When Allie Beth Allman agent Erin Seeds first moved back to Dallas, she did what everyone usually does: went apartment hunting. Few people are ready to plunk down a down payment and buy a home when they first move to town, even if they have family here.

“It was a disaster,” says Erin. “All I wanted was to find a reasonably priced apartment that was good for me and my two dogs. I quickly learned that the apartment search process was so broken.”

The information she needed wasn’t available. Many good-looking apartment sites provided ratings, but those ratings were skewed, random, and not very actionable. There were no objective quality standards.

There is no MLS for apartment property search, no giant Zillow for rentals. Well, not yet. There are agents who specialize in apartment search, collecting an average of one month’s rent as commission: extra developer perks might be tempting. And when it comes to searching for amenities, most apartment search platforms come right from the landlord: not exactly what we would call objective, right?  

“No one was concerned with quality or fit for the consumer,” says Erin. “It was all about the agent.” (more…)

RealPage

Richardson-based RealPage will pay $3 million to settle FTC charges that found their tenant screening software misidentified potential renters as criminals.

It’s a problem that people with common last names face often: being mistaken for another with the same name and birthdate. But Richardson-based RealPage, which provides tenant screening information to landlords and property managers, ran into trouble when the FTC found their tenant screening software misidentified potential renters as criminals, who then were turned down for housing. 

RealPage will pay $3 million, the largest civil penalty to date, to settle FTC charges that allege they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of tenant screening information provided to its clients. 

“You shouldn’t get turned down for an apartment because someone has the wrong information about you,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in a Oct. 16 statement. “This case shows that, especially with today’s tight rental market, we will hold tenant screening companies responsible for the accuracy of their reports.” (more…)

What do renters really want in an apartment? Apartment Guide did a survey of apartment hunters to find out.

After some North Texans sell their homes, a significant portion of them rent in the interim before finding their next one. Couple that with the Pew Research Center study alleging that the population of apartment dwellers is growing by leaps, with a 5 percent increase in the last decade — the highest in 50 years. In fact, 65 percent of households headed by Americans 35 and younger are renting, an increase of 8 percent over the previous reporting period.

With so many more Americans renting, Apartment Guide wanted to find out what they really want from their apartment and apartment search.

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I’m going to be honest here: Dallas isn’t exactly winning in the luxury lease market. We have a few, a handful, of higher-end lease apartments that, no matter how sparkly the quartzite is in the kitchen, still scream “apartment living.”

Things like small closets, boring ceilings, metal return ducts, miniature laundry facilities (with a shelf above the washer and dryer, so you can see all your crud every time you do laundry which, dear planners, is every single dang day), and mediocre bathrooms that provide water and flush, but are oh so basic.

Enter the McKenzie: The McKenzie was designed with the belief that if you build with continuity and future development in mind, quality follows. Rooted in the mindset of a master craftsman, StreetLights’ highly skilled team paid careful attention to detail from exterior architecture to interiors, providing top-tier design elements, amenities and services. The McKenzie provides a sophisticated sense of place offering smart design, unique apartment home features and amenities that enhance residents’ lives. Let me tease with a few: private living room with full catering kitchen; pet park and spa; third floor Founder’s Room, like a Concierge room and floor in addition to the robust first floor common areas, secret garden oasis where you can plant should you desire to garden, and on-site bike storage with a repair and bike wash station.

And that is the truth. The apartments have rich moldings, coffered cove ceilings, Wolf red-knobbed ranges, stainless steel higher end appliances, bars and wine coolers in every unit, Kohler nozzle spray faucets, deep stainless steel sinks, soft-closing custom cabinets and drawers, SHUBS: huge tiled showers that include the bathtubs, sort of like a wet room… very impressive, huge master closets with built in drawers (no kidding!) adjustable shelves and great light. 

The McKenzie is having an open house tonight, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at 3140 Harvard Avenue so you can check out all the amenities for yourself… stay tuned, you will be seeing and hearing way more about The McKenzie here very soon. In fact, I just may move there…

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Lake Highlands

Apartments like The Trellis (pictured) and others make one zip code in Lake Highlands one of the cheapest areas to live in Dallas, according to new research by Realtor.com.

We know rents are high in Dallas — we’ve written more than a couple of stories about how much it costs to live in the Big D. But where can you consistently find the cheapest rents? Turns out, one zip code in Lake Highlands, in particular, is exactly where you should start hunting.

Realtor.com decided to take a look at several large metros with higher rents and find the most affordable neighborhoods in each — with a few provisos.

The researchers said they began by analyzing median one-bedroom rents as of May by zip code, and then searched neighborhoods within a 45-minute commute to downtown during morning rush hour based on data from Google Maps.

Researchers said they also “made sure crime wasn’t over a certain threshold based on crime data provided by Sperling’s Best Places, a site that collects data on communities across the U.S.” (more…)

Texas is known for its barbecue, but you don’t have to hit up a restaurant to enjoy the state’s favorite cuisine. Pick the right apartment, and you’ll be able to do your own grilling when the weather is warm. These are our favorite Dallas apartments with upscale barbecue grills so you can impress guests and perfect your ribs recipe.

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Summer is in full swing, and when you live in Dallas, that means the heat can get pretty intense. What better way to beat the heat than to cool off in a pool? Even though there are many water parks in the area to enjoy, the best thing is when you have a pool just steps from your door. When you choose the right apartment community, you can have a vacation-worthy pool to use all summer long. These are our favorite apartment communities in Dallas with sparkling pools. 

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It’s peak outdoor season in lovely Fort Worth. Take advantage of spring — arguably the Texas seasons with the most pleasant weather — by finding your spot outside. Whether you want to run around with your dog, play a quick game of pick-up basketball with friends, or just enjoy soaking up the sun and fresh air, there’s nothing better than relaxing at the park. Check out these apartments that are each within a short distance of Fort Worth’s best parks.

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