Looking for a student housing apartment near UT Austin, but don’t know where to start?
At Rambler, we understand that finding student housing can be a difficult process for UT students.
For this reason, we have crafted a guide to help you understand what the process consists of, and how to best approach it. Find the perfect apartment for your needs by following these eight steps to a smooth apartment search.
8 Steps to Finding the Perfect Apartment as a UT Austin Student
Step 1: Pick Your Ideal Location
So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to start looking for an apartment – now what?
The first step in your apartment search is choosing a location. The neighborhood where you live will greatly impact your daily lifestyle. Therefore, it is crucial to explore your options and find the area that best suits you.
We are going to walk you through the most popular neighborhoods for UT Austin students.
Location: Bound by Guadalupe, 29th St, MLK Blvd, and Lamar
The West Campus neighborhood is the most popular among UT Austin students due to its proximity to Campus. West Campus’ social scene draws in many students and is home to a variety of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and Greek life.
In West Campus, you will find a plethora of newer developments specifically crafted for students. With these apartments in West Campus, built intentionally for students, you will often find bigger amenities packages and fully furnished units with some of the most updated appliances in the area.
In West Campus, you have the option to leave your car at home, as the neighborhood provides easy access to the UT campus, restaurants and more.
Additionally, if you are in need of a roommate, you’re in luck. Most apartments in the West Campus neighborhood provide roommate matching to help you find a perfect fit.
Location: I-35 to Lamar, 29th St to 38th St.
Just south of Hyde Park and north of the University of Texas, the North Campus neighborhood is a great option for upperclassmen and graduate students. If you prefer peace and quiet over a bustling social scene, then North Campus might be for you.
North Campus apartments cater to students who enjoy living on their own or with one other roommate. Apartments located in North Campus are generally older developments with limited amenities packages and are budget-friendly.
In addition to apartments, there are also many houses located in North Campus for students who would like to consider other housing options than apartment living.
If you have a car at school or don’t mind taking public transportation, North Campus may be a perfect fit for you.
Location: East of I-35, bound by E Oltorf St and S Pleasant Valley Rd
South of the River, the Riverside neighborhood offers affordable options for those who want distance from the busy UT campus atmosphere and don’t mind commuting.
In Riverside, apartments are generally older developments with older, smaller amenities packages, but at extremely affordable rates. The Riverside neighborhood is definitely worth considering if you are looking to find housing on a budget.
While the amenities are not as new at most Riverside properties, the neighborhood provides an urban feel without the West Campus prices, making it an excellent, affordable option to consider.
Step 2: Determine Whether or Not You’ll Have a Roommate
Now that you have selected the perfect location for your lifestyle, it’s time to determine if you want a roommate or roommates. If so, you will need to determine who they will be.
Read Next: How to Find Roommates at UT Austin
Feeling unsure about whether a roommate is right for you? We have provided a list of pros and cons to help you decide:
- Affordability – A roommate or roommates will allow the cost of living to be divided amongst the group, therefore lessening your cost of living.
- Social – With roommates around, you will always have a live-in friend and companion to explore Austin with.
- Community – If this is your first time living away from home, or you enjoy being around others, roommates are an excellent way to help you adjust to a new setting and keep you company.
- Distraction – While roommates can be fun to have around, they can also be a distraction, especially when it comes to focusing on your studies or having downtime.
- Reduced Privacy – If you value personal space and having time alone, living on your own may be your best option to maximize privacy.
If you have decided that you do not want a roommate, you are ready to move on to step three.
However, if you decide that you do want a roommate, it is time to choose one!
If you don’t have someone in mind, no worries – most apartment complexes located near UT Austin offer roommate matching. Student housing apartment complexes typically provide potential residents with a brief survey to easily find a perfect roommate match.
Step 3: Decide Which Amenities You Value
Once you’ve decided on an ideal location and roommates, you will have to make a decision about amenities. It is important to decide on your non-negotiables as well as your wants. It is also important to consider what will be located in your unit vs. in the greater apartment complex.
The two lists below provide you with common options for in-unit and community amenities:
- Fully furnished
- Attached vs. unattached bath
- Closet size
- WiFi/High-speed internet
- Cable TV
- Pool and hot tub
- Fitness center
- Coffee bar on-site
- Yoga studio
- Study rooms
- Spin room
- On-site concierge
- 24-hour security
- Package lockers
Next, you will want to write down a list of amenities that you absolutely must have, as well as those that you don’t need but would like. This list will serve as a reference throughout your apartment search when selecting and narrowing down which apartments you’d like to tour.
While the two lists above provide a lot of amenities to consider, they are not all-encompassing – we recommend looking at your potential apartment website to determine which amenities they might have that are not on these lists.
Step 4: Determine Your Price Range
Next, it is important to set a price range and the maximum amount that you are willing to spend. It is crucial to establish how much you are willing to spend on your apartment before touring.
