As pre-leasing season is upon us, usually starting in October of each year but tends to start earlier and earlier with each passing year. You are typically asked via email or snail mail at your current residence if you’d like to “renew your lease”. If you are new to Austin and this is your first year here, you’re probably thinking “Why is the world are they asking me to renew only two months after moving in?!”. Because the market is so competitive, especially in the campus area due to all the students and incoming students as each year, The University of Texas accepts more and more students, making housing more difficult. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that is what Real Estate companies such as Uptown Realty come in and make your life so much easier. As our services are free for you, we will walk you through the leasing process and determine the best route to take to make sure you are happy and satisfied with your new digs for next year. You will also feel at ease knowing you have secured a place for next year and the hassle is over!
The biggest question we get pertaining to leasing is, “What is the difference between condos and apartments, and what is best for me?”. There are many factors in this decision but let’s start with the basic answer for this question. A condo is an individually owned unit, although there could be one owner for many units in one complex. Typically, unless there are Home Owners Association rules in regards to the aesthetics of the condo, each unit will have a different finish out. While one unit may have new paint and flooring, another could have older flooring or outdated carpet. It really depends on the amount of money and time the owner wishes to put into the unit. In West and North Campus, owners are usually pretty good about keeping up with updates, especially in condos that are in high demand. Condos are also managed by either the owner directly or a management company with an individual property manager. Many people see that as an advantage since you get to work with your owner face to face, it’s more personable and you have the opportunity to build a relationship with your owner. It makes it easier for you in the future with questions and concerns regarding your unit, in our opinion. Usually with condos you will have parking and other bills included in the rent since each unit is purchased an individual parking space and shared dumpsters. Condos can often be more private and quiet since the construction of the complex is usually with higher quality material and are updated with special assessments among the owners in the community. Condos tend to be more popular among students who are in their third or fourth year of school and graduate students that need a quiet places to hunker down and study. Keep in mind that with condos, you’ll be scheduling maintenance repairs through your owner or property manager and it won’t be onsite maintenance which could potentially take a few days, depending on the severity of the repair and will have to scheduled with you to gain access to the property.
Now here’s the low down on Apartments! Apartments can range from a small complex to a large complex like in West Campus. Most of all the high rises you see in West Campus are apartments and are owned and managed by one sole corporation with many different employees and property managers. You could potentially speak to a different person every time you contact the office but that doesn’t mean they don’t provide excellent customer service. Apartments usually have many more amenities including, gyms, pools, social areas, theaters and internet cafes for working on projects. Many Freshman and younger students tend to gravitate towards apartments due to these amenities and the social aspect of living in an apartment, it is easier to met people and mingle. Apartments can be louder than condos, especially if your patio or unit faces the pool area or another social area for residents, many students don’t mind this. Some complexes have all different kind of resident services such as laundry cleaning, maid services and most of them will have gated and secured entry through the lobbies. They are the closest thing to dorms with more space and freedom of a dorm and of course, off campus. You can expect to pay for parking per month, especially an assigned garage space or covered space. One of the benefits people tend to find about apartments is that they don’t require as many funds up front to secure a place, meaning they require smaller deposits and fees when applying for a unit, making it financially easier up front. You can also expect to see on-site maintenance, which is especially desirable for emergencies and easier to schedule the repairs.
So, all in all, with both choices you can find a place that suits you best but I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect and helps figure out what you would prefer for this next housing year. No matter what you choose, I’m sure we can find the perfect place for you and help provide a smooth and stress free transaction of securing your future housing so you can focus on your school work and socializing with new people and friends!