New Business In Round Rock

The picturesque city located near Austin is easily considered one of the most exciting and livable cities in Texas. Known for its expansive outdoors, enthralling recreation, and booming business landscape, Round Rock has a lot in store. Highly-anticipated new businesses are on the horizon for the city. Here’s what’s new this month in the world of business.

Central Texas Pediatric Orthopedics

Austin’s only pediatric orthopedic group, this organization is welcoming a new location to the Round Rock area. After operating multiple locations throughout Austin, Cedar Park, Westlake, and Four Points for over thirty years, Central Texas Pediatric Orthopedics can now be found at 2051 Gattis School Road, Ste. 645, Round Rock, in early September. Learn more here.

The Learning Experience

Round Rock residents will be excited to hear news of a new location at 1101 Louis Henna Blvd opening its doors in September. This engaging child care center offers various Academic Programs for children anywhere from six weeks to five years old. This center is designed around their educational program, L.E.A.P (Learning Experience Academic Program), which encourages children to learn through exploring and doing. Learn more here.

Mojo Coffee

Energize your morning with some of the finest coffee around. This Texas-based coffee chain is located throughout Austin, Lampasas, Liberty Hill, Marble Falls, and Burnet. It is now expected to open a new location this August at 3100 RM 1431, Round Rock. Despite construction-caused delays, the ongoing development continues to progress at the retail center. Learn more here.


Tea-lovers can also enjoy their favorite drink this month at this Taiwan-based tea shop. Sharetea has a rich history and incredible story dating back to 1992, when it was first established by film director Mr. Cheng Kai-Lung. Serving over eighteen different countries, Sharetea has now turned its eyes to our stunning city, with a new location at 3107 S. 1-35, Ste. 770, Round Rock. Learn more here.

If you’re curious about what else makes the Round Rock area such a wonderful place to live, feel free to reach out. We can help you find a dream home near all your favorite spots.

When Can You Back Out of a Real Estate Contract?

Before buying a home or investment property this fall, here is what you need to know about your real estate contract and how to get out of it if necessary. Each real estate contract is unique and may apply to certain circumstances, so always ask your REALTOR® beforehand. 

During Due Diligence

The due diligence phase in the home buying process is the negotiation period when the buyer can review the house and ensure everything is good before deciding to move forward. We’re in a seller’s market now, so buyers are competing against each other. As a way to close quickly and appeal to sellers, some buyers are skipping this phase and the inspections tied with it. But this is the easiest time to back out of a real estate contract. 


After the due diligence phase, the only way to get all your money back is if a contingency is not met. A contingency is a condition that must be met before the closing date. They’re called contingencies because the closing is contingent on these specific requirements. 

Contingencies are a form of protection as they will protect you if something is found during the home inspection, title process, or if the appraisal goes too high. Again, since we’re in a seller’s market, there might not be time to include these contingencies. 

Another common contingency is a financing clause. The clause will indicate that the buyer will use all good faith to obtain a loan, but if they are not able to qualify for a mortgage, then they can get out of the deal with no consequence. This is why getting pre-approved is so important in today’s market! Sellers fear this financing contingency, which is why they prefer cash offers, even if it’s lower than their original price. 

Earnest Money

If everything goes right and you’re on track to buy the property, you can still back out of the real estate contract, but it will cost you money when it’s this late in the game. Part of what’s included in a real estate contract is how much each side would be compensated if the other party backed out. This is called earnest money. It’s usually 1% to 3% of the agreed-upon sale price but can be as high as 10%, depending on the real estate market. 

Homebuyers will put this earnest money into an escrow account at the contract signing. This deposit will apply to the down payment or closing costs once the sale goes through. If the deal doesn’t go through, though, the seller keeps the earnest deposit as compensation. 

Today’s Market

There might not be time for these contingencies in today’s hot real estate market, which is why you have to be careful. Many buyers are waiving contingencies as a strategy to close on a house faster. With this route, it’s common for buyers to make up the difference if there’s a difference between the offer price and home appraisal. 

