Many first time landlords shop by price and then hope they get the service they desire. This is only because they’re unsure about what to expect. Experienced real estate investors may say “Tell me about your experience. How do you handle (insert bad situation here). What would you recommend specifically for my property/situation?” We feel that the best way to ensure overall satisfaction is to ask questions and listen to your particular situation and goals. Next, determine what type of services you may need or desire. Then once we've found a good fit, discuss the details and pricing.
Over the long run, a great manager who applies insight and care may cost you on a few bucks more per month. It’s easy to miss how cheap management could cost you thousands over time in lost rent, vacancy, maintenance problems, turn time and property deterioration due to lack of oversight. We hear consistently how hard it is to get other managers to just return calls and emails.
Experienced investors look below the surface to reduce avoidable expenses and increase tenant retention. If this is your first time to work with a property manager take the time to look at details beyond the contract. Many companies charge fees that you may not ask about up front. Some low cost providers charge to pick up the phone and many up-charge on third party bills.
46% of management companies charge 10% for monthly management services. Why would almost half of the industry charge such a similar rate? There are costs to do the work properly. Finding a low cost provider doesn't permit a budget to offer excellent service. It's basic math. You really do get what you pay for in this instance.
You can always find a cheaper provider but will they be around tomorrow or actually show up and follow the law when needed? That’s the real concern. To stay in business low cost property management companies may skimp on software, staffing, 24/7 live call support for your tenants and maintenance needs, a physical office, the ability to move money electronically and much more. Keep in mind that if a weak manager gets you into a bad situation, attorneys may charge $120/hour or more to get you out.
Lastly, keep a lookout for more than just the monthly fee when comparing prices. There are the initial leasing fees which are divided among the listing agent and renter’s agent. There are monthly management fees as well as service and renewal fees. What you want to see is an increase in the value of your home in years to come. If a company doesn’t help you maintain it properly or treat your tenants with common respect that won’t happen, the tenants will leave and you’ll spend more in vacancy, turnover and end up with deferred maintenance. Keep the fees in mind but look into the details to obtain the best results.
We offer tiered pricing to ensure that customers have a choice of the best service for their property and needs. You can see a full breakdown of the costs and benefits on our PRICING page.
No matter the tier you select we offer an excellent value for the money. Superior service will end up costing less over time than a cut rate competitor due to tenant satisfaction and retention and proper maintenance procedures. There is a direct connection to what you pay monthly and what a property manager can afford to provide in service, care and insight. If saving $10/month is more important for you than having the best company managing your investment, we might not be a good fit. If you understand that $10/month might save you $1000 over a year in controllable losses, call us today to get started.
The largest expenses you will typically encounter are related to a tenant turnover. Poor customer service, slow response times and unprofessional interactions means tenants are less likely to renew. Save a couple bucks by skimping on quality and you’ll pay ten times as much in other areas.
Let’s say you have a home that’s 10,000 sq. ft. with a pool, jacuzzi, massive irrigation system, private gates, customer appliances, multiple hot water heaters, air conditioning units and even a boat dock. Those items do not care for themselves. As the story goes more money, more problems. You need the staff and staff time to care for all of the things that can go wrong.
You’ve got a condo downtown that nothing to manage? The condo may not be but your tenants are probably more affluent than others. If you charge $5,000/month in rent and have a property manager that doesn’t return calls. See how long they stay. They’ve got the money to move and don’t have to stick around for poor service.
The biggest avoidable cost in this game are all three related to tenant turnover. They are vacancy, make ready expenses and leasing fees. Keep your tenants happy and you’ve just eliminated them entirely for one round. Offer poor customer service and you’ve just increased your expenses to the tune of about two months rent.
Skimping on quality will cost you in the long run whether the cut rate property manager shares that information or not. When shopping around be sure to ask about technology fees, annual fees, monthly account maintenance fees and other upcharges charged by other companies.
Our goal is to ensure the property and related processes are properly managed and your expectations are exceeded. We strive to offer a high level of customer service that saves you money over the long run while maintaining your investment for years to come. 60% of tenants that fail to renew their leases do so because of a conflict with their landlord. In order to provide proper staffing, training and support for your tenants we have set pricing floors. If you’re unwilling to do what it takes to achieve peak performance, interested in leasing a home that doesn’t meet legal requirements, want to abuse tenants, prefer to not to fix things when they break or only want someone to collect the rent, we’re happy to refer you to our competition. If you care about your investment, want your property and tenants treated with respect and want your investment properly maintained, we’re ready to serve you.
We’re happy to serve you however our minimums are currently $100/month per single family unit. Further analysis is needed to quote pricing for multi-family properties. We have established these guidelines to ensure that our staff can afford to offer exceptional service daily and when the unexpected arises. If we agree to manage a home for $50/month we would have to lower our services standards, eliminate staffing, services and increase response times. All of this would end up costing you more in the long run and increase your tenant turnover, vacancy time and overall costs. In this endeavor you’ll find that spending a few extra bucks on proper maintenance and excellent management today can easily save you big bucks down the road.
We can solve it. Hourly administrative rates will apply. These require the brokers oversight and time as well as trips to court, compiling papers, court costs, filing fees and at some point it also could include collaboration with one of our preferred attorneys depending on the situation or how bad the tenants want to fight. Each situation is different. The best course is to make sure our company is a good long term fit for your needs as we only do this for clients who need management services. We don’t offer eviction only services.
Rent is due on the 1st and late on the 2nd. It takes the bank up to 7 days to ensure that the funds are there and the check is fully processed. With weekends or holidays that can extend another 2-4 days, and sometimes longer. You will receive the funds no later than the 18th of each month. Our target is the 16th. There are extenuating circumstances that occur from time to time mostly related to tenants paying late. If your payment is due on the 1st you should be fine. If it’s not due on the first please request a change of date from your mortgage company. Keep in mind that rent is paid in front and mortgages in arrears. Thus the rent you receive on Jan. 1st corresponds with your mortgage payment due on Feb. 1st. We highly recommend using our EFT (electronic fund transfer)/ACH feature to speed up the receipt of funds. We include this as a free service for our owners and tenants. We include this as part of our basic service. This feature speeds up the collection of rent as tenants can pay online as well.
