The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

A Pro Who Knows-Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy, associate professor of real estate on NE Campus.
Tim Murphy, associate professor of real estate on NE Campus.
Tim Murphy, associate professor of real estate on NE Campus.
Tim Murphy, associate professor of real estate on NE Campus.

Tim Murphy, associate professor of real estate on NE Campus, offers apartment-hunting tips for students.

Q. A student has just found the place he or she wants to live. When speaking to a leasing agent, what types of questions should be asked?

Beyond asking the landlord questions, I would check with the local police department about calls to that complex and the types of calls and incidents they have there. I would ask the leasing agent if I could talk with some of the residents about their experiences in the location. I would drive the property and look to see how many vacancies there are and the type of clientele that live in the location. If there are a lot of people hanging around out front and there are bunches of broken-down vehicles, maybe it’s a higher crime or criminal mischief area. Also, find out how quick is the maintenance turnaround.

Q. What kinds of leases are best for students?

If more than one student signs on a lease, that could be an issue for getting out of the lease later if the roommate situation doesn’t workout. For a student, the 12-month lease would probably be a lot lower than the six-month lease. They need to check the clauses in the lease to make sure if something happens, they can afford the buyout or how it would be reported if they do not finish the contract. They don’t want a ding on their credit.

Q. After finding a place to live, what should a student do next?

I would make sure the landlord/tenant code is being complied through the use of dead bolts on the front door and new key locks. Ensure all the window latches have been replaced and the smoke detector works. If there is a burglar alarm, make sure it’s working. If [the alarm] has to be connected, find out what’s the charge for connection.

Q. And renter’s insurance?

Check prices on renter’s insurance versus the property you have. If the property you own is not worth more than three months of renter’s insurance, then you probably shouldn’t bother. That’s kind of the rule of thumb.

Q. Many students would rather rent houses as opposed to apartments. Is this advisable?

Of course with a house, there may be additional maintenance issues that you wouldn’t have with an apartment. The house may be safer because you are isolated from other residents in the area. Apartments are usually owned by big companies that would be obligated to uphold their end of the landlord tenant code as opposed to an individual property owner that may not know the code. You may have to push them in court in order to get the right security devices. Also, if you have a problem with maintenance, it may be a lot slower than in an apartment complex.

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