Duncan College

Off Campus Living

What is the purpose of this page?

At Duncan, you are guaranteed three years of living on campus. Freshmen and Seniors are not eligable to be kicked off campus during Room Jack. This means that you will most likely have to live off campus during your Sophmore or Junior year. This page is dedicated to helping you understand what living off campus entails and direct you toward the various resources (both at Rice and in Houston) that will help you in your search for accomodations.

Choosing an Area to Live

Living OC requires taking a few factors into account, and the importance of those factors will vary based on your situation. For example, proximity may be less important if you have a car and can park near your college/classes. If you’re like me though and only have a bike as a means of transportation, proximity may be at the top of your list. The following factors are typical when OC students choose a place to live:

  • Proximity
  • Safety
  • Convienence
  • Price
  • Size
  • Privacy
  • Personal Preferences

Your first step should be to rank these in order of preference. We will delve into the details of each factor after this, but it is important to understand why one should be ranked above another. A female bioengineering student without a car will likely have many late nights on campus. Safety of the area and route there will likely be ranked higher on her list than on the list of a male student with a car planning to be home before 9pm each night.

Below is a map of the various neighborhoods near Rice University. The neighborhoods on the map are as follows:

  • Purple - Southampton
  • Red - Montrose
  • Green - West University
  • Aqua - Southside / Medical Center
  • Gray - Binz/Museum Park

Proximity

Easily seen on here, proximity is self-explanatory. The most important thing to determine your location deals with your home base on campus. This refers to the place/building that you will spend most of your time in and/or crash in overnight, if needed. This will most likely be Duncan College, but if you’re an architecture student, it may be Anderson (or Shepherd if you’re a music student).

For the most part, homes in Southampton tend to be closest to many of the most important buildings on campus. Following that is likely the Binz St area, then Montrose, West University, and finally Southmore/Med Center. The Southmore/Med Center area, however, may be closer to some places (like the football stadium or Shepherd), if those will be your home base.

To recap: Southampton > Binz St > Montrose > West U > Southmore

Safety

Often times the most important factor, safety should definitely be close to the top of the list for everyone. Remember, even if you’re driving home, you don’t want to live in a place that makes you feel uncomfortable. Before you sign a lease or make any major decisions about a place, get a feel for the area’s safety. Go there at midnight and see if you notice anything suspicious, taking note of how well lit the route and the areas are. It only takes one mugging to lose your laptop.

Thankfully, areas around Rice are (for the most part) pretty safe. The Binz street area is known to have a higher crime rate than the rest due to its location next to Hermann Park and the Third Ward. If you plan on living in that area and consistently returning at night, it may be worth re-considering. After that comes the Southmore/Med Center area due to its proximity to Main Street. Montrose follows next, being both safe at night and during the day but having average crime rates and lacking its own devoted security force. It can also get a little sketchy as you get closer to Shepherd (the leftmost road of the red colored area). The safest areas on the map are easily Southampton and West U. Both neighborhoods employ their own security/police force to patrol and monitor their areas late at night, ensuring that any suspicious activity is removed promptly. If you are significantly concerned about safety off-campus, these neighborhoods will likely be your best option.

To recap: Southampton = West U > Montrose > Southmore > Binz St

Convenience

It’s important to take into consideration the resources offered by your neighborhood. More residential areas tend to provide less immediate access to places like grocery stores and casual restaurants. Doing a quick Google Map search for “grocery stores” should give you an idea of the convenience factor of any area, but here’s a general overview of what each neighborhood has to offer.

The Southampton area is likely least convenient area in terms of the above criteria. As far as I know, there exist no grocery stores or major restaurants in the neighborhood. Montrose, for a contrast, offers plenty in terms of restaurants (it easily has the most diverse selection of restaurants in Houston) and contains many grocery stores, namely HEB Montrose Market and a 24-hour Kroger. West U, while containing both restaurants and grocery stores, is extremely residential and thus any retail, grocery, or restaurant options are located on the outskirts of the neighborhood. The Southmore/Med Center area is also fairly residential but also contains grocery and restaurant options on its outskirts. The Binz Street/Museum district area has limited access to grocery stores but is conveniently located close to the light rail for restaurant access.

