New Occupancy Limits for the City of Austin

April 26th, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

austin city council

Austin is the fastest growing city in Texas – in the country! – and with the expanding UT campus, the effervescent artistic culture, and the budding film industry, it can only hope to get bigger. As the city aims to accommodate all of its newcomers, the Austin City Council voted against the trend of “stealth dorms” that have been developing throughout the city.

So what does this ruling mean for all the newcomers?

It means that roommate housing just got a little more difficult in Austin. Single-family homes in residential neighborhoods in specific zip codes have been reduced from a 6-roommate capacity to a 4-roommate capacity. “Stealth dorms” is a term used to describe single-family homes occupied by non-related roommates, usually students, young professionals, and newcomers to the city looking for affordable living situations.

The new ruling does not apply to apartments, condominiums, or those buildings not in residential neighborhoods. In fact, existing dorm-style homes with 6 or fewer roommates do not have to change. It is simply a new city ordinance that aims to curb illegal and precarious homes and insure each resident of Austin – both new and native – has the opportunity to live in comfortable, affordable, and safe housing.

None of the Austin Housemates’ houses or roommates are affected by this code change. We are still looking for the opportunity to grow our business by purchasing and managing more houses.

Austin is still the brightest city in Texas, and if you’re looking to seize a chance to get in on the action and its growth, now is the time to move! Just keep the new city ordinances in mind as you seek housing.

How to Earn Money in Austin When in a Financial Pinch

October 10th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

Cash

With the economic downturn and jobs in high demand, many people are looking into less conventional ways to earn some extra cash – and fast. This city is full of opportunity – you just need to know where to look!

 

Here are some easy ways to earn a little extra dough in Austin, Texas:

 

Sell your clothes – Have you recently gained weight, lost weight, or do you have clothes that you simply don’t wear anymore?  There are many clothing resale shops in the Austin area that will buy your gently used clothing and accessories.  Some of these shops include Buffalo Exchange, located on Guadalupe Street, and Plato’s Closet, which has two locations in Austin and one in Round Rock. These shops will buy your clothes in exchange for cash or store credit.  Don’t expect to get retail prices for your clothes.  You will probably get a quarter of what you bought them for but still, it is better than leaving them simply sitting in your closet.  Also, you will get more value in store credit than you will if you opt for cash, so consider this if you know you will end up spending money to buy more clothing.

Be a study volunteer – There are many companies who utilize volunteers for research purposes.  One of the biggest in Austin is PPD, a pharmaceutical research organization. The University of Texas Department of Psychology also uses paid volunteers.  The compensation for these studies varies, but some studies can pay as much as $2000 to participants.  Contact either one of these organizations to learn more. Also, check Craigslist.com, where many of these companies post ads daily searching for paid volunteers.

Recycle – Drink a lot of soda?  Turn your extra cans into cash by donating them to Cash 4 Cans.  At around 66 cents per pound of aluminum cans, don’t expect to get rich from a couple of 12-packs, but those cans can really add up.  If you don’t drink a lot of canned beverages, you could even find them in trash cans or on the side of the road, mostly along busy highways.

Rent out a room – Do you have an extra room in your home?  With Austin being the fastest growing city in the US right now, many people are actively seeking an affordable place to live.  Visit Craigslist to post your room for rent, under the housing section in the “rooms/shared” subsection to find some Austin roommates.  Some tips?  Keep your ad short and simple.  People are more likely to read and respond to shorter ads, and if they need more info, they can email you through Craigslist.  Also, include a picture.  Posts with pictures are much more likely to be followed up on. You choose the price, but research other Craigslist ads with similar features and square footage to your room to make sure your price is competitive.

Donate plasma – If you are a healthy individual over the age of 18, chances are that you are eligible to donate plasma. Plasma is the part of the blood that remains after white blood cells, platelets, and other cellular components are removed, and is used to create therapies that cure many life-threatening diseases.  To donate, you will have a needle placed in your arm that will remove the blood to create plasma.  Each session lasts about 1 – 3 hours.  Compensation varies, but expect to earn about $20 – $30 a visit. BioLife and DCI Biologicals are both donation centers located in Austin.  Contact either one of them to set up an appointment.

