Author Topic: Help Finding a Place to Rent: Houston (Pasadena)  (Read 1666 times)

afuera

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Help Finding a Place to Rent: Houston (Pasadena)
« on: February 18, 2016, 02:26:02 PM »
Situation:
I currently rent a 2 bed/2 bath/1100sqft for $1235 +pet/water/trash fees up in The Woodlands.  I really like this apartment and would stay but I will (almost definitely) be relocating to Pasadena for work.  Hubby and I were planning on buying a house but due to a number of different circumstances and advice from wonderful people on this forum we have decided to wait and rent for now.  Our current lease is up 7/1.  I know that's 4 1/2 months away but I'm a planner and would like to get a head start so we aren't rushed into a place that is a) too far away, b) to rundown/not safe, c) too expensive.

I would really like to avoid the big apartment complexes for our next place as I am getting quite fed up with apartment life (one reason why we were planning on buying).  Only problem is we want to lower our housing costs (preferably ~$1,000) and I'm having trouble finding sfhs or townhomes for rent around Pasadena that aren't rundown at that price.  We are willing to move down to a 1 bed/1 bath but really want at least 750-800 sqft.

So I guess my questions are:
Is that price range realistic for what we want? (Hopefully some of you are familiar with the area)
Are there resources that I'm not using that I should be to find housing? (currently looking on craigslist, Zillow, and apartments.com )
Any recommendations on areas within a 15-20 min commute of the ship channel that are nice but still affordable?

Thanks in advance for all the help!

slugline

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Re: Help Finding a Place to Rent: Houston (Pasadena)
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2016, 02:47:59 PM »
Another website that may help your search:
http://www.rentersresource.com

I'm in the Houston area but not familiar with Pasadena rental conditions. Good luck!

ooeei

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Re: Help Finding a Place to Rent: Houston (Pasadena)
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2016, 03:01:21 PM »
I live in NW Houston, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

<$1000 for a non-apartment is going to be pretty tough based on my research in my area.  One piece of advice I do have, is don't try to reserve anything TOO early.  I get that you like to plan ahead, but you'll pay for it.  You'll find limited selection and higher prices.  Most places require 60 days move out notice, some only 30.  I'd say wait until you're inside 30 days to pull the trigger on anything, unless it's a screaming deal.  Also, after submitting your application and fee that holds the place, drag your feet on signing the lease.  I don't think they need to have it until a few days before move in, but they'll try to get you to sign it ASAP.  Once you sign that you're locked in, and won't be able to cancel if you find a better deal.  As long as you haven't signed the lease you can back out and just lose your application fee.

My girlfriend and I recently moved to a new apartment complex, and I wish I'd held off on actually signing the lease, as our current complex had an opening come up that was a better deal.  Live and learn.

afuera

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Re: Help Finding a Place to Rent: Houston (Pasadena)
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2016, 09:33:17 AM »
Thanks for the tip about dragging your feet.  I have always felt rushed into signing the lease (afraid I would lose the apartment if I didn't hurry) especially when moving from out of town.  I didn't realize the application fee actually held the apartment.
What do you think is a better price estimate?  Do you think it is realistic to lower our housing costs below $1235/mo or should we just try and break even?

ooeei

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Re: Help Finding a Place to Rent: Houston (Pasadena)
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2016, 10:58:40 AM »
Thanks for the tip about dragging your feet.  I have always felt rushed into signing the lease (afraid I would lose the apartment if I didn't hurry) especially when moving from out of town.  I didn't realize the application fee actually held the apartment.
What do you think is a better price estimate?  Do you think it is realistic to lower our housing costs below $1235/mo or should we just try and break even?

I know for our area (near Clay and BW8), we looked and single family homes were >$1300 for the most part.  And those were not in particularly great areas.  I didn't look too much into townhomes, there may be some deals in that market if you just want to not have upstairs neighbors. 

I'd say start researching whenever you want about how much places 1-2 months out from today's date are charging.  That gives you an idea of the range you should be shooting for, and will let you know what a good deal looks like.  Narrow it down to 5 or so places you like, and email/call them to ask how much notice they require, that lets you know when to really start looking.  Some places have really updated online stuff, some don't.  The updated ones usually list individual apartments prices and availability.  The non-updated list a range for a particular floor plan, or say "starting at $XXXX."  Try to find a time when you'll be at max availability for your top picks, within a week after move out notice would be required, and go and try to visit them all in one day.  Many places give incentives for applying within 24 hours of touring, so try to take advantage of it.  If you like one, fill out the application and pay the fee.

Once they send you the lease, wait until they follow up.  Wait a few days and respond saying you don't check that email very often or something and will try to take a look at it this week.  Ask a few questions if you want later that week, stuff like fire alarms and sprinklers, year of construction, etc is usually required for renter's insurance, so those are good candidates.  Stall until 1-2 weeks before move in, then sign the lease and get utilities and insurance ready to roll.

edit:  Just remembered you weren't really looking for apartments.  House rentals are probably harder to come by, so I'd snap up one if I found one I liked at a decent price.  The above is a good way to go for apartments if you decide to go that route though.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 12:03:51 PM by ooeei »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Help Finding a Place to Rent: Houston (Pasadena)
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2016, 11:42:21 AM »
Might also check out HAR.com (houston area realtors' site) they'll have rentals listed as well.

Pasadena has a poor reputation; it's very industrial so the few commercial/residential areas are sandwiched into those areas without any real planning (zoning in Houston is a joke), and most folks won't live in Stinkadena if they have a choice (what my husband says the locals call it) due to the high pollution/industrial concentration. They frequently have plant accidents and the residents have to "shelter in place" often, so I personally wouldn't live anywhere in that area just for that reason (screw ease of commuting; I'd prefer to limit my exposure to explosions and chemicals if possible). 

I would also make sure to check flood plains and either get an apartment on the second/third floors and/or make sure that you get flood insurance. SE side is overbuilt and will experience flooding in many areas when the heavy rains come.

I'd suggest looking a bit farther out from there, but still along a major freeway that leads directly into Pasadena. Could check out closer to Pearland or Clear Lake (SE) or even Deer Park (further east)... but living down in Clear Lake means commuting up 45 which is nightmarish. I would think checking out NE side might be a better fit; Humble and that general area should have some great neighborhoods for less than Woodlands (that's one of the hella expensive locations in the area) with a better commute than the Woodlands. If you look inside the loop, you'll find more urban hipster stuff, but it's going to be way more expensive. Further out is always going to be cheaper, but you might find some nice bedroom communities that are good, solid neighborhoods.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 11:44:24 AM by Frankies Girl »