Congratulations — your student is a member of the Longhorn family! Saying goodbye to them is hard enough, but finding housing in Austin’s crowded market can be even harder if you don’t know where to look or what to do. Here’s our tips to make your housing search successful.
Wanting to move off-campus? Look early and know your options!
Use websites like ours to explore off-campus housing options for your student! Many students start looking in the fall for their housing for the next academic year — accordingly, it’s important to start searching early in order to avoid disappointment. The University of Texas also released a neighborhood study in 2016 to help graduate students narrow their searches. It may help you familiarize yourself with Austin. More resources can be found at offcampus.utexas.edu.
Make sure you and/or your student check out the apartment before a lease is signed! Ask plenty of questions while touring, since you don’t want to be caught off-guard later. Here’s some to start you off:
— Is parking included?
— Are utilities or cable included?
— Where’s the nearest bus stop?
— Are pets allowed?
— Are there laundry facilities within the apartment or complex?
UT has also compiled a checklist of questions you should ask before you sign a lease.
Is buying or renting right for me?
If it’s within your means, buying instead of renting might be more cost-efficient. Calculate your costs to make sure you won’t be losing money, regardless of which decision you make. This New York Times buy/rent calculator is a helpful tool.
Check if your student qualifies for S.M.A.R.T. housing:
The Safe Mixed-income Accessible Reasonably-priced Transit-oriented (S.M.A.R.T.) Housing program was started by the Austin City Council to provide housing for low- to moderate-income residents. To qualify, students must be receiving need-based financial aid or they cannot make more than 50-80% of the median income in Austin. Several apartment complexes near campus offer S.M.A.R.T. housing, where apartments are offered at below-market rent prices — if students qualify through income verification, their rental rate can’t be any greater than 30% of their income. If interested in S.M.A.R.T. housing, get verified early — these apartments are in high demand, and usually get leased quickly. For more information on the S.M.A.R.T. Housing Program, email Sandra Harkins, Project Coordinator for the City of Austin, contact her here.
Make sure your Longhorns know how to keep themselves safe:
No matter where she or he chooses to live, make sure that your daughter or son is aware of the following important numbers: