Comment of the Day: Funky Montrose Apartments Are in High Demand

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FUNKY MONTROSE APARTMENTS ARE IN HIGH DEMAND “Here’s what I am seeing in Montrose this year and last year: Every nice garage apartment, side-by-side duplex, fourplex, etc brings on multiple applicants. (Sometimes renting for more than the stated price.) With several to choose from, the Landlord’s pick will have excellent credit and high income — a lot higher than you would expect for say a garage apartment. These tenants could afford to live in those shiny new apartment complexes. Easily. But they don’t want to. They want to live in the neighborhood, on a residential street. This doesn’t apply to every tenant — obviously there are more who want to live in the beehive. But the demand for funky old Montrose housing isn’t diminishing — It is tighter than ever.” [Harold Mandell, commenting on The Coming Flood of New River Oaks-Area Apartments in Montrose]

18 Comment

  • so so accurate…

  • Well, I hear there’s a new vacancy in the Takara So apartment complex. That’s pretty funky, isn’t it?

  • Completely agree. Granted, I’m a twenty something professional who’s opting to live in the Montrose neighborhood in a funky, smaller, older apartment complex… so I’m a bit biased.

  • I base my business on that very premise. I don’t market to those that are comfortable in apartment complexes or to those seeking the maximum number of amenities, I cater to those that want the character and feel of living in vintage homes. I have absolutely no trouble filling those spaces. Montrose has been great to fulfill the needs of that niche, but with the rising property costs in the area, I’m now turning my attention to other areas like Eastwood.

  • Kilray! Nice running into you the other day… :-)

  • I wish someone in Houston would do what Powers Properties has done in Dallas – that’s purchase the really cool, unique 60s-mod apartment complexes (and more) and update them to modern times.

    It’s worked really well and there’s so much potential in H-Town.

    Check it out:

  • I’ve personally lived in all types of Montrose apartments – funky one-bedrooms, duplexes, town homes, and anthills. While the charm is nice, the real amenity older stock apartments offer is proximity to the street. Many of the big complexes are difficult to navigate and make it almost impossible for visitors to get to you. I would gladly live in a big complex if it took the same amount of time to get from my door to the street as my current place.

  • i just switched apts last year after being in castle court for 5yrs. was surprised at how frantic it was in trying to secure a 2bd multi-family property at a reasonable price. unfortunately the high price of all these brand new crappy complexes is driving everything else up and will continue to do so as the area economy booms with oil & gas, feels like we’re still at the beginning of this trend.

    this should allow owners to raise prices to offset added costs to keep these older properties profitable, but no doubt this will continue to be a diminishing market as most of the reasonably priced or character-driven properties have too much deferred maintenance to make reinvestment worth it. and just wait until the lightrail results in massive rebuilding along the richmond corridor wiping out a lot of the dirt cheap stuff.

    i can only echo that no doubt this area will continue to boom, grow and change. as for myself, perfect credit and six-figure income still makes me a renter in the montrose, not a buyer, and this will be a growing trend with us younger folks. dual incomes requried.

    just please stop discriminating against me because i have a child, stay out of the renting business if you don’t intend on playing by the rules. us renters can afford lawyers now days.

  • Ted: Maybe it’s easier to do that in Dallas with regards to dealing with the city, permits, etc.
    Changing a lightbulb inside the loop will often cause the Prius Patrol to swarm your property. So lots of owners just don’t bother. I’ve personally passed on two beat up properties already this year that would have been great to fix up as I don’t want a repeat of some of my dealings from last year. So they just sit there. Sad :(

  • Joel- glad you can afford a lawyer, but what do you expect the lawyer to do?
    Seriously, I understand the kid problem- I am a landlord, I represent landlords and I represent tenants, and here is how it is working right now:
    When a property gets five applicants in the first three days, the landlord gets to pick.
    This result is one tenant and four broken hearts.
    And you might be amazed to see who gets picked and who doesn’t. I represented a single guy , no pets, whose income was 5 times the rent and had credit score just under 800 and he got passed over for a middle aged woman with a cat. The landlord “thought she would stay longer”.
    Landlords have gender preferences, age preferences, attempts to match a new tenant to the existing tenants (so they all stay longer),fear of childern, fear of roomates (as opposed to “couples”), fear of animals,on and on.
    But I know what you’re thinking– HUD Fair Housing is very specific as to the Protected Classes.
    But first in line is not a protected class– and if there are multiple offers I don’t know what your lawyer is going to be able to do for you.
    It was actually this phenomena that inspired me to write the post that started this– because I have seen the immense frustration my (really stellar) clients have felt at being the party that didn’t get picked.

