upgrades to help rent property faster replace flooring in rental properties types of upgrades renters are looking in austin tx

How to Lease Your Property Faster with Upgrades

There is no doubt about it. Potential tenants are looking for more bang for their buck when it comes to renting these days. How does your property stand apart from other rental properties in your area? When it comes to the big picture, updating the interior and exterior of your rental property doesn’t have to have a huge price tag. It is the little things that renters appreciate. Here are some of the most common rental property upgrades you can make that will go a long way in attracting qualified tenants. 

Hardwood Floors vs. Carpet

Some of the best upgrades to do on a rental property in Austin include flooring. It is one of the first things most owners consider when taking on an update project. Even if the original shag carpet is still intact, now is the time to replace it. You’ll not only save yourself a ton of money in carpet cleaning fees; you’ll be able to install long-lasting floors that can withstand the test of time and tenant. Hardwood floors or vinyl planking that gives the appearance of hardwood are becoming more and more popular. However, some landlords are opting for a finished appearance of the concrete foundation as flooring.  

Paint Touch Ups 

Give the interior an updated look with a new, fresh coat of paint. Avoid bright accent walls or colors that won’t typically “go with everything” as your next tenant may have a completely different color scheme. Avoid flat paint if possible. High gloss paint is preferred as it is easier to remove scuff marks, and natural wear and tear Neutral colors go a long way in helping decide what color to update the walls. Use white glossy paint for the baseboards and door trims. 

Update the Cabinets

Consider updating the cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms for a fresh look that will get your property leased in Austin. From the cabinet door to the modern hardware (or handles), you can avoid costly renovations by merely updating the paint, replacing the cabinet top, and changing out the doors. 

Replace Window Screens

It may seem like a small thing, and it is, but it will go a long way in providing that updated look to new prospects. Window screens should be replaced every few years as they take a lot of Mother Nature’s abuse. Consider energy-efficient window screens. That is always a huge selling point for tenants. If they think they can save money on utility bills, that is something they will factor into their decision. 

Replace Weatherstripping

Another small step to updating your rental property to attract ready tenants is to replace the weatherstripping to all door jams leading outside. It may not seem like much and is usually very inexpensive, but seeing that a landlord cares enough to ensure there aren’t gaps in the doorways is a considerable benefit in the minds of tenants.

Update the Curb Appeal

Whether you have a corner lot home for lease or have a condo for rent, curb appeal is what attracts ready tenants to your property. Make sure the exterior looks just as appealing as the interior. People want to feel at home after a long day of work. Make the entry welcoming. 

For more tips on updating your rental property in Austin so that it will lease faster, give us a call today to discuss more options at 512-721-1094. The Talk Property Management Team are experts when it comes to property management in the Greater Austin area. Let us put our expertise to work for you.

TALK Property Management Dona Brown 5 Real Estate Investment Property Red Flags Best Round Rock Property Manager

5 Real Estate Investment Property Red Flags

There are a lot of excellent investment properties out there, and while there are some factors that make a property great, there are also some red flags that may help you narrow down which ones you should avoid altogether.

  1. Is the floor plan functional?
    If a home is listed as a four-bedroom home, you want to make sure that all four bedrooms are adequately sized. If one bedroom is particularly small or awkwardly shaped, it may be hard for you to find tenants for that space. You’ll also want to consider the number of bathrooms. It’s unlikely that you’ll find tenants ok with sharing a four-bedroom home with only one bathroom.
  2. What neighborhood and school district does the home fall in?
    No matter how beautiful the home, if it’s in a bad neighborhood or zoned for a school district that doesn’t have a great reputation, you’re going to have a hard time finding tenants. Is the area in a high flood zone, close to loud businesses? These are all factors you’ll want to look into.
  3. Are there structural issues and damage to the property?
    Pay attention to if a property has uneven floors, cracks on exterior walls, etc., as this can be a sign that there are bigger problems with the structural integrity of the home, which can be costly to fix. You should also be looking for roof leaks and checking under countertops and sinks in the bathroom and kitchen for signs of water damage and mold, as this can be another sign that there are major repairs that need to be made.
  4. Have you been asked to waive your right to inspect the property?
    We can’t stress this enough. If a seller asks a potential buyer to waive their right to inspect and back out of the deal if they don’t like what they see, turn tail and run. This is a huge sign that something isn’t right with the property. It’s common for a seller to sell a property as is without making any repairs, but it’s not common to ask a buyer to lock into a deal without an inspection.
  5. Are you being met with resistance to see the inside of the property?
    If you’re having trouble nailing down a date and time to see a property or are even being kept from checking out the whole property, it’s a big sign that the seller is hiding something. The golden rule to live by: Never buy an investment property without seeing 100% of what you’re getting into and after receiving an inspection that gives you an idea of what the property will need maintenance-wise.

If you still have questions on investment properties, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re more than happy to share some of the knowledge, tips, and tricks we’ve picked up over the years to make sure you make and maintain a great investment.

TALK Property Management Dona Brown The Domain is Going to New Heights Best Austin Property Management Firm

The Domain is Going to New Heights!

It is said Domain Tower 2 will be 24 stories and have 330,000 square feet of office space. This second tower is a continuation of the plans to make The Domain Austin’s second “downtown” hub. As huge technology companies are seeing a need for larger space in close proximity to amenities they can offer to employees, construction companies are meeting those demands by expanding The Domain.

Overall, The Domain is about 300 acres of land split amongst a variety of offices, retail spaces, and residences. There are more projects coming soon, including a 20-story, 345,000 square-foot Domain Tower 3, and a proposed 22-story Domain Tower 4. The plan to continue development of The Domain includes a 15 phase plan, and Domain Tower 2 is just one step in the overall goal of bringing 3 million square feet of class A office space, 2,500 multifamily units, 50,000-square feet of restaurants, and a hotel to the area.

While no one has yet signed on to take over the office spaces in Domain Tower 2, there’s no doubt there will be a variety of companies interested due to its great location and competitive markets. The demand is strong and only continues to grow in this area. If you’re curious about how the area in North Austin has changed with the expansion of The Domain, give our team a call. We’re happy to give you a glimpse into how the area has changed and how it will continue to do so in the coming years.

How to Know if a Property is a Good Investment

How to Know if a Property is a Good Investment

Deciding to jump into real estate investment is just the beginning of a variety of decisions you’ll have to make. You’ll be surrounded by questions and things to ponder and consider. So, what is it that makes a property worth buying in order to rent out to tenants? What should you be looking for in a great investment property?

  1. Quick turnaround time – By this, we mean that you should be looking for homes that you can buy and have a tenant living there in no time. It can be costly and unwise to invest in a property that will need a ton of renovations before you can rent it out. It’s recommended to look for properties that will generate enough rent in 10 months to cover all costs or follow the “2% rule.” This is the financial rule that states that your monthly rent should be at least 2% of the total purchase price of a property.
  2. Check out the number of days homes are staying on the market as well as what other rentals are offering – If a neighborhood is seeing a decrease in the number of days on the market for homes being sold, this shows that the housing market in that area is heating up and could be especially desirable. On the other hand, if you see rental properties offering discounts and deals, this could be a sign that landlords are having a hard time filling the spots they have open and that the neighborhood isn’t ideal for tenants.
  3. Look into what else is available in the neighborhood – Big businesses spend a lot of money to scout out desirable neighborhoods that will sustain their company. If a Starbucks, Whole Foods, or trendy business is moving in, it’s a great sign that the area is booming and will bring tenants looking for a place to call home. If you’re looking at places in a college town, you need to know that you’re more likely to have a high turnover of tenants – people looking to stay for 1 – 4 years while they finish a degree. If you’re targeting millennials in a city, target your home searches to walkable neighborhoods that are close to public transportation and restaurants/businesses.

If you ever have any questions about real estate and investment properties, don’t hesitate to reach out to our helpful team. We’re here to ensure that your properties and investments are well taken care of.

loan-to-value ratio explained

Loan-to-Value Ratio Explained

If you’re considering buying a home, there will be a lot of delving into your finances in order to qualify for a mortgage. One of, if not the most, crucial factor to be approved for a mortgage will be your loan-to-value ratio. The loan-to-value ratio is pretty straightforward. It’s simply the amount of money you borrow from your lender, divided by the purchase price of the home in a percentage format.

The loan-to-value ratio is extremely important for lenders as it gives them a better insight into the risk they face loaning money to a prospective homebuyer. The higher your loan-to-value ratio, the higher the risk to the lender, which may play into the mortgage terms and interest rates the lender can offer you. While lenders also look at your credit score, they want to make sure that you have equity in your home and are willing to make a sound investment that you can afford.

Many lenders require that borrowers have a loan-to-value ratio of 80% or lower before they approve a loan, which means that they’re really looking for borrowers to put in 20% for the down payment.

If you’re worried that you could fall under the high loan-to-value client group, there are a few ways to lower your ratio and increase your chances of being approved and getting great terms for your home loan.

One way to lower your loan-to-value ratio is to save up more money in order to have a larger sum to put down for your home. If you can offer up 20% or more of the home’s value, you’ve already lowered the loan-to-value ratio and made yourself less of a risk to the lenders by proving you have a stake in your home. The other way to lower your loan-to-value ratio is to look at more affordable homes. Choose a home that you would need a smaller down payment for, and you’ve immediately taken care of reducing the loan-to-value ratio.

If you ever have questions about your loan-to-value ratio and choosing a property that fits your budget, give our team a call. We’re here to make real estate processes simple and easy to understand for everyone.

New Homes in South Austin

New Homes in South Austin

The 468-acre plot of land known as Turner’s Crossing will soon be a sprawling community with more than 1,300 single-family homes. The community will also offer a variety of amenities, including pools, playscapes, a splash pad, and a three-mile walking trail. The construction project is an ideal location and just 11 miles south of Downtown Austin.

If you’re thinking that it sounds like a massive project, you’d be right. In fact, Meritage Homes Corp is constructing homes in phases and is even working with other partners to get the project rolling. The first phase is likely to start construction soon and will be in the northern section of Turner’s Crossing, between FM 1327 and SH 45.

Trendmaker Homes Austin has also acquired land in the area, 324 single-family lots, to be exact. The company has set a target open date for June 2021. Taylor Morrison Home Corp. will also be helping out and constructing some new homes within Turner’s Crossing.

With a large demand for affordable single-family homes in Austin, there’s no surprise that several companies are putting in their all to develop the south Austin area, but there’s still a chance for more development groups to get in on the action. Close to 40 acres of Turner’s Crossing will be dedicated to commercial and multifamily projects, but Meritage hasn’t begun negotiations to sell this property to developers.

It will be interesting to watch how this project unfolds and what kind of commercial and multifamily residences will join this massive community. The development of land in Austin solely dedicated to homes priced between $200,000 and $400,000 has been needed for some time.

If you have any questions about the area and what kinds of investment properties may be right for you, give our team a call. We’re happy to talk real estate and what the current developments can mean for Round Rock, Austin, and the surrounding areas.

TALK Property Management Austin Texas Rental Property Home Warranty

Choosing a Home Warranty for Your Rental Property

Choosing a Home Warranty for Your Rental Property 

There are plenty of expenses when it comes to owning a rental property. New application fees, landscapers, and even the downtime costs associated with utilities when no one is residing at the property. There are many factors to consider when renting your property but the thing you may not have thought about can save you a lot of money and peace of mind. A home warranty.

Large ticket items, like your A/C unit, appliances, or plumbing issues, are not typically covered under your homeowner’s insurance unless in cases of natural disasters. When you have a rental property it is important to ensure maintenance items are covered. This is where a home warranty comes into play.

Saving you time and money, a home warranty company will take care of those maintenance nuisances that seem to happen when you’re least prepared for it. The service level plan you opt into will determine the amount of out-of-pocket expenses you can expect for a maintenance request. 

There are several home warranty companies to research and determine the best fit for you:

  • Choice Home Warranty
  • America’s First Choice
  • Select Home Warranty
  • Total Protect
  • HSA
  • Old Republic
  • Guaranteed Home Warranty
  • Landmark Home Warranty
  • Stanley Safe Club
  • Allied Home Warranty
  • American Home Shield
  • BFS

 While a home warranty can’t guarantee the best tenant, that’s our job, a home warranty can help alleviate the stress of maintenance repairs. When you’re ready to consider all the options available to you for your rental property and need help with professional management services, give us a call. 

Mixed-Use Developments are the City's New Domain

Mixed-Use Developments are the City’s New Domain

If you’ve spent any time in North Austin, we’re sure you’ve been to The Domain. It’s been revered as a success to many in the business community and is even viewed as a development the community has to match. 

But, just like any other story, there’s another side to consider. In fact, many people think the development was a missed opportunity. They believe the area had the potential to be a more walkable and integrated retail and business area.

The Domain has expanded to cover more than 300 acres and holds offices for some of the largest companies and employers in Austin. From Facebook to Indeed, you’ll find many employees driving in for work in this neighborhood. On top of those office spaces, you’ll find thousands of apartments and more than 1.8 million square feet of retail space. With hotels in the neighborhood as well, this mixed-use space has it all.

While The Domain continues to grow, other developers are taking the feedback on how to improve the project to heart and using it for their own designs, including one that’s coming to Round Rock! A developer wants to put in a $200 million mixed-use space near I-35 and State Highway 45 that takes guidance from The Domain.

Developers are calling the project “The District” and hope to give it a 24/7 vibe that appeals to younger demographics and will be minutes from Dell’s headquarters. The project was first proposed in 2017 and plans have started moving forward to get started on the development. It’ll be exciting to see if The District rivals the same success as The Domain and what new retailers, entertainment spots, and offices we’ll be able to find here soon! 

If this new development has made you excited or even curious about Round Rock and the Greater Austin area, give us a call! We’re always happy to talk about neighborhoods and changes to properties throughout the area.

property management

How to Properly Manage Your Properties

Real estate investing is a fun opportunity, but in order to make sure you’re successful, you need to be the best landlord and property manager you can be. Not sure where to begin? We’re here to help.

  1. Lease targeting – Schedule lease end dates for times when the market is going to be particularly full of potential tenants looking for a new place to live. This decreases your risk of having open spaces and no tenants to live in your properties.
  2. Plan ahead – We all know that problems spring up when we least expect them, so be prepared. Make a plan for how you’ll take care of repairs when you’re out of town and be sure to set aside 10% of your rental income for unexpected repairs and emergencies.
  3. Happy tenants are the best tenants – Make sure that you take care of any repairs promptly and that you are easy to communicate with. Keep the property in good shape and stay respectful.
  4. Have office hours – This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one listed. Have designated hours that you can be reached and encourage your tenants to contact you during those specific hours.
  5. Encourage good behavior – If a current tenant refers another great tenant, be sure to reward them with movie tickets, a gift basket, or a discounted month of rent to thank them.
  6. Inspections before and after moving – Document the home before a tenant moves in and after they move out, and consider going a step further by taking video logs for your records. Have the tenant document and sign off on any damages they see before moving in.
  7. Ensure you’re insured – Check with the state to make sure you have all the proper insurance needed for your properties.
  8. Make payments easy – A lot of people find that paying rent online is easier and more reliable, so look into if that may be an option for you.
  9. Competitive rental rates – Keep a pulse on what rental properties near you are charging and take into consideration your location. You want to be charging close to what others in the area are as well.
  10. Have a team behind you – It takes a village to raise a baby, and it takes another one to take care of a home. Make sure you have professionals you can count on to help you with repairs, answer your questions, and give you legal advice.

These ten steps are just the beginning to properly managing your property. That’s why we’re here! We make it easy to keep your investment secure and make sure everything is running smoothly. Take the stress out of owning multiple homes, and let TALK to do the heavy lifting for you. Give us a call or email us with any questions.

Round Rock development

Construction Projects Call Underdeveloped Section of Round Rock Home

As Austin expands, so does its surrounding neighborhoods. Developers are looking for open spaces they can turn into homes and businesses to keep up with the high demand. Recently, they’ve set their sights on a previously empty corner of Round Rock.

Near the intersection of County Road 110 and University Boulevard, homebuilders are beginning plans to construct 1200 single-family homes. In the same area, another company is petitioning to bring nearly 150 acres of duplexes, multifamily, and single-family homes. A majority of the Round Rock neighborhood is developed land or currently undergoing developments, so it’s no surprise that builders are looking to the northeast as the site of their new projects.

Residences aren’t the only project lined up for the area. Commercial spaces have also been zoned off for the 356-acre plot of land KB Home Lone Star Inc. is using for the massive subdivision. 11 acres along University Boulevard are zoned for retail, office, and other uses with a maximum building height of five stories. The other 345 acres will go to a variety of single-family homes that will appeal to a mix of homeowners.

Across from the KB Homes, a 190-acre plot of land has been zoned for Scott Felder Homes. The residential and commercial development will feature single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, duplexes, and some other commercial buildings that haven’t yet been specified.

University Boulevard will soon be a flurry of hammering, sawing, and other construction noises in order to have enough homes to fill the growing need to live in a suburb that makes it easy to commute to Austin.

If you too are thinking about moving to the outskirts of the city, but aren’t sure where to begin, I’m happy to help you. There are a lot of growing areas that may be exactly what you’re looking for, so give me a call and let’s talk neighborhoods!