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How to Find an Apartment in Dallas [Guide]

By: Justin Chaplin
January 13, 2020

Looking to find the perfect apartment in Dallas? Whether you are familiar with the city area or not, apartment hunting in Dallas can be challenging. Get familiar with the unique neighborhoods around the area, and follow these Dallas apartment hunting tips to find the ideal new home.

Here's everything you need to know about how to find an apartment in Dallas.

Dallas Neighborhoods

Dallas doesn't mess around when it comes to doing everything big! It’s home to opera, ballet, musicals, fine dining, sports teams, and all the urban amenities you could want. You can find just about anything you want in Dallas from a big career to big nightlife, depending on where you live. 

Making a move to Dallas? Get to know some of the popular neighborhoods first.

1. Addison

Conveniently located north of the Dallas Galleria, Addison is home to a mix of young professionals and blue-collar workers. They span a variety of ages. 

The Addison neighborhood isn't as walkable as some neighborhoods like Uptown Dallas. However, it still offers nightlife, restaurants, green space, pubs, and shopping.

Look for apartments near the 372,000 square foot Addison Circle Park. There, locals gather for events like Addison Oktoberfest and Taste Addison. 

You can find luxury high-rises, smaller complexes, or single-family homes to rent in this safe neighborhood. Like much of the Dallas area, Addison is kid-friendly. However, there are better school districts you could choose from.  

2. Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum attracts college grads and young professionals looking for live music, vibrant graffiti and murals, and tons of character. Entertainment, music venues, restaurants, and bars keep Deep Ellum lively throughout the night. However, they also require caution at night.

As the heart of Dallas' music scene, Deep Ellum is more about nightlife than it is a quiet place to call home. Music lovers who want to live in the middle of the action can look for a range of apartments from quirky, open loft floor plans to cookie-cutter alternatives. Rent prices are higher in Deep Ellum than many Dallas neighborhoods. However, that could be worth it if you love the action.

3. Downtown

In a city known for its traffic, Downtown Dallas is an ideal place to ditch the car. Just hop on DART light-rail (Dallas Rapid Transit) and cruise the neighborhood. 

With a revitalized atmosphere, Downtown Dallas is seeing new developments and complexes. Those include boutiques, pubs, and fine dining along Main Street and beyond. 

On weekends, come hungry to Kyle Warren Park. There, you’ll find fresh cuisine from local food trucks. 

Luxury high-rises, big apartment complexes, and updated condos are the norm in Downtown Dallas. The neighborhood is considered safe. However, it's always wise to stay proactive in any urban area. 

Residents are less likely to raise their kids right Downtown. However, it's still reasonably kid-friendly with nearby attractions.

4. Highland Park / University Park

The "Park Cities" of University Park and Highland Park are home to upper-class professionals (like George W. and Laura Bush) looking for gorgeous homes and green space with convenience to the city. 

Southern Methodist University also calls the area home. That makes it a friendly place for college students, too. Unique boutiques, upscale shopping, and phenomenal restaurants keep residents happy in their tranquil neighborhoods. 

With some of the best public schools in the entire state, University Park and Highland Park are desirable places to raise kids. The neighborhood is safe and quiet. It boasts a mix of grand homes with fully-outfitted apartment complexes.

5. Knox-Henderson

Knox-Henderson is known for its walkable streets to restaurants, coffee shops, and nightlife. However, it doesn’t have the sticker shock of living in Downtown Dallas. 

You can pick and choose from luxury apartment buildings and condos at a reasonable rent. Just hop on Highway 75 and the Texas 366 Spur (or Woodall Rodgers Freeway) to zip Downtown.

Knox-Henderson is also safe and reasonably family-friendly. However, most young professionals move on towards the suburbs when their kids start school. The neighborhood is best suited for professionals who still want urban living and amenities, but without paying top dollar.

6. Oak Lawn

Oak Lawn is celebrated for its LGBTQ+ friendliness. It draws crowds to its lively bars and nightclubs. The neighborhood is also home to the annual Dallas Pride Parade. 

Renters can live in the thick of the action. Or, some choose a cozy apartment building away from Cedar Springs Road to enjoy some quiet.

Oak Lawn is considered safe. However, residents should still exercise caution when bar-hopping along Cedar Springs Road. It's also a kid-friendly spot for locals who want to raise kids in a more inclusive and diverse community. 

7. Uptown

High-rise apartments with luxury touches abound in Uptown for a live, work, play community. You can walk just about anywhere in the neighborhood. Hop on the free McKinney Avenue Trolley to navigate the area. Katy Trail is also popular for bikers and walkers looking to soak up some rays on the weekend.

Young white-collar professionals call Uptown home. They opt for high-rise apartment complexes and condos. 