To recap: Montrose > West U = Southmore > Binz St > Southampton

Price Range

As a college student, you will likely be living on a budget. Housing and dining at Rice combines to around $12,600, which over 9 months (the duration of the school year) breaks into a little over 1,400/month. This means you can comfortably live with a $800-850/month rent plus around $100/month for utilities, $1000 for initial start up costs (furniture, utensils, etc), $1200 for an OC meal plan (for both semesters), and  $300/month for personal food expenses. Keep in mind that unless you sign a 9-month lease, you will need to find someone to sublet for the summer. If you do it right though, living OC can be significantly cheaper than living on (my expenses come to right around $1000/month).

Prices are easily influenced by not only the kind of unit you lease and its amenities (central AC, personal washer, wood floors, etc) but the neighborhood as well. The following are price comparisons for what most students would pay in each of these areas for a typical unit. Southampton tends to be on the pricier side ($750-850/month/person)) due to its limitations on students living in its housing (the actual Southampton neighborhood does not allow more than 2 non-family members living together), its proximity to campus, and the limited availability of its duplexes. Montrose has a broader range of housing options and thus the pricing varies more ($600-800). As a reference point, I pay $700/month (plus utilities) for a 1bed-1bath unit with central AC and a shared washer and dryer, just under a mile from Duncan. West U is likely the most expensive of all the neighborhoods ($850-$950) due to its status as its own town (West U is not actually incorporated into the Houston area – they exist as an individual township within the city limits). Southmore/Med Center is comparable to Montrose ($600-$800) and often contains many duplex/apartment/house rental options. The Binz St area is easily the cheapest of all of them ($500-$800). The exception to the affordable housing in the area comes with the apartment complexes that border Hermann Park – those usually run for around $800-900.

To recap: $$$ West U > Southampton > Montrose = Southmore > Binz St

Neighborhood Culture

Not always a huge factor, but since you will be interacting with your neighbors fairly frequently, it’s worth ensuring that your lifestyles are somewhat compatible.

The Binz St area is known to be  quiet at night and home to a variety of people (from the homeless in Hermann Park to the high rollers in The Mosaic apartment complex). Southampton, West U, and Southmore are mostly home to the families of doctors, engineers, and lawyers and tend to be very quiet at night. Montrose is known as the hip and urban district of Houston. It is home to many bars, consignment stores, and fusion restaurants. The residents are usually young adults or new families. Montrose stays busy until the late hours of the night, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

To recap:

  • Binz – quiet and mixed
  • Southampton, West U, and Southmore – upscale suburbia
  • Montrose – hipster district
Choosing a Place to Live

Possibly the toughest part about the process, choosing a place to live can be a giant pain the ass. Don’t expect to get your dream house/apartment/duplex at this point. Student housing in the inner loop of Houston is both competitive and expensive. Once again, rank the following factors (and any others you may be considering) in terms of importance to you and use it as a guide to which places you will pursue.

  • Size
  • Personal Preferences
  • Privacy
  • Price

Size

Size will (obviously) vary based on your unit, but approximate standard sizes are around 600-700 sq ft for a 1bed-1bath unit and 1200 sq ft for a 2bed-1bath unit. These are very generous sizes and should provide more than enough room for comfortable living, especially when compared to the Duncan rooms. However, keep in mind that unlike at Duncan where you could spend time in the game room, one of the two classrooms, or the countless study rooms or lounges, OC life usually means you can either be in your living area, kitchen, or room. This limitation, while insignificant sometimes, can make a difference in how large you want your unit to be (stuffing a TV, dining table, and couch into a smaller living area can be tough).

