Summer 2021’s Hottest Decor Trends for Austin Homes

Summer is here, and it’s time for your home to reflect the temperature change! These decor trends are timeless and regret-proof, as they’ll go with anything already in your home. 

1. Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are the quickest and cheapest way to upgrade your seating area. Enhance a neutral couch or chair with a bright color or bold design. You can layer complementary hues and textured fabrics to add depth. The beauty of pillows is all the fun shapes and colors they come in! 

2. Duvet Covers and Sheets

New bedding will transform a bedroom, plus it’s a fun way to keep you and your bedding clean. Options include a botanical print, graphic designs for a contemporary look, or patterned sheets and sham for a more subtle approach. 

3. Bath Mats and Towels

Another easy and hygienic change is a new towel and mat set. Earth-inspired hues and unique textures like terra-cotta or clay-colored bath towels will give you a spa-like feel in your own bathroom. For maximum comfort, make sure they’re absorbent and soft on the skin! 

4. Bowls and Vases

These small decor items will enhance a room when they’re strategically placed. It’s essential to find the balance between clutter and decor when choosing bowls and vases. That’s why stylish and functional pieces are recommended. Examples could be a painted bowl or plate, an antique mirror, a sculptural vase for flowers, etc.. Sculptural vases and planters are the trends this summer. 

5. Rugs

A new rug will add comfort, protection, and style to any area and flooring type. Area rugs are great for families with children because it helps soften the room, while also offering a chance to add in a new color, pattern, or trend into the room. The summer trend is neutral color palettes with an over-the-top texture like a plush pattern. 

6. Accent Lighting

Lighting can easily be changed, even on light fixtures you own. Options are buying a new light fixture to follow the trend or adding a new shade to your existing fixture. It can be as inexpensive and creative as you’d like. 

If you need help decorating your property for renters this summer, contact us today! As part of our services, we make your property ready; whether that’s decorating or remodeling, we do it all! We are here to help: (512) 721-1094 or

10 Popular Decorating Styles for Austin Investors

If you need help decorating or furnishing your property for future tenants, try one of these popular decorating styles!




Transitional can be defined as an elegant combination of traditional and contemporary looks. Because of its simple style, it can appeal to people with different design styles. This style featured sophisticated furniture, serene hues, updated classics, and materials like marble and quartz. It works well with coastal or farmhouse styles too.




Tradition is a blend of history, heirloom antique, rich woods, plush carpets. A traditionally designed room should feel warm and welcoming. A traditional design style will have antiques, a refined color palette, intricate architectural details, and materials like marble and wood. This style works best with these styles: rustic, coastal, or Mediterranean. 




This style is whatever is current and new. This style is the complete opposite of traditional style because it embraces negative spaces, strong shapes, and clean lines. Contemporary style is defined by current trends and designs, open space, and minimalism. This style works best with rustic or coastal styles too. 




A modern design style focuses on form and structure like smooth surfaces, glass, chrome, and black leather accents. This style has an emphasis on ample negative space, a clean color palette, and minimalism. This one works best with industrial, midcentury, and farmhouse styles. 




This style emphasizes strong shapes and clean lines and combines the past with the present. Decorate with a midcentury style by having clean, uncluttered spaces, natural wood, graphic patterns, and organic shapes. Modern and industrial styles work best with this one. 




Farmhouse combines rural architecture with modern comforts by utilizing hardworking furnishings and natural materials. This style features wall paneling, sliding barn doors, natural and historic colors, and simple, functional furniture. It works best with modern, rustic, industrial, and transitional styles too. 



Rustic is inspired by Mother Nature’s woods, plains, rivers, and lakes. Popular features of this style are exposed wood beams, brick and stone, natural hues, and rugged furnishing. This style works well when combined with farmhouse, traditional, contemporary, or industrial styles. 




Industrial is usually seen in urban lofts and converted industrial spaces but can be used in a home when you use industrial finishes and decor. Typically defined as gritty, industrial is also characterized by salvaged and found elements for decor, wide-open space, exposed raw materials, and a neutral color palette. It combines well with modern, rustic, farmhouse, and midcentury styles. 




Just the word itself makes people think of sandy beaches and vivid oceans, and the goal is to recreate those cool and breezy or rich and warm locations in a property. Key elements of this style are a rich, earthy color palette, natural materials like wood, brick, and stone, and colorful tile. It works well with traditional and coastal styles. 




Don’t get Mediterranean confused with coastal! Coastal style is inspired by the beach and utilizes natural light, natural materials, and a casual tone. You don’t have to live by a beach to make coastal work for your property. If you decorate with coastal colors, whitewashed surfaces, bare wood floors, natural materials like linen, cotton, and wicker, you’ll get the theme across. Coastal style works well with traditional, transitional, contemporary, and Mediterranean. 


If you need help with your rental property, contact me today! Reach out to TALK Property Management– We are here to help: (512) 721-1094 or

Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Foreclosed Home

Foreclosures are often the investors’ go-to’s when they’re seeking a bargain-priced home or wanting to flip a house. And while they’re a solid option, foreclosed homes are very different from traditional resale homes. Let’s take a look at some of the important factors to consider when buying a foreclosed home.

