Apartment Shopping Tips

Location

When looking for a new place one of the most important factors is usually the location.  For many having a short commute to work is a must.  Some even consider the area that their favorite shops and restaurants are located.  Living in close proximity to Dallas’ DART rail or Houston’s Washington Wave jitney can be very convenient for enjoying the local nightlife scene.

Price

Knowing what your rental budget is can be just as important as location when finding a new place.  Setting the budget, and sticking to it, before taking a look at places is highly recommended.  After all, who wants to fall in love with a place that would consume their entire paycheck in rent alone?  Managed properties require that the applicant’s gross income be equal to at least 3 to 3.5 times the monthly rent.

Size

For some people the size of the actual apartment trumps everything else.  This might be an important factor if you have a roommate or work from home.  Maybe an extra room is not needed but closet space is a must for your excessive shoe collection.  If you do need a larger place but still want to stay in a desirable area, older properties are a great place to look.

Style

Everyone has a unique style and is typically looking for a property to match.  If you are looking for a new place in Houston or Dallas you are in luck –chances are there is a property out there for you.  A great place to start is by choosing a property type: lofts, garden-style, high-rise, and mid-rise.  You can further narrow down your search by deciding if you’d like hardwoods, carpet, or stained concrete.  Your ideal place might even be one that features pendant lighting, spa bathroom, or a gourmet kitchen.

Needs

Knowing exactly what you need, vs. a want, out of your new home can also be helpful when selecting a place.  You might have a very specific need that automatically narrows down your search for you.  If you have a 45lb. four legged friend you will require a pet-friendly property.   For those that work in the Houston Medical Center and prefer not to pay for daily parking, you could decide on a property that offers shuttle service.

Availability

So it all comes down to the move date –a make it or break it.  You might have found the perfect property with the perfect unit, but it ultimately boils down to whether or not it’s going to be available for your time frame.  Having a little flexibility with your move date sometimes helps.  Typically the properties will only know what units will be available 60 days from your move date.  Locking down a place sooner rather than later can secure your top pick and will also give you a few more options to consider.

What is a Loft?

Have you ever wondered or been intrigued by what it would be like to live in a loft? Over the past decade loft living has gained popularity among the masses. Loft style apartments are perfect for those who are seeking a living space that is both eclectic and modern. Formerly popular with artists to live and work, lofts are now occupied by many personalities who aspire to make a space that is all their own and outside the box. Today there are a few different types of lofts available and knowing how they vary can be helpful when choosing which space might be right for you.

In general, most lofts have a few things in common: higher ceilings, large windows, and a not so cookie cutter floor plan. Beyond that, there are a wide range of loft spaces out there to consider. They can typically fall into one of two styles: “hard loft” or “soft loft”.

The hard-loft, also known as a traditional loft, is ordinarily found in converted warehouses or industrial buildings. During reconstruction the finishes can range from exposed duct work, brick walls, and wooden support beams. It is standard for developers to try to salvage as much of the building’s original infrastructure as possible in order to create an authentic space and preserve historical elements. Within the same property you might find different refurbished components that vary from each unit to the next creating a one of a kind space. The floors can be either stained concrete or a hardwood variation.

With the limited warehouses available for residential renovation purposes and the growing demand for basic loft features, developers have found an opportunity to capitalize on this “non-traditional” market by creating hybrid soft-lofts. These newly developed properties are a fusion between an industrial loft and a traditional apartment community. This option is perfect for those who prefer the open concept loft feel with more of the finished and polished design components. These new communities not only give residents the contemporary aesthetic but the convenience of living in a mid-rise with luxury amenities. If you like the thought of loft living, but the traditional loft does not exactly fit your design esthetic the soft-loft could be more of what you are looking for.

Residing in a loft you have the opportunity to design a living space from a blank canvas. With the glorious open spaces, some loft units have fewer dividing walls. This layout allows you the option to create a mixed use living and work area. The majority of traditional lofts are primarily found in metro areas where you are close to both work and play. Whereas newer construction soft-lofts are located in the city and surrounding suburbs.
With all of the unique options out there it is easy to see why many are attracted to loft living. While the loft lifestyle may have originated in New York and Los Angeles, it has now been adopted by people all over the country. In recent years, cities like Houston and Dallas have seen a huge demand for loft style properties and developers haven’t disappointed.

Here are a few examples of the different loft options available:

Downtown Houston Loft for rent

Urban Houston Loft Rental

Fort Worth Loft for rent

Fort Worth Loft for Rent

Urban Houston Warehouse District Loft for rent

houston warehouse district lofts for rent

Downtown Dallas Highrise Loft for rent

urban dallas downtown loft for rent

A real estate company 24 months in the making

Welcome to Standard Living, your premium real estate service provider.

In August 2011 we started Standard Living with the idea of providing a service that would help people find their new home. With the downturn in the economy, jobs were hard to come by in most cities. However, Houston was booming and people started flocking here for work and needed to find a place to live. It was the perfect time to go off on our own and build a company that could help accommodate this need.

Standard Living looks quite different today than it did 24 months ago. On day one we started off with 1 broker, 1 agent, no logo, self-designed business cards, a self-made website, and worst of all a very un-official “.net” web address – which Brian despised.

First thing first, we hired a young designer who helped us create a brand identity. Next we slapped our new logo on some professional business cards and we were off and running.

Similar to most start-ups, we knew what we wanted to accomplish but weren’t quite sure how to get there. As we quickly found out, and as cliché as it might sound, there is not a manual for learning how to start a business. The only way to figure it out is by going through the motions, addressing problems, and learning from your mistakes.

After a year of assisting clients in Houston, we acknowledged that our service might be in demand in other cities. We thought it might be a great time to expand. Shortly thereafter the opportunity presented itself and Standard Living entered the Dallas/Fort Worth market in September 2012.

One of our biggest obstacles, which were able to overcome last month, was acquiring our “.com” domain name. Frankly, we were unsure if we were going to be able to get it because it was owned by a large New York real estate brokerage and they were in no hurry to sell. Thankfully everything worked out and “standardliving.com” was officially ours. With the help from an amazing bi-lingual Russian developer, we were able to launch our new site this month – with new features to come.

Flash forward to today and we are officially a real company. Standard Living now has professional business cards, yard signs, awesome real estate agents, and new website.

standard-living-business-cards

This month marks Standard Living’s 2 year anniversary and we couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead. We look forward to helping many more clients find their new home.

We would like to thank everyone that has been a part of getting Standard Living off the ground: family, friends, clients, our Associates, and past colleagues (you know who you are). We’ve learned something from each one of you and can’t thank you enough.