You are paying us for peace of mind and an expert in property management to help ensure you reach your goals.
We provide professional management from day one. Once we have a management agreement in place we start working for you. This includes calls from random complaining neighbors about garbage cans to watching over a vacant property to adjusting the pricing as market conditions and traffic dictates.
We act at an authorized fiduciary. We are entrusted by our owners to make the daily decisions necessary to ensure the lowest liability, lowest tenant turnover and greatest return on your investment. If you want to be involved in daily details and every decision we don’t recommend paying for a service that you don’t need. If you want someone to handle the sticky situations, do the troubleshooting, accounting and provide expertise and recommend the best course of action you’ve found the right company.
We offer experienced oversight and relieve you of the burden of trying to figure out how to handle every part of the transaction from determining pricing to leasing, clearing backgrounds, documentation, collecting rents, move out accounting, to notices and more. We’ll ask for your bottom line on rent and respect that. We’ll then ensure we reach for the greatest leasing amount and net return.
We provide a wealth of knowledge, resources, troubleshooting, local vendor connections and a man on the ground when problems arise and/or maintenance is needed.
We are on call everyday to ensure the safety of your tenants and the security of your property. For the equivalent of 11 cents per hour (min. charge) you will have someone on the ground to oversee a very expensive asset should fire, flood or blood happen at your property. During our basic semiannual inspections we’ll keep an eye on your property and the long term maintenance that properties require.
We also offer a few services that you may opt into or out of according to your preference. Those include enhanced maintenance programs, enhanced inspections and even an eviction protection plan which is optional at this time.
Please keep in mind that if you call us for the first time and have severe tenant, maintenance, property or property manager problems which require special trips and time to work through hourly administration charges would apply as required to solve the dilemma.
We are here to innovate and wow our clients. We’re not here to compete and win 50% of the time. Our goals are maximizing your long term return and limiting your liability. This means ensuring your property is leased quickly for the highest rate, the tenant renews, the property is maintained and all applicable laws, codes and best business practices are followed. We are currently the only company in our marketplace to have a contract with a professional photographer starting in 2015. This is just one of the many ways we ensure your property stands out from the pack. Ask about our online services, in house maintenance options, guarantees, metrics from our owners and tenants surveys and much much more.
“Move ins” may occur on the first day of the month or any other. Rent is prorated according to the move in date. For example if rent is $1500 a month we may only receive $750 in certified funds on move in day. These funds will be deposited along with rent for the next month which is due on the 1st. We pay all bills on the 10th of the month or the following business day. Then after leasing fees, make ready expenses, management fees, cleaning costs, rekey costs, etc are paid we disburse the remaining funds, above the property reserve, to the owners. Therefore if you have a tenant who moves in mid month it may be 30 or 60 days before funds reach an owner's hand. Funds can only be disbursed once the rental income exceeds the bills and excess funds are available. Per state law deposits are always held in a trust account which is managed by 1836 Property Management. Owners will not receive deposits funds.
If you select us as your listing agent 4% is to represent you as the owner in the event of a sale to the tenant. The 4% fee includes all that we would normally due as your listing agent plus ensuring that the paperwork is managed and completed from the buyers side. If the property is marketed on the MLS then there would be an agent representing the buyer and more than likely the total will be 6% divided among the inside and outside agent 3%/3%. It’s much more work and liability to complete a transaction without an agent on the other side of the table as we have to hold the hand of the buyer,without “advising” them to ensure all of us end up to the closing table. This only applies if you select us as your sales agent. If you were referred to us we’ll be sending you back to that agent.
We check backgrounds on all of our applicants above 17 years of age. We verify current employment, current and past rental history, ensure their personal information is accurate and depending on the circumstances additional criteria may be necessary. Many clients ask us if we check credit. We receive a 3 bureau report on every applicant to such detail we have to keep the data under lock and key. We also run debt to income ratios to ensure the applicants can afford to pay the rent beyond credit cards, student loans, child support and more. We follow the letter of the law when it comes to discrimination. We also check criminal histories nationwide as well as the terror watch list and sex offender databases. On our website is a powerpoint presentation with more information on this topic.
We do not disclose our owners personal information to our tenants or our tenants information to our owners. There is a long list of reasons why this is the best business practice but for the highlights we do this to avoid discrimination claims, follow federal regulations regarding the safeguarding of sensitive personal information and because we are entrusted with providing this service on your behalf. We have published criteria and our applicants either meet those criteria or do not. We do not share the details of things such as criminal history with anyone as passing or failing is all that we’re focused on. This goes or rental histories, employment verifications and credit scores of tenants. This is extremely sensitive information that is required to be kept under lock and key by federal law. Sharing this sensitive information with anyone not explicitly listed on the tenant's written authorization is not a wise business practice if not illegal. We publish criteria that each applicant must meet. This is a business and applicants will either qualify or not. Unfortunately some people use sad stories to abuse others. We look only at the numbers and data.
First we ensure that everyone is safe and the problem is isolated or stopped. Next we investigate the problem, troubleshoot, evaluate our options, determine the best course of action. Lastly we coordinate with the owners, insurance companies and tenants if necessary, depending on the options and costs anticipated. We handle each issue never forgetting that our fiduciary duty is to the owners and legal requirements to all parties.
We have properties service 3 counties, Travis, Williamson and Hays. Soon we’ll be expanding to other areas. While other companies refuse to renew contracts or “cross the river” we’re happy to provide quality management for every property within our geographic area. The entire Austin area can easily be managed from our central location.
We have rental properties of our own and have been in real estate for a number of years. We got in the management business because we saw how poorly other companies treated their clients and tenants. Our first clients were from the real estate sales side. We just couldn’t turn our friends over to anyone but the best. Thus started our property management company to manage our own properties as well as to serve our friends and clients. As we grew we found there were numerous investors and owners out there that could use our care and consideration. We are here to beat the competition not just compete.
