When you start looking for a student apartment near UT Austin, you may be surprised to learn how early people typically begin their search. In West Campus, people often start looking for housing over a year in advance!
Here at Rambler, we understand the effort that goes into leasing the perfect apartment at the perfect time. We’ve helped hundreds of students sign leases, and know the leasing process inside and out.
@rambleratx Are you thinking of where to live for Fall 2023? Well you should be be!#westcampus #ut #hookem #utexas ♬ original sound – Rambler
Therefore, we’re here to tell you that there are major benefits to signing early – especially in West Campus near the University of Texas at Austin.
In this article, we will discuss the five biggest benefits to signing your lease early in West Campus.
How early is “early?”
Leasing “early” can mean something different to everyone. It all depends on who you ask and what market you are in.
In West Campus, new developments typically start leasing 18 months before their delivery date. For example, if a project is due to be move-in ready by August 2023, it will begin offering leases in early spring 2022, likely February or March.
Meanwhile, existing properties in West Campus (that are not new developments) tend to start leasing up around 10 months prior to move-in. Most properties will begin offering lease renewals in October or November, with new leases starting about four to six weeks after.
All things considered, if you sign a West Campus lease 10 months or greater prior to move-in, it can be considered signing “early” by most people in the West Campus market. However, if you’re considering a new development you can begin the process as early as 18 months before.
What does this mean for you? If you want a prime spot in a new development your senior year, you might consider signing a lease during the spring of your sophomore year.
5 Benefits to Signing Your Lease Early
1. Best Rates
If you go to UT Austin, you’ve probably seen advertisements for student housing apartment complexes. These are filled with sayings like, “our lowest rates,” or “sign now.” These ads can feel like an exaggeration, but there is some truth to them.
While it varies with older developments, the new student housing apartment complexes in West Campus tend to offer their best rates when you sign a lease early.
New developments typically have the highest level of demand in West Campus, but they also tend to have the highest prices. However, there are ways to save money on your lease at a new development.
Many student housing properties use a tier system during the leasing process. When leasing first opens, rates will usually be at their lowest. Then, as units lease, rates will typically be raised by approximately $10 to $20 per month, per person. So, aside from the occasional flash sale or rate drop, rates will be lowest when leasing first opens.
One of the best ways to save money on a lease in a new development is to sign early.
We all know that parking in West Campus can be a headache. Even though there are many options to choose from, that doesn’t necessarily make the process easy.
Even if you sign a lease at a student housing apartment, you can expect to compete with many people who are also looking to purchase a parking contract for the lease term. Since parking is often limited at West Campus apartments, you might not get a spot if you sign too late.
If you have your heart set on a parking spot at your apartment complex, you will definitely want to consider signing early so that you don’t risk having to find a spot at another property.
3. Choice of Apartment and Room
The earlier you sign your lease, the more apartment units are still available. This gives you more choice in the apartment you will live in.
Most places only have a limited number of units with balconies, premium amenities, etc. If these add-ons are valuable to you, you may want to consider signing early to assure that they are still available. However, these add-ons will typically cost you some extra cash, so be sure to keep this in mind when budgeting for your living expenses.
Or, if you’re interested in a popular floorplan or view (overlooking downtown for example) these often lease up quickly and may not be available if you wait too long.
Just like unit choice, there will be more availability in room choice at most student apartments when you sign early.
Student housing apartments typically offer floor plans that have varying features depending on your room. For example, in a four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment (4×4), it is possible that two of the bedrooms will have windows, and two of the bedrooms will not include a window.
At some student housing apartments, the rent price will be higher for the roommates who have a window in their rooms, but for others, the price will be the same. For this reason, it is important to ask about the specific pricing at the apartments that you are interested in.
4. Access to SMART Housing
If you qualify for SMART housing, it’s important to begin your search early if you want to live in a new development.
The SMART housing program was created by the City of Austin to help students pay for housing. Students who qualify for SMART housing can receive discounted rent at certain West Campus apartments. Most new or recent developments in West Campus set aside 10% of their units or bedrooms for SMART housing.
In new developments, these spaces typically lease very quickly. If you qualify for SMART housing, it’s important to begin looking in the spring or early fall.
Not sure if you qualify? We have developed an Ultimate Guide to SMART Housing near UT Austin to help you learn more about SMART housing and determine if you qualify.
5. Roommate Choice
Next, if you sign your lease early, you will also have greater flexibility in selecting your roommates. Over time, more people confirm their living arrangements, so you will have a smaller pool of potential roommates.
Already know who you want to live with? If you and your roommates have all decided to live together, you will be able to have them added to your unit by the leasing associates at your apartment complex when you sign your lease. Plus, if you have a large group of friends who all want to live close to each other, you can often all live on the same floor if you sign early.
If you do not yet know who you want to room with, don’t worry! You have plenty of time to make your decision.
If you are signing earlier than your roommates, be sure to tell your leasing associate when you sign your lease. This way, you can be sure that they don’t match another person to your room. To avoid this small possibility, it is best to sign your lease around the same time as your roommates.
If you prefer to be matched to a roommate with similar preferences, many student apartments offer a roommate-matching survey. Either way, the earlier you sign, the greater choice you have in who you will be living with.
Overall, the best way for students to guarantee the best and most flexible deals is to sign a lease early.
If you have any questions about West Campus living or want to learn more about Rambler, contact our leasing staff, who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have during your student housing search.