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Austin Property Management Blog
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Property management, while simple in explanation, is not an easy task. It’s like playing church mouse when everything is running smoothly and there isn’t much noise until one day that quiet property is now a noisy distraction. If you’ve partnered with the right Austin property manager then you probably can’t tell when your property is either – unless things have really gotten out of hand for your property. Here are three things your property manager should be applying when managing your property.
Understand the Tenant’s Perspective
When it is 110 degrees in Austin and your Austin property manager is getting bogged down with service requests it can be easy to get caught up and discouraged. However, your property manager should be able to empathize with those tenants and understand that an urgent repair can seriously be a detriment to that tenant’s life if not handled in a timely manner. When the property management company handling your property is able to see things from your tenant’s perspective then service requests and repairs can be handled with tact and care as if it were their own home. This results in better maintenance, response times, and overall tenant satisfaction with your property!
Staying on Top of Industry Trends
Things are always evolving. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re looking at – things always advance and evolve. Whether it is software that better markets rental properties, changes to property taxes in Travis County or anything that could apply to your Austin rental property it’s always good to stay on top of changes within your industry. If you’re property manager is in-tune with their industry and what’s leading the development of the industry then you should be in great hands!
They are Preventative
Committing to a costly repair in the moment can feel like it hurts financially, maybe even emotionally. It’s easy to see something small that you could address and tell yourself that you’ll address it next year. However, unnecessary delays in maintenance can turn a mole hill into a mountain quickly. Your Austin property management company should always have a long-term, value-building approach to your Austin rental home and how they handle its day-to-day management.
It seems simple, but partnering with a company that actively applies these three things to their process can reap benefits for you, the owner/investor. Integrating a property manager who does can position your rental home in a great spot to improve its condition and value over time. Learn more about Stone Oak Management and how we manage your Austin rental property.
We hear frequently from those in search of property management services in Austin, TX. One of the main questions we get is what exactly they should be expecting after hiring an Austin property manager. A service like property management is designed to make the owner’s life easier. Any Austin property management company you hire should help in preserving and increasing the value and longevity of your real estate investments. Your property manager should be covering A-Z for your Austin rental home and we’ll cover that below.
So, What are my property manager’s responsibilities? Below we go in-depth about what you should expect when working with a property manager in Austin, Texas.
First and foremost, if your property manager is not keeping you in the loop on your property then go ahead and ditch them. Transparency is key in a relationship business like property management. You not only need someone who is going to disclose the good news to you but also hit you with the bad news when required. There should be an open dialogue when it comes to your vacancies, tenant issues, your property’s condition, your property’s financials, etc. This process should be as hands-off as you, the owner, prefers. After all, your Austin property manager is there to make YOUR life easier! Another thing to check is who you can reach at the company at any given time. Can you call right now and speak to the owner? If not, be weary of the level of service their company will offer.
How did you come across your property manager? Were they actively marketing to you and you were drawn in by promotion? Was it successful? Now imagine you’re a tenant looking for a place to live. Would you prefer your property manager to be actively marketing your unit(s) or just hoping someone comes across the property on their search? You’d hope they were getting your property out there!
If not, you might question what they are doing for your property when it’s time to lease. Yes, the local MLS is a great marketing tool, but it’s not the only tool that can be used to make sure your Austin rental property leases fast! Look for a property manager who takes their marketing beyond the bare minimum to ensure you aren’t left with long vacancies where you’re covering the bills. Another thing, don’t be afraid of incentives. Austin is a big leasing city and most agents rightfully expect a commission. If your property manager isn't charging enough for a leasing fee you’d be hard pressed to get any Realtor in Austin to show their clients your home over the next that house that is paying a better commission. That tenant you obtain could be your tenant for the next 3 years and consistently make rent payments so be sure not sell yourself short to save a few dollars today.
A big marketing piece for your property is making sure it accurately priced to attract high-quality tenants. Over price your rental and you might have a dud that sits on the market for months. Your property manager should be able to provide a rental market analysis for your Austin rental property which should show comparable properties, etc. We understand as the owner of your rental home that you want the highest rent amount possible, but some owners have unrealistic expectations for their Austin property and how much rent it can earn. Your property manager should be able to show and justify to you why they priced your rental the way they did.
Your property manager should be prepared draw up the lease agreement, coordinate the move-in and inspection and then collect your rent monthly. Once that lease term is up and the tenant has confirmed to the manager what their intentions are – you’re property manager should either renew the lease with the tenants or begin the marketing of your property while processing the tenant’s move-out.