Personal Preferences

This category encompasses many factors that you wouldn’t initially consider. For example, do you want central AC or window units? Your own personal washer and dryer or a shared one between the complex? Free parking, paid parking, or first-come-first-serve parking? Gas stove or electric? Apartment, duplex, or house? All-bills-paid or not? Is the landlord a sweet, inviting person or a grouchy money-grabber? Much of this category will be for you to decide, but there are a few personal preferences that should be important to everyone.

Air conditioning in Houston is no laughing matter. Temperatures up to 110 °F require strong air conditioning to cool a room or dwelling. Places with window units tend to be cheaper but much less efficient and not as aesthetically pleasing. While the complex or unit may be $50-100 cheaper per month, expect to lose some of that money to energy consumption by the window unit. An advantage with window units however, is the ability to uniquely control the temperature of each room.

You would be surprised how much easier doing laundry is when you have the machines in your living area. I’m not saying you’ll be doing it every week, but it certainly becomes significantly less of a drag if you don’t have to lug 20-30 lbs of towels, sheets, and clothes up and down stairs and compete with strangers for a machine that may not even work properly. Do keep in mind that units with personal machines will likely go for $20-50 more per month and will also probably charge for utilities, meaning you will end up paying more per load with your own than if you used a public one. It really all depends on your preference and budget.

Parking is not as complicated. It’s likely that if you have a car at Rice, you already pay an outrageous amount for parking half a mile away. Most places will offer a cheap parking price ($10/month-ish), or a 1-car-per-resident policy that will make it cheap and easy to park. If you plan to drive to/from Rice each day though, you will need to purchase and OC parking plan.

Finally, the style of your dwelling will be important. Do you want to live conveniently on the first floor, or ride an elevator/take stairs to reach your place? Would you like the look and feel of a house (or duplex), or does having a yard/neighborhood not matter? Houses are difficult for college students to rent, but offer the convenience of ground-floor living and yards (although not necessarily large ones). Duplexes are like houses, but split into two levels (or more for a quad-plex). Duplexes will sometimes require stair climbing but usually come with yards and driveways, like houses. Apartments provide no yards or driveways and often require climbing up stairs or taking elevators. Take this into consideration when it comes to moving in (furniture is heavy and carrying it up 2+ flights of stairs can be miserable).

Price

Price ranges were already discussed in the earlier sections, but when it comes to planning out your rent, you must remember that you’re likely working within a relatively tight budget. Below is a clip of a sample budget based on 9 months rent ($1,400/month stipend). It can be adjusted accordingly, but it should give you a general idea of what you should expect. Utility values are calculated based on a 2-person unit. They may be slightly higher for a smaller amount of people (less people to split internet, gas, electricity costs) or lower for a larger amount (more people to split costs).

This budget nearly breaks even with Rice’s housing and dining cost. Definitely try not to go over it, but if you can save by cutting costs in places, you can either feed that money into your tuition or use it to stay in Houston over the summer, if you wish. I am currently paying the same amount to live OC for an entire year (12 months), as I would to live at Rice for 9. If you contract a realtor (free of charge, the landlords pay the realtor, not the potential buyers), be very explicit about your price range so they can help you out as much as possible.

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At the end of this document there is a resources section with links to various helpful websites for finding housing. It’s important to remember that not all housing is listed online. In fact, the place where I live (owned by Menil Properties) advertises exclusively by flyers in front of the complex. For that reason, I suggest taking a walk/bike ride around the neighborhoods in which you’re interested and picking up flyers for available housing (in addition to searching online). It’s always better to have too many option and whittle them down based on your personal preferences instead of having too few and worrying about finding a place to live. Remember, you’re not looking for your dream home, just a place for a college student to live.