Sell at a flea market –The Airport Pulga Flea market, located on Highway 183, 2 miles south of the Austin-Bergstrom Airport, allows you to set up a booth to sell your goods, whatever they may be.  If you are into crafting, this is a good way to sell your creations. You can also buy goods wholesale to resell at the market. You can find many wholesale items here: http://www.wholesalecentral.com.  

Temp – Consider using a temp agency to find a temporary job.  Temp agencies provide temporary employment in most career fields.  Compensation depends on the position. There are dozens of temp agencies in Austin, but Burnett Staffing and Austin Reliable Staffing are both great options.  Contact them for more info.

 

Don’t forget to look around your local neighborhood, as well. Many people are in need of a helping hand here and there with their landscaping, DIY house projects, and fast cleaning services. The Craigslist “gigs” section is also a great resource for last minute jobs – take a look around and you’ll see lots of possibilities for making a little bit of extra cash.

How to Make the Most Out of a Small Space

September 18th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

Small-spaces

 

Organizing a small space can feel overwhelming when there’s not much room to work with. Especially if it’s your bedroom – a place meant for rest, relaxation, and de-cluttering your mind. However, a smaller space also has its benefits – less space to clean and usually a lower rent or mortgage. Making it feel comfortable can often be tricky – but not for long!

 

Here are 4 useful tips to make your peaceful abode feel like the spacious sanctuary that you deserve:

1) Keep only the necessities. Take a look around your room – do you see a few piles of clutter here and there, or perhaps covering the entire floor? It’s time to remove it. Clearing your floor of unnecessary objects can be hard, yet so valuable. Having a clear floor will open up the room and create the illusion of more space – not to mention allow you more room to move around, as well as more room for your roommates to hang out with you as well.

2) Take advantage of the space under your bed. This is a great place to store winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter, leaving you more room to use in your closet year-round. Grab a few clear plastic containers at The Container Store or Bed, Bath & Beyond that can slip right under your bed. Under the bed storage can also be a great option for shoes and suitcases.

3) Choose lighter colors. We don’t always have options for the paint in our bedroom if renting or staying somewhere temporarily, however we can control our decorations. Darker colors can make a room seem smaller – even cave-like. If you’re prone to blacks and browns, try those colors on your pillows or throw rugs and keep the lighter and brighter colors to your walls and the major focal points of the room.

4) Choose your furniture wisely and put it to work! One of the quickest ways to make a room look smaller is with big, clunky furniture. So, depending on the size of your room, choose 2-3 necessary key pieces such as a dresser, armoire, or desk. Then utilize each piece in more ways than one. For example: Your dresser can also become an entertainment center by placing your TV on top. If you choose not to have a TV, this space is also a great area for toiletries and/or makeup, books, and odds and ends. The more ways you can use your furniture, the more space you’ll clear up thereby making your room looking larger.

 

A small space can definitely be a challenge. But it’s important to know you can always organize and condense your room with these simple adjustments! Besides, having a small bedroom can be cozy, warm and inviting.

Try these 4 tips today to make your room feel unique and transformed into the larger space you desire, and share with your Austin Roommates as well!

How to Be Social in Your New City – Austin

September 18th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

Austin

 

Moving to a new city can be exhilarating: new and fun things to do + see, fresh routines to be made, hidden favorites to be found, and tons of great possibilities to create new friendships throughout the city, like with your Austin Roommates, for example!

But moving to a brand new place like Austin can also be nerve-wracking and overwhelming for some – especially if you may not know a lot of people or have any friends or family close-by. There’s so much to do, discover, and enjoy you might have a tough time knowing where or how to start.

If that sounds like you, check these out:

5 Ways to Be Social in your New City of Austin:

1) Join meetup.com: a social website made specifically for getting people together to share, learn, or do something new. Meetups are happening around the world and are a fantastic way of meeting new people, getting acquainted with your city, and creating fun new friendships. Even if you’re shy or not much of a social person, meetup.com is guaranteed to have something to interest you. A plus: Membership is free! Have your roommates join you!

2) Join a gym. Active enthusiasts often thrive in groups! Check out places near your work or home to find like-minded people. Many people enjoy working out with friends and making it their social hour. If gyms aren’t your thing though, search for running/Frisbee/golf + more groups! You name it and Austin is sure to have it. This might be a great activity to do with your roommates so you can get to know each other better.

