Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Efficiency Apartment Plans

November 28, 2012

Steven asks…

UTAustin students that live off-campus only please!!?

*What are the best areas to live within walking distance to UT/Downtown?
*What is the name of your current apartment complex?

I’m currently searching for an Efficiency/Studio or a 1BD/1BTH
for myself but nothing that exceeds my 450-550 rent budget range. I want to desperately live within the city since I don’t have a vehicle and don’t plan to get one for a while.
Would you guys happen to know of any apartment buildings that are not listed on renting websites?

i’ve browsed through and all those places and it’s not doing it for me.
any advice?
i love old antique apartment buildings that are still well cared for with hardwood floors etc…. any of those in austin?

Administrator answers:

First, I apologize. I am not a student but my sons attended UT and live, as adults now, in Austin. I was an apartment manager there for many years so I do have some knowledge of the subject that you are asking about.
The areas around campus – walking distance, are both expensive and not luxurious. There are some older buildings that have been renovated and have a very expensive rent amount, and some older complexes that are not in very good shape. There are places that fit your qualifications, I’m sure, and I am going to give you a list of places to look.
Most apartment complexes in the Austin area are members of the Austin Apartment Association and advertise in Apartment Guide or For Rent Magazine. If you are in the area you can pick up these magazines at the local grocery stores for free. If you live elsewhere, which is my guess, you can go online and see the ads and get information easily. There will be a section on both websites for student complexes and things in the UT area.
I also would like to tell you, in case no one has to date, that there is a good Capital Metro bus service within the city which runs frequently and is very cheap. If you are a UT student, you can ride the UT shuttle – I think it is still free – from many places throughout the city. It runs in some areas of the South as well as the Northwest area off Mopac known as FarWest where there are many complexes that are full of students that use it for transportation. You do not have to be attending class at the time to ride it. Any time of the day, and into the evening hours you can catch a ride on the Shuttle buses to the UT campus or downtown area for social as well as studious pursuits. Bus schedules for the regular city buses are available in booklet form for free at any local HEB grocery and probably several others as well. The only problem with the bus system is that you have to be careful if you go somewhere to watch the time and not miss the last bus “home” or you are either stranded or calling a taxi which is expensive. You just have to stay alert.
Please check out the websites, also, google apartment locators in the area and tell them what you are looking for. It is at no cost to you – the apartment complex pays. A privately owned apartment or small complex might also advertise in the Austin American Statesman or even in the UT paper or the Austin Chronicle. I will tell you that off campus housing on the shuttle preleases months in advance so there is competition for reasonably priced housing.
Austin is a wonderful place to live and go to school. There are so many exciting things to do in a fun city. I wish you good luck in your college years and hope that something that I have said will help you.

Nancy asks…

Any other stay at home moms feel guilty at times for giving up your income to take care of your family?

1st off..I LOVE being home with my 5 month old son everyday & taking care of him & my husband!!

At times I do feel guilty for not working (I know mommyhood is a ft job though lol). Here’s some history:
I was supported by my gma 100% til I was 19 when she remet her highschool sweetie & decided to marry him & gave me 2 wks notice to get a ft job & my own apartment. I lived in a 1 room efficiency & worked in sales & waited tables for about 5 years….I struggled but I was extremely independent. I put off school to work & pay my bills (I got 1 semester in..ugh!) So I feel like a failure there..even though I still plan to finish 1 day…..Then I met my husband right before I got into apt leasing, where I worked for about 1.5 yrs.
When we found out we were prego, we decided I’d continue to work throughout my pregnancy/or until I paid off my credit cards (he’d take a car payment but no credit debt! LOL) I got to quit my job at almost 7.5 months to stay home & rest before the baby came.
As I was driving 50 miles each way to & from work everyday…and with the price of gas..I was extremely grateful that I was able to do that.

After our son was born we made the decision that I’d stay home with our boy instead of returning to work. Mostly because the benefit of raising our son ourselves would be better than basically paying & working to be away from him…we’d break even. (ie: the cost of gas, daycare lunches, etc/….would be my paycheck). We plan on having 1 more child, hopefully a girl in another year or husband said I can stay home til they’re both in school…then work pt after if I want.

My husband has a really good job in which he gets to work from home 75% of the time & travel about once a month for about a week. He made just over 6 figures last year with his salary, bonus, stocks, etc… so we really dont want for much…we’re super lucky to be such a young new family & have so much (mostly due to him lol) house, 2 cars, nice…etc..
Now we don’t “need” what I made (he made that just from his bonus & stocks) for monthly expenses….it would be nice to add the patio, pool, redo the kitchen but its not necessary to survive yknow?

Anywho…do any of you other mommas feel guilty being so dependent on your signficant others? Regardless if its yours, his or both your money…its still strange when you go from contributing to the family to not contributing…I feel guilty buying an outfit or getting my hair done. He told me to just put everything on the card when I grocery shop, shop for me, etc….

