Using a Smart City Locator – The ‘Why’ and ‘How’

By | Apartment Locators, Apartments, Houston

Looking for an apartment can be stressful and it’s important to set your search expectations early on in the process, which means answering a ton of questions. What’s achievable within my budget? What’s most important – budget, location or unit finishes? Where are the best deals? Can I afford washer and dryer in-unit, or what about hardwood floors? Where can me and my huge dog live? The list goes on and on! Today we’ve set out to answer one specific question you might be asking as you prepare to move: Why use a Smart City locator? Well, you wouldn’t go to an eye doctor for a foot examination would you?! Heck no, you would go to a specialist! That’s us- we’re the apartment specialists, and we’re FREE! **Want the spark-noted version? Just skim the bold bits (no offense taken).** We’re real people! No computer-generated search options here! Instead, you’re connected to a real person who lives, works and plays in Houston! Our agents are some serious neighborhood and market experts who deliver unique apartment searches based on your needs and your priorities! “Real” also means we keep it absolutely 100 with you. We aren’t about setting fake expectations. Plus, we collaborate like crazy – If you ask your agent something, you ask the table of 10+ other agents sitting with them. Nothing is done in a vacuum, so you’re always receiving optimal information. Photo Cred We’ve got the 4-1-1!! Apartment Possible, what’s the sitch? We WANT to know what’s most important to you! Have…

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large plants by window

Apartment Plants: Tips From Bravo’s ‘Backyard Envy’ Star, Garrett Magee

By | Apartment tips and tricks, Apartments, Decorating, FYI, house plants

You don’t have to be a scientist to know that plants make all the difference in our environment. They reduce carbon dioxide levels, reduce levels of certain pollutants, regulate air temps–the list goes on! Having plants in your apartment yield similar benefits, with the added benefit of style and a kind of living feel. If you weren’t born with a “green thumb,” incorporating plants into your space can be kind of intimidating. Don’t know where to start? Not to worry, we’ve got a Smart City exclusive with Bravo TV’s star “gardenista” himself! Garrett Magee (pictured left) is the self-proclaimed “muscle” of Backyard Envy’s dynamic and hilarious landscaping trio. If you haven’t watched the show, you’re seriously missing out on the untapped, comical drama of the landscaping world! A Texas native, Garrett and his two besties have established themselves as New York City’s most sought-after landscapers, or better known as,  Manscapers. When it comes to taking squeezed New York terraces and turning them into green-space utopias, there’s nobody better! We got to interview Garrett and snag his top tips to turn your apartment into a living, breathing (and growing) Pinterest board! What are your top three plant recommendations to liven up an apartment? “For dramatic effect, dracaeana marginata – They come in so many sizes and offer a really dramatic, modern look! For variety, asparagus setaceus (Lace Fern) – Ferns are great for bathrooms because of all the moisture. This is one of my fave apartment plants! For hanging, staghorn fern…

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hurricane harvey

How Hurricane Harvey Changed Renting in Houston

By | Apartments, Houston, Hurricane Harvey, Rent Increase, Rental Market

Houston – A southern concrete jungle stretched out over hundreds of square miles, and home to more than 2.3 million Houstonians and expats. Everyone here knows that when it comes to weather, watch out for what you wish for! It will be sunny and 70 degrees one day and completely iced over the next. But, hey – that’s Houston! *cue every Houstonians slow head-nod and nonchalant “mmhmm”* When the rain of Harvey storms met Houston in 2017, the weather wasn’t the only thing that surprised the entire city! The increase of rent prices did as well. Catastrophic flooding throughout the state displaced a recorded 13 million people from their homes, leaving renting as many people’s temporary solution. Compared to the housing boom of 2014 when apartments were offering 2-3 months free just to get people in their doors, renters were met with the stifling reality of supply and demand — less apartments and higher costs. Those enticing renters specials came to a screeching halt and the rental market sharply rose. Photo by Alamy/Reuters via The Guardian The areas inside the loop that experienced a blast in pricing after Hurricane Harvey are:   Uptown – 8% increase West University – 10% increase Heights – 14% increase EaDo (East Downtown) – 19% increase River Oaks – 21% increase Museum District – 21% increase Greenway/Upper Kirby – 26% increase Downtown – 45% increase Bellaire – 52% increase   Shapefile Source by City of Houston Geographic Information System (COHGIS) via RentHop   The renting…

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Skyhouse Main apartments Houston