3) Start a book club. For the more introverted and reserved types who enjoy small potlucks and meet n’ greets, a book club can be a fun, low-key, and stress-free way to meet some people who share a similar interest with you. If you can’t find one on meetup.com, try Google – your new best friend at finding pretty much anything and everything Austin!

4) Check out activities on livingsocial.com and groupon.com. For an inexpensive time, try purchasing an event voucher from one of these websites. Livingsocial and Groupon are awesome ways at trying an activity for half the cost. See if you like it – there’s not much to lose! Activities like SUP, Work-Out Classes, Wine-Tasting Classes, Boating, Golfing, Ziplining + more can all be available at one time or another for half the cost. New outings can equal new socializing for a fraction of the regular cost. Sign up for the free emails so you can see what’s available right away!

5) Volunteer. There are a number of ways to get involved around Austin. If you have a special place in your heart for animals, children, or the elderly, offer your services a couple hours a week and find yourself with new friends and a great purpose! Volunteer Match can get you started: http://www.volunteermatch.org/search?l=Austin%2C+TX%2C+USA

 

Whether you’re new to the social scene, prefer intimate one-on-one gatherings, or thrive on group events, don’t worry – there is something for everyone in Austin. Pretty soon, you’ll be a social butterfly dispensing advice to the newbie Austinites!

 

 

 

 

 

How to Stay Cool in the Hot Austin Summer Heat

September 18th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

Barton Springs

 

Austin summers bring bright sunny skies, gorgeous sunsets, and endless amounts of fun opportunities around the city to be outdoors. There’s no better place in Texas than Austin to have a true summer experience boating, swimming, or taking a hike along one of the many greenbelt trails. However, along with that comes the blazing hot summer temperatures that Texas can be famous for.

But don’t fret – you don’t have to suffer through the hot Austin weather this summer. Here are some quick and easy tips to share with your Austin Roommates to beat the heat and stay cool while inside and out:

– Turn off your computers, televisions, and monitors at night or whenever they are not in use. Electronics, especially computers produce a lot of heat when on.

– Leave the door to your room open as much as possible. This increases the airflow through the entire house and will keep your room significantly cooler.

– Turn your fan on and make sure it is rotating counter clockwise. It should be moving air downward. This will produce a wind chill effect and make you feel much cooler, making sleeping much more bearable.

– Don’t shut air vents anywhere in the house. Don’t block the air intake vents. Both of these will reduce the airflow and cause the whole house to be warmer than it should be.

– Spend some time outside in the sun enjoying the great weather. Your body will adjust to the warmer climate and you’ll generally feel cooler when inside in the A/C.

– Drink plenty of water – even if you’re not thirsty. You can sweat a lot during the summer months. Evaporation of the sweat cools the skin, which in turn helps to cool the whole body. But excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, which can lead to serious heat-induced illnesses. So, hydrate – with water, to replenish your fluids and keep your body temperature down.

– Wear light colored cotton. Darker colors just absorb and trap the heat in, making us hotter than we really are.

– Exercise at the coolest times of the day. Generally, early morning and around/after sunset are the best times to keep cool while outside. The sun is at its peak midday, so it’s best to stay away from midday workouts in order to prevent overheating.

– Eat smaller meals more often. Graze. The larger the meal, the more your body has to work to digest it, thereby raising your body temperature.

– Keep your blinds and curtains closed especially during the day. You’ll keep the temperature of the room down if the heat from the sun isn’t blazing into your room.

– Eat fruits and vegetables high in water: watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, celery, and broccoli to name a few. You’ll stay hydrated, and the fiber will fill you up without leaving a tired, groggy feeling – which can often be amplified by hot weather.

– Take advantage of one of Austin’s many pools or natural springs with your roommates and take a dip. Barton Springs Pool, Hamilton Pool, Lake Travis, your community pool, or even at a local gym. The options are endless around the city.

 

Use these tips to stay cool and you’ll be spending the summer soaking up great memories around the city with some of your Austin Roommates, instead of focusing on the blazing hot temperatures!