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1836 Property Management Named Best Property Management Company in Austin, TX

PropertyManagement.com, a leading resource to help property owners identify reliable, trusted, and experienced property management services in the United States, has announced that 1836 Property Management has made their list of Best Property Management Companies in Austin, TX in 2019. The guide recognizes 39 top property management firms based on costs, customer rating, reliability, and experience.

PropertyManagement.com used a selection process that evaluated each company across 30 different metrics. After careful assessment of 253 property management companies in the Denver area, only 39 firms were selected for the final list. The research identified companies that scored the highest in outstanding customer reviews, credibility, high-level professionalism and more.

“Our goal is to help property owners make the most of their investments,” says Joyce Collins, Recognition Manager. “A reputable property management company can help owners save time and money by advertising rentals, collecting rent, handling maintenance issues and responding to tenant complaints.”

In addition to top picks for property management companies, the website also offers tips on rental marketing, tenant screening, liabilities, and a worksheet to keep track of income and expenses.

Top 3 Things Tenants Look for in a Rental

When tenants are looking for rentals, the two biggest factors that they will look at are the price and condition of the property. Both of these are key to getting tenants to want to look at your property so you can become fairly choosy about which tenants will stay in your rental properties.

When pricing rentals, keep the following in mind:

1. Slightly Aggressive Pricing

Offer a clean property with features that tenants seek. Doing this allows you to price your property slightly aggressively (just a little bit above market price) to get the best return on each unit you rent. While slightly aggressive, still making sure your prices are on par for the area is key to ensure that you are competitive with other rentals when looking to attract tenants.

You want your tenants to feel like they are getting a good value for their money. Getting multiple tenants interested in each property allows you to pick and choose which tenants to rent to and which ones you’d rather pass on.

2. Quality Over Flashy

The condition of the rental that you offer is far more important than its “flashy” qualities, such as top-of-the-line renovations like stainless steel appliances or granite countertops. Tenants are looking for a clean, safe, secure place to call home. Ensuring that your rental is in good shape and that the home is well-maintained is far more important than adding “flashy finishes” to the property. Everything in the home needs to be fully functional. Don’t keep appliances that have failed; replace them or remove them. If it’s on-site, it needs to be clean and in working order.

3. Keep It Fresh

Keeping everything in the rental property fresh is very important. It doesn’t need to have a total renovation with top-of-the-line finishes in every room, but the property must be kept clean and well-maintained. A fresh coat of paint, durable flooring, and eye-catching landscapes are some of the finishes that will draw tenants to consider your property.

An Honest Landlord Attracts Quality Tenants

Offering tenants a clean, safe place to come home to at the end of each day will attract honest, hard-working clients who will pay their bills on time. The tenant will better value and take care of the home in which they know their family is safe and comfortable.  Providing tenants this “haven” where their loved ones feel at home is what will draw good, honest, hard-working tenants to your properties.

Keep in mind that if you’re trying to short change tenants with a high price, only those with bad credit may be willing to accept it. Those with good credit will have other options. If you’re trying to rent a property in poor condition, the only tenants that may be willing to accept it are tenants whose financial situation or personal life may be in poor condition. Grade A tenants have the pride and ability to find grade A properties. Delivering less than this quality of a property at the right price will more than likely attract the wrong kind of tenants.

Here at 1836 Property Management, we are committed to providing our tenants with a clean, comfortable place to call home. To schedule a booking to view one of our amazing properties, please feel free to contact us and set up an appointment at your earliest convenience.

What Does a Property Manager Do?

Trying to market your rental property with as little hassle as possible? Your best bet is to hire a property manager. They serve as experts at customer relations and handling tenant issues first-hand so that real estate investors and owners can rest easy. So what exactly can a property manager do for you?

Duties of a Property Manager

Property managers help landlords with a variety of tasks to make sure a real estate property looks appealing, keeps all its facilities in working order, and can attract potential buyers. Here are some of the many services a property manager can provide.

1. Market a property. It’s easy to post an ad for your property on Zillow, but property managers will go the extra mile with advertising, social media, networking, and a multiple listing service.

2. Screen potential tenants. Along with showing tenants around the property, property managers want to find the most responsible renters. They will contact previous landlords, do background and credit checks, and verify employment to weed out bad tenants.

3. Price your rent. You may not know how to charge fairly for rent, especially if this is your first time selling real estate. Property managers can easily determine a good price by comparing other rentals in the area, as well as using their local experience.

4. Take care of maintenance. Property managers keep your property looking sharp; scheduling pool cleaning, snow removal, mowing, and any repair requests from the tenant.

