Tips for Reducing Vacancy Rates In Your Rental Properties

As a landlord, you need to reduce the risk of vacancies in your rental properties to be profitable and keep your business afloat. While sometimes there’s nothing you can do to keep your tenants from leaving, there are some steps you can take to keep tenants happy and keep your properties occupied. 

Let’s look at a few tips for reducing vacancy rates and see how TALK Property Management can help!

Open Communication

Ensure trust and respect between you and your tenant by keeping open lines of communication. If there are changes in the works, be honest with them; you never want them to think they can’t talk to you. Reach out to your tenants a few months before their lease is about to expire to gauge their interest and see if they are thinking about renewing their lease or going elsewhere. Securing a longer lease is a huge win for you, and if they decide to leave, you have more time to find new tenants. 

How can we help? We keep you informed every step of the way and can handle accounting services on your behalf.

Understand Market Trends

If you want to purchase a new rental property, research the area, the current market, and vacancy rates. This will help you price your property right from the beginning. Make sure to look at what your competitors are charging for rent in the area so you can stay competitive. Sometimes, if tenants leave, it could be because your rent is too high for the area, and they can find something cheaper. 

How can we help? We use the Multiple Listing Services available only to real estate agents to obtain comparables to produce higher rents and fewer vacancies. Plus, we can run a free comparable market analysis and recommend your starting rate based on the current trends. 

Advertising & Marketing

Your rental property isn’t going to occupy itself. Make sure you have the right marketing strategies in place to advertise your property’s best features and obtain high-quality tenants. Advertising your property on home browsing websites is a good place to start, and be sure to post it to your social media pages, too, where people can share it with their friends and family. You never know who your sphere of influence might know, so be sure to inform them you have a rental property for sale and see who they can connect you with.

How can we help? We can photograph your property and place lockboxes and yard signs to promote the property. Advertising for your property typically begins 30 days before the home is vacant.  

Consider Tenant Needs

Sometimes, your tenants might have needs that your rental property might not offer, but could work out well for you and bring a whole new pool of tenants if they were included. For example, many people might have pets and would automatically be unable to live in your rental property if it’s not pet-friendly. Considering tenant needs shows you care about them and listen to their concerns.

How can we help? We can provide you with professional vendor referrals if there are repairs or updates you would like to have made to better serve potential tenants. 

Being a landlord and learning about vacancy rates can be a hefty task. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, reach out to us at TALK Property Management, and let us handle it for you! We provide a variety of property management services that will save you time, work, and stress!

How To Become A Successful Landlord: Mastering The Basics

Being a landlord can be hard work, but it’s also rewarding when done correctly. And, as long as you have the skill and time to complete all of the tasks associated with managing your rental property, you can be successful as a landlord and save a little money in the process.

At TALK Management, we have mastered the many responsibilities of property management, and we handle all of the duties of our landlord clients so they can focus on what they do best (not having to be a landlord). If you get started as a landlord and realize it’s too much, we’re here for you, and we would love to earn your business. 

Now, let’s dive into some of the key factors of becoming a successful landlord. 

Set Up Your Business

Prior to purchasing your first property or signing your first lease, make sure your business is fully prepared on the backend. You want to set up things like asset protection, insurance, and your bank account to ensure your investment is protected and everything is set up as much as possible. 

Consider keeping a folder of your important documents for each property to keep everything organized and ensure you have everything you need to prepare for tenants.

Make The Commitment

Landlording is no small feat. It takes a lot of time, energy, and responsibility to be done correctly. Before you decide to become a landlord, make sure you have thought about what this will mean for you. When purchasing properties and selecting tenants, take the time to make sure your decisions are the right ones. Nothing should be done on a whim; you need to take the appropriate amount of time to make decisions that will make you money and help your business in the long run. 

Understand Your Tenants

Not only is it important to properly screen your tenants to make sure they’re the right fit, but you should also take time to connect with them and understand their wants and needs. Establish trust with them by always being transparent and having an open line of communication so they feel they can come to you with questions and concerns. It’s also important to understand what they expect from you and what you expect from them, including following the lease agreement terms and paying their rent on time. 