Feel free to inquire and view as many places as possible but remember that NOTHING is guaranteed until the lease has been signed and the deposit has been given to the landlord. For this reason, I advise against “shopping around” and trying to keep one unit on hold while trying to get another one. Categorize your options into “yes I’d like to live here” and “No, I’m not interested” to make things easier. That being said, do not let a realtor pressure you into placing a deposit or signing a lease before you’re comfortable. You’re the customer and are allowed to ask as many questions as you would like. It doesn’t matter how many people are “about to snatch up this property”, if you’re not 100% comfortable with it, then you’re perfectly justified in asking for more time to think it over.

Starting the Paperwork

Possibly the most painful part of the process, the paperwork is not fun for any of the parties involved, but must be done nonetheless. Before you consider contacting a landlord, be sure to discuss with your parents how they expect to pay for the housing (will you pay the landlord, will your parents, or is there an automatic account deduction system set up?). Also be sure to have their personal information and social security number available, for credit history checks.

Timing

Before you start your searching, know when the market is open for your ideal rental period. Houston is a large city that has a very dynamic rental scene. Because of this, available housing is usually only posted a month in advance and is rarely provided any earlier. That’s not to say that you can’t find postings for a May lease back in February, but the odds of that happening are slim to none, unless the owner is specifically targeting college students. For this reason, try to be patient until 4-6 weeks before you would like to begin leasing. I know it’s nerve-racking to not have housing figured out, but the best chances at finding housing are going to be the month leading up to your lease date. Also, it’s worth mentioning that lots of the Montrose-area housing is not advertised online. Try taking a stroll around the area to find flyers offering units for sale – it may be tedious, but it works.

Keep in mind that this also means that for a 1 year lease you will either need to (a) start a lease in May and sublease (find someone else to live there while you’re gone), (b) start a lease in May and live there and pay rent over the summer (or live there, if you’re in Houston], or (c) live in Houston over the summer while looking for places to being renting in August. Very few landlords are okay with a 9-month lease – they prefer that you sign on for at least a full year.

To reiterate: most housing in Houston only becomes available 4-6 weeks before it becomes available.

What to Expect

To be completely honest, landlords really only care about one or two things when you ask for a place to live: will you be a respectful tenant and do you have the means with which to pay the rent (and will you pay the lease)? The respectful tenant part will basically be judged as soon as you contact them (many places will happily reject college students due to their reputations as messy and noisy). As for the ability to pay, each place does it differently. One thing I can promise though, is that each place will conduct a credit check.

Unless you have somehow built up an impressive credit history in your few years since turning 18, you will likely need your parent to either co-sign or sign as a guarantor (someone who backs your application and promises to pay rent on your behalf if you fail to pay). To do this they will expect a credit check of your parents. If your parents have a bad or no credit history, it would be worth coming up with alternatives ahead of time (can you provide all 12 months rent up front? Could a roommate sign the lease and only list you as an occupant? Whatever you do, ensure that the plan is well articulated and written into the lease). Assuming they pass the credit check, a deposit will be required (usually the cost of one month’s rent) to hold the place before the lease is fully signed and ensure that any damage you leave can be repaired. Often times the deposit is refundable if the unit is left in like-new condition when you move out.

Many places will also request proof that you or your parents make at least 3-5 times the cost of rent. This will require a pay stub from one or both of their jobs. If your parents do not meet this expectation, do not worry. They use this as a way of ensuring you’ll have enough money to pay for your year’s lease with no problems. In order to prove that you can make that payment, ask them what is needed from the financial aid office in terms of what they will provide for housing costs. Also ask if it would be more helpful to pay a certain amount of the rent in advance (but yet again, make sure this is written in the lease).