5. Collect rent. Concerned about getting rent payments on time? Property managers handle all aspects of getting rent from tenants, including managing partial and late payments. If there is an issue or a difficult tenant, property managers will work with them directly to solve the problem.

6. Deal with problems and problem tenants. If you can imagine it, we’ve probably dealt with it. Tenants will surprise you and some can push you to the limit. Mechanical systems on a property can perplex you and leave you and technicians scratching your head. Great property managers take ongoing problems like this off your plate and have the experience to know how to handle them. After hundreds of unit-years of experience, great property managers have skills and knowledge specific to support your success and to keep problems off your plate.

Is a Property Manager Right For You?

Depending on the size of your property, the number of tenants, and your budget, it could be well worth the investment to hire a property manager. Their expertise could be the key factor in selling your real estate. For more information or property management needs, we’re here to help.

3 Signs of a Bad Property Manager

Hiring a property manager can take a huge load off of a landlord’s back when it comes to handling the ins-and-outs of the rental business. However, a bad property manager can ruin a landlord’s otherwise honest, hard-working reputation.

When you are hiring a property manager to help with the day-to-day operations of your business, the following are 3 red flags that you might have a bad property manager on your hands who will do your business more harm than good in the long run.

Lack of Communication

The most common problem with property managers is a lack of communication. They have to be open and willing to talk to the landlord. If the property manager keeps evading communications or doesn’t return emails, phone calls, etc. you will be fighting a huge problem in no time.

Lack of Payments

The biggest red flag of all is if the property manager does not give the landlord the money they owe within 30 days following the end of a given month. If a landlord isn’t receiving their payments, that can signal many problems from tenants not paying their bills to property managers who are taking money from their landlord. You should account for your money down to every penny. If your property management company can’t give a solid answer as to where your money is going, then they are not being honest with you as a landlord.

Lack of Punctuality

Almost all landlords have a 24-hour response requirement or within one full business day. That means that if a tenant reports a problem at their residence, the property manager will need to respond within 24 hours of the call getting placed. Property managers that leave maintenance and property issues (even minor ones like a leak in a faucet or a non-working dishwasher) for days or even weeks on end show that they are not ready to take ownership of their responsibilities as a property manager.

If you have any questions about our property management services here at 1836 Property Management, please feel free to contact us for further assistance. If you are interested in renting one of our properties, please set up an appointment to come in at your convenience, and we will be happy to show you what we have to offer.

What Should I Expect to Pay for Property Management Services?

Whether you own one property or several, there’s no way around the need to hire a reliable property management company.  But, what can you reasonably expect to pay for services?  While the lowest rates may be attractive, cutting corners can have detrimental effects.

Assess your requirements.

How much do you want to be involved in the day-to-day of managing your investment?  For many, “as little as possible” is the answer. Find a company that can offer a contract catered to your goals.  You want a human-to-human relationship that gives you the confidence to know that things are covered no matter what.   

10% is a typical fee.

Fees will vary depending on the marketplace, but across America, most companies charge somewhere in the range of ten percent. Keep in mind the managers’ expenses in addition to what you require as far as deliverable services.  For adequate oversight, manpower will factor in heavily. Be prepared to pay for what you expect.

Pricing plans.

Professional management services will offer a variety of pricing plans to fit your needs.  A flat monthly fee will cover basic services, but most companies will pro-rate for additional optional services.   

Relax.

The 1836 Property Management Team has their boots on the ground to keep your investment operating smoothly and safely.  Whether you seek a $99 flat monthly rate or are looking for optional programs such as enhanced maintenance, enhanced inspections, or eviction protection, they have it covered. No more worries about tenant issues or unforeseen emergencies. You can rest assured that everything is under control so you can minimize your risk and maximize your return on investment.

To get your properties under the wing of Austin’s premier property management company, contact us.

How to Choose the Best Property Manager

Whether you’re a new rental property investor or you have several properties in your portfolio, a savvy investor understands that enlisting a property manager makes good business sense. A property manager will care for your investment, making sure that it’s healthy and earning its potential. A great property manager will also defend you and your property against abusive tenant and their personal problems. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of property management companies you’ll need to research to find yours, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve outlined the most important criteria for evaluating property managers to hire the best one for you: experience, rates, and what informs their decisions.

According to a 2016 Buildium survey of property owners, 51% of rental property owners currently enlist a property manager, with a full 24% more looking to hire one.