Handle Issues Appropriately

Regardless of how excellent your tenants are, there will be times when issues will arise. As much as we don’t want to deal with problems, it’s part of the business. When issues arise, it’s important to have the appropriate systems in place to ensure they’re handled efficiently and correctly. Taking issues personally doesn’t help anyone, so try to keep your emotions out of it and navigate problems appropriately. 

Reach Out To The Professionals

If you get overwhelmed by everything you need to do to be a successful landlord, contact the professionals at TALK Property Management. Here are a few of the value-added services we provide that can save you work, stress, and, often, money:

  • Rigorous tenant screening process to select quality tenants
  • Attend court proceedings on your behalf
  • Handle HOA correspondence and violations
  • 24/7 maintenance for tenants for emergencies
  • Utilize licensed professional vendors and handymen for maintenance issues

Being a landlord can be a gratifying job when done correctly. If you have any questions about becoming a landlord or need someone to handle property management services on your behalf, reach out to us! We would love to offer our expertise and services!

The Benefits of Staging Your Investment Property

While most investors might think staging their investment property isn’t worth the money, the benefits of staging can outweigh the cost. Deciding whether or not to stage your investment property is entirely up to you and your situation, but there are many pros to staging that could work in your favor in the competitive Austin real estate market.

Let’s dive into a few of the top pros to staging your investment property. 

Pro #1: Helps The Property Stand Out

Many investors aren’t utilizing staging for their investment properties, so staging yours will help you stand out among the competition. Potential tenants are more likely to look at your listing with staged photos over listings that aren’t staged because they’re more attractive and inviting, which helps them picture themselves living there. 

Pro #2: Increases The Value

Staged properties offer a more move-in-ready vibe that many potential tenants are more willing to pay for. In addition, they tend to have higher rental rates, meaning you can potentially charge tenants more money to live there. This means you could be marketing to tenants with higher incomes and higher quality tenants. 

Pro #3: Less Turnover & Vacancy Rates

Investment properties that are staged tend to attract more involved tenants who are looking for long-term rentals. Attracting this type of tenant can reduce your turnover and vacancy rates, meaning less stress on you and more money in your pocket over time. 

Pro #4: Shows You Care

Starting on a good note with tenants is huge. Taking the time to stage your investment property shows you’re willing to put in the effort to show the home in its best light. This sets you up to be viewed positively by potential tenants and shows you care about your tenants, their comfort, and the property.

If you have any questions or need ideas on how to stage your investment property, reach out to us! We would love to offer our expertise! 

Investment Tips For Beginner Real Estate Investors

Investing in real estate is a great way to create a passive income and generate generational wealth. It’s a low-risk investment that can be very exciting for new investors. However, if you’ve never invested in real estate before, it can be challenging to navigate, so it’s important to be as knowledgeable as possible before diving in. 

Let’s dive into a few tips to help you through your real estate investing journey.

Team Up With Professionals

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to do things alone. Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do it all. Sit down, meet with a few real estate agents, and pick the best for you and your goals. They will be able to help you find properties and negotiate better than you can on your own. Once you find the property, make sure you have trusted contractors lined up to make any repairs or updates. 

Establish A Clear Budget & Criteria

Looking at properties can be exciting, and it can be easy to jump into something too quickly. Once you establish your budget and the features you want in a property, stick to them! Don’t purchase a property over your budget or outside your criteria; it will only hurt you later. 

Diversify Your Portfolio

It can be easy to stick with one form of real estate investing, even though there are lots of options to choose from. Flipping a few properties in a row is nice to get your feet wet, but venture out into other possibilities like rental properties, commercial properties, and more. In addition, invest in different geographical areas to reduce your portfolio risks and make sure you don’t get too comfortable in one area.

Build Your Network

In real estate, you will meet many real estate agents, real estate attorneys, lenders, and more. Take advantage of any interaction you have because you never know what opportunities could come from them. Whether you need real estate advice down the road or they know someone selling a property you might be interested in, it’s beneficial to make connections. 

 If you have any questions about investment tips as a beginner real estate investor, reach out to us! We are always here to help.

Benefits of Buying An Investment Property Before Your First Home

Purchasing your first home is an exhilarating moment and a huge life milestone, but with all the excitement comes the financial side. Homes are expensive and require monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, unexpected repairs, home updates, and more. 