How to Interact with the Landlord

While up until this point, you’ve likely only interacted with a realtor (or nobody), you will be introduce to the landlord if you mention wanting to rent a property. Landlords come in all variations: nice, mean, strict, lax, communicable, and impossible to reach. The attitude of the landlord and your interaction with them will set the tone for the rest of your stay in their unit, so be sure to make it both professional and respectful. You should be as direct as you can without being rude and if they say something you don’t agree with, speak up. Landlords will often graze over the lease or the more frustrating parts of your agreement, but you have every right to contest something or ask if you can strike a part of the document. Ask as many questions as you need – it’s better to ask if you can nail stuff into the walls instead of losing $200 of your deposit for them to fix it. Make sure they provide you with a copy of the lease once you’ve signed it (or even before, if you want to share it with your parents) since that will be your go-to copy in case there are discrepancies in the future. Finally, because the landlord is the person you will likely contact with any maintenance issues, payments, or questions regarding your unit, if you significantly dislike how they treat you as a prospective renter, then leave. Do not get stuck with a landlord you despise and will likely charge you for each problem with your unit. That being said, know the difference between a landlord who’s an ass and one that’s trying to do their job.

Moving In and Paying the Bills

Feel free to skip some or all of this section if you’re subletting an already-furnished and/or bills-paid unit, or if you know this stuff. Otherwise, read-on for a handy what-to-buy and how-to-buy-it guide!

Furniture and Living Necessities

Furniture can be the most expensive part of OC living, but if done right, it can actually be super cheap and extremely satisfying. Bargain hunting for furniture is another one of those minute-to-learn, lifetime-to-perfect talents. In general, there are four main places you should consider looking for gently used furniture. These are, in decreasing order of importance, buying it from previous college students and/or visiting professors, Goodwill/other secondhand shops, searching on craigslist under the “free”, “garage sale”, or “furniture” sections (be sure to select for postings by owner, NOT by dealer), and finally sale shopping at local furniture stores. It may seem tempting to go to Ikea and buy everything you need immediately, but if you’re looking to save money, it’s worth remembering that there is a HIGH likelihood that some other person or college student already bought that exact same piece of furniture and is re-selling it at half the cost with full functionality.

Sometimes it can seem daunting to list out all of the stuff you need to buy when moving in. Here’s a basic list of things you might consider getting:

  • Dining table + 4 chairs
  • Couch for 3+ people (or large enough for sleepers)
  • Bed and sheet set
  • Desk with chair and lamp
  • Dresser and nightstand
  • Bookshelf (for schoolbooks and casual reading)
  • Dining Set (plates, silverware, glasses, etc)
  • Cookware (pots, pans, spatulas, large spoons, etc)
  • Dish Towels
  • Storage shelves (you can never have enough)
  • Garbage cans
  • Shower curtains
  • Rugs
  • TV (very optional)

Almost all of these items will be completely okay if purchased secondhand. Be wary of purchasing couches and beds off of craigslist, they don’t always turn out clean and neutral-scented. Dining sets and cookware, if you’re not interested in fishing around for them, can be easily bought at a secondhand store like Goodwill or new from Ikea. Cookware and the simple accessories (shower curtains, dish towels, etc) can also be bought cheaply and conveniently at Ikea. If you don’t have a car, get a friend or family member to drive you and enjoy how awesome the store is. A TV is definitely optional, but always nice for movie nights with friends.

Setting Up Internet/TV/Phone

Setting up Internet/TV/Phone is going to be frustrating. When it comes to Houston though, the two most reliable providers available are Comcast (Xfinity) and AT&T. Both have pros and cons, but their pricing is relatively similar. The biggest difference between the two is how they transmit service to their clients.

Comcast is a cable service and provides Internet by routing their network to a neighborhood and proportioning the bandwidth among residents. So if you’re offered a package from Comcast that says “up to 20 mbps” you can assume that means that non-peak times can offer you 20 mbps but peak times (evenings and weekends, usually), will provide you with slower speeds.

AT&T is a phone service that provides DSL or fiber-optic Internet to individuals. There is no neighborhood network so if you’re offered 20mbps, you can be sure that’s the speed you will receive. Their fiber-optic service, u-verse, is expensive but well worth it from what I hear.

