Rental Property Upgrades To Avoid

As an investor, you want to make upgrades to your rental property that will bring in a steady stream of tenants and provide value to your property, but sometimes, the upgrades aren’t worth the upkeep or the hassle. When thinking about what upgrades to make to your rental property, make sure it’s worth the time and money before going through with it.

Here are four upgrades that you should consider avoiding when it comes to renovating your rental property.

Granite Countertops

While granite tends to be a more popular choice for countertops, they’re not necessarily ideal for rental properties. Not only will the trend eventually fade, but granite is particularly expensive compared to other countertop options such as quartz, marble, or laminate. Better to choose a countertop that’s cost-effective, durable, and will last a long time, so you’re less likely to have to replace it in a few years.

White Bathrooms

All-white bathrooms have an eye-catching effect that looks clean and new, but it can go away quickly if not cleaned often. White bathrooms can easily show dirt and dust, making them a not-so-great option for your rental property. Not only does it mean more upkeep for you, but also more for your tenants to keep up with keeping them clean. Choosing more neutral colors can still give the bathroom an elevated look without all the hassle.

Bright Paint Colors

Speaking of neutral colors, the same should go for your paint colors. Accent walls might still be a popular trend, but the days of having bright colors everywhere are gone. Keep it simple with grays and beiges because they go with everything and won’t clash with your tenants’ furniture and design choices. 

Elaborate Landscaping

Of course, you should have some landscaping outside, but there is such a thing as overdoing it. All possible tenants will see is more they will have to keep up with, and it could inevitably turn them away from choosing your property to rent. Sticking to the basics and making sure everything looks clean and put together will go a long way. 

When it comes to making upgrades to your rental property, always remember that less is more. If you have any questions about what upgrades are worth making, reach out to us! We would love to provide our expertise and help in any way we can! 

Summer Maintenance Tips For Your Investment Property

Summertime is just around the corner! Summer is usually the time of year when people are looking to move into a new property or renew their existing lease agreement, making it the perfect time to schedule annual inspections and handle any issues or repairs.

Here are some tips to prepare your investment property for the summer.

Inspect HVAC System

The last thing you need as a landlord in the summer is your tenants complaining the air conditioner is broken on the hottest day of the year. Do yourself a favor and have your HVAC system inspected by checking the filters and cleaning out the coils. If you don’t consistently maintain your HVAC system, it can start to lose efficiency, making utility bills higher than usual. 

Clean Out Dryer Vents

If you have a laundry room in-unit or in the building, having the dryer vents cleaned out is a good idea. If our tenants notice their clothes take a little longer to dry or are hotter to the touch when removed from the dryer, these are signs to have the dryer vents cleaned. This tends to be forgotten, but it doesn’t take long to do and can prevent dryer fires, saving you time and money down the road.

Tend To The Yard

Make sure your curb appeal looks its best by sprucing up the landscaping and taking care of the lawn. Take time to mow the lawn, remove overgrown weeds, and trim back bushes. In addition to lawn maintenance, you might want to have the sidewalks and patios power washed so they’re nice and clean for your tenants. This is important to do throughout the year, but more important now when tenants will be spending more time outside.

Handle Repairs 

Minor repairs like chipping paint or broken handrails are important to handle now, so everything is fixed for new or existing tenants. If you have multiple properties, do a walkthrough to ensure nothing has gone unnoticed and everything is in working order for summer.

Once these summer maintenance tips are handled, you can enjoy your summer! If you have any questions or need recommendations on preparing your properties for summer, reach out to us! We are always here to help!

How To Warm Up Your Bathroom For Winter

Texas is in for some frigid air and cold temperatures this winter, and nothing is worse than stepping out of the warm shower onto cold tile floors in your bathroom. Luckily, we have six easy tips to warm up your bathroom this winter!

 

Seal Your Windows

Cold air can get inside even through the smallest of gaps. So make sure to check around the glass and frames to feel for drafts and caulk the edges if needed. In addition, keep the blinds up on days when the sun is shining. The sunlight will raise the temperature in the bathroom slightly and help with any cold air.