Many people consider purchasing an investment property before buying their first home to help with their financial commitment. Let’s dive into a few benefits below.

Cash Flow

The biggest benefit to buying an investment property before your first home is the monthly cash flow they provide. Purchasing an investment property and finding tenants to rent it out can provide a steady stream of income that can help you save up for future investments, like your first home. 

Build Equity

Another huge benefit is building equity. Investment properties allow you to get your foot in the door and build equity until you can afford to purchase a home in the neighborhood you want. As a property owner, you can eventually leverage enough cash for the home you want and have more opportunities for mortgage loans. 

Tax Benefits

Owning a rental property also comes with many tax benefits. One of the biggest tax deductibles for property owners is interest, including on your mortgage loan or if you use a credit card. 

Other tax benefits include:

  • Operating expenses
  • Cost of repair
  • Use of personal property
  • Travel expenses
  • Legal services

Increase Your Wealth

While real estate investments can require a lot of dedication and patience to be successful, they can increase your overall wealth. Real estate investments appreciate over time, which is excellent for your future wealth when you sell the home.

If you have any questions about purchasing an investment property before your first home, reach out to us! We are always here to help.

Benefits Of Using A Property Management Company

While owning an investment property can be a great source of income, it can come with some stressors. If you decide to handle all of the landlord responsibilities on your own, that means dealing with tenant screening, rent collection, marketing, requests, and more, which takes away time from finding your next investment or working with other clients.

Property management companies provide many benefits that will help save you time and stress. Let’s dive into why hiring a property management company is the right thing to do.

Tenants

Tenant screening can be very time-consuming and complex, which is one of the biggest reasons investors hire property management companies. Property managers do screening all the time, so they know exactly what to look for when scoping out high-quality tenants. They look for long-term tenants who will pay their rent on time and cause limited issues. If any problems arise, property managers will be the point of contact for tenants and address issues accordingly. 

Rent Collection

One of the most uncomfortable landlord responsibilities is chasing after rent if it isn’t paid on time. Property managers handle that for you by collecting rent, enforcing lease policies, and handling evictions if necessary. If tenants are consistently not paying their rent promptly or are failing to pay it at all, property managers will know how to handle it appropriately. 

Marketing

Property management companies handle all the marketing to get your property in front of the most people. They will take high-quality photos of the property, write up rental ads, and list your property on the most prominent websites where tenants are looking. Some property management companies, including Talk Property Management, will run a comparative market analysis on the property and recommend a starting rent amount based on current market trends to make sure you’re in line with the competition.

Shorter Vacancy

Property managers know how to keep tenants happy, leading to more long-term tenants and shorter vacancy periods. If property managers take care of issues and repairs in a timely manner and are quick to respond, tenants are more willing to stay in their lease when reasonable rent increases arise. Ultimately, tenants don’t want to deal with the stress of moving, so if they are well taken care of, and their needs are met, they’re more than likely to stay.

Property management companies can be a big help if you’re starting out or handling multiple investment properties at once. If you have any questions or need recommendations, reach out to us or read more about our property management services! We are always here to help.

Top Features Tenants Look For In A Rental Property

Whether you’re purchasing your first rental property or your 10th, you want to ensure the property attracts tenants. In addition to location and accessibility to highways and amenities, certain interior features will help steer tenants toward your Greater Austin area rental property.

Let’s dive into a few of the top features tenants look for in a rental property.

Open Floor Plan

One of the top features homeowners look for when purchasing a home is an open floor plan, and tenants are no different. Tenants want to be able to have a place to entertain, and it allows them to be more flexible with their furniture and decor. Many people are still working from home, so having an open space to add an office area is helpful.

Upgrades

When you hear upgrades, you probably think of dollar signs, right? If you have the funds to update everything, the more, the merrier! However, a few upgrades can go a long way. Cosmetic updates like new flooring and fresh paint are huge for tenants. If you want to take it a step further, tenants also look for bathroom and kitchen updates. If you have an older property, consider updating mechanical items like plumbing, HVAC systems, and wiring to save yourself some time and money down the road. 