Three Criteria to Help You Evaluate Property Managers

Years of Expertise in Property Management

How long the company has been in the property management industry is paramount. Did they just buy a franchise and set up shop in your city? Or, have they built their expertise with sweat equity with over a decade of experience? According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert in a professional field. This has been upheld but a study at Princeton University. The last thing you want is to hire a property manager who plans to cut their teeth on the back of your investment.

A subset of this expertise, is, how well do they understand the Austin rental market? No two markets are alike, having a different set of economic factors, laws, demographics, and historical data. How much do they know about the Austin renter – your client? Do they know what the shifting trends are for the Millennials and how they are willing to interact in the marketplace. Marketing traditional methods to a new generation provide the best results.

Hire a company that has a cross-section of both property management and market expertise to get the best return on your investment.

Property Management Rates

Are their rates fair, and equitable? By fair and equitable, we don’t mean inexpensive. When property management companies charge property owners too little, they cut costs in ways that can have a detrimental effect on how they manage your property.

Take direct labor, your property management companies biggest expense. Direct labor covers the people part of your business that responds to tenant inquiries, handles maintenance, and answers your requests as an owner. Pretty important, right? Unfortunately, when companies have to cut corners, very often the human-centric part of your contract gets a trim first. You’ll notice this as less property oversight, slower response times to you and your tenant, and a lack of oversight and follow-through on maintenance. You’ll also notice a degradation in the quality of your property overtime as a result of the lack of oversight and attention to detail. This typically costs tens of thousands to remedy and far exceeds any potential savings from low cost providers.

Successful property managers know that having boots on the ground is the most critical part of managing properties well, and they will charge you for this service. Expect to pay between 8-12% for a percentage-based fee. Of course, you could always go with the least expensive option, but you may pay the price in the long term!

What Informs Their Policies and Practices

Why they do what they do is an essential criterion for evaluating property management companies. What is behind their practices, policies, and decisions? Do they use data to make decisions? Or intuition?  Consider tenant criteria. A company that knows how their tenant criteria works, proven over many years, and there are statistics to back up “the why” behind that list of tenant qualifications, will be much more successful at finding you a great tenant. Guessing or using unproven, non-quantifiable criteria will end up in an eviction.

Just as the practice of investing in rental properties is a business, so is property management. Companies that run their business off of industry best-practices and statistical outcomes will be much better partners for your venture overall.

We hope that these evaluation criteria will help get you closer to finding the right property manager for your Austin property. Learn more about this, and other property management topics, on our YouTube channel.

Should I Lease or Sell My Property?

Most homeowners will have to answer this question at one time or another. You might relocate for a job, or decide to combine households with your significant other, or it might be time for additional square footage to accommodate your growing family. Whether to sell or lease your home is an important decision. While this question can be fraught with emotional baggage and sentimentality, for the best interest of your family your answer should come down to the math. Seek guidance not just from someone trying to sell your property but also from someone who can guide you on leasing. Some companies can run numbers on both scenarios and offer both services. Plug in your numbers and consider the outcomes. Some companies even have the data to forecast future financial potential for your property.

In your calculations, you should assess your financial situation, your future housing plans or goals, your state and federal tax ramifications, and the current and projected home values in your neighborhood/local market. Next, learn how leasing can be a beneficial way to grow your wealth and evaluate your local rental market. You already own the asset so there is no additional cash outlay to obtain something that may already be positioned to produce a return on your initial investment.

To Hold? Or, Fold?

Real estate is like a game of poker, only with market data and forecasts. As Kenny Rogers croons in his classic song, “you gotta know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em.” The answer to whether you should hold (lease) or fold (sell) ideally, is a resounding ‘hold ‘em!’ Why? Keeping your home and turning it into a rental property enables you to continue to build equity on your purchase while you are paying down your mortgage. On top of this, keeping and maintaining your home as an asset helps you build substantial wealth in your financial portfolio.

Of course, there are scenarios when folding might be appropriate. If you are experiencing a divorce, death of a spouse, or have crushing medical debt, selling your real estate asset can help you wade through the storm financially, and emotionally.

The last thing you want to do is to take your cash-producing, equity-building asset, then sell it, and pour the money into a new, larger home, or a non-cash-producing asset. It might be tempting to take your proceeds from the sale and buy a long-yearned-for boat, but you’ll induce cringes amongst your real-estate friends. The goal is to make your money work for you, not to continue to purchase things which may you work for them.

Consider Your Local Rental Market

You’ve done the math. Now take a look at some Austin rental market forces that can help make or break your rental business venture. While our rental market is slowing, tenant incomes are healthy, and the job market continues to roll along. You’ll want to do some in-depth research and consult the experts, but here are a few bright notes to consider.