 

Add Warm Decor And Paint

Paint isn’t going to help you feel physically warmer, but painting and decorating with warmer tones can help give the room a warmer feel. Bold, warm colors like red, orange, or yellow or cozier options like taupe and creams are great options.

 

Update Your Showerheads

Shower heads are usually only replaced if they break or stop working, but consider this an opportunity to update them. Many water-efficient showerheads use less hot water than older models, meaning you can take longer showers and conserve water. In addition, the longer shower will make the bathroom warmer when you step out.

 

Change Your Lightbulbs

Heated light bulbs may not make a huge difference, but they will help, especially in small areas like bathrooms. Most heated light bulbs are energy efficient, which is different from traditional light bulbs, and they provide light and heat in one!

 

Install A Heated Towel Rack

Pretend you’re at the spa all year long and have a heated towel rack installed. Most heated towel racks are electric, but some can be connected to your hot water system. Depending on which type you decide on, you may need a plumber or electrician to install it.

 

Add Heated Floors

If you want to get fancy, you can add heated floors to your bathroom. Not only will they keep your feet warm, but they will radiate heat throughout the entire bathroom and help dry up wet floors faster. 

 

Incorporating a few or all of these tips will help bring some warmth into your bathroom this winter. If you have any questions or need recommendations, reach out to us! We are always here to help.



4 Ways to Prepare Your Rental For Winter

The weather outside will soon turn frightful in Round Rock, which means it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your rental property.

 

Here are 4 ways to get your rental home ready for winter:

 

Service Your Furnace

With the colder temps coming, you’ll want to make sure the furnace is in working order. Make sure to get an appointment on the books to have the furnace serviced and the filters changed. Having your furnace checked doesn’t take very long and it will go a long way with your tenants to know they’re good to go.

 

Check the Roof and Gutters

Make sure there is no damage to your roof or gutters. In addition, make sure the gutters and downspouts are clear of debris to avoid blockage and potentially further damage.

 

Winterize The Pipes

The last thing you want is for your pipes to freeze because they are very expensive to have repaired, so make sure to have them winterized. Make sure exposed pipes are insulated and all exterior faucets and hose bibs are turned off.

 

Check for Cracks

Inspect the foundation, doorways, and windows for cracks and signs of moisture build-up. If water seeps in, it can cause additional cracks and further damage. Also, gaps in the doorways and windows can let in moisture and cold air so make sure to caulk any gaps.

 

Winter will be here before we know it in Round Rock, so it’s important to check these items off your maintenance list. If you have any questions or need recommendations, reach out to us! We are always here to help.



How To Make Your Rental Property Stand Out

When advertising your Round Rock rental property, you want to make sure it stands out against other local rental properties. Each day your property sits empty is money out of your pocket. Here are a few tips to make sure it gets rented out quickly.

Curb Appeal

When prospective tenants are looking for rentals, they are looking online. The first pictures they see are of the exterior of the home, so you’ll want to make sure it looks nice. Make sure the weeds are pulled, the lawn is well-manicured, and trash cans are put away. You don’t need to go overboard, but small things will make a big difference. 

Staging

It’s hard to envision where the furniture will go and what the property will look like if it’s vacant – so consider staging the home to help tenants get a better idea. Avoid bringing in any personal items, but items to make the property feel more inviting that can help tenants imagine what it’s like to live there are helpful.

Repairs and Updates

Take care of your rental properties and make repairs and updates as needed. Even when you don’t have a tenant living in the property, make sure to clean regularly and make sure everything is in working condition. 

Know Your Competition

There are many rental properties in Greater Austin, and we want prospective tenants to choose yours. So make sure you do your research and know what else is out there. You can use this information to point out what’s special about your property compared to others in the area. 

 

At the end of the day, focus on what makes your property special against all others in the area. Keep it simple and do what you can to make it shine. If you have any questions or need recommendations, reach out to us!