In order to sign up for these services, you will likely be asked to sign a 6 or 12 month contract at a locked-in (lower) price before they jack the price up to something much more expensive. Installation costs are usually around $50-100 and you will likely need to rent a modem from the company. For a price point, I am currently receiving 20 mbps internet from Comcast for $30/month plus $7/month for the modem I rent. There are cheaper packages than this, for sure, and there are most definitely more expensive packages. A good idea is to set a price you’re comfortable with and search for any and all Internet, TV, and/or phone packages you might be interested in purchasing that fit. Many of these will also likely require a credit check due to the 1-year contract, but you can also override that with a $100 deposit, if it’s an issue.

It’s worth noting that if you’re just looking for very basic networking on TV, digital television stream (DTV) now provides HD streaming to your TV for free (think old-school bunny ear antennae, but more advanced). Most TVs manufactured in the past 5 years have built-in digital tuners, and those that are older require a 10-dollar antenna to operate. As far as basic channels go, this is easily the cheapest option. Cable packages start at $30/month and increase significantly as you add on packages.

Setting Up Electricity

Houston has a large selection of electricity providers from which to choose. Green Mountain (wind energy), Reliant, and TXU are three of the many companies available. To figure out which plan works best for you, go to powertochoose.org, where they can provide you with a list of options and rates. Keep in mind that some of these rates also tack on a flat $5, or their rates are significantly higher for residences using less energy. Also, electricity is one of those utilities where you want to be on a contract. Being on a contract locks in a standard rate for you, whereas going month-to-month means the electricity company will slowly raise your rate each month. Try to only pay around 10-11 cents per KwH (Kilowatt-hour) – a standard price for the Houston area.

Setting Up Water

Most complexes should bill you independently for water, but if you need to turn water service on, you should contact the city of Houston and ask them to provide you with service. All water in Houston is provided and regulated by the city and will likely run around $15/person.

Setting Up Gas

Thankfully, signing up for gas service in Houston is not nearly as difficult as the other utilities. Gas is regulated by Houston’s Centerpoint energy and can be turned on by calling them or filling out their online form.

Self-Sufficiency and Budgeting

Budgeting

Affordable OC living is all about 3 things: planning ahead to avoid unnecessary costs, bargain hunting, and self-restraint. Following those will ensure that you can live comfortably OC and likely still have money left over.

Planning ahead is easier said than done. It’s easy to think you’ll pack a lunch the next morning, but instead oversleep and end up spending $10 at the RMC. Get used to easy solutions such as packing all the necessary ingredients and preparing your food at school (cold cuts or PB&J and bread require maybe 2 minutes to put in a bag before leaving). Plan and prepare meals out ahead of time. Taking a frozen lasagna that you made the weekend before and sticking it in the oven before starting work can save you loads of money and time during the week when compared to eating out.

Bargain hunting can be paired with planning ahead in some cases. If you find a necessity on sale in the store (for instance, toilet paper), stock up and save! You’ll be thankful when you’re on the 5th roll and are close to broke that you were able to buy 6 for the price of 5. In addition, go for store brands. They may seem tacky but 9 times out of 10 they’re the exact same product without a name attached. Additionally, almost every grocery store has a part on the price tag that calculates a price-per-unit. Use this to your advantage and find out which brands and quantities are cheapest. Buy in bulk when affordable and possible (cheese quesadillas are my go-to snack so I always buy tortillas and cheese in mass quantities).