Included & Updated Appliances

Having appliances included in your rental property means less money your tenants will have to spend on them if they don’t already have them. Tenants will be impressed to see appliances included, especially if they are nicely updated. If you already have appliances and they are dated, consider updating them. In addition, having an on-site washer and dryer is becoming more common among rental properties. Being able to do your laundry at home instead of going to the local laundromat will save your tenants time and money.

Storage Space

Tenants always appreciate having extra space to store their items. Nothing is worse than putting things in the corner of your living room or bedroom. Not only does it look messy, but it takes up space that could be used for entertaining or additional decor or furniture. Make sure your rental property has a basement, attic, or lots of closets for storage.

Make sure to keep these features in mind when you purchase your next Greater Austin area rental property. It will go a long way for tenants! If you have any questions or need recommendations, reach out to us! We are always here to help.

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!

Common Mistakes For First-Time Home Flippers

Flipping a home is one of the most common ways to get started in real estate investing, but if it’s not done correctly, it could cause more time and money than it’s worth. You wrote a strong offer, the sellers have accepted the offer, and now you have to decide what to do next while avoiding major mistakes or setbacks.

Let’s look at three of the most common mistakes for first-time home flippers.

Not Doing Proper Research/Developing A Plan

Many assume flipping a home is easy; the most challenging part is finding the home, right? Wrong. You need to do a lot of research upfront to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Take some time to develop a plan so you know exactly what projects you want to complete and the estimated timelines for each one. Remember, there will be some setbacks, but having a plan from the beginning will help with your overall expectations. 

Underestimating The Amount Of Time It Will Take

Flipping a home can be very time-consuming, and it’s not something you can do as a part-time job. Finding a home can take months, and renovating the property can take longer, depending on potential delays. After that, you must complete inspections before selling it to ensure everything is up to code. Once it’s on the market, it could take months to sell again. Don’t think this will happen overnight; it takes a lot of time if done correctly.

Not Having Enough Money

There’s more to flipping a home than just having money for the home and the renovations; you will need to make mortgage payments, pay property taxes, and often pay homeowner’s association fees, depending on the location. Keep in mind, you will also need to pay for utilities and any additional maintenance that’s needed while you’re renovating the property. Not to mention, if you have delays or setbacks, that could mean additional money out of your pocket to fix the mistakes. Make sure you have enough money saved up before getting started, or you could have major issues down the road.

Rental properties can be great investments to add to your portfolio if done correctly. If you have any questions or need recommendations on how to get started, reach out to us! We are always here to help.

Rental Property Red Flags

Investing in real estate properties is a great way to make money and build your portfolio, but it can also end badly if you don’t see the red flags. The last thing you want to do is overlook potential issues, purchase the property, and find out down the road that there are bigger issues than you originally thought. 

Before purchasing a property, do your due diligence and avoid these four red flags.

Bad Location/School District

Homes located in less-than-ideal locations with high crime rates tend to be avoided by potential renters. They don’t want to be concerned for their safety or worry about their property being destroyed. When renters are looking for properties, they usually look within the school district where their children go for the ease of getting them on the bus or to school in the morning. If they can’t find anything in their school district, they will look in highly-acclaimed school districts, which could mean they would miss your property altogether. 

No Interior Pictures Online

When looking for properties to purchase online, keep an eye out for properties with beautiful exterior pictures and no interior pictures. This is a huge red flag because it makes it seem like they’re hiding something. Even if you know the property has a great floor plan and awesome amenities nearby, it suggests the inside of the home isn’t in good condition or wasn’t well taken care of.

Dysfunctional Layouts

Renters want their property to feel like a home, and having to walk through a maze to get around is a huge red flag. When looking at properties, renters like to see open floor plans and layouts that make sense. If you can only get to your bedroom by walking through the kitchen, or the only bathroom is on the main level when the bedrooms are upstairs, it’s not a good choice.

Questionable History

If you look up the property and see multiple owners have owned it over the past few years, this could imply it’s difficult to keep occupied or has underlying issues. In addition, if the disclosure sheet doesn’t provide much information on the property or the repairs that were made, it could mean more repairs for you in the future. 

At the end of the day, make sure to do your research before purchasing your rental property. It will save you time and money in the long run! If you have any questions or need recommendations, reach out to us! We are always here to help.