 

Fall Home Improvement Projects To Tackle Before The Holidays

The true start of fall in Williamson County is a clear signal to homeowners that it may be time to tackle that ever-growing list of home improvement projects before the holidays officially roll around. Fall also means more downtime for homeowners. The long-lasting Texas heat begins to dissipate, and cozying up inside with a cup of hot tea sounds better and better. Before the season is over, take a look at some of these easy home improvement projects that’ll keep your home in pristine condition for the holidays.

Put That Leaf Blower To Work

A muddy entryway is the last thing you want your holiday guests to see. To combat this, as the season grows colder, grab your leaf blower and clean any debris from your porch, driveway, and patio. This will keep your home clean in the future and brighten up your entire property!

Organize Your Book Collection

Let’s be honest – was this one of your new year’s resolutions last year too? With the new year creeping up faster than expected, it would be wise to get ahead of your past resolutions before you start adding even more to the list! Sift through your shelves and make a pile of books to donate, and consider organizing by book height or color to add a modern touch to your home.

Wipe Down Any Lights And Decor

This project is so simple and quick that it may not seem worth completing, but we assure you that you will notice the difference. A clean home is a happy home, so grab those cleaning supplies and a hefty stepladder to dust off every nook and cranny.

Getting a head start on your home maintenance projects before our Texas weather gets too chilly will yield great results, allowing you to properly relax and enjoy the holiday season. If you’re hoping to jump on even more fall home projects, don’t hesitate to reach out!

 

4 Timely Home Design Trends for Rental Property in 2021

If 2021 is the year you become an investor, or if you’re already one and looking for ways to increase ROI on your investment, these four home designs should factor into your portfolio decisions in 2021. With the pandemic, people are spending significantly more time at home, and this influences home layout preferences and needs. Here are some home design trends you should look for in your next rental property.

Separated Spaces for Multigen

Open floor plans are not as popular if multiple people are sharing the same living space. Homeowners are looking for areas to do work, place video calls, exercise, and learn remotely, and you can’t do that all in one room. Think of the chaos! This is especially true with the rise in multigenerational families sharing a home, where each individual needs space and privacy for themselves. 

Wood-grain Elements in the Kitchen

Increased time spent indoors is influencing home materials. Homeowners are craving the outdoors indoors, and this includes materials that are organic and natural. This home design ties interior elements to nature and can be accomplished by adding wood-grain cabinets and wood countertops. 

Outdoor Solitude

The backyard has become a break room of sorts for adults and children, so homeowners are looking for entertainment. The items that gained popularity during the pandemic are fireplaces, fire pits, patios and decks, screened-in porches, and outdoor kitchens. While an outdoor kitchen can be expensive, it can be as economical as adding an outdoor refrigerators and dining areas to your rental property

Smarter Bathrooms 

Touchless appliances and self-cleaning appliances gained traction last year in smart technology. Motion sensors for lighting and smart temperature control for bathroom floors are some ideas that can increase ROI.

 

Contact us today to begin your investor journey. If you need help deciding what home designs increase your rental property’s ROI, reach out to TALK Property Management– We are here to help: (512) 721-1094 or dbrown@talkpropertymanagement.com.

7-Day Plan For an Organized Home Office

The new year is almost here, but you don’t have to wait until it’s 2021 to change! Start the new year with an organized home office. With sudden changes in shutdowns and everything else that 2020 has brought, working from home might not have been in your original plan. Now is the perfect time to finish this year strong and start 2021 with an organized home office.

While this is written as a 7-day plan, the time required may vary, depending on your home office size and organizational needs.

Day One: Paper

Get your recycling can out and get ready to declutter the paper on your desk. Don’t feel defeated if your desk initially looks messier than when you started. It’s part of the organizational process! 

Ask yourself, “Do I need to keep this?” Sometimes we keep things because we’re unsure of how long we need to keep them. So, this step might require some additional research to discover what to keep and for how long. 

Once you’ve answered that question, it’s time to sort and stack paperwork. Use quick, temporary labels for your categories as you work. If you have documents that don’t belong in your office, return them to where they belong immediately. 