Yes we do. The number varies from time to time but we are investors as well. We have seen the financial success that real estate investing can bring and we practice and believe in what we sell.
We procedures and a timeline that we follow to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and everyone is treated equally. Next we handle delinquent tenants with care. While paperwork and notice of evictions are necessary, you never want to anger someone living in a home that you own. We collaborate with local attorneys to handle the eviction process should we be forced to go to court. Keep in mind the purpose is to keep the property rented and the cash flowing. In the event someone has a hardship we may be able to work out a win-win situation to get the property re-rented within a day or two. We have successfully accomplished this many times. It saves the owner from the cost of vacancy as well as keeping the tenant from leaving angry and possibly damaging the property. In the event we are unable to communicate with a tenant or they refuse or are unable to pay we do written guidelines after which we must act.
*See our Eviction Protection Plan under the documents tab at www.1836PropertyManagement.com. This program covers the filing and administration fees related to an eviction for a low monthly rate.
Carefully and as quickly as possible. If the damage is the tenant's responsibility, and it’s caught early enough, we seek payment and repairs from them. If it’s hidden until after their departure we utilize the security deposit first and may then pursue them through legal means and collections if necessary.
We first document the condition with photos and written documentation. We may also use a 3rd party inspection and documentation company at no cost to you as an owner as well as obtain estimates from vendors. We will then determine what is “normal wear and tear” which is, by state law, the owners responsibility and what is “beyond normal wear and tear” which is the tenant's responsibility. The repairs will happen at the same time to avoid duplicate or additional charges as they overlap. An example might be a room that has tenant damage on one wall but scuffs which are an owner's responsibility on the other. We would have the room painted at one time. We will oversee the repairs and billing to ensure everything is effectively and efficiently coordinated. If additional funds are required from the owner for items such as painting or flooring we will present an estimate to you and request funds for those repair before we will order the work. Time is of the essence as time off the market or vacant is potential revenue lost.
*Note: When funds are due to an owner from a tenant's deposit or tenant related damage, those funds will be held for 30 days to reduce the likelihood the deposit funds are disbursed should the itemization be contested in court.
Normal phone support is available M-F 8am-5pm through our main number. Normal office hours are M-F 9:00am-4:30pm. We frequently respond outside of those hours to ensure proper service, handle emergencies, return emails and deal with time sensitive questions. Feel free to email if you need an answer that will require time to research. We predominantly use email so that we can archive as much communication as possible. Proper documentation allows us to review our performance, work with great accuracy and adjust policies to offer the highest level of service possible over time.
Prevention is paramount. This is the most unseen and underrated part of what any professional does. Making it look easy is what every pro does well. While someone is always available for emergency calls we’ve found that our thorough familiarization process, available videos, 24/7 troubleshooting technicians and policies and procedures prevent many “emergencies”. Most issues can be resolved without after hours technicians, saving you money if properly handled. We provide an extensive orientation process either on site or in the office through custom proprietary videos. We are the only company in our area to offer such resources. Most of our competitors provide no orientation. This extra effort makes all the difference when problems arise.
Should we not be available at anytime, included in our services is a 24 hour call center that receives any maintenance calls tenants may have, documents them, troubleshoots them and can even dispatch if these calls meet certain criteria. They are experts in their field and we feel it’s imperative to have a reliable source 24/7 than tenants can reach in the event of an emergency.
We drive by the properties as we’re out and about at other properties in the vicinity at no charge. Every one of our vendors are also required to report any unusual activity every time they are on site as part of their vendor agreement. Should we find any challenges we send out notices and follow up as required. During the spring and fall we have two focused regularly scheduled inspections. The basic non-reported inspection is the equivalent of one hour at the handyman's current rate. This includes travel, inspection and the coordination with the tenants. We are currently offering an optional 3rd party independent report which includes about 25 pages and 80 photos for $80.00 (Spring 2015). Lastly we offer a higher level optional upgraded inspection with minor maintenance for the equivalent of three hours at the handyman's current rate. This upgraded inspection provide owners both a full report and photos of their property. Pricing is subject to change over time. Current as of February 2015.
Let us know your needs and we’ll do our best to meet them. There are some special requests that we’ve had to charge extra for and some that clients are surprised to find are part of our routine service. For some requests we may recommend different approaches to best serve you.
We currently work with home warranty companies for some of our customers. The best way we've been able to offset the extra labor required to coordinate with these companies and then follow up with problems, tenant dissatisfaction, problems with repairs and billing is to enable this for our clients with management fees plans of the 10% and 12% level.
We do not recommend using these companies. They use the lowest bidder as vendors, who may or may not show up, may not clean up the job site, may smell or act disrespectful to your tenants and many times will not do the job properly. This is the most common cause of tenant dissatisfaction on all surveys. Unhappy tenants do not renew. We have story after story related to these companies and so does the attorney general.
1. Be aware that the repair time may be extensive in some cases or done as a band aid vs. a proper repair. There are also caps on coverage and they do their best not to pay if they can. This is another way for vendors to generate more business if only part of your repair is covered and part is not.
2. If it’s 100 degrees in the summer and the home warranty company won’t get someone out for 4 days we can’t wait that long. The law doesn’t allow it and it could put you at risk for a lawsuit.
3. Many of these companies charge an initial fee at the time of service and the tenants can not be required to pay that fee thus someone may have to be sent out to the property just to write a check up front. Many times we have to call one of our preferred vendors to do the work properly and on an acceptable timeline even after a warranty call. Ask us for examples. We’re happy to share the some stories.
4. Follow up on the possibility of a reimbursement for service that a home warranty vendor is unable to perform is not considered part of managing the property but rather managing the home warranty. If any owner would like to seek reimbursement from the home warranty company they may download a copy of the invoice from their owners portal and seek that reimbursement. If they would like our staff to pursue the possibility of a reimbursement on their behalf we will do so at the administrative rate listed in their management agreement. We are happy to manage the property from top to bottom however managing a vendor or company, someone else puts in place that further complicates the process is not part of managing the property. Challenges with our vendors can be corrected with one call and the performance is guaranteed.