  • To all of the Montrose people who are being edged out-come over to 3rd ward! There are some areas not as bad as you think, and you really can’t beat the prices. Plus, you can still claim Museum District to folks who don’t know better…

  • Harold: Odd. We used to list for a few days, collect a bunch of apps, then decide. Now we just post online and lease to the first qualified person that is ready with a deposit and ready to say “I’ll take it”.
    I got to the point where I hated showing apartments and giving the same speech over and over.. so now when someone says “I want it”, why not just go with them? Hell, often a unit will get snatched up by someone that doesn’t even come by to view. I guess if you know where it is, and see pics, there isn’t much to see in person anyway. And since I’ve bought apartment buildings w/o seeing the units, I guess it’s not a stretch to rent one w/o seeing it first :)

  • Cody-
    I think the difference is that the properties I am talking about are owned by local families that own maybe one or two bungalows, or one or two duplexes besides their own homes. They really want to make each one count. You are able to spread the risk over more units.
    And then there is all that drama going on about bidding wars– people offering more than asking price. yikes.

  • By the way Cody, Kilray et al:
    Did you see the New York Times article, “Life as a Landlord”?
    Can we post links here? I will try:

  • Funny how I see the same “For Rent” signs all over Montrose month after month. Maybe the landlords are too picky? Or maybe they have the units overpriced? Small complexes with completely renovated and “chi-chi” interiors probably do attract “multiple offers” as do duplexes and fourplexes and probably do command “higher than market” prices but I really have a problem with this representation of a “boom” in Montrose. Maybe some don’t know better. But most who do will not pay $800 for a basically “painted to look pretty” 1 bedroom in an old property. Too much still out there for $600. As for leasing “sight unseen” landlords should realize that drug dealers and prostitutes sometimes have pristine credit reports. And “good” references. But are still drug dealers and prostitutes. Maybe they don’t want to see you until they come to pick up the keys.

    As for Takara So it is not cheap. But, well, when you have bad credit and a shady history so to speak, you live where you can and pay what you have to. Along with unsuspecting professionals who also don’t know better. But it’s “bills paid.” Which of course means a “submetered” bill each month. Even residents at Baylor like that. Less hassle not to have to deal with utility companies. And, well, I guess you get used to the crazy neighbors. Which you have to no matter where you live or what you pay in Montrose.

  • Hey Cody. It was nice talking with you. I’m sure we’ll run into one another again soon, but hopefully not in that place again. :)


    Harold: I agree. I have the 5 applications at once problem fairly frequently and I hate that part of the job. I don’t think most landlords are out to discriminate, but simply prefer people that will probably stay awhile and keep turnover costs down. We also prefer people that will pay their rent on time and cause the fewest complaints. For the applicants, please understand that it’s really not fun having to turn down people and most of the time I just wish I had enough apartments to give one to each person.

  • Amanda, I made the jump to 3rd Ward when I was ready to buy a house and it’s awesome. Friendly people, huge house for less than renting in Montrose, and great location close to everything.

    I lived in Montrose for more than a decade, but I couldn’t afford to buy there, so I didn’t even consider it. I love my place in the Tre.

    We also looked at the East End and I recommend it as well.

  • I have 15 apts,(fourplex , duplex, etc.,), I had to update them, to meet the demand for nicer amenities (8-10 years ago),things like a dish washer, central a/c, all windows open,etc. Plus all these old places have oak wood floors. I never put a sign in the yard, only advertise online. I have to consider the existing tenants, when renting, I want them to get along, or I get phone calls.