As your real estate agent, I’ll help you navigate through this hot market. Contact me! Reach out to TALK Property Management– We are here to help: (512) 721-1094 or

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.

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.

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.

Proposed Plan to Widen Highway 79 in Round Rock

TxDOT officials recently invited public comment on an extensive plan to widen Highway 79 in Round Rock. Estimated to be complete by 2024, the project is designed to relieve congestion and will ultimately add several lanes of traffic to widen this crucial roadway. The plan includes new options for half-clover traffic patterns and innovative bridge infrastructure.

Proposed Highway 79 Widening Project in Round Rock

Ultimately, a third travel lane will be added to Highway 79 in each direction. Some parts of the road will have a total of eight lanes of traffic, excluding turn lanes. The project will stretch from Sam Bass Road in west Round Rock to beyond A.W. Grimes Boulevard in east Round Rock.

A new half-clover traffic pattern is proposed for the Mays Street intersection. Meanwhile, innovative four-lane bridges that would direct traffic over the intersections are slated for the A.W. Grimes and Mays Street intersections. Additional congestion improvements are also planned for the Sunrise Road and Georgetown Street intersections.

Although a total cost figure has not been provided, federal funds are expected to pay for part of the project, according to TxDOT.

At this time, environmental studies are in process and are expected to last through 2019. If the environmental clearance is given, TxDOT will begin right-of-way acquisitions in 2019, and the total build-out timeframe is estimated at two years.

Image courtesy Community Impact.

A Guide to Disputing Your Property Taxes

As a property owner, residential and investment alike, taxes are inevitable. On top of that, as Austin area home prices continue rising, it only seems likely that Central Texas homeowners will also see an increase in their property taxes. But, that doesn’t mean the value of your home determined for tax purposes is correct or you should be subject to pay exactly what the appraisal district says you owe. Lucky for you, there is a way to remedy potential mistakes: disputing your property taxes. Here’s a brief overview of the property tax dispute process:

Appraisal > Appraisal District Sends Notice of Home Value > File a “Notice of Protest” Form with Your County Tax Assessor’s Office > Informal Meeting > Hearing (if necessary) > Arbitration

home property tax concept illustration design

Now, let’s dive in deeper…

January 1st – The Appraisal
An appraiser determines the value of your home by looking at its condition and current market value – on this particular date.

Late April/Early May – The Appraisal District Sends Notice of Home Value
By late April or early May, the county appraisal district will send you a form telling you the value of your home for tax purposes. When you receive this form, look over it carefully to make sure there are no errors. In the event you find errors or the value appears way too high, you can begin the process to dispute. If you did not receive this notice, contact your respective County Tax Assessor’s office as they may have the incorrect mailing address on file. While this is not likely for your residential property, it may be the case for any investment properties.

May 31 – File a “Notice of Protest” Form with Your County Tax Assessor’s Office
The deadline to file a “Notice of Protest” form with your County Tax Assessor’s office is May 31. If this date falls on a weekend, you have until the next business day (the Monday after the weekend) to file. As this date is around a month after the notices were sent, you need to make the decision to protest in a short amount of time – so don’t waste any time! How do you file? There are several options here. One, use the form on the back of the “Notice of Appraised Value” form that you receive from the appraisal district. Two, file your protest online: HaysTravis or Williamson County. Once on your respective website, click on “Online Protests” and follow the directions. Pay special attention to the section where you check the box stating the reason for your protest. Why? The box you check affects the evidence you can present.

June 1 – Meet with the Appraiser: “The Informal Meeting”
After you’ve filed, the Central Appraisal District will send you a letter with two dates: an informal meeting with a member of the appraisal staff and a formal hearing date with the ARB. During the informal meeting, the staffer will review the numbers with you. Make sure to bring all the documentation you have compiled: information on comparable homes (you can find this information on the appraisal district’s website), perhaps an independent appraisal if you recently refinanced your house, or photos, repair estimates and other records showing damage that may reduce the value of your home. Once you and a staffer have talked things out, the district may offer to reduce your value by a certain amount. If you’re satisfied, you can accept it. If not, you can keep your date with the ARB.