5. Home warranties and their poor follow up and service are the number one source of problems we face and the largest source of tenant complaints. Our current service time limits are as follows: Home warranty companies have a maximum of 7 days to solve any maintenance related items that are non-habitability related. A 72 hour limit shall be placed on all habitability related maintenance items such as air conditioning, heating, electrical or plumbing, These may be updated from time to time, without notice, to ensure the best practice possible and a safe home for your tenants.
It depends on what needs to be done. Our preferred maintenance company is the Greater Austin Residential Service Company for most issues. We use and contract through this separate company to serve outside agents and other property management companies as well. Maintenance is not management. Contracting for maintenance allows property managers to effectively manage properties and keep tenants happy and renewing. Many property management companies charge 10% on top of every repair, charge an hourly rate or add on annual or monthly technology fees or other fees to cover the cost of maintenance oversight then send it to outside contractors who mark the same item up 20% - 40% more. Overseeing maintenance problems are very time consuming, expensive and never as easy as they may seem. By having an affiliated business relationship with GARSC we can your total cost typically by 50% or more. Repairing preexisting conditions and/or coordinating multiple vendors to complete a larger renovation or repair is the work of a contractor and needs the oversight, on site that a maintenance provider can provide to ensure the job is correctly completed.
We will provide you with one estimate from our preferred vendors. If you’d like to obtain other estimates by licensed, insured and bonded (as required) service providers you’re welcome to do so. Finding a unlicensed unknown vendor on the web or craigslist is not acceptable just to obtain the cheapest rate. Problems will happen if you take this route. We’re happy to oversee new acceptable licensed and insured vendors at an hourly admin rate per your management agreement. We do receive greater performance and consistency from using the best vendors. They do job right, do professional billing and are experts at what they do. Some of our owners live in town and may prefer to do minor maintenance themselves. We do not coordinate with or permit owners to work themselves or arrange work through their friends on occupied properties. We’ve been down that road before. Maintenance must be done to safety and code standards and on time. Anyone completing work at one of our properties is required to provide a copy of their insurance to us and sign an extensive vendor agreement. Comprehensively it’s sometimes better to pay someone to have a job completed correctly in one hour than to waste 6 hours trying to figure it a bid to save $50 then have to pay to have a babysitter for a cheap vendor. Nothing is as easy as it seems on the surface. Coordinating these type of repairs is what you pay us to do. We’ve had many owners attempt to google the cheapest service provider to save money then ask us to coordinate with an unreputable or uninsured vendor. This ends up in tenant dissatisfaction and many times hours of lost productivity in a good scenario. Ask us about the bad ones. Theft, damages, billing for work not completed are all common. For these reasons we have reputable approved providers that we can count on and who ensure client satisfaction.
This is handled on a case by case basis depending on the severity of the repairs. We do not do major renovations but have contractors which handle larger jobs if it’s out of the scope of our preferred vendor. If we handle the maintenance with our sister company, or oversee major repairs or repair preexisting conditions on your behalf, then we charge by the hour or a percentage just as a contractor, handyman or technician would. We’ve found that by contracting this through our sister company we can save owners significant money over time. We always troubleshoot before sending someone out.
The only reason the Greater Austin Residential Service Company was created was to serve 1836 Property Management. 1836 actually pays GARSC monthly for contract labor to support our property management operation. GARSC has never turned a profit and is not projected to until 2017. This enables us to serve our owners better and keep our margins low. GARSC also serves other property management companies in Austin because of our low margins and good service. There’s not many reputable, insured, reliable contractors or maintenance companies that can stay in business with our margins. Because of the AfB GARSC can beat the competition and ensure performance on time. Other managers have to rely on outside companies only which can get backed up and may not be controllable.
Our approved vendors are licensed and insured and follow specific billing and procedural requirements. If the home is occupied we need to be able to respond to the needs of the property and tenants quickly and efficiently, ensure standards of service and cleanliness are met. One inappropriate comment from an unprofessional service provider can open us all up to a federal fair housing lawsuit. Thus owners and their friends are not allowed to do maintenance on a property that we manage without first being approved as one of our vendors. If this is for a one time job they more than likely will not be approved.
We have been down this road many times prior and it’s never ended well. We have approved vendors that provide quality services and have proven themselves to us over time. They may cost $20 more than a discount vendor but your tenants will not have consistent problems, green pools, brown yards and/or fail to renew their lease because of problems with these providers. If the per trip service is under the authorized amount per service in your management contract we require the use of our trusted vendors. This is not for our benefit but for your long term comprehensive benefit. Again this is for your best interest. Please see above for more details: Do we have to use your maintenance person or preferred vendors?
It's not what you see, it's what you don't see that differentiates us from the competition. The most difficult thing I've run across in this business is how to convey the great services, oversight and care our company and employees offer to our owners and tenants. The less headache owners have the better we're doing. It's hard to feel confident in a provider however who you never rarely hear from. This is typically the case when things are going according to plan in our industry. We do love visitors!
The best place to see the details of the services we offer is our pricing tier. That has most of the details outlined with check boxes.
Education – We have over 30 years of combined experience. Matt Leschber is not only our real estate broker of record, but is also a professional real estate inspector and has been licensed as a loan officer. He’s on the board of directors of the National Association of Residential Property Managers Austin Chapter and on the Austin Board of Realtors Property Management Committee.
Experience - We own rentals ourselves and have managed those and others for years. Whether it’s taking out the trash or securing the best tenant and lease possible, we’ve done it all.
*In 2014 the broker of 1836 PM completed a textbook on the topic of property management which is now used to teach the course. It’s available through St. Edward’s University and the Austin Institute of Real Estate and titled Property Management #0811.
Ease - We are here to exceed your expectations so you will utilize all of our real estate services and refer your friends. We represent buyers, sellers and handle lending and refinances among other services. We aim to earn all of your real estate business through superior service.
