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Renter's Insanity: Montrose


totheskies

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The Montrose rental market isn't just "hot"... it's World War III!!

 

I currently live in Montrose, and I've been looking for a new place.  This is not by choice mind you, but my current building is being torn down and I have to vacate by September 30th.  Sadly, I only found out a few days ago, so it's sent me into a scramble. 

 

I frequent HAIF read all of the news about how crazy home and rent prices are becoming inside the loop.  But it's one thing to read about it, and another thing to LIVE it.  I never realized how "good" of a deal I have at this place, and I can't find even a crappy 1BR apartment for anything under $800 per month. 

 

Worst of all... call me old fashioned, but I actually prefer to see a place before I hand over my hard- earned money to someone.  But in Montrose that's not even happening anymore.  Most people are finding apartments online, then renting them site unseen.  I had 3 meetings set up today to view apartments, and 2 of the 3 had already rented before I could get there!!  Less than 24 hr turnaround. 

 

Is this Montrose, or Manhattan?? 

Edited by totheskies
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The Montrose rental market isn't just "hot"... it's World War III!!

 

I currently live in Montrose, and I've been looking for a new place.  This is not by choice mind you, but my current building is being torn down and I have to vacate by September 30th.  Sadly, I only found out a few days ago, so it's sent me into a scramble. 

 

I frequent HAIF read all of the news about how crazy home and rent prices are becoming inside the loop.  But it's one thing to read about it, and another thing to LIVE it.  I never realized how "good" of a deal I have at this place, and I can't find even a crappy 1BR apartment for anything under $800 per month. 

 

Worst of all... call me old fashioned, but I actually prefer to see a place before I hand over my hard- earned money to someone.  But in Montrose that's not even happening anymore.  Most people are finding apartments online, then renting them site unseen.  I had 3 meetings set up today to view apartments, and 2 of the 3 had already rented before I could get there!!  Less than 24 hr turnaround. 

 

Is this Montrose, or Manhattan?? 

 

Not too many landlords in Montrose are using HAR. Just drive around looking for the For Rent signs.

 

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Was your apartment building (I assume it's an apartment building) listed on Swamplot's Daily Demolition Reports? Also, this may sound like heresy, but have you considered moving out of Montrose? I mean, is it more of the fact that you don't want to face longer commute times (always an issue), or is it more of a neighborhood thing (favorite bars, restaurants, shops, etc.?)

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Also check out Eastwood area. I think a lot of people are going to start heading East once the Montrose landlords sell their land and it all gets turned into big Camden, Post, etc. developments.

 

http://search.har.com/engine/1315-Cullen-Bl-B-Houston-77023-1780_HAR75845743.htm

http://search.har.com/engine/4426-Bell-St-1-Houston-77023-1880_HAR22617779.htm

 

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I used to live in Eastwood, and I enjoyed it for the most part.  But I moved from there because I kept having issues with break-ins.  I was in a 4-plex older home, and the landlord had promised to gate us in (cars included) but never got around to it.  That's why I moved. 

 

2 years later, I'd prefer to stay in Montrose... mostly because of the commute time.  I prefer to bike to work or take the bus, and I work at UofH. 

 

And driving/ biking around is exactly what I've been doing to hunt up a place in Montrose.  But so is everyone else. 

 

I don't have to stay there though... I actually looked along the rail line in the Near Northside.  Some very cool places there, but just not up to my liking at this point.  If nothing pans out with Montrose this weekend, I'm high-tailing it to the Museum District and Eastwood. 

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There are many fourplexes on Lawndale across from the golf course. 6600-6700 blocks.  Very close to UofH via Wayside to MacGregor Park.  One of my kids used to bike to class on decent weather days.

 

Not exactly Eastwood, but not far away, nearer Forest Park Clemetery and Forest Hill/Idylwood/Country Club Place.

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I feel your pain. My daughter and her boyfriend just moved back to Houston from Austin and found Houston real estate to be as bad as Austin. (Hard to find and way over priced). They ended up renting a duplex in Montrose sight-unseen. Two years ago they could not rent the place for half of what they are getting now but demand is so high property owners are taking advantage of it and gouging renters. 

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Sorry to hear about your situation; my landlord has been slow to send over my lease renewal and I'm having nightmares about being in the same spot. If you haven't checked it out, I've been seeing a lot of yard signs North and South of Richmond on the East side of Montrose. You might also check out the vacancies at Fat Property: http://fatproperty.com/units/#. The owner is a regular poster on Swamplot and seems to have some of the cheaper non-slum places in town.

 

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I forwarded this thread link to a friend of mine who owns a small complex in the Museum District to see if she had anything available.

She offered this on the topic of gouging:

"Over $250/month/apartment goes to property tax alone! Insurance is another $50/month/unit, water another $50/month/unit, cable another $40/month/unit. And we haven't even touched maintenance or the mortgage payment. Renters have NO IDEA what owning property costs."

