Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Austin Apartment Shortage Leads to Increased Rents

Occupancy rates in Austin are at about 97 percent, which while down a percentage from a year ago, are still creating high rents for Austinites.  I was recently interviewed by KVUE about the apartment shortage in Austin and how it is affecting renters.

A healthy market occupancy rate is 92 percent.  Once occupancy climbs above that, expensive rent becomes the norm.  Austin has seen rent climb since about 2009.

For those moving to Austin from other states, such as California, those rates seem like a steal.  But to longtime Austinites, the $1.15 per square foot market average can be over their budget.  A one-bedroom apartment is considered affordable if it costs $700 a month, although those rates tend to be at apartment communities on the edge of town.  A one-bedroom downtown apartment starts at $1,400 to $1,500 monthly, and the new apartments being built around the city and even in neighboring cities cost almost that much.

The market to purchase houses hasn't fared much better, with prices continuing to climb and increased competition.  Houses are often getting multiple offers in a matter of 48 hours, which keeps people who would like to own a home living in apartments longer than they would otherwise choose to.

The apartment market in Austin may seem scary, but let us help.  A Plus Apartments knows the rates, vacancies, and move in specials at the most desirable apartments across the city and can help you find a place that works within your budget, all for free.  Call us today at 512-231-1400.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Where to Eat in Austin on Christmas

Would you rather leave the cooking to someone else and eat at a restaurant on Christmas Day?  Well you're not limited to Chinese food like in "A Christmas Story", there are lots of great restaurants open in our fair Austin.  The Austinot gives us a round-up.

24 Diner is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, and they won't close just for the biggest holiday of the year!  They've got fancy comfort food from chicken and waffles to chicken and dumplings.  There are lots of gluten free options as well, so this is truly a choice that will please the entire family!

El Arroyo serves up their Tex Mex even on Christmas.  Enjoy an unconventional Christmas dinner of enchiladas and margaritas, and even your dogs can come with you!

The Driskill Hotel, which is one of the oldest hotels in the state,  will keep both its 1886 Cafe and upstairs bar open on Christmas.  The Cafe opens at 6:30am and the bar opens at noon.

Carmelo's, a classic Italian restaurant, is open on Christmas and offers traditional Italian fare like pasta and Tiramisu as well as a Christmas Buffet.  They also have vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options so everyone can find something they will enjoy.

Casino El Camino will also stay open on the big day and serve up their famous burgers.  A great destination if you're feeling a little Grinchy.

Sarovar Indian Cuisine is open on Christmas and is a great unconventional choice for Christmas Dinner.  You can even pick your spice level, so if Grandma gets the head sweats, she can ask for no heat in her curry.

Threadgill's will make you feel like you've gone home for the holidays with their classic Southern cooking.  Plus you don't have to worry about Mom giving you dirty looks for drinking a bloody mary or two.  

For the classic Christmas dinner out, Chinatown will be serving dim sum brunch from 11am to 2:30pm.  Dim Sum is like getting a bunch of little presents and all you have to do is point at the amazing dishes that the wait staff rolls past your table.

If you spent all your money on gifts, check out Crown and Anchor Pub's $5 basket of burger and fries.  They'll be open by campus from 2pm to 2am, and with most of the students home for the holidays, you should be able to shoot pool, throw darts, and drink a pint or two in peace.

Finally, nothing says Christmas like consuming copious amounts of Brazilian-cooked meat.  Estancia Churrascaria is happy to oblige!  They'll be open from 11am to 9pm.  

Going out because your apartment kitchen is way too small to cook?  Give A Plus Apartments a call at 512-231-1400 and get into a new apartment with a larger kitchen so you can stay in next year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Unique Places to buy Holiday Gifts in Austin

Looking for that unique gift that will light up your loved one's face on Christmas?  Check out these local stores to get a meaningful gift that your recipient will cherish, while feeling good because you're shopping local!

Parts and Labour is located on South Congress and sells all handmade objects by Texas artists and makers.  From t-shirts to onesies to art to jewelry, there's something one-of-a-kind for everyone on your list at Parts and Labour.

Toy Joy in the Second Street District is a toy store that kids from 0 to 100 can enjoy!  They have totally out there toys for kids and adults and are an especially great place to find the perfect White Elephant gift that everyone will be fighting over!

Big Top Candy Shop, also on South Congress, has just about any type of candy you can think of.  This is a great place to find a rare type of candy, especially those that your Mom and Dad wax poetic about.  Take them back to their childhood with some sweet confections that will put a smile on their face.

Everyone loves to read, and Bookpeople is a locally-owned heaven on earth for book lovers.  If you don't know what to give someone, talk to Bookpeople's knowledgeable staff and get the perfect gift for the hard to shop for person on your list!

Running out of room to store all your Christmas presents in your too-small apartment?  Call A Plus Apartments at 512-231-1400 and let us help you find a new larger apartment for the new year!  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Decorate the Perfect Christmas Tree

Is this your first year as a real grown-up with your own Christmas Tree?  Or maybe you get frustrated every year that you aren't "doing it right".  Check out Apartment Therapy's tree tutorial and get a beautifully decorated tree!

First things first:  decide where you are going to put your tree.  If you have a large front window, that's always a great location because you can share the joy of a sparkly, lit up tree with the neighborhood.  Then measure the area to be sure your tree will fit, locate nearby outlets, and finally sweep or vacuum the area before bringing in the tree.

Next step is to spruce up your tree to make sure it looks its best.  If you have an artificial tree, you need to fluff up the branches and unfold any that have flattened during storage.  If you are going to have a real tree, examine it from every angle to find the best one.  Trim the branches if necessary to have it looking its best.

Allow plenty of time to trim your tree.  If you are rushed, you'll just be angry and turn what should be a fun activity into a chore.  Even if it means living with a bare tree for a couple of days, it's worth it.

Alright, time to turn on some Christmas music, grab a warm beverage, and get started!  First, lay out all your decorations, from ornaments to garlands to lights, to be sure that everything is in good order.  If anything needs repair set it aside.  Plug in all your lights and make sure they are working.  If not, now is the time to make a run to the store for more!

Lights are next if you don't have a pre-lit tree.  Plug all the lights together and plug them in the outlet.  This will make them much easier to work with.  If you can enlist a helper, stand on either side of the tree and pass off the string as you work.  Begin at the base of the tree and work upwards.  More lights are always better and use a sturdy stepstool to reach the top.

Add accessories like garland or ribbon next.  Use as much as you want, there is no such thing as too much when it comes to tree decorating!  

Now it's time for the ornaments, which should be evenly distributed top to bottom and around the tree.  Make sure you assess the overall look often.  The heaviest ornaments should be at the top where the branches are stronger.

Place a tree skirt or soft blanket at the base of the tree before you begin trimming so if an ornament falls, it will have a safe landing.

Once you're done, enjoy a cup of cocoa and bask in the light of your accomplishments!  Or get to decorating the rest of your apartment by covering it in lights!

Need help finding a new apartment where you can set up the perfect Christmas tree?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400!