There are a variety of costs that can influence the end price of your unit. These may include:
- Leases by the bed – You will sign an individual lease for your portion of the apartment, without worrying about whether your roommates pay on time or not. This is typically offered by purpose-built student housing apartments.
- Leases by unit – A standard lease agreement with all roommates, who are all equally liable for all payments. This is typically offered by traditional apartments.
- Parking – Almost all apartments offer parking options, but many of them are offered at an additional cost.
- Pet rent and/or pet deposit – If you have a pet, many apartments will charge you an extra fee. This can be a one-time deposit, an additional monthly fee, or both.
- Utilities – Most apartments charge an additional fee for utilities.
- Renter’s insurance – While many apartments offer renter’s insurance, some do not. Apartments that do offer renter’s insurance typically charge an additional fee.
After considering the price of additional fees, you will be able to set a budget that works best for your housing needs.
If you’d like more information on the cost of living in West Campus near UT Austin, read our article, How Much Does it Cost to Live in West Campus Near UT Austin?, to learn more about various factors that can affect the total cost of living near the University of Texas at Austin.
Step 5: Make a Short List of Places to Tour
After you have completed the first four steps and decided on your price range, it is time to narrow down your list. Search online for places that meet your budget, amenities wish list, and desired location.
Once you’ve decided on which places you’re most interested in, find their contact page and book a tour online or by calling their leasing office. Explore your options, and be sure not to settle if the apartment complex does not meet your desired criteria.
Step 6: Go on Property Tours
Once you have determined which apartments meet your living needs, it is time for the exciting part – you are finally ready to tour your potential new homes!
When touring an apartment complex, it is important to keep in mind:
- Utilities – Some apartment complexes will charge additional fees for internet, cable, trash, electric, water, sewage, gas, etc. Take note of what utilities are included in your monthly rent.
- In-Unit Amenities – As we discussed previously, is it important that your apartment complex has the amenities that are most important to you. Do they have an in-house washer and dryer? High-speed internet? Be sure to take note of all amenities they have to offer.
- Floor Plan – It is important to have a proper amount of space for you and your roommates to comfortably live in. If you are generally social and enjoy being out of your home, then a floor plan with less square footage may be suitable. However, if you value space, then a larger floor plan may be worth the extra cash.
- Beds and Baths – Do you value having your own bed and bath? If so, do you prefer an attached bath, or are you okay with having an unattached bath? Keep an eye out for these features when you tour your unit.
- Windows – Units can vary greatly when it comes to natural lighting and window size. If this is something you value in your home, be sure to account for it on your tour.
- Views – Depending on location, many apartments near the UT campus offer a wide variety of views within each unit! Ask your tour guide about your options if this is part of your wishlist and you don’t mind spending an extra dollar for it.
And, most importantly, be sure to ask questions! It is best to have the answers to your questions ahead of time before you begin the process of signing your lease.
To be sure you have everything accounted for, we have put together a list of 15 Questions You Should Ask When Touring a Property.
Step 7: Fill Out an Application
After touring properties, you have now found an apartment that you’re really interested in – it’s time to apply!
Filling out an application at a student housing apartment is generally a 15-20 minute process. For the majority of properties near UT Austin, you can expect to fill these forms out online.
To apply, you will need to answer basic information, such as your driver’s license information, emergency contact, pet information, current residence, etc. You will also likely fill out a roommate questionnaire if you’re looking to be roommate matched so that the leasing office can start the matching process.
You will have to pay an application fee to finish your application. These fees usually range from $50 to $100 and cover the cost of the apartment to run a background check.
Once your application is approved, you will be ready for your last step – signing a lease!
Step 8: Sign your Lease
Last but not least, it is time to sign your lease!
Usually around 30-50 pages, a lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the resident to pay the landlord for use of the apartment.
It is valuable to read each page thoroughly to understand the terms of your lease. It’s important to know what you’re getting into – remember, this is a legally binding contract.
You will want to pay close attention to dates and fees, and take note of when you will pay rent each month, when your lease term ends, etc. Leases are generally 12 months, but make sure to ask before you sign! Shorter leases are available at some properties but are often priced higher per month leases that are a year-long or greater.
If you are a full-time student who does not work, or only works part-time, you will likely need a guarantor. Most Austin landlords do not accept undergraduate students as tenants unless they have a guarantor. A guarantor is a person who co-signs the lease and is responsible for paying rent if the tenant fails to do so.
Both you and your guarantor should gather your bank account statements, pay stubs, and Social Security numbers for the landlord to run a credit check.
In the video above, Audrey Atienza shares her top tips for finding a college apartment.
While it can seem daunting at first, once it is broken down into steps, finding an apartment can be a simple process.
If you need additional help in your search, feel free to reach out to the Rambler leasing team who are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding your search for student housing.
We hope that these steps have helped you understand the process of finding a student housing apartment. By following these eight steps, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect apartment for you near the University of Texas at Austin!