Apartment Hunting

Two weeks ago, Husband and I received a friendly notice informing us that our lease is up for renewal in July. Would we like to re-sign? If so, here are the current rates. Such a benign letter for the surprising news it contained: the 12-month lease is $70 more than we currently pay. But that’s still less than the $200 increase I heard about yesterday at a different complex. Crazy, right?

We have lived in this apartment three years, the longest I’ve lived at an address since I left for college. Though we’ve often experienced growing pains (the amount of stuff grows, the apartment stays the same), we’ve created a little nest. We have an adequate number of bookshelves, we’ve rearranged the study at least five times, we’ve bought and given away furniture as we started sifting through the hand-me-downs and purchased our own home furnishings.

Over the past three years, our rent has crept ever higher. We almost moved last year, but decided to stay when we couldn’t find anything we liked better in our price range. Add up the costs of new deposits, pet deposits, contract fees, and the cost of hiring movers, and previous rent increases didn’t seem so bad.

But the time has come to say good-bye and move. Suffice to say, the decision has been bitter-sweet. We’re excited about the idea of moving to a place with an open kitchen, a bigger living room, maybe even two bathrooms.

But searching for a cheaper apartment in Houston is a nightmare.

Granted, finding a cheap apartment in Houston is probably easier than, say, in LA or New York. But like most metropolitan areas, we have been hit by the housing crisis, and it’s definitely a landlord’s market. In addition, older units are being replaced by newer, shinier (and more posh) digs. When I called one complex, they said that we would have to sign a termination agreement for December because they would be torn down. Other colleagues were recently given 30 days to find a new place. Their apartment complex is now a pile of concrete, wood, and steel.

I can only imagine that this construction boom is driving up rates in the Inner Loop as more people search for housing. Many of the places we’ve visited so far have been at or near capacity.

Thankfully, there are a lot of options available outside of traditional complexes. We’re exploring rental condo options and there are quite a lot of duplexes in the area. In the meantime, I’m trying to curb my book-buying compulsion with limited success. All these bookshelves seemed like a good idea at the time …

Anyone else moving this summer?

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5 thoughts on “Apartment Hunting

  1. Libby says:

    I feel you. Our rent has been jacked up anywhere from $100 to $250 on renewal. It used to be we'd get offers on half off one month's rent to resign. Those days are long gone, at least for now. Good luck!!!

  2. Neurotic Workaholic says:

    I moved to a new apartment last summer, even though I didn't really want to. I chose an apartment I didn't like very much solely because the rent was cheaper. So I sympathize with the problem of the rising cost of rent, not to mention the awful "moving fees" that many landlords (including mine) charge. I hope that you guys find an affordable place that you like, and good luck with the moving process.

  3. Teddi says:

    I'm re-locating to Philadelphia for graduate school in the fall and have been looking for apartments. Most–if not at all–are about $1,000 or more. It's really insane. I'm thinking about getting a roommate, but at 23 years old, the move-in-with-a-complete-stranger thing no longer seems as exciting as it did when you're an 18 year old college freshman. Anyway, yes, I am all too aware of the high price of rent, and it looks like sooner or later it will be reality for me!

  4. Anna says:

    Libby and NW—thanks for the words of support. We recently signed a leasing agreement with a place that is MUCH cheaper (and also a bit smaller) so at least we won't be homeless :)Teddi—I feel you! I lived alone for the first year of grad school but was able to find an apartment for $630, nowhere near what you might pay. I've heard so many nightmare stories of roommates—but many more stories of new friends made. Good luck with the move! I've never been to Philly, but I've heard great things about it.

  5. Kate says:

    Moving into a new house or apartment is pretty exciting. Right, Anna? However, you have to consider the amount of rent you’ll be paying monthly. Also the type of neighborhood you’ll be in. I’m glad you were able to find an inexpensive apartment there. Hmm, you’ll get used to it, Anna!Kate Morgan

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