Cut The Commute: Apartments Closer To Work In The Houston Metroplex

By | Apartments, Closer to work, Commuting, Houston

“I LOVE TRAFFIC!” – said no one ever Despite the stress of a long commute, most people in Texas have to drive to and from work, going head-to-head with menacing rush hour traffic. Spoiler alert: Houstonians are going to spend an average of 9.95 days commuting to and from work in 2019 according to a study published by educateddriver.org! And because time behind the wheel can feel wasted, we’re determined to help get your days back. Take a peek at these beautiful apartments in local neighborhoods people often commute to, and let’s talk about getting you closer to work so that you don’t have to!   DOWNTOWN | Skyhouse Main | Starting at $1281 This luxury property allows easy access to I-45 and I-69 and is perfect for those who work Downtown. This area is home to some major employers such as Chevron, Kinder Morgan, Center Point, and Deloitte! These apartments are perfect for those that are energy conscious; equipped with solar shades and Energy Star appliances. Also complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, spa-style tubs, and private balconies. Image source Image source Image source   ENERGY CORRIDOR | Vista Energy Corridor | Starting at $1200 This property is located in the up and coming Energy Corridor of Houston! Home to some of the biggest oil and gas companies out there; Exxon, Shell, CITGO, and much more. Apartments are equipped with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, and plenty of storage! Image source Image source Image source   MEDICAL DISTRICT | Modera Flats | Starting at $1053 Located in the…

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redecorating

Plan It: 5 Apartment Decorating Tools We Love

By | Apartments, Decorating, New Apartments

Photo Cred It is that time again… time to freshen up your wardrobe and living space! Spring is coming and whether you’re simply rearranging or full on redecorating, let’s be honest, bringing your Pinterest dream board to life can be daunting and pricy! And we know you don’t have time or money to be wasting. Don’t get discouraged, there are wonderful tools, diy projects and tricks to make any space feel like home. Plus, redoing your space has even emotional benefits, as it can be cleansing and therapeutic (especially after a traumatic event or break up). So, instead of hoping your space comes together after endless prayers to the almighty decoration gods (West Elm and Ikea), check out these tips to help make any space your own and get’r done! 1. Personalized 3D Designs Photo Cred The world continues to amaze us with all the new technology and apps that help make life so much easier. We know not everyone has the means to hire an interior designer, but most wish they had the professional help breathing life into their apartment decoration dreams. Apps like Modsy and Havenly allow you to get professional help without the hefty price tag. It costs just a small fee and is so simple! Take a style test online, upload pictures of your space and boom! you’re partnered with designers that create photorealistic renderings of what your space could look like after they’ve styled it. Once you pick a favorite look, get links to buy the…

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Downtown Houston

Move To Houston?

By | Apartment Locators, apartment pools, Apartments, Houston, Moving, New Apartments

Photo Cred Moving to Texas is becoming more and more popular by the day! So, if you haven’t already heard Houston is one of the fastest growing cities in America then you’re probably living under a rock. In the past four years, over half-a-million new residents have come to call Houston home, making it the number two fastest growing city. While we at Smart City Houston are biased (H-Town represent!), we chose 3 reasons out of a magnitude on why you should call Houston home in 2019. 1. The Cost of Living Photo Cred Though our cost of living is increasing, Houston is far less expensive compared to the cost of other big cities in America. We pay less in taxes, so you take home a higher percentage of your paycheck meaning more money to play with! Our grocery stores also offer insane savings (H.E.B. where you at?) and our gas prices remain below the nation’s average. 2. The Weather Photo Cred If you live in Houston already, you’ve gotten used to sporadic rainfall. However don’t fret! Houston weather is pretty warm year-round. With only two months of chilly weather, Houstonians can enjoy pool time most of the time. So, put those snow boots away, and stock up on sunscreen! 3. The Amount of Apartments Photo Cred No need to worry about private rentals here! From mid-rise, to high-rise to garden styles, Houston has an abundance of apartments. Houston is taking in the influx of new Houstonians by building new…

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sharing a kitchen with roommates