Piece of mind - Knowing that someone cares about your business will enable you to rest assured that your property is in good hands.
While other management companies have tricks and ploys to get your signature on the agreement we find consistency, honesty, communication and the application of common sense are the keys to long term customer satisfaction.
Most agencies don’t offer or mention property management as an option because they don’t offer the service. You need options so you can choose the best solution for your specific situation. We offer solutions and we’re happy to run the numbers for you for free. We, of course, can list your property as a sale or rental however we’ve worked with a PhD in Economics from Texas State and a PhD in Business Administration from Brown University to produce a mathematical demonstration of why you should lease real estate to build wealth vs. selling it to gain debt with another home.
We’ll be happy to coordinate the transition with the other company once we have a signed agreement in place. We receive this call more often than you might think. Many of our best customers started out with other companies managing their properties. Now they know the difference. Many companies are cutting customers at this time due to market conditions, we welcome that new business.
There are protected classes under federal law. We will not break the law. While we all want someone just like ourselves to live in our properties it doesn’t always happen that way. We will find you the best qualified applicant possible while being as fair as possible to every applicant. The owners and managers goal is the same which is to have a tenant in place that pays on time and takes care of each home.
We have found the best course of action is to apply rigid requirements to each applicant in the exact same manner. This ensures that tenants are selected on objective legal criteria and not with emotion. We are meticulous regarding federal fair housing guidelines to ensure we avoid unnecessary litigation from declining unacceptable applications. In the past we’ve had “friends” of the owners break leases, refuse to pay rent, change the terms before agreeing to move in, not move in at all after signing the lease and more. For these reasons and others we will determine if the applicants meet the requirements and proceed diligently and meticulously to get the best applicant in place. You’re paying us to ensure the highest quality tenants and we can not do that by giving in to unfortunate stories. We do not share delicate personal information from applicants such as credit reports, social security numbers, dates of birth with anyone.
1. The MLS is the statistical best way to advertise most properties in the Austin market. This is the best way to share the information with licensed agents who are attempting to place ready, willing and able (qualified) tenants.
2. As the broker we have the ability to permit our listings to link up with other trustworthy websites or syndicate the listings. Some companies do this and some don't. The broker typically makes this decision for everyone in a company, not the agent. We do syndicate our listings.
3. We partner with internet advertising companies to push listing information for your property out to over 75 relevant real estate websites reaching. Those websites reach over 16 million potential tenants annually.
4. We partner with local real estate agents that we trust to co-market our listings permitting them to use them to drive traffic for both parties. We are the only company nationally to have such an exclusive agreement in place with local brokerages to share information and drive more traffic through collaboration.
5. We also advertise on our website and any other cost effective locations that provide quality results including Facebook and Twitter.
6. We including at no extra charge professional photographs using a professional wide angle lens, have a unique floor plan created just for your property and even do narrated video tours. We're working on transitioning to 360 degree tours as technology permits. Marketing with beautiful photos, floor plans and videos is your key to increased showings. Increased showings are the way to find better tenants in a shorter amount of time.
7. Craigslist is great for selling furniture but a nightmare for finding quality tenants in Austin. Each city is different but Craigslist Austin has a considerable amount of fraud. We don't want you or your property wrapped up in drama so we avoid and restrict use of our listings only on that specific website to our partner brokerages who are responsible for and follow up on the listings they create.
This depends mostly on the price, the specifics of the property (quality and condition) and of course the time of year and market conditions. We’re happy to provide estimates and offer a 30 day leasing guarantee if the price is set in line with market trends. As your authorized fiduciary we set the pricing. We’re happy to respect your bottom line and let you know if we don’t believe the market will allow us to meet that number. We’ve seen owner after owner waste time and money because a neighbor got x amount in rent. Typically it ends up being an apples to oranges comparison. You’re paying us to serve you. This is part of what we get paid to do. We have a checklist for owners on our website which includes the proper steps to prepare your home so that it doesn’t sit vacant on the market.
You will pay the mortgage and the HOA dues. The tenants will pay just about everything else unless you agree to something specific such as paying the water bill to ensure the yard is well maintained. While some companies offer to pay your mortgage or HOA for you we highly recommend against this practice. Oversight is not always a bad thing and USPS loses a considerable percentage of mail. We would rather be safe than sorry on items as important as your mortgage.
Leave them on. We will need water, sewer, electricity and, in cold weather, gas while the property is vacant. Contact your local providers and ask if they can do a landlord account for you which enables them to revert the bill back to you when a tenant leaves instead of having to pay connection fees for new service again. We have to have utilities on. We don’t want any presents left for us because the toilets don’t flush. 🙂 Depending on the utility provider we more than likely will have to coordinate this with you. The utility companies will not discuss some properties with 3rd parties. Between tenancies we’ll handle the utilities on your behalf if your particular utility company permits us to do so.
No. It not only complicates things but also subjects your personal property to theft and damage for which we’re not responsible. Owner do not have free access to the property while it is rented. If we have to go to the property to provide access there is a charge to do so. We do not hand out keys to anyone while the home is occupied. Please make every attempt to completely empty the property of personal possessions. This also sets the expectation for tenants that the house must be completely clean upon departure. We, nor the tenants, are responsible for personal property left behind. There have been more than one lawsuit based on this issue. Don’t put yourself in that position.
We used to say that washer, dryer and refrigerators were more of a headache than they were worth. Well the world has changed and so has our society. I remember that my parents owned these items. Now everyone rents them or expects them to be in place in a rental. If they purchase a home sure we all want our own. Tenants however now expect a lot more. Students at UT complain if there's not a pool, gym, bike parking and granite counter tops. It's pretty amazing how far we've come. If you have a rental in the $1200/month range then getting away with only a refrigerator may be possible. As the price goes up so do the expectations. If you have a condo, expect to include the appliances. You don't want tenants dragging a washer, dryer and refrigerator in and out of your unit. If the home was my investment at or above $1500/month in rent, I would include all three. You will need to maintain them however if this is the deciding factor between your home and another you're going to reduce your vacancy time and we all know time is money. Ten years ago we said appliances were not a necessity, today they almost are. Have a million dollar estate on the lake, expect to include that extra freezer and appliances for the guest house.