One thing: Do not hire a property manager who earns a fee even while your property is vacant.
Imagine you’re the CEO of a large corporation. Typically they have an executive assistant that handles every aspect of their day. Your Austin property manager is essentially your Austin rental property’s executive assistant. From scheduling maintenance & repairs, contracting quality vendors, regular inspections & quick emergency resolution your property manager should have their finger on the pulse of your Austin rental home at all times. At no point should the condition of your property suffer under an Austin property manager – aside from an uncontrollable natural disaster. Attention to detail is important here and you’ll want to make sure you have a property manager who is paying attention.
Owning a property that serves as a rental opens you up to liability you didn’t have before. As an owner, with a good chance you are out of state, you might not be familiar with Texas property code or the laws and regulations that surround an operational rental property. Fortunately, your Austin property manager should have a good understanding and knowledge of all of this. It is their job after all.
As you may know, evictions are closely tied to rental properties. The moment a tenant stops paying rent or breaches their lease it should be the first thing on your mind. It’s not wise to play around and let a tenant feel as though there’s a chance they won’t be held accountable. Stone Oak Management has not had to perform an eviction for one of our properties since 2016. With that said, we absolutely know how to reclaim your property. We got so bored from not having any evictions to do we started Texas Tenant Evictions. Now we help self-managing landlords with their evictions. Any property manager you hire should know how to handle the JP courts thoroughly in the event an eviction is required. They can take time and the faster you get a problem tenant out the quicker you can start earning rent again!
Your Austin property manager should be organized. Really organized. If they aren’t then all sorts of issues can arise if any disputes come up or when tax time rolls around every single year. Ask any property management company you speak with if they use any software for their business. Stone Oak uses AppFolio Property Manager to improve our processes and increase our efficiency. It’s an amazing software suite that allows us to share information regarding your property with you. At any moment you can login on our website and see the health of your Austin rental property(s)!
It's required by law that your property manager keep files up to a certain number of years. At the first sign of disorganization you should consider shopping around your management options.
An Austin property management company’s responsibilities don’t stop there. Visit us to learn more about the types of services you Austin property management company should be offering. Have a question regarding property investments, rental homes, or anything else? Please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Stone Oak Management.
Owning a property in Austin, Texas can result in high energy bills. If you aren’t taking the necessary precautions for things like your energy use then your Austin energy bill could be daunting when it arrives. To avoid financial pains caused by inflated power bills we’ve gathered some tips on how to become more energy efficient in your Austin, Texas home.
Turn Off & Unplug Unused Electronics
Think of home right now. How many electronics are plugged into the wall at this time? Probably much more than you actually realize. Americans are spending more than $12 billion annually to power the electronics in their homes, and your Austin property isn’t safe from the financial burden of doing so unless your actively monitoring what electronics are feeding on your power. A great way to handle limiting the consumption of your devices is to take advantage of power strips. Every single night when you go to bed or every day when you leave for work you can turn the power to these strips off. This method saves you power and money over the long term by disabling your devices when they aren’t in use.
Installing energy efficient appliances and brands can have a big impact on your energy consumption. When buying new appliances for your Austin property keep an eye out or ENERGY STAR-labeled products or any other energy efficient certification so you know what you’re getting.
Your Austin Property’s HVAC System
Heating and cooling your Austin home can feel like a roller coaster at times. Over this past year it feels as if we’ve experience the worst of every season, minus the snowfall the rest of the country has experienced. This can lead to wildly varying electricity bills as the temperature goes from 30 degrees to 100+ degrees.
Having a system that is programmable can save you loads of money in those wild times. With this you can schedule the temperature of your Austin home for when you’re away and for when you are at home.
Be sure to consistently replace the filters on both air conditioners and furnaces to keep them performing best and helps reduce allergens such as Cedar that filters into your home.
Your Home’s Lighting
When’s the last time you had to pull up a chair and replace your light bulbs? If it’s been a while it might be time to visit the idea of replacing the lights in your house to more energy efficient types and brands. If you’re home still has incandescent bulbs you should switch immediately. Once you make the switch to LED & CFL bulbs you can see a decrease in energy used by your lights in the range of about 70%. No joke! It also goes without saying but we’re going to say it anyway – be sure to turn off the lights when they aren’t in use.
Taking the time to make these small adjustments can save you money on your Austin energy bill and bring your energy consumption way down. As the summer approaches and A/C bills go up be sure to implement these changes to see a difference in your property’s efficiency. Do you have questions on how to make your property more efficient? Give us a call today (512.617.6766) or shoot us an email to connect with an Austin property manager.