The Dangers of Foreclosed Homes

While foreclosed homes can save you money, they come with baggage. Most foreclosures were not cared for properly and will require some work before becoming livable or sellable. This is common with vacant and abandoned homes, which makes up almost all foreclosed homes since the pandemic began. 

Foreclosures are sold “as-is,” meaning that the owner of the property will not perform any repairs on the property. Another challenge could be the legality tied up into the property. Sometimes foreclosure properties have liens or judgments filed against them. This is a claim for the home due to unpaid taxes, repair bills, and more. When that’s the case, you’ll need to pay these off before buying the house. 

How To Get A Good Deal

If you find a foreclosure property that catches your eye, here’s what you need to do next.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Unless you have an all-cash offer for the seller, getting pre-approved is a crucial first step. All cash offers are appealing because they usually mean a quick close. 

A loan pre-approval letter shows the seller you’re qualified, prepared, and are a safe bet to follow through on the deal. As your real estate agent, I have a list of reputable lenders, and I’m happy to share that information with you.

2. Research

You’ll need to research the home and the area. You can investigate the house through property records found at the county clerk’s office, and you may be able to avoid paying for liens placed against the property. You’ll also want to look for any improvements to the home, its ownership and sales history, and its assessed value with the county.

3. Get a Home Inspection

A home inspection will help you better understand the property and its flaws. As your real estate agent, I can also help with evaluating the property. 

Once you have more information about the property, work backward to come up with an offer price. The rule of thumb for home flippers is purchase and repair costs should not exceed 70% of the home’s expected after-repair value. 


This is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more important factors to consider when purchasing a foreclosed home. Contact us today, and we’ll happily guide you through the process: (512) 721-1094 or


10 Tips for Finding A Reliable Home Contractor

A contractor is a crucial member of your investment team, so you have to make sure they’re the best and most qualified for the job. You need someone capable of keeping projects on budget and schedule. A good and reliable contractor will make your investments successful, and when a property is successful, you’ll see more money.

So here are ten tips to help you find a reliable contractor. 

1. Use a reliable source.

Ask real estate agents (hey, that’s me!) and other investors about their experiences with their contractor. This is the first source you should go to. Since they have had one on one experiences with the contractor, they’ll be able to go into specific details about the contractor and the job. Employees at hardware stores could be a source of knowledge as well. 

If you don’t have those networking connections, Angie’s List and Checkbook are reliable online services. Always check the Better Business Bureau website to ensure they’re legit and to see their score. It will show their customer reviews, customer complaints, BBB rating, and BBB accreditation. It will show you how long they’ve been accredited and an overview of the BBB rating. 

Online reviews are not replacing checking for references. Suppose there are many negative reviews over a long period. In that case, that should be a red flag but not one singular negative review.

2. Interview several contractors

Once you think you found a good match, interview them! You should interview at least five and ask lots of questions. You need someone with a specific skillset for investments. If a contractor only specializes in the kitchen or bathroom, then don’t ask them for a quote about anything outside their expertise. It’s a lot of work, so you need someone familiar with the investing process. From this interview, you’ll also be able to see the contractor’s approach, budget, timeline, and relationship with other contractors in the area.

3. Ask for references

To narrow down the choices after an interview, ask for references from previous clients. You’ll want to ask questions about how the contractor handled changes, the budget and timeline, and how they treated the job site. These are crucial answers you need before giving them your business. 

4. Ask for a formal bid or estimate.

ALWAYS review an estimate of the project’s cost before signing an agreement with a contractor. If you’re still choosing between a few, a bid could be a way to narrow it down. If you’re comparing offers, make sure each one includes the same materials and tasks, so it’s a fair comparison. In addition to the budget and timeline, talk with them about materials and possible subcontractors who might be brought on.

Acknowledge that plans change and repairs could be needed on the go, so be realistic with the bid as well. You could ask for a price with two or three scenarios and play around with what needs to be added and doesn’t. Be a smart investor and expect to spend 15% more than estimated to cover unexpected costs. 

If the price doesn’t work in your budget, you need to focus on the service they provide and then find a fair priced contractor in that subset. Cheap does not always mean a good contractor and vice versa. 

5. Verify their license.

Check that your contractor is legit and has the proper license from our local and state governments. Ask to see their license to make sure it is up to date or request a copy. 

6. Do a background check.

Again, check the BBB website for complaints and violations. Suppose your contractor doesn’t disclose legal issues before signing. In that case, you’re within your rights to ask or do the research yourself in our local court records and the Texas disciplinary board. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

7. Search for subcontractors.

Research what companies or service providers like electricians, plumbers, or carpenters your home contractor uses. Learn about this before to know more about the other vendors who will complete the project and the team.

8. Ask about insurance and permits BEFORE.

Nearly all renovating projects require a permit. So, a contractor will need to secure the proper permits, licensing, and insurance before taking a tool to anything. Find out which permits Austin, and the state of Texas require and check with your contractor. If you work without a permit, you’re violating local ordinances, and you are liable for the consequences if caught. Consequences range from fines to not having the work be inspected by the city once completed, which will cause problems when you want to sell. 