You will have access to our online system 24/7 worldwide with your secure login information. There you can run a dizzying array of reports, see documents such as a copy of the lease, our management agreement, maintenance invoices and more. Any noteworthy items will be forwarded to you as required. You’re paying us so that you can enjoy your vacation, weekends and personal time. You should rest assured that you’re hiring a professional. We recommend the enhanced inspection packages to ensure your property is inspected in depth and maintained properly. Owners who select the enhanced inspections will receive pictures and a detailed report by email.
We recommend that you put away at the very least 10% of the money you bring in for maintenance needs, 20% would be very conservative. Thus out of $1500 income you should be saving about $1800/year for maintenance costs at the minimum. This may include replacing a water heater at $800 or an HVAC system at $5,500 but it may also be things such as gardening and landscaping to draw in tenants, painting, cleaning gutters, repairing fences, repairing leaky faucets, repairing garage door openers, bringing that 1965 wagon wheel light fixture into the new millennium and more. Paint does not stay usable or match if it’s been more than a year. If you skimp on maintenance you can expect big expenses down the road, lower rental income, higher turnover and more vacancy. We will make recommendations but expect to maintain the home if you want the maximum return on your investment. Just for reference the IRS depreciation for a single family residence is the value divided by 27.5 years. Thus a $150,000 home would need over $5,400 per year to be properly maintained.
Policies on maintenance funds requested from owners
Please keep in mind that we have a legal and ethical obligation to properly maintain properties that we manage. Tenants rent includes the expectation that properties will be maintained. Avoidance of a responsibility does not eliminate that responsibility.
Timeline for receipt of funds from an owner:
All funds requested from owners to pay vendors and/or for repairs must be received within 10 days of such request. Should funds not be received by the 10th calendar day and an owner knowingly allow their reserve to be depleted below zero the owner will be charged $30 as an overdraft charge. This overdraft charge is exclusive of any interest charges incurred should funds need to be borrowed from management in order to pay a vendor.
Lack of Owner's Response:
In the event of non-emergency we will make a reasonable effort to contact owners by at least one email and one phone call, leaving a message if able at a bare minimum. Multiple attempts should be attempted. If no response is received within 2 days we will attempt to reach the owner through their emergency contact on file.
If no response is received utilizing both contacts we will proceed as required with any repairs to a property in order to maintain the overall value of the property and our obligations to the tenants.
Should estimates be provided to owners for non-emergency items and an owner not reply with either A. permission to proceed B. or request for further information the property management will attempt to contact that owner by email and a phone call including leaving a message if voicemail is available, at least one time each. If no response is provided within 5 business days 1836 Property Management will proceed with the repairs as required in order to maintain the property and our obligations to maintain such property for the tenants.
We give our owners choices. You can see the options on the FORMS page of our website.
Our recommended pet policy is one pet, under 20 lbs, no puppies (2 years of age), and no dangerous breeds. We’ve found this limited policy to be most effective overall.
If you decide to not allow any pets you’ve more than doubled your vacancy time with that one decision. That will increase your cost more than the statistical risk of potential damage by small pets. We don’t want you to incur any undue risk or liability related to pets however excluding them completely isn’t an effective way to manage the risk vs. reward.
If you’re a dog lover you may want to choose a higher bar for size and weight. From time to time, we may recommend accepting an older, overweight pet that’s just above the 20 lbs limit but we do have a fiduciary obligation to your best interest so our decision has to make sense.
1836 Property Management also insulates our owners with up to $2500 in coverage for pet related damages. This is one of our great guarantees. Should a pet do damage to your home which exceeds the security deposit we will cover up to $2500 in damage at no cost to you!
The posted FAQ’s will contain the most up to date information available.
Providing a property that’s pest free and is properly sealed to prevent the entry of pests is the owners/managers responsibility. If we need to do an initial spray or maintenance to seal the home that’s our job to handle. If the tenants experience pests during their stay, other than wood destroying insects, possums, racoons, squirrels or similar, it’s their responsibility on single family residences. In multi family dwellings with shared walls it will be either the owner or HOA’s responsibility depending on the specifics.
Please request that your HOA copy us on all notices to cut down our response time. Some will and some won’t. If you receive a notice please forward the entire notice to us so that we may follow up. If you get fined please forward to us a copy of the bill. We will post fines and send notices to tenants as well as maintain the properties and send them the bills as necessary. You will want to pay any and all HOA fines immediately. We will note the funds due to you on the property account and will reimburse you as soon as the funds are either paid or become available from the deposit. It’s cheaper to “float” a $40 fine for 30 days than it is to evict a tenant who pays on time but forgot to mow the yard. If the issue continues to be a problem or the fines begin to stack up we can always evict someone for breaking the lease but that should be the last resort as it’s very costly for the owner.
We don’t issues keys anyone, including owners, as this increases liability and risk for all parties. Our job is not only to ensure that we serve you but also to lower the overall exposure to lawsuits. From the day a new lease starts you no longer have the rights to occupancy. You will retain the ownership rights or title only. These are separate. For the tenants safety we don’t allow anyone to “pop” by to inspect the home. We have the ability to enter the home immediately in the case of an emergency however we do our best to notify the tenants of any other intrusions. If you can begin to view the property as a business asset and no longer your “home” you’ll enable the entire process to happen easier and with greater overall success.
Ask your property manager for the latest policy and information on this subject. It’s not as easy as free government money. Currently we are not taking on any new section 8 related properties in outlying areas. The City of Austin has passed legislation that may force owners to accept qualified applicants with housing vouchers. We will honor that until statewide legislation goes into effect that eliminates a city’s ability to force landlords to accept housing vouchers. That second piece of legislation goes into effect Sept. 1, 2015 unless the governor signs it before that date.
