millennials renting

Photo: Billingsley Company

We’ve all heard the sad story of Millennials living with their parents, drowning in student debt, and working at Starbucks with liberal arts degrees.

While part of that image is accurate for a percentage of the U.S. population—a recent Pew Research Study showed 32 percent of Millennials do live with the folks—a larger percentage of those 18 to 34 years old live independently (48 percent). And a lot of them are renting.

Millennials are often drawn toward renting versus buying, in part because of that student loan debt. They also like the flexibility of being able to take advantage of new economic opportunities by not being tethered to a mortgage. These are free spirits.

“For Millennials, life is about experience over ownership,” said Sumner Billingsley, a managing partner of The Brickyard in Farmers Branch. “Thoughtfully designed apartments and rental townhomes give [them] the ability to enjoy creative and unique design elements that are typically reserved for single family homes, but at a budget [they] can afford.”

So what are the top five considerations of today’s Millennial looking for a temporary dwelling? The Billingsley Company did some research and came up with a list.

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rent prices

If it seems like rent is high in Dallas, you’re not imagining things.

According to a new report from Apartment List, Dallas has the highest rents in the state, with two-bedroom apartments having a median rent of $1,580 per month, and one-bedrooms at $1,220. Dallas rents have grown year-over-year by 5.4 percent, higher than both statewide and national averages.

Just north of Dallas, Plano is Texas’ fourth most expensive city. It also showed the highest year-over-year rent growth, with a 6.9 percent increase over April 2015. In this city, a two-bedroom has a median price tag of $1,480, and a one-bedroom rings in at $1,070 per month.

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For Rent Scam

As more homes hit the market, more rental scams hit CraigsList and other free classified sites, asking for deposits and fees before a potential tenant has seen a contract, or the property for that matter. Scammers are finding plenty of material on home searching sites that they then hijack for their own purposes, which makes this a truly difficult situation for both renters and Realtors.

We asked veteran Realtor, broker and founder of LocalDwelling.com, Colin Lardner, if he had any tips or tricks to help avoid scammers who might poach a listing or photos to bilk an unwitting renter.

“Keep a close tab on the syndicate sites (Trulia, Zillow, etc.) and inform them immediately when you see something wrong,” Lardner offered. “We have also contacted the FBI when we see a poached listing.”

On the flipside, Lardner says that it’s unlikely a scammer will poach listing information from Craigslist. “We have found that higher quality prospects come from other sources,” Lardner said. Still, tenants should watch out for fake listings as “Craigslist seems to get a fair amount of abuse from scam artists.”

But how do homeowners protect themselves from scammers spreading photos and information on their homes all over the Internet? Well, they don’t have too much to worry about, Lardner said, as prospective renters are more often victims of fraud than sellers or homeowners.

“Scammers are putting themselves out there as the owner and taking rent and deposit money from the prospect,” Lardner said, adding that LocalDwelling.com vets all owners and tenants rigorously, filtering through most scam artists and cons.

So, how do Realtors protect themselves from scams? By using MLS, Lardner said.

“MLS is hard to scam. If Realtors are searching for listings there they should be protected from the type of scams we see from people posing as owners,” Lardner said. “We are always available to the Realtor community to facilitate any property management and leasing issues.”

Have other questions about buying, selling, and leasing? Send us an email at jo@candysdirt.com.