Split It: How To Share Treats

By | Apartments, Drinks, Food, Renting, Roommates

Photo Cred If you’ve ever googled, “How to share a kitchen with your roommate”, you probably read articles on sharing chores. Not many of these articles talk about the most important part – treats. From sharing food, to cooking food, we’re breaking down the top three kitchen rules for roommates when it comes to food and sharing it. 1. Roommate food sharing list Photo Cred It may seem petty, but creating a roommate food sharing list is a total must. This is a list of kitchen treats that are shareable between all in the apartment. Things not included in this list are clearly off limits. If this is unclear for some reason, create a separate, “Do Not Touch” list. Place these lists on the fridge and pantry. While labeling your items help, having a “Sorry I Touched It” money jar can help you and your roommates stay accountable during times temptation takes over. 2. Roommate cooking schedule Photo Cred One chef in the kitchen is great, two chefs in the kitchen can start to feel claustrophobic and we all know what they say about threes. Scheduling or asking for meal prep/cooking time in the kitchen can help reduce many kitchen catastrophes. 3. Sharing a fridge with roommates Photo Cred This may be the most important rule of them all. Considered the holy place for all things cold and stored, the fridge. Remember these three things when it comes to sharing the fridge. If it smells foul, throw it away. If it’s…

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5 Things You Should Resolve To Do For Your Apartment in 2019

By | Apartments, Decorating, New Apartments, NYE, Renting

Photo Cred Refreshing and upgrading your life is what New Year’s resolutions are all about, but what about your apartment? While you make preparations for the new you, don’t leave your space on the back burner. Here are a five things we think you should resolve to do differently this year with your space. Resolve to tidy up more effectively and efficiently Photo Cred According to the Cleaning Institute, though most Americans spend six hours a week cleaning, many don’t know if they are cleaning enough, if they are cleaning correctly or where to focus their cleaning efforts. We recommend spot treatments and maintenance on a daily basis and deep cleaning a section of your apartment once a week–don’t forget things like dusting the ceiling fan or cleaning the baseboards! With small and consistent effort, you’ll always have a tidy place to come home to. If you’re not convinced, here are the best cleaning practices backed by scientific research. Resolve to never be late on bills again Photo Cred Adulting is hard, and worrying over rent, utilities and other bills can really dampen the mood. If you’re no stranger to late payments and skipping a bill to pay on another, we proudly declare, NEW YEAR, NEW YOU! Pro tip: Creating spreadsheets and calendar reminders can help you stay on top of all of your bills and keep you accountable. First, make a spreadsheet of your total expenses: this includes all your bills, debt, subscriptions and survival needs – ie transportation,…

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holiday decor

Upgrade Your Studio: Holiday Decorating

By | Apartment Locators, Apartments, Christmas, Decorating, studios, Things to do for Christmas

Photo Cred It’s the holiday season, so whoop-de-do, hickory dock and don’t forget to hang up your sock… or not. For those moving into or already living in an open floor plan studio, decorating for the holidays may seem daunting. With a lack of dedicated rooms, you may be wondering where you should put your freshly cut tree, that tray full of glittery plastic balls or your jars of fake snow. Lucky for you, we got you covered! Here are a few holiday themes to give you some ideas! Minimal Photo Cred For those who aren’t looking to do much cleaning after the holidays, a minimal approach may be the one for you. Picking only a few pieces that can hold their own regardless of the season is key. Subtle color changes can also go a long way for setting the tone. The best part is, this theme can be year round with no effort at all. Traditional Photo Cred If you like seeing ornaments hanging, holiday music blaring– a general reminder of what time of year it is, then stick that tree in the middle of your apartment because seeing is believing with this theme. Though a little more work, you can make your decor the center of attention in your studio, or you can keep it to the kitchen. Do what you need to do to set the mood. Bright Photo Cred Lights, lights and more lights. Brightening up a space with Christmas lights always works wonders. It also…

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ultimate guide

The Ultimate Guide To Renting

By | Apartments, Renting, Ultimate Guide to Renting

When do I start my apartment search? What questions should I be asking? What exactly qualifies as a good deal? These are legit questions concerning apartment hunting. There’s so much that goes into finding a place to call home (at least for a year) and sometimes those little things can slip through the cracks and come back to bite you in the butt later. Whether you’re a first time renter or an all time pro, renting can be tedious, overwhelming and just plain annoying, but we’re here to help! Our Ultimate Guide to Renting is broken down into easy to read sections, especially for the skimmers (you know who you are), and covers everything from pre-search prep to move in day! So, sit back, grab a snack and let’s kick some rental ass! 01. Prep Work Before you deep dive into the abyss of internet apartment searches and start scheduling tours, you need to figure a few things out first: Your budget: What can you comfortably afford with your current income? Apartment complexes typically require that you (or the combined household) make an annual income of 3x the monthly rent. But we gotta go a little further and ask that even if you qualify, would spending $1600 on rent every month starve you to death? …we’re not into that. The size of the apartment: One, two, three bedrooms? Figuring out what size apartment to rent depends greatly on your needs, your lifestyle and how many people will be living there. Roommates:…

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