Absolutely. We’re a proud member of the National Assoc. of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). Matt Leschber is currently serving on the Austin board of directors for NARPM as president elect for 2014, president for 2015. He’s also on the Texas Association of Realtors statewide Property Management Committee. We’re also a member of a select group of property managers on the Property Management Committee with the Austin Board of Realtors for 2014. We’re members of the Williamson County Board of Realtors, Women’s Council of Realtors, National Assoc. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Austin Young Real Estate Professionals and we work with a few local investment clubs for real estate investors.
Wiring money costs both parties. Sharing our bank account adds additional risk for our clients. Paypal is not a viable source for a corporation to use for tracking and accounting money. We do prefer to go paperless and electronic but do not have the ability to “take” money from anyone, owners or tenants.
The best solution, so far, is to set up 1836 Realty LLC as a biller in your bank’s online bill pay system using our current office address. If you need to track and/or send more funds in the future you’ll already be set up. That online banking system, while it appears electronic, will actually send a paper check in the mail from your bank to our business. We can then easily track and record any funds coming in.
#1. We’ll send you a management agreement. This management agreement may be signed off electronically.
#2. We’ll set up a time for one of our leasing specialist to meet you at the property or gain access.
In the meantime, here’s the short list of of necessary items to help you get prepared:
1. Management agreement signed by all owners and managers.
2. Owner's notice of condition, filled out, initialed, signed and dated.
3. Brokerage services information form, signed, dated and returned.
4. Lead based paint notice (if required)
5. Electronic funds authorization
6. Eviction Protection Plan, opt out if desired.
7. Keys to the unit or property preferably three. We walk and review each property before we sign off on the agreement.
8. Minimum of $500.00 to start the reserve fund for your property plus an estimate of any funds required to get the property ready to lease.
This initial check will be used to cover make ready cleanings, carpet cleanings, rekeying of the property and minor maintenance including yard work, etc.. and the maintenance fund. $1000.00 is generally a safe amount. If we need to do a full paint, flooring or additional work we can get an estimate for your approval then you can send in those funds.
9. If the property is vacant or you are moving out we’ll need a “first available date” so that we can set up an appropriate timeline.
10. Utilities - please ensure that the utilities such as water, wastewater, gas and electric are on at the property.
11. Selection of any additional services that you desire such as our Inspection Programs, Maintenance Programs or Eviction Protection Plan.
Cheap and easy usually end up being expensive and problematic in the end. We can certainly handle this for you and do it right. Scheduling with big box stores for free delivery is never as it seems. Simply meeting someone at the property can become a nightmare of no shows and 5 minutes of notice at rush hour of 8pm at night. Did we mention delivery of damaged goods or an inability to install things properly due to unforeseen issues such as lack of wiring, improper fit, leaking valves. A cheap online deal can easily go to out of control and expensive. Our policy on appliances is as follows:
The most important thing we can do before signing a management agreement is to ensure that our investors know what to expect and when to expect it. Sharing those details up front is the best way to keep our clients happy. If investors and managers are on the same page everything goes according to plan, well as much as it can in leasing and property management.
Below is a timeline of when you should expect to hear from us. This will enable us to keep our eyes on the prize and focused on keeping your property leased and profitable.
An example might be: “We received notice that your tenant will depart in 60 days. We’re already at work marketing the property as needed, preparing the tenants and property for the turnover. As we have more information about the condition and requirements of any required make ready needs we will forward you estimates and recommendations. Thank you for your business.”
If you simply miss us, let us know and we’ll be happy to set up a time to connect or even buy the coffee. Typically no news is good news. You’re paying us to deal with the headaches, non-emergency emergencies, late night calls, complaints and minutia so sit back and enjoy some time with your family or friends. We’ll be working for you here.
UT housing is special in a few ways. The first thing to know is that this particular area operates differently than any other part of our the real estate marketplace. Housing in this area is directly correlated to the university schedule. Therefore if you end up with a vacancy mid term it could last at least until the start of the next term. It's imperative that you do a few things to ensure performance and stability.
We stand behind our criteria and tenants that meet those criteria with a Great Tenant Guarantee. If for any reason your tenant fails to pay rent and needs to be evicted during the first six months of an initial lease we initiate we will handle in house or pay an attorney at our partner law firm to handle the eviction including initial notifications, service, court time and more for free up to but no including a possible appeal.
*Evictions would need to be proceed all the way through a judgement to qualify.
We believe in our tenant criteria and processes so much that we will pay the cost of re-leasing your property at no cost to you. Should the tenant need to be evicted during the next 3 months we'll release the property at 50% off or normal rate.
*Evictions would need to be proceed all the way through a judgement to qualify.
If we put a tenant in place with our criteria and they fail to pay rent warranting an eviction we will cover the cost of the following for one low monthly rate:
Sleep easier knowing that if something happens to your tenants job or their ability to pay rent, you're covered for one low monthly fee.
Property management companies are not banks and thus don't offer credit. We need operating capital to pay bills as they need to be paid. Need to have the utilities turned on? We have to send in a deposit then pay the bills when they come in. Need to other expenses but have no income because we're between tenancies? Need to get the house rekeyed, smoke detectors and locks up to code at move in because the state laws require it? We need operating capital to do so. Each owner is required to send at least $500 to 1836 as operating capital. Some properties such as estates or owners that are hard to reach need to have more capital on account. These funds are not a fee but instead working capital. Should you reach the end of the management agreement and want to change directions, if you have a zero balance the owners reserve will be returned to you at that time. On a monthly basis these funds are dipped into as needed then replenished with the rental income. Anything above the reserve, not previously approved for repairs, is sent out to owners each month.
We have an agreement in place not only to ensure that we perform as intended but also to ensure that owners deliver on their part of the bargain. Our leasing fees are lower than the low cost competitors and thus our owners get the advantage of that discount. Low cost competitors that charge low monthly fees charge high initial and sign up costs to get accounts set up. Thus if you cancel 3 months into the agreement with them, they've already got your money and are lucky to break even on the remaining part of the agreement. We strive to build the long term relationship you can count on and put trust in your and our ability to deliver superior services.