I’m just so confused…and I feel like I’m not contributing to our family. I was raised by workaholic & not involved woman/moms so I know the value of my being here to raise my son & I dont regret my decision one bit…..its just hard to swallow I guess.

Plus I dont know what I’m gonna do for his birthday…or Christmas…or our Anniversary….it feels SO WEIRD & not right to buy him a gift using the money he gave me or to put it on our credit card (all mine are closed now lol). I mean I did get b-day $$$ for my b-day and I’m probably gonna use most of that to get him a gift (he REALLY wants a PS3) but still…everyone who gave me that said it was for me to get something special for me (so much for that new laptop lol).

Anyways…I think I’m done rambling =) thank you all for your advice I really appreciate it!!

Administrator answers:

With the cost of gas and daycare, it’s probably more cost efficient to stay at home with your son. As a stay-at-home mom, you are not only providing an environment that is benificial emotionally for the family (I mean, who else is going to stay home with your son if he gets sick, or who else is going to go to his school events that happen during the day?), but you are also lowering the debts that could occur should you work.
Traveling less is putting less stress on your car, which means that your car will last longer.
A great job to work towards is a teacher- except for the occassional teacher-work-day, you get the same holidays off as your children, and work pretty much the same schedule as your children. If you don’t have your bachelor’s, you could work part-time as a substitute teacher, a cafeteria worker, or you could get certified to be a paraprofessional/teacher’s “helper”. Most universities offer online courses now, so with internet access, you could easily finish your degree. Also, don’t underestimate the CLEP exams; if you are knowledgable about a subject, you can “CLEP it out”, and get credit so you can hurry with your degree. Take one or two classes each semester online, so that when you are staying at home, you can work slowly towards your degree. Scholarships are available to people getting degrees in certain areas, and educational loans that do not have to begin to be paid back until after you graduate are available too.
Hang in there, and don’t feel guilty for doing what is best for your family!

Helen asks…

Planning on moving to Los Angeles, how can I prepare for this?

I just decided to move back to Los Angeles from Florida by myself. I grew up in Los Angeles but have been in Florida for the past 4 years now, and now it’s time for me to head back home. I’ve never made a move like this by myself before – so I’m a little worried about this. What are some things I need to start doing to prepare for such a move, for example: job, place to live, moving my belongings etc….

I was looking at studio apartments and efficiencies because renting in Los Angeles can be expensive and the last thing I want is to end up back home broke and without a place to live. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Are renters willing to work with people traveling from another state?
Oh, and a word to those negative people who will try and deter me from moving to Los Angeles – I WILL MOVE TO L.A. , HOW DO YOU LIKE THOSE APPLES!

Administrator answers:

If people seem negative, it’s just because they’re telling you the reality, things are tough here in LA right now. People will be honest to help you, because like you wrote, you’re a little worried and don’t want to end up back home broke, and they’ll let you know how it really is.

First thing you want to do is to get rid of any of your belongings you don’t need, moving across country is a big endeavor and you don’t need a bunch of extra stuff. Decide what you’re going to take with you. See how much it costs to ship boxes out here, it’s not cheap any more like it used to be, so you probably want to bring out what will fit in your car.

You don’t mention what type of work you do. Start looking for those types of jobs in CA to see if there are any openings, so you can be realistic about how much cash you need before you move. You probably want to have about 4 months worth of expenses in cash. For big companies, you can look at their websites, since that is how many take applications now. Read the LA Times online so you can see how our economy is doing to give you more info.

Usually landlords are apprehensive to rent to someone from out of town who doesn’t have a job in town. You also need good credit, and a good rental history helps a lot. Once you’re in an apt, it can be hard to evict you, so the landlords must be sure of who they’re renting to. You’ll probably have to stay in a motel or temporary housing for awhile. A studio apt will cost you $700 to $900 in the less expensive areas around LA. Google: temporary housing, motels, hostels, apartments.

You can compare cost of living between your current city and LA here:

Make a written plan so you know what you need to do.

Good luck!

Ruth asks…

I’m planning on moving back to Los Angeles, how can I prepare for this move?

I just decided to move back to Los Angeles from Florida by myself. I grew up in Los Angeles but have been in Florida for the past 4 years now, and now it’s time for me to head back home. I’ve never made a move like this by myself before – so I’m a little worried about this. What are some things I need to start doing to prepare for such a move, for example: job, place to live, moving my belongings etc….

I was looking at studio apartments and efficiencies because renting in Los Angeles can be expensive and the last thing I want is to end up back home broke and without a place to live. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Administrator answers:

Well moving is alot of work. I think finding a job should be step 1. Since the market is so bad, this may take time and you don’t want to be stuck there with no money. Second, find an apartment, studios are good, or you could look for a roommate or someone wanting to rent a room out themselves. Are you driving or flying? Either way you need to search for long-distance movers. Find out costs, etc. Depending on how much you are bringing you can either pay people to move it or get a U-haul and move it yourself. (don’t forget the bubble wrap!)You will need to file a change of address at the post office. Do you remember what you did 4 years ago? The process should be similar. Make a checklist so you don’t forget anything.

Good luck!

Linda asks…

Don’t understand a few things about renting?

I am just confused about a few things in the situation I’m in, hopefully someone can help me out here. The apartment that I signed a lease with is one of those ones that has a few different floor designs, so they have the blueprints for you to look at, but no model (not of the whole thing, but they do have a model of what the bedroom looks like). It is also one of those apartments that can’t show you the EXACT apartment you will be living in, due to the fact that they (the managers) don’t know where you will be living yet (college apartment). Everyone’s lease starts at the same time, and ends at the same time, so they have to wait until everyone has resigned, or fresh signed, before assigning rooms. Anyway, I liked the place, had a nice feel to it. Didn’t look to bad, rent wasn’t ridiculous, and pretty much all of the people I hang out with live there, so it made sense to sign there. So I signed, and they told me that they would send me a letter stating when move-in time/day was, how much I would need to pay upon move-in, and who my roommates would be. (This all happened in…. late April, I believe.)

Well, the first of August rolls around and I still hadn’t heard from them. No big deal, I’ll just call and find out myself. So, I call, and get all the information. Roommate names, my check-in would be Aug. 16th at 5 P.M., and I would need to pay $445 at check-in (a full months rent). Believe it or not, that is th I asked if it was cool if I made the trip up there to check the apartment out (I had moved home for the summer to work my normal summer job). They were cool with it, and we set up an appointment for Aug 8th. So, Aug 8th rolls around and I make the trip up here to check out the apartment. All the previous people had moved out, and the apartment paid for professional cleaners to clean it. It was spotless!! Pretty much nothing wrong (other than very slight normal wear and tear). Plus, the location on the building (the layout is 4 bedroom, townhouse style) was PERFECT! There was a shuttle pickup spot about 40 yards from the front door, and I was 2 houses down from my friends! (Pretty much the whole reason I signed at the place). e norm around here, so no big deal, besides, I planned on prepaying 6 months rent anyway. I also got in contact with my future roommates, chatted a bit with each one of them, seemed like cool guys. We all had a few similar interests, so I knew that this would work out pretty well.

Well, Aug 16th rolls around, and I come move up here. I go inside to check in and they give me my little welcome package, and the last bit of paperwork to do (car registration so it doesn’t get towed, and a move-in damage and repair form, which is just something you fill out to let them know what damage was done to the apartment before you moved in, and things you would like to get fixed.) Then they tell me that I owed $495 (see previous $445). I was a little shocked, and asked why? They said the additional $50 dollars was a one time internet and cable activation fee. Ok, I’ll buy that…. besides, re-read the contract, and it is stated in there. Besides, I handed her three money orders for $1000 dollars each, and she got this crazy look in her eyes and said to me “Wow…. nobody ever prepays…. especially not this much!” So, obviously I’m probably now the best renter they have! BROWNIE POINTS!!! And then……

Oh, by the way, we had to do some last minute rearranging. You are now in the very back corner of the complex (before I was at the front). Far, far away from friends, or any shuttle pickup. Yep, you are in that corner that is trashy and scary and almost ghetto-like…..

So, first question is this. Can they do that? In the lease it states that they can transfer residents but only for operational efficiency. (What does that mean?) I mean, I don’t know what was efficient about moving me from one 4 bedroom apt to a different one. It’s not effective for me since not only have I changed my mailing address for everything to what was supposed to be my apt, but I also have a new bank card and a new credit card being mailed to that mailbox, as well as two packages. So, I’m pretty upset about that.

HOWEVER, I’m not one to not give something a chance. So I at least go check out the place they have just assigned to me. I didn’t stay long. The patio had two garbage bags and 3 pairs of dirty shoes on it, walked inside, instantly smelled pot, and then, I saw it…. a cat. I am deathly allergic to cats, as in, my throat swells shut if I’m near them for more than 30 minutes. I’m not going to tell this guy he has to get rid of his cat (since the apt makes you pay a pet deposit PLUS takes on extra monthly), not to mention I’m not going to live in an apt where illegal drugs are, and where they live like pigs.

I don’t want to break my lease, I really do like this place, but I liked the first room assigned to

Administrator answers:

Didn’t it occur to you to ASK why you were being assigned a different apartment than the one you initially looked at on the 8th?

Talk to residential life or whomever handles the leases and ask to be moved to a room that doesn’t have pets and drugs. I would think the school would not be keen on tenants who had drugs. LOL

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