The Formal Hearing
The formal hearing takes around 15 to 30 minutes. During that time, you are placed under oath and given a chance to present any evidence or witnesses supporting your case. The hearing concludes when you state the figure you believe your property is worth. The three-member panel will discuss the case and reach a recommended value. You’ll get a certified letter in the mail with the decision.

Do you have any questions regarding disputing your property taxes? Consider TALK Property Management a resource! We are available to help anytime.

Austin is a Prime Rental Market for Property Owners

Austin has been making headline after headline for the real estate boom that the area has been enjoying over the last year. What has been less widely reported are the increasing rental rates that are benefitting property owners all over the city and the country. If you already own property in Austin, now is a great time to consider renting as a residual income source or as a new investment business. Property is at a premium in Austin because of how hard it is to come by anything that stays on the market for any stretch of time.

According to, Austin rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment have increased from approximately $757/month in July 2009 to $1,203/month as of February 2016. This change in rent reflects the changing landscape of Austin, particularly when it comes to real estate and rental property investment. It’s a good time to be a property owner with a quality or long-term renter in Austin.

The highest rent trend tends to be Downtown and Old West Austin, closely followed by the sought after Zilker and Bouldin neighborhoods. Hyde Park, North Loop and Rosedale come behind to round out the middle range with the University of Texas and Saint Edwards. The rental cost lets up as one moves further north to North Lamar and North Austin in general. The gap in rent spans from approximately $2,149 at the higher range to $873 at the lowest end of the Austin rental market.

These numbers will continue to increase  based on this article from Culturemap Austin. Projections show Austin rental prices jumping another fiver percent this year.  On top of the rent hike, more people are renting over buying homes because of the rising cost of housing in the Austin-metro area. And why wouldn’t all these folks want to move to Austin? With some of the best entertainment, top walkable neighborhoods and a growing job market, Austin is the place to be. Our strong economy is serving Austin well and will continue to attract more and more renters to the area.

With the ban of Type 2 short-term leases, more property owners are finding themselves in need of property management assistance, especially if they are at a distance from Austin. People who didn’t intend to spend a lot of time and energy on their rental properties are now in a tricky situation needing longer-term renters with quality rental history.  With the crazy real estate and rental market predictions for Austin, any property investor whether they have one door or sixty, ought to be making sure to look for a trustworthy and dedicated property management company like TALK Property Management.

TALK Property Management has years of experience in the Austin market and can help property owners navigate every step of the way through the rental process from finding tenants to ensuring their property is taken care of and their renters are following through with their responsibilities. Happy tenants make for long-term tenants. Long-term tenants make for happy property investors and when you’re happy, we’re happy. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you take advantage of the skyrocketing rental investment market in Austin.

Quick Tips to Fix Up a Rental Property Without Breaking the Bank

Putting a little time and effort into your rental property can easily put you above the competition. Everyone tries when they are selling a home to make it look the best it can, which means pouring lots of dollars into renovations and appliances. Investors who are looking to rent a home cannot afford extensive work and don’t have the time to wait for such work to be done. Once a property becomes available for rent, it is a race to fill the space.  We have found some quick fixes to make sure your rental property looks it’s best without cutting into your profits.

Inexpensive Kitchen Upgrades for Rental Property

Don’t be afraid of a little color to start. Extremely bold colors aren’t necessary, but adding a pop of color to cabinets that are outdated or dark can open up a kitchen and change the entire look of the room. Once the paint is taken care of, matching, modern hardware is a must and small investment in the long run. Think storage and get creative. Hang fruit baskets, put up a pot rack and add an island if you have enough space.  Add backsplash, but it is not necessary to do so all the way around the kitchen. Use tiles for accents rather than spending an arm and a leg on covering the entire wall. Invest in the floor and make certain you get something neutral, stylized and (maybe most important) durable. Consider updating plumbing to modern fixtures that can stand up to heavy use.

