Generally speaking, this is a very hot rental market. Agents with rental listings can expect to be hounded day in and day out by prospective renters. With the price of housing skyrocketing locally, as well as nationally, it’s become harder for the average American to buy a house - expanding the supply of potential renters. With interest rates seemingly on a continuous rise, more and more Americans will no longer be able to afford to purchase a home and renting becomes a viable option. Just like with purchasing a home, renters will be heavily scrutinized as it relates to their rental history, finances, and overall credit. We’ve seen many potential renters rejected when they apply, oftentimes they are surprised that their bad credit or lack of credit is keeping them from not only buying, but also renting.
Decades ago, landlords would ask for 1st month's rent, last month's rent, and a full month's rent as a deposit. These days the 'last month's rent' component of the equation is all but unheard of to the chagrin of landlords in Texas. Be prepared to charge or be charged a pet deposit of about $250 per pet as a non-refundable deposit, or about a $500 per pet refundable deposit. As an agent representing a tenant, we take care of all of the paperwork; making it as easy as signing the lease agreement and delivering the check to the landlord.
Over the years we’ve developed connections in the rental community that allows us to efficiently source rentals for tenants, while also representing landlords by marketing their properties and ultimately procuring a tenant. Using a realtor as a landlord or a renter offers value and protection, as the paperwork is all handled and backed by a substantial errors and omissions insurance policy that typical homeowners and tenants wouldn’t have.
Remember, just like with purchasing a home, all realtor fees for agents representing tenants are paid by the landlord. Chicotsky Real Estate Group agents have never charged a buyer of a home and likewise have never charged tenants seeking a rental.
High Rise Rentals
The Omni: Arguably the nicest rentals in town can be found at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. It's across the street from the Fort Worth Convention Center and the city's famous Water Gardens. Based off of Houston St., this is one of the main streets in town for entertainment such as bars, restaurants, and shopping. This part of town was once called ‘Hell’s Half Acre’ and was known at the turn of the 20th Century as one of the rowdiest places on earth. Things have come quite a ways from the old days of gun duels and whiskey drinking in the streets.
Rentals at the Omni start at $5,000 per month and go up from there, needless to say when you’re renting a condo worth a million dollars or more - they can be pricey. The condos in the hotel are, in our opinion, the nicest in town. The amenities in the building and specifically the restaurants are also well-appointed. Agents in our office have taken the lead in leasing out the condos in the building; from the penthouse all the way down.
As a side note, we are big fans of eating at the bar at Bob's Chophouse. They have some of the best bartenders in town - ask for Mack, making craft cocktails in impressive fashion. Pro tip: for a light dinner, try the lamb chop appetizer which comes on top of a nice salad.
Texas and Pacific Lofts (best known as the T&P Lofts): Let me first say that the ballroom on the bottom floor of the building is one of the nicest rooms in town to rent for a party. The condos are more moderate in pricing, especially when compared to higher-end properties like the Omni. With a budget of roughly $250,000 to $300,000, prospective buyers will be able to buy a nice condo.
Montgomery Plaza: Location-wise there are some serious positives and negatives with this building. The condo complex and shopping center is just West of the bridge on 7th St. which leads directly into downtown Fort Worth. It's also a stone's throw away from the heaviest density area for bars and entertainment, specifically the South 7th Entertainment District. The downside to this building is on the East side, there is a 5-track railroad switching area where trains are toggled between tracks. Ironically this noise impediment is most prominent on the side of the building that's most prized, with its downtown views. The switching area also forces trains into the intersection as they slowly move forward and back. This creates quite a traffic jam on one of the busiest traffic arteries in Fort Worth.
TCU Rentals: As of the time of this writing there are 56 rentals actively listed on MLS with the median time on market at 40 days and the average days on market at an incredible 70 days. By all appearances this reeks of a renter's market, with an over-abundance of available housing inventory. The problem is you'll notice a strong divergence between the highly sought after properties that rent within the first week and the lesser quality rentals that might sit on the market for 6 months before renting. With new construction houses, condos, and townhomes popping up all over TCU’s surrounding areas, there’s become a large range of properties available for students looking to rent.
It's not uncommon for TCU students seeking to rent a quality place to begin their search well in advance of their intended move-in date. In fact, to ensure you are able to rent a first-rate property that satisfies all your needs, its encouraged you begin your search a year in advance. That is to say students in their Sophomore year will sign a lease for their Junior year many months, if not a year ahead of time. This is due to the fact it is incredibly common for students to sign a two year lease once they find a desirable property, since there aren’t an abundant number of quality homes available within walking distance from campus. All else being held equal, the properties closest to campus are typically the most prized and the first homes to get rented.
Recapping, properties within walking distance from campus typically fly off the market and landlords usually seek a 2 year lease term. Students who prioritize close proximity to campus need to begin searching for a property a year in advance to ensure they find a home. Due to the high demand and low availability, many students have begun looking at homes that are currently being rented and checking with the landlord or property owner for the availability after the current tenants move out. An agent in our office is a rising Senior at TCU, this is the method his roomates used when choosing their house on Merida Avenue, a street just one block from TCU. This specific house, like many others in the area, had a handful of students trying to rent it and the only way to ensure they secured the property was to act on it a year in advance.
As for properties within driving distance from TCU, many students rent homes in the surrounding Fort Worth neighborhoods: Westcliff, Westcliff West, Frisco Heights, Bluebonnet Hills, Bluebonnet Place, University Place, and University West. Houses in these neighborhoods offer a few great qualities that homes closer to campus generally don’t have. These properties typically have a larger back yard, which is great for students who own pets or who are looking for a spacious outdoor living area. These neighborhoods also have a large variety of families, adult renters, and college renters. If you are someone looking for a more quiet setting away from noisy college peers, these neighborhoods are an excellent choice. Not to mention many of these homes have been built prior to the mid-20th century, so you will find properties with a tremendous amount of character and uniqueness compared to newer builds.