Day Two: Space

Day two is for increasing available space. With your now newly stacked and organized paperwork, review it once more to remove duplicates. Consider scanning the documents to the cloud–if you haven’t become a paperless home office yet, today is an ideal day to make the switch!

Day Three: Organize

Day three is all about discovering an organizational system that works for you. Some ideas are clipboards on the wall, wall-mounted cups containing office supplies, labeled, open-top baskets on shelves, or traditional files.

Day Four: Clean

Now that everything has a home and is organized (the hardest part!), it’s time to clean so your office is a more pleasant place in which to spend time. Cleaning tasks typically include vacuuming the floor, window treatments, high corners, and lampshades, wiping down shelves and surfaces with a damp cloth, cleaning your computer monitor, and using a keyboard duster or cotton swabs to remove dust in between the keys on your keyboard. Plants are also a great way to help freshen the air. 

Day Five: Comfort

You’ve cleaned and organized. Now you need to assess the comfort level of your office. Your home office should be comfortable and inviting. Does your chair have proper support? Consider upgrading your lighting or adding a stool under your desk for a footrest. 

Day Six: Decor

Let the creativity begin! The beauty of a home office is the location, your home. Personalize your office with photos, treasures, fabrics, or office supplies that really express your style. Add flowers or candles for fragrance. Make it truly, uniquely yours.

Day Seven: Maintenance 

Now that the hardest part is finished, focus on upkeep. Handle paperwork as soon as you receive it rather than letting them pile up, note documents with their life cycle, schedule a weekly time to empty your inbox, and remove any cups or other kitchen supplies daily. 

 

Now you’re ready to tackle 2021 with a spotless and organized office! If you need help lightening your workload, contact TALK Property Management to see how our services can help you as an owner, property manager, or real estate investor. We are here to help–(512) 721-1094 or dbrown@talkpropertymanagement.com. 

How to Prevent Mold in Your Rental Property

Mold comes in all gross shapes and sizes and all locations. Once you have mold, the severity can range from a nuisance for you to a health hazard. Mold doesn’t initially start as hazardous, but the longer it goes untreated, the more dangerous it becomes. And the more dangerous it becomes, the most it damages your property and your health.

As a landlord, it’s important to recognize that it’s ultimately your responsibility for eradicating mold. However, reducing the chances of mold growing in your rental property is easier than you may think. Let’s take a look.

Why Does Mold Grow?

Mold is identified as a fungus and reproduces through the reproduction of small spores. Mold reproduces by spores that get carried by air currents. Once the spores land on a moist surface, they will grow. The most usual reason for mold growth is due to excess moisture and inappropriate heating in a property. 

Where Does Mold Grow?

Popular places for mold are:

  • Clothes not properly rinsed
  • Left-over food 
  • Locations susceptible to ventilation and moisture issues

How Do I Prevent Mold?

Since moisture is the trouble maker that causes this gross growth to appear, it’s important to keep places dry. Avoid placing wet clothing on furniture, leaving windows open on humid days, or not using exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms. 

While you may not be “on-property” as a landlord, there are things you can do to reduce humidity and prevent mold in your rental properties.

1.Use A Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier will drastically reduce humidity in a room, decreasing the amount of moisture in a room. I recommend talking to a local home appliance supplier to ensure you pick the best unit for your needs and is properly installed. 

2.Install A Hygrometer

A hygrometer is a device that tracks the humidity levels in your home. Hygrometers are useful for determining when humidity levels are increasing before it’s too late. Another plus of lowering the property’s humidity level is that it discourages pests like cockroaches and dust mites from entering. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mold can grow in environments that are not kept below 60% humidity. The ideal range is 30 to 50 percent. 

3.Consider Installing Exhaust Fans 

As I previously mentioned in the renter’s tips, kitchens and bathrooms are popular places for mold since they can have excess moisture. Since these are high-risk places, installing exhaust fans will cut down the likelihood of mold growth. Fans in the kitchen will suck up moisture and grease while cooking. In the bathroom, a fan will prevent permanent damage from mold growth.

