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…)

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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Erin Seeds with her boyfriend, Eric, and their two dogs, Snoop and Bowie.

As more and more Millennials are priced out of what would be considered typical “starter home” ranges, long-term renting has become customary for an entire generation. But finding a great apartment with everything you want and need — and at a suitable price — is the modern day trial of Job. 

That’s part of the reason why Erin Seeds launched Apartment Fit. Though she was born and raised in Dallas, Seeds moved off after graduating high school. When she came back, all she wanted was to find a reasonably priced apartment for her and her two dogs. 

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renting in dallas

A new report from Apartment List analyzes the top trends in the 2017 rental market and predicts their impacts in 2018. For example, the report highlights the increase in the homeownership rate after a decade of declines, as well as the decrease in the share of rental units considered affordable to the lowest-income renters. Although affordability remains a concern for those renting in Dallas, Dallas rent growth slowed as the metro added more new rental stock than any other U.S. metro. Dallas rents remain slightly lower than the national average, at $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment, compared to $1,160 nationwide.

The Dallas market added an estimated 22,851 new rental units in 2017, more than Miami, Phoenix, Boston, and San Francisco combined, and nearly 50 percent more than the number of new units added in 2016. While rental units in Dallas remain in high demand, with 2.4 percent year-over-year rent growth, the large increase in supply decreased occupancy rates from 92.3 percent to 91 percent.

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Bitcoin is growing in popularity, and gaining ground in mainstream markets, says Ashley Stanley.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

The intersection of digital money and traditional finance occurred over the weekend in Chicago, as the first major U.S. exchange offered a product targeted toward Bitcoin: Bitcoin futures. If you’re new to the market, there’s a lot to learn. Bitcoin users are doubling every 12 months. That might seem wild and crazy, but it’s supported by data. If this trend continues, we are less than a decade away from half the world using Bitcoin.

I’ve been trading Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) since April of this year. Now joining the list of “altcoins,” or alternative cryptocurrencies, is Cardano (ADA) and Litecoin (LTC). I quickly realized the need to assist my cryptocurrency friends since there is typically a two- to three-day delay in exchanging digital money, and everyone knows in the apartment industry that hot units go fast!

Should this be a mainstream “ah-ha” moment?

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I suspect leasing is more important than looking.

Searching for an apartment has always annoyed me.  And having lived in more than a few apartments, that’s a lot of annoyance. Suffice it to say the stereotypes are true and you all know it.  In recent years, apartment building has been gangbusters in Dallas. Everyone wonders if there’s a bubble coming in the high rents asked by these newer buildings.  I’d call it more effervescence than the giddiness of popping bubble wrap.

I’m not going to try and navigate your individual peccadillos, but there are some things to understand and tricks to use in scoring the best rent wherever you look.

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flood

Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston on August 27, 2017, to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Texas Army National Guard)

So many people lost everything — homes, cars, and all their possessions — in the wrath wrought by Hurricane Harvey. But there’s another category of people who were just as badly affected by this record-breaking storm: renters. 

In some cases, renters are required to continue paying rent on uninhabitable apartments and homes, and some can’t even work, with many businesses either wiped away, flooded, or otherwise damaged. If your apartment or home is uninhabitable and you’ve notified your landlord about terminating your lease in writing, the next step is finding someplace else to live. This can be daunting, but RentCafe and its parent company, Yardi, have teamed up to help.

Yardi, the California-based property management software company, has created a free online housing registry where displaced residents can find new places to live in the affected region and beyond.

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The exterior of the Kirby Building on main. This converted Gothic building has fantastic apartments with great views.

The Kirby Building on Main is a converted Gothic historic property full of apartments with great views. Photo: Kirby Residences on Main

Ashley D. Stanley has positioned herself to be the go-to expert locator for downtown Dallas apartment rentals. She’s a real estate broker and owner of Ashley’s Apartments, an apartment locator service specializing in downtown and nearby areas.

Stanley lives, works, and plays in downtown, and considers herself one of its biggest fans.

“I live at 1900 Elm historical lofts next to Main Street Garden and have an office space out of the Pacific Place building next door, where my commute is through the skywalk, but with the birth of my son this past year I moved everything to my home office,” she said. “I moved my office from Park Cities in July 2013 right after I found out I was pregnant. I knew the downtown market was on the rise.”

Stanley was right: apartments in downtown can hardly get built fast enough to satisfy demand.

“The market is hot, hot, super hot,” she said. “New buildings are popping up and units are being pre-leased, meaning you might go to a showroom, see a spread of photos for their unique finish out, cabinetry, kitchen appliances, flooring, etc. and you are offered a great move in rate with maybe a few free weeks if you sign within 24 to 48 hours.”

But with high demand comes higher rents, and many people feel challenged by the task of finding affordable lease in downtown. So we sat down with Stanley and got her recommendations for the top five least expensive studio apartment rentals in downtown Dallas. Jump to read about these five fantastic places and her tips for snagging a lease!

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