Curb appeal plays a big part in the appeal of your rental property, learn more here.

Improve Bathroom Appeal on a Budget

Job one: Make sure everything matches. From doorknobs to light fixtures and even down to toilet paper holders, it should all go together. Mismatched fixtures are an immediate sign of age and will turn renters off quickly. Once again, pay special attention to the floor. If water damage has occurred, replace what is there with a water and mold resistant material.  Use color in the floor, make the bathroom fun! Choose a color palette to use in the bathroom décor. Storage is important here too if there isn’t a linen closet. Try to maximize space with corner shelves and towel hangers with multiple racks. Add a frame to a mirror, either modern or ornate, but it should definitely be eye-catching.  Last, but certainly not least, ensure there is ample, natural light.

Beautify Your Rental Property with some Minor Adjustments

Clean rooms from top to bottom, checking for cobwebs and dirt on baseboards. Clean windows and mirrors and do it well! Hire a cleaning crew if you feel the need to do so, it will be worth it. Paint where it’s needed, do not leave peeling paint or half-finished paint anywhere. Clean up the back yard, as well as the front. Deep clean carpets, shine wood floors and dust everything! Make sure fixtures, doorknobs and the like match throughout the home.  A uniform look is the best way to go in any home showing situation.

With minimal spend and a bit of work, the money saved and tenants earned will be worth it! If you would like to discuss more about what TALK Property Management can do for you contact us today!

5 Reasons It’s Time to Drop Your Bad Property Manager

Property management is all about doing the best work possible for property owners.  At least, that’s what we believe at Talk Property Management/Broker.  We know not everyone thinks this way and many agencies fail to live up to the standards set for them by their owners. If you find yourself in this situation, keep calm and hire a new property manager who will take care of you, your tenants and your property.

  • You’re Losing Money. If you are working with a property management company that can’t promote your property, doesn’t make time for you, isn’t keeping an eye on your investment and won’t deal with troublesome tenants, then you are definitely going to hurt in the long run, even if you aren’t currently.  The only way an owner can charge a premium for their property is if the property is being properly promoted and appropriately managed.
  • Good Tenants Will Leave. When there is an issue with difficult tenants and it isn’t dealt with properly, your otherwise happy tenants won’t stick around. One, it’s unfair to those who are considerate of others, keep things clean and make an effort to be good neighbors for someone else to be getting away with bad behavior.  Two, tenants who are behind on rent and stick around aren’t always likely to keep that information to themselves.  If your tenants who pay rent promptly on the due date get wind of this, you can guarantee they will be moving on or possibly adopt their own bad habits.
  • Your Name is Being Tarnished. They might take some of the heat, but ultimately it will come down to you, as the owner. If a situation arises that gets the attention of local government, activists, media or law enforcement it doesn’t matter whether or not you were aware of it, you are on the hook.  This is particularly important for property owners who live out of the city or state in which their property is located.  When you have no opportunity to even drive by and check in, you are at the mercy of your property manager.
  • You Can’t Get a Renter Interested in Your Property. You’ve listed the property, your property manager swears they are promoting it but can’t give you any real proof and you aren’t seeing any real interest, applications or activity that means much of anything.  In this situation, you may be paying for services that are not being provided or something has happened to the property that is keeping people from acting on it.  The reason could be anything from a dirty house, to insect issues, or something more serious like graffiti or massive damage to the interior of which you are unaware.  If you are dealing with this, it may be time to pay your investment property a little visit.
  • You’ve Been Getting Complaints. It takes a lot of aggravation for a tenant to not only track down owner information, but then to contact them directly. If you find you are receiving multiple direct calls or emails from tenants who are getting little to no response from property management, then you know business is not being taken care of and it is time to deal with the issue pronto before you start losing leases.

When you encounter a difficult or absentee property manager the frustration can drive you to believe maybe you would be better off managing the property yourself.  But, remember there was a reason you hired them in the first place.  You can find a partner in that has your interests and success at heart.  Work with one of the best property management companies in Austin, Texas, and get in touch with TALK Property Management today!