Keep in mind that there is a very busy train that runs along Granbury Rd. on the South end of TCU's campus, past Bluebonnet Circle. Properties in this area can hear the train horn throughout the day and into the wee hours of the morning, so if you are a light sleeper or sensitive to this type of noise, we recommend you chose a home closer to the north end of campus.
If a student is looking to live by themselves or with just one roommate, another great option to consider is renting from an off campus apartment complex. TCU has a few great options to consider between The Berkeley, University House, GrandMarc, and the Loft Vue apartment complex. Starting with the residence closest to campus, Grandmarc offers an on-campus feel since it’s just across the street from the Tucker Technology Center and Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Grandmarc is unique in the sense that it is the only building permitted to allow sophomores to live there, as TCU requires students to live on campus for their first two years. The building consists of two sides, one which has residential advisors (RA’s) and one side that is completely independent from the University. This feature is great so younger students can still have guidance and check-ins from TCU hall monitors, and older students can live completely independent. Grandmarcs central location can’t be beat by any other apartment complex and is a great fit for any student wanting to live outside of a residential hall, but still be on campus.
For apartments still within walking distance, but off campus - Loft Vue and University House are two fantastic choices. Both relatively new complexes, with high quality rooms, staff, and amenities are all top notch. These complexes feature studio to 4 bedrooms apartments, stainless steel appliances, in-unit washer and dryer, granite countertops, and some units have balconies and patios. Community features include a fitness center, study and rooftop lounge, and a tanning pool with a grill area. Loft Vue is located off Berry Street at the intersection of McCart Avenue, while University House is off University Drive, both a block from campus.
For apartments off campus and not within walking distance, a very popular choice for TCU upperclass students is living in The Berkeley. The Berkley is a serene, luxurious community nestled in Fort Worth’s prestigious Berkeley neighborhood. The Berkeley is a fantastic choice for any TCU upperclass student or young adult, being only minutes away from campus, DFW’s Medical District, and West 7th Street. It includes amenities like a 24 hour fitness center, pet parks, pools, and attached garages; all within a gated community.
There is also quite a few new build condominiums popping up all around TCU. While the majority are within walking distance from campus, there’s still some in the surrounding neighborhoods we previously mentioned. If you are interested in living in a new build, the Chicotsky Real Estate Group works with many builders in the greater DFW area, and we are more than happy to provide you with information regarding the availability, pricing, and other specifics for one of these units.
With all of the discussion of renting in the TCU market, it’s worth mentioning the various benefits and drawbacks of renting versus buying. Along these lines, when representing tenants renting a property, we follow up by providing them with real life examples of the renting versus buying scenarios and the real-world financial implications of such a choice. Especially for students who have a full 4 years to look forward to, or families with multiple children attending the university - purchasing a property (which can be used as a primary residence and then later turned into a rental property or sold) often is the better of the two options. Ultimately, where someone lives ends up being a matter of ‘fit’ as it needs to work within their financial needs and goals.
Cultural District Rentals
I just did a showing this morning on Bunting Ave. in the 76107 zip code, to a couple moving into the area and wanting spend a year renting in order to get a better lay of the land before purchasing. This house is a 4 bed, 2 bath in the middle of the cultural district, specifically in the North High Mount area just North of the bricks of Camp Bowie. There are only a couple of factors that determine whether a property rents in a short amount of time; the correct alignment between location, price, and condition. This home is being listed for rent at $1.52 per square foot and given the well-appointed and updated condition of the home.
Elan West 7th Street: With roughly 500 units tucked away in the Linwood neighborhood, this is one of the most sought after apartment complexes in Fort Worth. We just checked with the management which claims to be at 98% occupancy. One bedroom apartments start at around $1,390 with about 700 square foot of living space and goes up from there. The complex offers a state-of-the-art saltwater pool with plenty of poolside lounging area. Overlooking the pool is their workout facility, which though smaller in size, is open 24/7 and has everything you’ll need to get beach ready for the summer. It offers easy access to the Cultural District and Downtown.
Elan River District: In the bustling new River District, this apartment complex complete with a lazy river is luxury apartment living at a lower cost than the one on 7th Street. Bang for your buck, this new-build apartment complex is one of the best deals in town - with a 1 bedroom apartment costing around $1,000 per month. The River District is booming right now, with Heim Barbeque moving into the area, complimenting local favorite Salsa Limon which is directly across the street from the apartment building. The leasing office area is one of the nicest we’ve seen, offering complimentary drinks to go along with the pool tables, big screen televisions, an overall great hangout area.
Chicotsky Real Estate Group helped our client purchase a triplex one block from Camp Bowie Blvd. - we consulted with her in order to help her get the property ready for lease. As the Montgomery St. corridor continues to be built-out, it’s likely this will continue to grow into one of the most sought after areas in Fort Worth. One of the upsides to living in the area is the ability to take a quick Uber or Lyft ride to and from the 7th St. entertainment district, replete with things to do and places to have a nice dinner and drink. The rental price per square foot in the area is hovering around $1.50 per square foot, compared to rental comps of closer to $1.00 per square foot in most outlying suburbs.
At Chicotsky Real Estate Group we work with transplants moving to and from the Fort Worth real estate market. Some corporations and their associated employees prefer to find short term housing before setting down roots in the city. The average furnished townhome or house costs about $3,000 per month, but we work within our client’s budget and make sure they are well taken care of at any price point.