4.Check for Leaks

Another source for mold outside of cooking and bathing is leaks. Leaks are sneaky since they can happen without you or your tenant’s knowledge. When a leak goes untreated, the excess water will settle in walls and floors. This will not only cause water damage but also creates the perfect setting for mold and mildew. 

Regular inspections are crucial to detect leaks to avoid all these problems. Encourage your tenants to submit a maintenance request if they notice a small leak. The most common spots for leaks are under sinks and dishwashers, beneath radiators or heat pumps, and around the washing machine or toilet. 

 

If you’re a landlord with words of advice for your tenant, here are some easy habits that will help avoid mold. 

1.Keep Doors Closed

This simple act will stop mold from traveling to unaffected areas of the house. Shutting the doors of your kitchen when cooking will stop excess moisture from spreading. Closing the door while showering is also a good habit to enforce, so the humidity is confined and then expelled by the exhaust fan. 

2.Take Care of Your Bathroom

Do you know where there’s a lot of excess moisture? The bathroom! Take care of that moisture by venting it out. If you don’t have a fan to vent it out, the next best thing is opening a window so the steam can leave the bathroom. Next, wiping your bathroom wall can stop moisture from building up. An excellent habit to enforce is wiping down your walls after showing so the soap and water that splash onto the walls doesn’t turn into mold. 

3.Keep Wet Clothes Away

Mold and clothes fit together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Avoid placing wet or damp clothes in your hamper or floor unless you want to invite mold into your home! A solution is to avoid air drying clothes indoors. If there is little circulation, then air-drying inside could trigger mold growth when the moisture evaporates and settles on the ceiling. 

Mold causes damage to property, finances, and health, so it’s smart to get ahead of it, and it’s easier than you may have thought. If you have any questions about how mold can impact your rental property, reach out to me anytime. I’m here to help (512) 721-1094 or dbrown@talkpropertymanagement.com

Featured Image by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash.

The Home Office | Why Investing In this Space is Crucial in Selling or Renting an Austin Home in 2020

As health concerns reshape daily lives and force businesses to reconsider their workplace infrastructure, Austin home seekers will have new priorities. If you have a home to sell or an investment property to rent to those looking to move in Austin, pay attention to this developing trend.

The last decade of innovation has created opportunities through technology to work more creatively. Educational institutions brought the classroom to the home, and many businesses offer flexibility to allow employees to work and meet from anywhere. With the current COVID-19 landscape, these innovations are perfectly timed. While current headlines collide with tech tools, the shift in workplace structures and priorities is unavoidable, and it will ultimately impact what people are looking for in a home, whether they are buying or renting. In other words, home offices have just moved to the top of the most-wanted list for searchers. 

Home Office Must-Haves

If you are selling a house or offering a home for rent as an investment property owner, adding or boosting a home office or flex area may help attract the right buyer or renter. Whether it is ensuring the room or space is ready for office equipment, or you are highlighting the most pertinent information in your marketing, be sure to include these home office must-haves:

  1. Good Lighting. Make sure there are plugs available for lamps or overhead light fixtures are installed.
  2. High-Speed Internet. Know what type of internet is available, have it connected, and include it in your marketing information. 
  3. Proper Outlets for Office Equipment. Ensure the outlets are up to date and in convenient locations to handle computers or printers. 
  4. Space. Add built-in shelving or stage the room to show off how it can be used for work or school. 
  5. Privacy. Ensure any space you are allocating as the dedicated office offers privacy with a door or is set apart from the main gathering area. 

Home offices are the next wave of must-haves in a house, so if you are selling a home or offering a rental, it is time to invest in a dedicated space to meet the needs of potential buyers or tenants.

Are you interested in more information about buying an investment home in Austin or need a property manager to help navigate Austin’s rental market? Contact me. I am always here and available to answer any questions you may have. Set up a virtual appointment with me by contacting me below or give me a call at 512-721-1094. 

Need more information about residential investments? Click here to visit our Owner Resource page.