Finally, and probably the most underestimated aspect to saving money OC is practicing self-restraint. It’s incredibly easy to attribute eating out as a way of combating a long day, but it’s even more important to remember that it would be just as easy to make a quick bowl of pasta at home, which might total to $5. If this seems unfeasible, try getting your meal at the “meal” section of a grocery store. HEB and Kroger both sell pre-made meals for cheaper than a restaurant. If you love a food or drink, a Starbucks mocha, for example, find a way to make it at home and save yourself the money (plus, impress all of your friends!). Put the price of everything in terms of how many homemade meals it could equal. Getting a $4 boba may not seem worth it if you can cover dinner with that money instead. Finally, pay attention to how much energy you’re using. If you’re going to be gone for 12 hours of the day, turn the AC or heat to a setting that will keep your house safe, but won’t waste lots of energy. Turn off lights that aren’t being used and make sure your appliances are off before leaving. It may not seem like a lot, but it saves lots of unnecessary energy.

Cooking

If you’re moving OC and thinking to yourself “how the hell am I going to live, I can’t cook to save my life”, remember that everyone once started where you were. Cooking is not difficult, and there are many recipes that are easy to manage. Some of my favorite less-than-15-minute cheap meals include omelets, pasta and meat sauce, bruschetta salmon, quinoa salad, homemade pizza, chicken quesedillas, and many others. Additionally, you can easily prepare bulk meals ahead of time and cook them later. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your lack of cooking knowledge, feel free to get in touch with me and well spend a night getting you caught up on the basics. Learning to cook can save you time and money, and keep you healthier, it’s a skill worth investing in.

Getting Around

Traveling in Houston is made to seem more difficult than it actually is. With Rice providing free access to all public transportation and relatively dense housing in the Rice area, traveling for essentials really only requires a bicycle. Learn how to navigate the streets of Houston and figure out which streets are more biker friendly than others. If you picked a good location to live, most essentials should be available within a 1-2 mile radius (a 5-10 minute bike ride). To find convenient bike routes to/from your apartment, try using Google Maps and selecting the “bike” option. It’s still in beta, but will usually provide reliable directions on relatively safe streets. If you don’t have a bicycle, consider purchasing a good used one from craigslist, a new one from bike barn, or rent one from the soon-to-be-started Rice Bike Sharing program (rental fees are undecided, but will likely be around $40-50 per semester and will include regular maintenance). If you have a car, much of this information is useless to you, although I still urge you to invest in a bike. In addition to saving gas and money, you will find that many times it is more convenient to travel by bike than by car (it’s faster for me to bike to and from my apartment than to drive).

Resources

Apartments

Richmont Square Apartments (Montrose): http://www.richmontsquare.com/
The Place Apartments (Montrose): http://theplaceapartmenthomes.net/
The Boulevard Apartments (West U): http://www.boulevardapts.com/
The Belmont Apartments (West U): http://belmontapartmenthomes.com/Default1.aspx?proprecid=132
The Esplanade Apartments (Binz): http://theesplanadeapts.com/
The Plaza Museum District (Binz): http://www.plazamuseumdistrictapts.com/
The Arcadian (Southmore/Med Center): http://www.arcadiankirby.com/
The Maroneal (Southmore/Med Center): http://www.maronealliving.com/
Menil Properties: (713) 523-0166

Websites

Rice Off-Campus Resources: http://offcampus.rice.edu/
Rice OC Housing Listings: http://listings.rice.edu/
Houston Area Realtors Association (most houses and duplexes for rent are listed here): http://har.com/
Apartment List: https://www.apartmentlist.com/tx/houston

Conclusion

We hope that this guide has been at least somewhat useful to moving off campus. We know it can be a daunting task to find a place and move forward with the paperwork but we can assure you that the experience of living OC can be very rewarding, if done right. Hopefully through reading this guide, you can avoid the mistakes past students have made and not be left until 2-3 weeks before school to find a place, sign a lease, and move in. If you run into any issues, remember that many other students have lived OC and can help walk you through the process. So, with that being said, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the process, or just want someone to bounce ideas off of, please do not hesitate to ask. You are one of the chosen (or self-selected) few to brave the real world. Believe me, it may seem intimidating at first, but you will not regret the experiences and memories you make. Good Luck!

Thanks to Matt Makansi for creating this!