So you're on the fence about getting a new apartment during the COVID pandemic ...

August 10, 2020 by Ted Bauer

We hear you. It can be scary and confusing. We will say this first: people are moving again. That's good! But as we're writing this, around August 10, Dallas County just had a spike back up in COVID cases, and Tarrant County had 800 new cases this Saturday. Collin County had 215 new cases on Sunday. You're not entirely sure what to do. We get it. Let's walk through some potential situations here. 

You like your apartment, but aren't 100% sure of staying

We wouldn't necessarily recommend going month-to-month, as the rate might be higher. If you think you can do your current place for another lease term, be that somewhere between 6-12 months, in this situation we'd recommend doing it. It makes sense if there's nothing truly wrong with where you're at. 

You don't like your apartment that much, and had been contemplating moving

In this context, we'd recommend moving. Don't succumb to stasis.

Here's the ducks you would need in a row for this process:

  • Learn about what types of virtual tour options different complexes have {here's a bit of info}
  • {We can also help you with that info}
  • Learn about their different moving-in options (masks, distance, different time slots)
  • Learn about the policies of different moving companies (often same)
  • Tour some places, make an offer {we will help}
  • Lock down a move date
  • Pack it up
  • Let's roll

It's a confusing time, but moving is possible, for sure. 

You hate your apartment but you're scared

We'd still recommend moving using the steps above. Why spend potentially another year in a place you hate? You can recruit friends to help you with the move process, and the complexes are usually very accomodating. If you can get something better for an entire year of your life, it's likely to be worth it. 

Some cost considerations

Hard to do math on this because it varies so much by situation, but these are some of the costs you need to have a handle on in order to make moving decisions:

  • What's your currently monthly rent?
  • What would your current complex charge you on a new lease?
  • How would that vary for 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 months?
  • What's the month-to-month rate?
  • Kick tires on some moving companies. What's the rate for the anticipated distance?
  • How much money would you need for packing supplies?
  • Any pet fees or charges?
  • How much upfront (to get the keys) at a new complex?
  • What is your current job/income situation?
  • Do you have the time with work and personal to coordinate a move right now? (Some people are slammed at work because of others being laid off.)
  • Would your new rent be roughly about 30-40% of what you take home in a month?

If you write down all these considerations and do some math, you have an idea how feasible an immediate move might be. We can help you navigate upfront costs with the complexes, for sure. 

"I'll just stick it out here until early 2021 and then move"

We've heard this a few times, and it's totally valid. 

If that's your idea, though, consider some of the above costs: month-to-month fees, moving, etc. If you're going up 1.5x on your apartment rent and might need to move in 5-6 months, it might be cheaper to just move now, all-in. It varies by your income and different complexes you are considering, but oftentimes a move right now is going to be cheaper than 4-6 months of month-to-month fees. 

Where are the cheaper complexes?

We get this question sometimes and it's not really something we can answer directly, because again, it all varies by person. Someone in one industry with one source of income and people to help might consider Apartment A cheap, and another person would think Apartment A is very expensive. We can say that there are different ways to sort apartments on this site,  and cost is one of them. Now, the cost feature is not perfect because if someone leaves an apartment, the complex may increase the rent on that unit, and that won't immediately reflect on our back-end. But ... the cost feature can be a decent guide if you are looking for something more affordable in a time of economic uncertainty for many. 

Will prices go down?

We hear this a lot from people ... they will wait until prices go down more. That might happen a little bit in some areas, but in general it won't be a major decrease. In areas like Plano and Frisco, you're seeing rents go up -- not much, but go up $5-9 or so per month -- in a lot of places. A lot factors into this, including basic supply and demand, how the corporate side of the complexes are looking at their portfolio, occupancy rates, how many companies in DFW are staying work-from-home, and more. There's a ton of factors. Overall, though, don't necessarily bank on prices going down. 

Is this the moment to buy a house instead of renting?

Very personal, emotive decision -- and heck, maybe for you, it is. We've even seen a little bit of a trend of people considering houses in the suburban areas at a younger age because of COVID. So, maybe it is time to buy ... but that's a whole different batch of fiscal considerations, starting with the fact that you'd probably need a minimum of 3.5% down. A house can be an equity investment, though, and interest rates are low as all get-out right now. 

If you want to consider some homes, kick tires on our MLS-connected back-end. We can help you with the homes vs. rentals discussion, too. Many of us have faced it. 

Let us know what you need!


About the Author

Ted Bauer

Ted Bauer is a writer/editor for White Rock Locators focused on as much cool content about the DFW Metroplex rental scene as he can possibly find week-to-week.