Every property needs maintenance. As time marches on components break, wear out and need care. Preventative maintenance can even reduce overall maintenance costs. Either way mechanical components and structures will need attention and won't stay pristine forever.
One of the tasks your property manager will perform is to ensure your property is properly maintained. When things break you want them fixed. I promise you that the day you drive off something will stop working. There is only one positive choice to make, fix it. If the AC breaks it has to be repaired whether it's $100 or $1000. If the hot water heater goes out, there's not an option on whether or not to repair it. It has to be fixed. The question becomes how long will the repair take, how much will be wasted on trip charges and diagnostics and how upset will your tenants be if the service is delayed.
While some property managers may avoid or hide problems we believe just the opposite. Dealing with problems quickly and effectively is the best way to ensure they don't create secondary issues or motivate your tenants to move to another home. Keep in mind that tenant turnover is typically the biggest expense you'll encounter. Avoiding that by property maintaining your property will save you thousands.
We pick up a number of properties ever years from other managers who never tell owners about any maintenance problems. Properties that are poorly maintained sit on the market, won't rent and lose value over time. Those that are well maintained typically go up in value at an Austin average of over 3% and rent faster to better quality tenants. We recommend the latter route to achieve the greatest return on investment.
For more information including a discussion about a comparison of a $250, $500 or $1000 repair limit watch the youtube video above.
We absolutely require tenants to carry renters insurance. We feel that it would be inappropriate not to do so. Did you know that renters insurance however only covers the tenants personal possessions? It does cover your home or damage caused by the tenant. So if a flood was to happen as a result of a HVAC condensation back up and the tenants possessions were damaged, this policy would cover those possessions. Your landlord policy would cover the damage from the floor, including remediation, drying, repairs, etc. What happens if the tenant causes the damage to your home such as the case of a kitchen fire? Traditionally, you, the landlord would be forced to file a claim on your landlord policy, then pay the deductible which could be thousands of dollars depending on the policy, then have the possibility of a rate increase no your insurance all from the tenants actions. In order to get reimbursed for the deductible the tenant would have to come up with the full cost of the repairs since they were at fault or you could attempt to sue them for the deductible. Either way no one wants to end up on court if it can be avoided. A new type of insurance has come to the marketplace which enables up to $100,000 in coverage for your property due to damages caused by the tenants. Some companies ask owners to obtain these or require them to do so. We require the tenants to pay for this policy as part of their lease agreement. The cost is so low that we've received almost no complaints once we explain the coverage. Tenants can now rest easier knowing that should something go wrong, repairs can happen immediately after notifying their property manager and they won't be sued down the road.
Each market place or city works differently when it comes to leasing a property, who is involved, who represents each party and how those parties are paid.
In some cities like New York, tenants pay a rental locator or agent out of pocket to help them find a rental. In this situation the landlord would pay the listing broker, who represents only the landlord, directly. Both parties are compensated directly by the party they represent.
Texas works a little different. We commonly see the landlord in Texas pay a fee to the listing broker. The listing broker represents the landlord. That listing broker could find a tenant however they are competing with every member of the MLS. Remember over 80% of tenants start their rental search online and the MLS typically syndicates to all the top rental website. So someone has to represent the tenant or help the tenant find a home. Thus out of the fee paid to the listing broker a portion is set aside to compensate the tenants agent. This portion is typically specified in the management agreement. The more your broker pays the more agents willing to show the property.
Keep in mind that if your home rents for $1000 per month that could mean you pay the listing broker only 60% of one month's rent. If your broker has to split that with the other broker (tenants rental locator) they'll only receive $300 before taxes and expenses. For marketing, at 1836, we hire a professional photographer who uses professional equipment including a wide angle lens. We pay for a narrated video tour which is then SEO optimized and shared on youtube and other channels. We also create a custom floor plan for each rental. These are expenses we incur before we've even placed the signs in the yard, lockboxes on the property and shared the data in the MLS or social media.
What if there's only enough money for the rental locator to receive $300? Agents in Austin typically do not work with renters for this very reason. Pay more and someone may be willing to show your home. Why wouldn't they want $300? Well, first they're going to get stood up a couple times by tenants who are simply discourteous to other humans. Then they're going to show 10 homes to a very nice family who failed to tell them about the pit bulls they raise and that felony they had a few years back. When they do find someone willing to tell the truth and who might quality they're back out hoping their client/tenant is the only one to apply. There are frequently more than one application pending for each home at one time. Reason being that all tenants want the best property for the best price and on any given weekend the best one in a given search criteria is typically obvious. Those that are not well maintained or overpriced will be left sitting vacant. So now they're finally in first position and get a lease signed. Their broker takes a cut of the $300, per say, $60, then the tax man takes their cut, maybe $70. What's left is $170 after days in a car, gas, insurance, licensing costs, calls, etc....
While no owner likes paying leasing fees, the cost of vacancy from going cheap on make ready standards and/or not being willing to compensate people properly will cost way more in the big picture. The holding cost for that $1000/month rental is about $40/day. If it takes an extra week to lease the property that's $280 out the window and you're still sitting with a vacancy. Think what you could do with $280 in landscaping to make the home more attractive and provide great curb appeal. I've been in the car with numerous clients over the years that have pulled up at a property and said "we don't need to see this one" because it had such bad curb appeal. Think about how hard an agent might work for an extra $140. Do you think they'd be willing or wanting to show your property over another one that didn't offer appropriate compensation? Of course they would!
Some markets like Houston have a tradition of charging more in leasing fees and thus have more agents willing to work with renters to show properties for lease. Other markets like Killeen-Ft. Hood may charge almost nothing to list a property for lease. The problem is that they don't actually "list it" anywhere. If a tenant doesn't walk in the brokers front door they may never even know the property is for lease. Remember over 80% of tenants start their search online. You have to be online and visible or you're throwing away money on a vacant home and holding costs. Better to do things right and have a statistical developed proven plan and find a qualified tenant than to go cheap and have your strategy for success revolve around "hope". Do it right or don't do it! We all know the right answer.