than just your proximity to work and other frequented locations. Here’s what to look out for:
  1. Distance to major roadways – Do you have to sit through 6 lights just to get to the highway? Is there a school zone on your way that will cause serious traffic during rush hour?
  2. Construction and traffic – take some time to drive around and check for construction roadblocks or congested intersections. Make sure you don’t have to sit for 10 minutes waiting to make a left turn out of your apartment, or aren’t stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in a construction zone on your commute. Especially if you’re renting in Downtown Austin, construction sites can be noisy – browse emerging Austin construction projects here to see what’s planned in your neighborhood.
  3. Local establishments – It might seem fun to live right by a bar or club, but if you’re an early riser, it can be a major frustration to live near so much noise. Check the hours of nearby businesses to get a sense of the apartment’s evening ambiance.

Mistake #2:

Underestimating Total Costs

Base rent is just that – base rent. When building a budget to rent, make sure to factor in anywhere from $200-$300+ for things like utilities, WiFi, and additional property monthly fees (valet trash, pest control, amenity fees, boiler fees, parking, pet rent). Note that tenants cannot opt out of some additional property fees even if you don’t need or use them.
Expect to pay at least $25/mo per pet for pet rent (yes, Fido has to pay rent too). If you want a reserved parking space or garage, those run about $50-$150/mo. Lastly, if you live Downtown, you’ll typically pay a garage parking fee of anywhere from $25-$75/mo. 

Mistake #3:

Failing to Fully Read the Lease Agreement

There’s nothing less fun than reading pages of legal jargon, but it’s definitely worth the due diligence when signing a lease. You’ll want to ensure you know not only your financial expectations, but also things like guest policies, parking and car policies, subletting clauses and if you have to pay any specials back if you break your lease. Empowering yourself with knowledge of your rights as a renter also grants you leverage when communicating with leasing and maintenance staff.

Mistake #4:

Making Verbal Agreements

Verbal agreements with your property management about key issues like repairs, modifications, or terms of the lease can be forgotten or misinterpreted. Especially verbal agreements around specials like a month free or a waived deposit. Always get any changes or agreements in writing.

Mistake #5:

Renting Unrepresented

You wouldn’t buy a house without a licensed agent or lawyer, so why would you rent an apartment unrepresented? Apartment Locators are market experts, and are the first to know about price drops and specials. Plus, they have tea on what property websites and Google reviews won’t tell you. They know all the right questions to ask to make sure you lease with confidence. 

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