As an expat looking for a place to live in Houston, you can search yourself but it is highly recommended to use a local apartment finder or a realtor for apartments and a realtor for homes. Their search is generally free of cost and they have access to a tremendous amount of resources. For the most time-efficient way of finding an apartment or house, it is highly recommended to let them do the footwork for you.
If you want to search on your own, the most useful resource for apartments will be the internet as it can give a good first look at properties, ideas for prices and amenities offered. For apartments, you can also drive around near your work and walk into the office of apartment complexes to make an appointment with a leasing agent to show you the property. Many can give you a tour on the spot as long as you are no later than one hour before lunch or closing hours. You can also search in the main local newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, or pick up one of the many real estate magazines that are available free in the racks at the entrance of most grocery stores.
These are some websites you can utilize to look for rental properties:
Due to the low commission for apartments, you are expected to have your own transportation to tour them but some agents may offer transportation when asked. For homes to purchase, when asked, the real estate agent will pick you up and drive you around to show you the properties; otherwise, you can obtain the address and meet the agent at the location directly.
There is an endless list of real estate agents, individual agents as well as large nationwide companies in Houston. Individual agents usually list their properties in alliance with the larger realtors or have access to properties to show that are listed with other agents, so the options are not limited. It is up to your personal preference who you want to work with when you are screening realtors. Make sure you find out important information such as fees and other contract terms so that you are able to make a good choice.
Visit the website of the Houston Association of Realtors to find a reputable and multi-lingual real estate agent: http://www.har.com
For specialized apartment finders, these are a couple of real estate agents:
- Apartment Locator Houston, 281-535-1223 – http://www.apartment-locator-houston.com/
- Houston Apartment Locators, 713-782-4431 – http://www.houaptloca.com/
These are a few popular realtor companies for house rentals and sales, offering a variety of foreign language speaking agents: