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!

summer home maintenance Talk Property Management Austin texas

Your Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

 

Your to-do list always seems to have some kind of home maintenance project on it, especially when a new season begins. Between your pool days and backyard BBQs, make sure you work consistently on the upkeep of your home. Not sure where to start? Luckily, we’re here to help.

 

  1. Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. It’s recommended that you do this once a month, so be sure you’re always putting this at the top of your checklist.
  2. Prep your air conditioner. The sweltering heat means that your A/C and fans are going to be working hard to keep you cool. Be sure you keep units clean and switch out the filters once a month in order to make sure there’s no disastrous break down and that they’re operating at peak performance during the few months you need them.
  3. Keep your grill clean. It may have been months since the last time you fired up the outdoor cooker for burgers and steaks, so give it a deep cleaning. The burnt residue of last year’s forgotten hot dogs won’t improve the flavor of this year’s hot dogs.
  4. Give yourself a porch worth perching on this summer. Dirt and debris can accumulate on your porch, especially after a harsh winter. Sweeping and mopping your porch can do a lot to refresh the atmosphere and make it the perfect place to enjoy those summer evenings.
  5. Detail your deck. It’s important to hammer in any nails that are coming up and could cause someone to trip. Check for rotting and see if it might be time to reseal it.
  6. So mulch to do for your garden. Mulch keeps weeds down and can help your plants retain the moisture that the summer sun tries to take from them. You should also find time to get rid of the dead foliage and let your plants focus their energy on the healthy parts of the garden that are trying to bloom. Train your garden for the hot and dry days by setting up a new watering schedule. Water a few times a week with more water than you usually add rather than watering them lightly every day. It helps promote strong and deep roots.

 

We hope this summer checklist won’t interfere with any of your plans and will make your house the hub for all the season’s best get-togethers. If you or a loved one are looking for a new neighborhood that offers everything you need for a fun family summer, we’re here to help you find that dream home!

Six Tips on Investing in Real Estate Talk property management dona brown

Six Tips on Investing in Real Estate

Today we’re lifting the veil and revealing some of the key factors you need to know to begin investing in real estate. We’ve laid them out in six simple steps to get you on your way.

Step one: Learn everything you can about real estate investing.

Real estate has many nuances and can be a large beast to jump into head first, so it only makes sense to seek knowledge from those who’ve been in the industry and have hands-on experience you can use to your advantage. No matter how you learn best, there’s a method for you. From books and blogs to podcasts and forums, you’ll find a plethora of knowledge and experience that will benefit you in the long run. Start with the general topics and take a deeper dive into the investment areas that catch your eye.

Step two: Don’t wing it.

If you don’t make a plan and start investing based on an idea of grandeur in your head, you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes. Mapping out where you are today with your assets, expenses, and monthly income, as well as where you want to be and how you’ll get there will keep you focused and moving in the right direction. Once you have a plan set out, ask an investor to look it over and make sure it’s plausible. If there are some flaws in your plan, your investor will point them out and help you create a plan that may work better for your budget and lifestyle.

Step three: Finance before you purchase.

What we mean here is that you need to know how you’re going to finance your property purchases before you try to find the residence you would like to add to your investment portfolio. Banks and mortgage lenders will be able to show you all of your options, so you can narrow your scope and focus on properties that make sense for you.

Step four: Look for the right investment.

This is the step that can hold many people back. It makes everything real and is the step you need to take to actually make your investment plan a reality. Make a list of what you’re looking for and specify location, price, property type, and condition of the property and begin crossing off homes that don’t work for you. Don’t make exceptions to your list and stick with your gut.

Step five: Put in the paperwork.

Partner with a real estate agent who understands real estate investment, and don’t be afraid to tell them all of your wants and needs. Your agent will begin to pull properties that meet your criteria list and negotiate with the sellers when you find the right fit to get you the best deal. Once you’ve struck a deal, look for unforeseen costs and have an inspector take a close look at the property. The last step is to close and officially become an investor!

Step six: Effectively manage your properties.

Just like any other business, real estate investment will fail if it’s managed poorly. Learn what it takes to be a good landlord, or look into professional property management companies and find the right manager for you and your investments.

If you’re thinking about real estate investment and are ready to find the right property that meets everything on your criteria list, we’re here to help! Reach out to us today, and we’ll begin the search to put your plan in motion.

TALK Property Management Infographic AustinArea

Austin-area Home Demand is Strong, but Median Price Stalls Slightly – What This Means for Real Estate Investors

 

Strong first-quarter home sales in the greater Austin area continued into April, according to the most recent Central Texas Housing Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. However, the Austin-Round Rock MSA’s first quarter home sales were tempered with a stalled median home price increase of just .2% during that period. This figure is significantly lower than in the same period in previous years.

“Between 2012 and 2015, we saw price increases as high as 9%,” said Kevin P. Scanlan, 2019 president of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. “These narrower margins are a strong indication that market prices are starting to stabilize.”

Home sales volume continues to rise in the greater Austin area, and it was up 14.9% to 3,035 sales. Surprisingly, new listings were down 1.8%, but active listings increased 1%, another opportunity for Austin-area real estate investors.

Pending home sales in the greater Austin area spiked to 14.3%, while months of inventory hovered at 2.4.

According to the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, a “balanced real estate market” is defined as six months worth of home inventory. With housing supply hovering at 2.4 months, the greater Austin area remains a “seller’s market,” meaning that it is generally more favorable to sellers/owners due to a reduced supply of homes.

However, with the median home price tapering, there appears to be some stabilization and a silver lining for investors who are considering investing in Austin-area residential real estate, especially while interest rates remain low.

Regardless of your situation, TALK Property Management is always here to help, even if you just have a question about the real estate investments in the Austin area. Or, if you’re considering selling your investment property or if you know someone who is, contact our TALK Property Management today. We are always here to help.

TALK Dona_Brown Talk Property Management Austin Texas_Avoid_These_DIY_MIstakes_that_Homeowners_Make_

DIY Fouls: 4 of the Worst DIY Mistakes Homeowners Can Make on Investment Properties

While it may seem like a good idea to save a buck and perform investment property repairs yourself, DIY repair projects don’t always pay off, and things can get ugly rather quickly. Stay away from these common DIY mistakes that homeowners make, and leave them to the licensed repair professionals.

#1 Drywall Repairs. An extra coat of paint is no biggie, but if your investment property’s walls are in need of drywall repairs from things like cracking around windows (generally speaking, if you can stick a coin in it, there’s a problem), settling around door frames, or holes in the wall, it’s tricky to get it right on your own. Enlist the help of a drywall professional who has the tools and experience to repair the issue correctly.

#2 HVAC Repairs. Your investment property’s heating and air conditioning systems are complex, and they’re often connected to gas and electrical lines. Making a small mistake can jeopardize the system and lead to costly repairs. Hire a licensed HVAC technician to correct any problems.

#3 Electrical Repairs. Installing a ceiling fan or a simple light fixture isn’t usually a big deal. However, when you start dealing with circuitry and breaker boxes in your investment property, the potential of seriously injuring yourself or starting a fire increases dramatically. Electricians are up-to-date on all the recent code requirements, and they have the advantage of working with electrical systems daily. It may seem like a good idea to go it alone, but don’t fall prey to this DIY mistake.

#4 Plumbing Repairs. Incorrectly repair a plumbing issue, and you’ll find yourself in a lot of hot water, no pun intended. While a leaky toilet in your investment property may appear easy to fix, the problem can escalate, or there may be more to the issue than meets the eye. Because water damage is serious and expensive to fix, start at the right place, right from the beginning: hire a licensed plumber.

While it may be exciting to put on your DIY cape when it comes to your investment property, resist the urge–at least on these four important items. Spending the extra money to have a licensed repair professional evaluate the issue prevents DIY mistakes from turning into costly DIY problems.

Have a real estate or investment property question? Reach out to me anytime.

Austin area real estate market

State of the Greater Austin Real Estate Market Update 2018

The greater Austin real estate market continued to show signs of strong growth at the end of 2018, and the consensus is that this will continue into the foreseeable future with some market normalization.

In the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), sales volume slightly increased year over year from 2,185 sales in November 2017 to 2,201 sales in November. Meanwhile, the median home price rose 2.2 percent year over year to $301,391.

New listings were on the rise for the five-county MSA, up 1.7 percent year over year to 2,380 listings in November. During the same period, active (on-market) listings increased 11.5 percent, and pending sales rose 2.5 percent, indicating larger inventory levels but also more buyers to absorb part of that increase. Monthly housing inventory increased to 2.7 months of inventory (6 months of inventory is considered a “balanced market,” meaning that neither buyers nor sellers have an advantage.

The number of days (on average) that a house spends on the market increased 3 days to 64. Over time, this figure has continued to slowly grow, indicating a rise in both inventory levels and the time it takes for a home to sell.

“Families and young professionals continue to move to the suburbs where there are more opportunities for home ownership at a more reasonable price point than in the city of Austin,” said Steve Crorey, president of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. “While home sales growth isn’t as rapid in the city, demand is still strong. Analysts predict Austin will be a market to watch in 2019.”

The moral of the story? Today is still a great time to buy and sell real estate in the greater Austin area. If you have any questions about how this information affects your real estate portfolio, please reach out to me anytime. I’m always happy to help.

Austin-Area Home Sales Set October Record

Despite a dip in September, the Austin-area housing market rebounded big time in October. In fact, according to the October 2018 Central Texas Housing Market report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS®, both home sales and sales dollar volume were the highest on record for any October. These record highs suggest a strong demand for single-family homes around the Austin-area and, while inventory did slightly increase around the area, there is still not enough supply to support the demand. What should you know as both a current and potential investment property owner? Here’s a look at the details:

Luxury houses in North America

  • Austin-Round Rock MSA
    • 2,347 home sales – a 4.3 percent increase from October 2017 AND the highest number of sales for any October
    • $900 million in sales dollar volume – an 8.8 percent increase year-over-year
    • $308,355 median home sales price – a 7.5 percent increase from October 2017
    • 2,871 new listings – a 3.7 percent increase year-over-year
    • 7,434 active listings – an 8.2 percent increase year-over-year
    • 2,444 pending sales – a 2.8 percent increase from October 2017
    • 2.9 months of inventory
  • City of Austin
    • 735 home sales – a 7.8 percent increase year-over-year
    • $343 million in sales dollar volume – an 11.9 percent increase from October 2017
    • $377,000 median home sales price – a 3.7 percent increase from October 2017
    • 878 new listings – a 5 percent increase year-over-year
    • 1,643 active listings – a 5.4 percent decrease year-over-year
    • 711 pending sales – a 2.2 percent decrease from October 2017
    • 2.1 months of inventory
  • Travis County
    • 1,176 home sales – a 6.2 percent increase year-over-year
    • $537 million in sales dollar volume – a 10.9 percent increase from October 2017
    • $358,540 median home sales price – a 5.5 percent increase year-over-year
    • 1,417 new listings – a 5.1 percent increase year-over-year
    • 3,374 active listings – a 1.2 percent increase from October 2017
    • 1,198 pending sales – a 3.3 percent increase year-over-year
    • 2.6 months of inventory
  • Williamson County
    • 780 home sales – a 0.5 percent decrease year-over-year
    • $242 million in sales dollar volume – a 3.3 percent increase since last October
    • $281,250 median home sales price – a 4.5 percent increase year-over-year
    • 963 new listings – a 2.6 percent decrease from October 2017
    • 2,595 active listings – a 12.2 percent increase year-over-year
    • 835 pending sales – a 2.1 percent increase from October 2017
    • 2.9 months of inventory

Do you have any questions about the local housing market? As a longtime REALTOR® and property manager in the Austin-area, the TALK Property Management Team is always here for you. Contact our team anytime!

Are you thinking about buying an investment property? We would be happy to help! Contact us today to get started and learn more about our property management services!

4 Tips to Prepare Your Rental Property for Cold Weather Pests

While the weather hasn’t cooled down much in Texas yet…make no mistake; winter is coming – well, Texas’ version. And, even though our winters don’t bring much snow at all (if any), there is still a chance for cold weather pest problems. How do you protect your investment from these unwelcome intruders? Here’s a look at a few tips to prepare your rental property:

cold weather pests

Seal possible entry points
Walk around the inside and outside of the home and look for any deteriorating structure or holes that a pest can fit through. Keep in mind; no hole is too small. Also, make sure your drains are covered with screens or metal gates to keep rats out of the sewer pipes.

Keep the exterior clear of debris and shrubbery
Clear any piles of debris around the house that may act as a hiding or access point for potential pest intruders. While you’re at it, also think about trimming any overhanging branches as these can act as a ladder/bridge for pests to access the home.

Pass along these tips to your tenants to ensure they don’t have any pest problems during their lease:

Store trash safely
While many know to store food safely inside your home, it is equally as important to store your trash safely, too. Trash all over the place can attract pests to your home. With that in mind, make sure to remind your tenants to keep their trash in a secure and sealed trash can. Don’t forget to eliminate any pools of water, as these can also attract pests.

Check for signs of pest activity 
Inspect both the inside and outside of the home for signs of pest activity by looking for rodent droppings of shed bed bug skins. Looking outside can ensure you catch the issue before the pests find their way inside.

Find a pest problem? Call a professional in Austin to help you remove any unwanted visitors. If you’re looking for a recommendation, give TALK Property Management a call. We have a list of trusted professionals we would be happy to share with you!