Single-family homes are less common, as are school-age kids calling this safe and lively neighborhood home.

Rent Prices for Dallas Apartments

Dallas’ thriving economy and desirable amenities make it a popular choice for renters. Although rent prices in Dallas are a bit high, they are still reasonable when compared to similarly-sized cities.

Median rents in Dallas stand at $915 for a one-bedroom apartment. A two-bedroom apartment will run you around $1,136 a month. Rent prices have been growing year-over-year, so strike quickly if you find a good deal. 

Start by Using the 30% Rule

A common rule of thumb is making sure your monthly rent does not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. Renters who pay more than 30% of their monthly income on rent are considered to be cost-burdened by housing. 

To get an idea of how much you should make to rent an apartment in Dallas, the 30% rule can be compared to the median rent of a one-bedroom apartment.

If you are living alone in a one-bedroom apartment priced at $915, you should aim to gross at least $3,050 a month, or $36,600 a year. 

If you plan on splitting rent with a roommate in a two-bedroom apartment that costs the median rent of $1,136, you and your roommate should look to have a combined gross monthly income of $3,787. This comes out to $45,444 a year. 

Remember: While 30% is a good rule of thumb to follow, it doesn't work for everyone. Your budget for an apartment will depend on your personal financial situation, so take it with a grain of salt.

Need some more help? Use our rent calculator to see find apartments in Dallas that fit your budget.

Additional Costs of Renting an Apartment in Dallas

Moving to that picture-perfect Dallas apartment costs more than just the monthly rent. Consider the hidden costs of renting an apartment that tend to go forgotten.

  • Security Deposit: In Texas, there are no laws that limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. The cost of a security deposit will vary from apartment to apartment. That being said, it’s common for Dallas landlords to request one month’s rent for a deposit. If you take care of the unit, you should get your security deposit back. 
  • Pet Fees: Looking for a home with you and your furry friend? Unfortunately, this comes with extra costs. Apartment complexes that allows pets almost always require an additional pet deposit or pet fees.
  • Parking: Many apartments with reserved parking spots will require additional costs for a spot. If you want a guaranteed spot and to not deal with finding street parking, it may add an extra $100-$175 to your monthly rent. Keep in mind, if you are living in Downtown Dallas or close to work, you may not need a car at all.
  • Amenities: A nice apartment gym or pool can make your monthly gym membership expendable. Keep the amenities in mind when touring apartments.

When is the Best Time to Move to Dallas?

If you have time to wait out a good deal, December and January are usually the best times to sign a lease. Most leases end in the summer months, which makes them popular moving times Therefore, landlords can fill units quicker.

Waiting to move in the winter can result in you scoring an awesome deal. Keep in mind, with more leases ending in the summer, there are more units on the market. Your selection may be more limited in the winter.

Commuting in Dallas

Certain neighborhoods like Uptown are very walkable, however, the city of Dallas is not necessarily known for its walkability. The city is dense, and many residents rely on a car to get to and from.

Dallas Public Transportation

The DART rail system will get you everywhere you need to go. The light rail will connect you to Downtown Dallas, as well as the Downtown’s surrounding areas. If you want to map out your commute, check out the DART system map.  Along with the light rail, you’ll have options for buses, streetcars, and trolleys to get around Dallas.

Before signing a lease on a new apartment, make sure to map out your commute!

Start Apartment Hunting in Dallas and Set your Priorities

Settled on the perfect Dallas neighborhood? Got your job lined up, commute planned out, and have your budget figured out? The only thing left is starting the apartment search. 

Use Apartment List to find the perfect apartment and take the stress out of apartment hunting. Click on the button and fill out your preferences for the ideal new home. We’ll show you Dallas apartments that check all of our boxes.

Apartment Touring and the Application Process

Make sure to visit the apartment before signing a lease. Seeing the unit in person and meeting your potential landlord will make your decision much easier. There are a few important questions to ask before renting an apartment, so make sure you have a list ready for your tour. 

Applying for your Dallas Apartment

If you want to pull the trigger on an apartment fast, bring your application materials with you on tours! That perfect apartment you just got done touring might have another suitor within hours.

Come equipped with means of payment for the application. Have cash, credit cards, and a checkbook on hand to cover your bases. Bring your ID and proof of income documents, and have some references in mind. 

References from previous landlords are preferred. If you haven’t rented an apartment before, personal and professional references will do the trick. You might need some more documents, so get familiar with everything that comes with the apartment application process

Avoid Rental Scams

Unfortunately for renters, rental fraud is pretty common. If you come across a listing somewhere on the web that looks a little too good to be true, it probably is. In Dallas, about 11% of renters have encountered fraudulent listings, and about 11% of those renters have lost money in the scam. Follow these tips to avoid rent scams

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