While acquiring a permit can slow down your project and be a pain, the correct permit will have your contractor following the law. A permit also confirms that a city official will inspect it to ensure it is up to code once the project is completed. It’s pretty standard for a project to start months after an agreement, too since contractors have consistent work and need to finish their current projects. 

For insurance, you’ll need to know what is covered by your homeowner’s insurance and what is covered by the contractor’s insurance. I recommend getting a copy of the contractor’s insurance policy. 

9. Draw up a contract.

Now that you have chosen a contractor, create a contract that covers the project’s details like budget, timeline, detailed list of building materials, and all subcontractors’ duties. The contract should also include ground rules like the hours for the contractor to work on the property, what kind of notice you’ll get, what bathroom workers will use, where they’ll park, and what will be cleaned up at the end of the workday. 

If something comes up during the project, ask to sign an addendum and see a new project estimate that includes new work, materials, and cost. 

10. Be smart with payment.

Naturally, contractors ask for an upfront payment that will go to their total fee before beginning work. The most common advice is not to pay more than 10% of the price for an extensive renovation project. But smaller upgrades with custom work could require a 30 to 50% upfront payment. 

Only pay the rest of the fee once the project is completed. The price should be clearly outlined in your contract. The schedule should be updated each time a problem arises or a new repair is needed.

These are my tips to help you build your investing team. But it’s essential to be realistic as well, so you’re not a “nightmare” customer for them. After all, it’s just one person or team, and they can only do so much. If you follow my tips, you should find one superhuman to help you real your investing goals! If you need a real estate agent on your investing team, I’m here to help (512) 721-1094 or 

Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash

Profits Rising for Home Flippers

While fewer property investors are flipping homes, those still active in the real estate market are earning higher profits. According to ATTOM Data Solutions 2020 U.S. Home Flipping Report, investment returns for house flippers climbed to the highest level since late 2018.

Profits Rising for Home Flippers TALK Property Management Dona Brown

The typical home flip gross profit (defined as the difference between the median sales price and the median sales price paid by investors) rose to $67,902 in 2020’s second quarter, up from $61,900 at the same time in 2019. This resulted in higher profits for property investors. The typical gross flipping profit ($67,902) equaled a 41.3% return on investment (ROI), marking the first year-over-year gain since the fourth quarter of 2017.

While profits are on the rise, real estate investors engaging in home flipping has dropped since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Fewer house hunters were looking for homes, which likely cut into investors’ likely buyer pool. 

However, investors who were able to bring deals to the closing table did far better than they had since 2018, likely due to historically-low interest rates that proved attractive to buyers who remained employed during the pandemic and who were willing to purchase homes despite social distancing requirements and the overall economic environment. 

Homes flipped in 2020’s second quarter were sold for a median price of $232,402, while approximately 6.7% of all home sales were flips during the same period, down from 7.5% from the first quarter.

Whether you buy and hold properties or if you prefer to flip, if you have questions about the local real estate market and how it impacts investors, reach out to me anytime. I’m always here to help: (512) 721-1094 or
Graph courtesy of ATTOM Data Solutions.

Single-Family Residences, Built For Rent Homes, Meet Austin’s Home Seeker Needs

Trends that began last year have recently resurfaced. Buyers’ and renters’ priorities are shifting as the economy continues its journey through the tumultuous year, uncovering unique opportunities. Austin’s single-family-built-for-rent market will most likely expand as we move further into 2020. What are SFBFRs? They are the comeback trend from 2019 that could help housing affordability and challenges to homeownership due to COVID-19 effects. With demand for single-family homes outpacing supply and even as individuals and families prefer the stand-alone home, not everyone can or wants to buy right now.

With unemployment rates increasing, down payment challenges are also on the rise. Meanwhile, low inventory continues to push home prices upward, and many home seekers are widening their search to include rentals. Renting affords the opportunity to live in specific geographic areas or communities with little commitment and less out-of-pocket cash. However, especially while health concerns have many people avoiding high-density housing, moving into an apartment does not tend to fit the needs of a large portion of the rental market. Professional millennials, those in transition (divorce, downsizing, upsizing), or empty nesters all have something in common: they want the convenience of renting with the privacy and quality of life of a single-family home. 

In the first quarter of 2020, SFBFR activity increased from the previous year across the nation. Its share of build-to-rent homes is taking a larger chunk of the new-home market and many in Austin are seeking such an opportunity, in the form of both renters and builders. Projects such as Urbana, part of Goodnight Ranch in Southeast Austin, are building new homes with high-end finishes and private yards specifically to go directly on the rental market. These upgraded units for lease are a step above apartments, don’t require a long-term mortgage commitment, but still provide the amenities people want and need, such as washers and dryers, spacious floor plans, and someone else to manage the repairs. It’s a win-win. 

Successfully investing in Austin real estate requires paying attention to the market and the demands of home seekers. As we head deeper into 2020 and monetary priorities shift for Austin buyers and renters, it’s critical for those looking to purchase rental property to adjust to them. If you need guidance on the current real estate trends or have questions about managing properties, contact Dona Brown. Her years of experience can save you time and money when investing in Austin. 512-721-1094.