As shelter-in-place continues, many apartment renters are wondering how they should proceed with their leases and what they need to know about moving while preventing Covid-19 community spread. Last week, our Founder and CEO, Cassie Brown, hopped on Instagram live to answer questions apartment renters have during this time. If you weren’t able to tune into the Instagram live session for your city, here are the most frequently asked questions across the D-FW, Houston, and Austin metros.
Movers and the moving process
Can we move during shelter-in-place? Are movers considered “essential?” Are moving companies open for business right now while we’re practicing social distancing?
Even before our live Q+A with Cassie and local sales managers, we’ve received a lot of questions around moving and movers. Yes – moving can definitely take place during this time! Texas deemed real estate and moving companies essential, so apartment properties and moving companies are up and running in all cities that we service. Hours of operation and protocol at apartment leasing offices and moving companies have also shifted to make moving as safe as possible. If coordinating a move right now feels like a little much, Cassie also shared a Smart City resource that can eliminate those efforts and provide some relief.
The Smart City Concierge is a recent extension of our free service to clients that handles the set-up and logistics of everything from utilities, cable, and internet; to moving services. If you’re moving in or to Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston or Austin, whether you found your new apartment through us or not, you can get connected with our concierge service to minimize stress and streamline your transition. Send us a text to get connected:
D-FW: (214) 414-9453 ∙ Houston: (713) 425-3077 ∙ Austin: (512) 387-5838
As you move, make sure to take appropriate moving precautions. Use new cardboard boxes, keep the number of people in your new space below 5 at any given time, and sanitize all surfaces and door handles before unpacking.
The “virtual” process
How does your process work if I can’t tour apartment properties right now? What does it look like to do the entire searching and moving process virtually? Is it easy to get the feel of a space by touring virtually?
If you follow us on social media, you know that for any and every unit we’ve ever posted, we’re sharing those photos and live tours with our clients! One specific question we got was about getting the “feel” of the space through virtual touring and if that can even be done – Absolutely! First off – since we don’t auto-generate lists for our clients, we only send them options that uniquely fit their wants, needs, and must-haves, so accuracy is pretty impeccable. Agents can then help as they send visual assets by describing the space, layout, dimensions and help you decide whether or not certain furniture can fit in certain spots! Then, on the back end, our concierge service will get all utility and moving services squared away.
If you’re running an apartment search on your own and leveraging visual assets that properties send you, definitely make sure to cross-check the layout with your current furniture. If you don’t have a list of apartment must-haves yet, make that prior to viewing all virtual touring content so you can ensure you’re getting everything you want as you sift through the options. Check out our recent blog for more tips around social distancing and how to maintain your apartment search!
Market rates, renewing your lease & current rent payments
Can I get a better deal on an apartment with everything that’s happening? Should I move or just renew where I’m currently living? What will happen to rates after everything calms down?
Market rates for apartments are based on supply and demand, which is obviously shifting in a major way right now. That being said – there is definitely an opportunity to change your current living situation and get a better deal when it comes to renting. While we can’t necessarily predict future pricing, Cassie shared two important details during her go-live sessions – we as a company are fully aware of what deals are available to renters throughout the metros we serve, and she anticipates a large influx in leasing after everything calms down a bit. There are two deductions renters can make as a result – properties are working with locators and prospective tenants to offer better pricing right now, and once the COVID-19 curve flattens and people begin moving again, that surge of movers will spike demand and price in the market.
Those deductions are not only important for renters looking to move properties, but also for renters considering renewing a lease with their current property! If you’re looking to renew, whether it be a choice of convenience or otherwise, you actually have some prospective leverage in the process. Knowing what comparisons are currently available in your area can sometimes affect the rate at which you can renew or offer up an option you maybe didn’t consider. Before you renew your lease, link up with one of our agents to make sure you know what is available to you and feel confident in the next steps you can take.
When it comes to current rent payments, open communication with apartment properties is key right now. Since you’re in a binding contract with the property for the duration of your lease term, they will be the ones you’ll need to communicate with should recurring payments or lease obligations become a concern. Unfortunately, this is one area of leasing that we have to defer completely to the discretion of properties, and communicating with your leasing staff earlier rather than later is always a good idea.
If your lease is up in the next 90 days, let us be a resource for you during this time. We can show you comparable units and pricing in the market and if you don’t like anything, then you’re better equipped to negotiate a renewal with competitive rates. Our locating and concierge services are free; we work with the majority of properties in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin; and, we’re here to take the stress of moving completely off your plate – especially right now!
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