I'll add that if you rent you need to have the mindset that you are always paying maintainence, school taxes, electricity, water, etc, the property owner has just rolled it into a single payment for you. The government will always get theirs.

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It may be out of the question - but I gave up on Montrose and picked a place near Reliant Stadium (East of the Stadium).  It's about a 10 minute drive to Montrose, but there is good transit options and if you have your own transportation Almeda road is usually pretty light.  The area is actually really safe (there's also a bunch of med students that take transit so parking in the complexes isn't that bad either).  A lot of the complexes that were built in the 70's/80's are now condos rented out individually on Craigslist and HAR.  I was able to find a decent efficiency for $550/month...still waiting for something terrible to happen as it seems like they could have asked for a lot more, but have been pleasantly surprised at how nice the area has turned out to be.  Below is a sample of something slightly bigger than an efficiency in that area:

 

http://houston.craigslist.org/apa/3978167772.html

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Thanks everyone for all of the help, and for putting up with my venting.  Proud to report that I found a great place in Montrose, and will be moving at the end of the month.  It's more expensive than my current place, but still within my price range so I'm really excited about that.  

 

I found it while riding my bike... the gentleman had JUST put out the for rent sign that morning, and by the time I talked to him in the mid- afternoon, he had gotten 7 calls about the apartments.  Thankfully he had 3 he was looking to rent.  Really nice guy that showed me the place right then, and was very prompt to email me the application the next day.  It was quite the stroke of luck, and I am very relieved!!  

 

 

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I'll say though... this experience has got me thinking about buying.  Not a house, but just the LAND.  Seeing lots of bargain- basement lots available just East of EaDo and in Eastwood.  Once people like me get priced out of Montrose, the Heights and the Washington Corridor, Eastwood and 2nd Ward/ Magnolia is where they will go.  Or the Near Northside now that the rail line is built.  

 

If you've got the financial means, do yourself a favor and buy in these places!!  

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Glad you found a place! I was priced out of Montrose and most of the Heights area as far back as 2007 when I started looking in Lindale and Eastwood and glad I bought when I did. Lots of activity in the heart of Eastwood. For renters interested, a former derelict property on the corner of Park at  Eddington is almost finished being completely gutted and renovated--I believe they took it from 6 to 4 apts. It's a brick with nice arched portico across the front, gated. The garage apartment is already occupied as of this past weekend,  even with construction not finished in the main building.

 

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I'll say though... this experience has got me thinking about buying. Not a house, but just the LAND. Seeing lots of bargain- basement lots available just East of EaDo and in Eastwood. Once people like me get priced out of Montrose, the Heights and the Washington Corridor, Eastwood and 2nd Ward/ Magnolia is where they will go. Or the Near Northside now that the rail line is built.

If you've got the financial means, do yourself a favor and buy in these places!!

Sounds like a good idea if you can swing it.

You can always start a community garden on it or something that could potentially have at qualify for an agricultural exemption. That would be the way to go.

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It's really interesting to see how rapidly the western half of the loop has developed vs. the eastern half... perplexing actually.  Maybe because it's between downtown and the Galleria... more businesses were there to begin with? 

 

I suspect that's part of a larger trend of people prefering to live farther rather than nearer to the industial areas of Houston, namely the ship channel and refineries.

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I suspect that's part of a larger trend of people prefering to live farther rather than nearer to the industial areas of Houston, namely the ship channel and refineries.

Understandable indeed but I see properties east of US59 (oh excuse me Interstate 69) in the 004 and 023 zip codes steadily increasing in value - especially vacant lots. This area is still convenient enough to the Montrose area and the business centers west of downtown not to mention downtown itself.

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Exactly, which is why the time to buy over there is now. Once Montrose/Heights is priced out, people wanting to be inside the loop will have to move eastward.

I also think TOD is about to play a much more significant role than it did with the Main Street Line. Now that the rail actually goes somewhere, people will want the option of using it. UH/TSU seem most ripe for TOD at this point, and all of the area around Leeland Station on the Southeast Line.

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Now that the rail actually goes somewhere, people will want the option of using it. UH/TSU seem most ripe for TOD at this point, and all of the area around Leeland Station on the Southeast Line.

I wanted to mention the light rail also but am trying to keep my posts shorter and more focused. Thanks for adding that though. I agree.

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I also think our apartment stock is too "big". Houstonians are also going to have to adjust their ideas of space as the city grows and changes.  We need a wider selection of studio and efficiency-style apartments for single renters... it's surprising that there aren't many complexes that are majority studios.  Probably because everyone in Houston wants a spacious 1 or 2 br.  But if you go to places like New York, everything is about location.  People are willing to live in a small space if it's where they want to be.  Hopefully a larger share of the inventory going forward will be smaller apartments, as that would help to level out the market. 

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I agree.  The wife and I are struggling to find something that is "Small" in a 2/2.  Even the new built ones are all too huge for our needs, even though we can afford something "nice", we don't want a house too big to deal with in our dottage.

 

To say it is frustrating is putting it mildly.

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