Like apartment hunting in any big city, everything depends on location. For an artsy, younger feeling neighborhood definitely consider Montrose and the Heights areas. For upbeat and trendy spots see Uptown, Midtown, Downtown, and Southeast Houston. And for a place which offers both work and play and is filled with professionals of all ages, check out Westchase. All of these areas are relatively safe and offer affordable options for young professionals just starting out.
Consider the Commute: Before falling in love with a neighborhood, you should consider its location versus that of your job. Commuting to and from work in a single-occupancy vehicle is the norm in Houston, creating a traffic nightmare at rush hour. As such, it may well be worth living closer to your work even if it means a bit of a rent hike if you do so.
Find the Apartment: A great place to begin is by checking out online listings. Besides showing pictures, prices, and amenities, these sites also allow you to narrow your search by price range or location, so when it comes to visiting the apartments in real life, you don’t wear holes in your boots. Some good resources are the Texas Apartment Guide, Padmapper, and Houston Apartment Insiders.
Apartment Viewing: It is extremely important to view the apartment prior to signing the lease, and there are a few tricks of the trade to consider. Always go to the apartment during daytime hours so that you get a better view of the whole apartment—just remember that the apartment may not be as bright at other hours of the day. Bring a friend, a parent, or someone you trust who has been through the rental process before. There’s a good chance that they will remember to ask the important questions that you don’t!
Signing the Lease: When you have found the apartment that you are ready to call home, make sure you sign the lease only after all your questions have been answered thoroughly and you are on board with the terms agreed upon. To get familiar with Texas leasing laws, see the tenants’ rights handbook.
Sublets: If you’re heading down to Houston for a summer and need a place to stay, you might consider seeking out a sublet apartment. Sublets can be great short-term options, but be sure to check the legality of your sublet before planning on moving on in.