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The Houston metro area has over 2,700 apartments to choose from, more than any other city in the country. There are numerous websites to research apartments on your own, but the information varies drastically and on average only 25% of the apartments are listed. Most online search tools have migrated to displaying rent in a range format ($1,200 - $1,400) due to the use of dynamic rent pricing models. This will require you to call every apartment in advance to determine price and availability.
The City of Houston does not have zoning laws so commercial, residential and apartment communities often run together. Using an online search tool to map potential properties is usually pointless if you don't know the area.
The apartments in Houston are currently experiencing very high occupancy rates, so 80% of the properties do not have an opening for your move in date. The best time to begin your search is 8 to 10 weeks in advance; starting your search early is critical.