As the sun sets on yet another chapter of our lives here at Sam Houston State University, many will face their greatest fears. Some will graduate knowing that the downtown loft apartment they have dreamed about will not be available, or even affordable, for several more years and careers later.
Others, who have not yet been completely kicked out of the nest, will have to deal with a more immediate problem: housing. For many students, apartment-style living suffices. For the more adventurous and independent minded, a house is the only way to go. Students interested in renting a house in Huntsville may discover that finding a dwelling to suit their needs is half the problem. The other half of the battle is getting in.
Dalene Smither of Heart of Texas Real Estate said students looking for housing should be ready to fill the requirements.
“If the student is not working they will have to show visible income. Parents will also have to sign a lease that guarantees that the rent will be paid,” Smither said.
Jeff Gildon of Property Management Specialists said his company practices the same procedures.
“Normally, what they will do is fill out an application, produce past rental records, provide a parents co-signature and we perform a credit check,” he said.
Gildon said there is a reason for the strict policies.
“The tenant has to make two and a half times the amount of the rent,” he said. “Students don’t want to have to make a phone call to mom or dad saying that they didn’t pay the rent.”
Smither said that once a student is accepted as a tenant, they must follow one cardinal rule.
“No parties. If students party, they will get evicted,” she said.
Smither said that as realtors, they have to protect the best interests of their clients.
“We work for the owner, and the owner has a big investment in the home,” she said. “I have seen homes completely trashed out.”
Smither added that the more mature a student comes across, the better chance they will have of getting a home.
“We want to find responsible people,” she said. “A lot want a house, and then they bring animals. The owners are not trying to be mean; they are trying to protect their investment. They really need to present themselves as responsible.”
Smither said students sometimes take the rules for granted.
“We have had people move in that are not supposed to be there,” she said.
Gildon said he really hasn’t had any trouble from students.
“I think that people who are ready for a house have already gotten the partying out of their systems,” he said. “It’s mostly young couples and multiple roommates.”
Gildon said he reminds students that with a house comes a lot more responsibility.
“Unlike apartments, students will be responsible for all utilities,” he said. “They will also have to take in to consideration things like mowing the grass and taking the garbage to the corner.”
Gildon said that as of right now there are no homes available, but said students should not get discouraged.
“The best time to check for a house is one or two months before the semester is over. April and May are good times, so is August,” he said. “You can get a two bedroom for $500 to $600, and a three bedroom for $650 to $750 a month.”