services help avoid hassles of apartment searches, but
By Kelly Morris
When students sign up to live in residence halls on
campus, everything is at their fingertips and all decisions
are pretty much made for them.
Their only worry is deciding whether to bunk or loft
But when students decide to leave the convenience of
on-campus residence halls for the freedom of off-campus
apartments, everything is no longer so convenient and
many decisions await them.
With so many apartments to choose from around the TCU
campus, finding just the right one can be a daunting
Martha Maddox, a leasing agent at the Apartment Locator
Service at 5412 S. Hulen Street, said locator services
can be helpful in narrowing down a persons apartment
It saves you a lot of legwork, she said.
If someone had to move next week, wed get
on the phone to make sure they have something available.
If they dont have anything available, theres
no reason to go out and look. It saves you time and
Maddox said to begin the search, customers must fill
out a form to specify what kind of apartment they are
looking for. She said it is important to know the size,
the location, the price range the customer is willing
to spend, if they need a washer/dryer connection or
have pets, she said.
We can e-mail (the results), fax them or they
can pick them up, Maddox said. We like for
them to pick them up, so we can go over it with them.
She said most apartment complexes take pets up to 20
pounds, but some have breed restrictions, like pit bulls.
It can cost $600 to $800 to house larger dogs, Maddox
She said the locator service gets busier at the end
of March and April, during which time there are many
apartment specials like getting one to two months free
rental or having a move-in cost of just $99.
Right now everyone is doing good specials, so
we can give you the update on the moving specials,
she said. When it comes toward late spring and
early summer, youre probably not going to have
as many specials because they are going to fill up.
Maddox said searching the Internet has limited benefits
when looking for apartments.
You can go on there and get a list, but theyre
not going to be able to tell you the availability,
Maddox said. They may be able to give the specials,
but as far as giving the availability, youd still
have to do that on your own.
Maddox said the free service she provides doesnt
end until the customer finds an apartment.
As long as theyre still looking, Im
searching, Maddox said. We try to follow
up to see if they need more help because we strictly
work on commission, so its important for the client
to put our name down on the apartment application.
But real estate lawyer Dan White said it is that commission
that students should be careful of.
Locators take you to apartments that pay them,
he said. Dont assume theyre looking
out for your best interest. They represent one thing
and thats their commission.
Maddox said her office doesnt work that way.
Some of them do it that way, but in this office,
we dont do it that way, she said. We
are honest people and we try our best to find the best
apartment for our customers. If its a bad place,
were not going to send them there just because
we have a commission there.
White said that apartments scams are not a terrible
problem but that he sees most of his clients when theyre
trying to terminate their lease.
Not all landlords are perfect, he said.
There are landlords that are just unscrupulous.
Its a lot easier to get in an apartment than get
White said the reason why terminating a lease is more
difficult than signing one is because most residents
are unfamiliar with their hold-over or end of termination
agreement, which gives residents either 30 days or 60
days to inform their complex they are leaving.
If you put a deposit and an application fee down,
and if you decide not to get the apartment, how many
days do they have to get the deposit back? she
Maddox said the apartments around the Hulen Mall are
cheaper than the ones located near TCU.
She said you can find a one bedroom near the mall for
$500 a month.
Its great to live around the mall,
she said. Theres five grocery stores, and
theres no nicer mall in Fort Worth than the Hulen
She said the Park Ridge apartments located closer to
campus are also a cheap find.
Theyre a little older, but theyre
very inexpensive, she said. A lot of the
young boys dont care if its real fancy.
They just want a place to lay their head and a closet
to put their clothes in.
She also said some complexes charge more a month depending
on what floor your apartment is located on and whether
it faces the pool.
White said with a little research and time, students
can have a hassle-free experience when they sign the
You need to read your lease and understand it
the best way you can, he said. A lease is
not drafted in your favor. Make sure there are no blanks
in it, or if there are blanks, know what they mean.