In 2016, an average of 159 people moved to Austin each day. (BizJournals)

According to a 2017 affordability survey of major American cities, Austin ranked #5 in offering incomes large enough to support day-to-day living. (GoBankingRates)

In areas surrounding Austin, such as the northwest and northeast Austin, occupancy rates are much higher at 94% (Statesman)

Austin boasts a robust pool of potential renters, with money to spend, in a metropolis that continues to expand outward. Chances are, Austin will support a strong rental market for years to come.

The Payoff Takes Patience

Real estate investing is a long-term game. Very often the people who didn’t want to get into the game find that in year three or four, they recognize the money they’re making, and reap the benefits from that additional income. Those formerly reluctant landlords then start looking for their next rental property to buy. Be patient for your payoff! We’ve seen even the most reluctant landlords get excited when they see the results.

Concerned about the time it will take to manage your rental property? Based in Austin, 1836 Property Management specializes in managing real estate investments for clients around the world. We take the hassles and the worry of being a landlord off your shoulders. If you decide to lease your property, the 1836 team can help you profit without the headaches.

Watch a video excerpt on this topic, and others on our YouTube channel.

 

How do I get my property ready for a tenant

The 2 Stages of Preparing Your Rental Property

You’ve purchased a rental investment property, and you’re anxious to bring it on market and find tenants as soon as possible so that you can start making money. Preparing a rental property takes time and due diligence. When getting your rental property ready, don’t rush through the particulars, don’t cut corners, and don’t waste your time and money. Taking these shortcuts can cut into your future earning potential! The foundation of your new business venture is a clean, functional, and sound property. Take the time to do it right.

How do I get my rental property ready for a tenant?

These two stages of preparing your property are critical for several reasons. The care and quality of your property directly affect the quality of your tenants and whether or not you retain them, and the amount of rent you can charge. Additionally, regular care and maintenance of your property will ensure that your home doesn’t decline in value.

Before You Market Your Property for Rent

Have a property inspection. This inspection will give you a list of needed repairs so that you can plan accordingly. Regular checks will help you prevent sustained, long-term damage and potentially dangerous situations for your tenants (creating liabilities for you). Inspections and more in-depth repairs are always better done without someone living in the property.

Make sure that your property adheres to state laws. Get to know your state and local property code requirements, such as

  • Prepare to have the exterior locks rekeyed and upgraded as necessary. You’ll want to do this with each new tenant, preferably on move in day.
  • Install safety-related devices.

Your property’s plumbing requires the most care. Hire a good plumber to:

  • Inspect your property and make recommendations to correct and prevent plumbing issues.
  • Upgrade the shut-off valves at water sources like toilets and sinks.
  • Ensure the correct ventilation for your water heater. If the unit is in a garage, make sure it sits on a proper stand. If your water heater is over eight years old, consider replacing it now. It’s not a question of if a leak will spring, but when. Head off future water damage and gain peace of mind with a new unit.
  • Check your property’s water pressure. If your pressure regulator is defective, it could be a ticking water bomb.
  • Locate your property’s water shut-off valve lives so that you can show the tenant. Make sure it’s not buried and works efficiently and adequately without tools.
  • Check your washer hoses. Steel braided hoses hold up better than rubber. Rubber can wear down leading to leaks after five years.

A property requires regular maintenance, so make sure you to hire a state licensed inspector to perform a full inspection before purchasing the property and then have an expert to walk the property and look for problems that the tenant may not have reported at least twice a year.

The Make-Ready Between Each Tenant

Once your property is sound and that there are no significant functional, or structural issues, you’ll need to prepare your property for your new tenant, the ‘make-ready.’

  • Check every moving part in the house. Keep a running list a list of all functional issues and then have your contractor repair them. This check will likely be part of your walk-through after your previous tenant vacates the property.
  • Have your plumber inspect your property and make recommendations to correct plumbing issues such as slow drains or rusting angle stops.
  • Leave a garbage disposal wrench in your property so the tenant can clear blockages on their own.
  • Paint the interior. Don’t scare off potential tenants with bright or specific color palettes. Neutral paint will appeal to most renters and will help them visualize themselves in your property.
  • Have your property professionally cleaned, including carpets
  • Replace any flooring that is beyond repair.
  • Smell something strange? Hopefully, it’s just a minor issue, but odors can also indicate major problems. Plus, no one wants to rent a property that stinks! It doesn’t matter how clean your property is if it doesn’t smell great.

Now, it’s time to document. Everything. Take photos of the condition of your property before your tenant moves in. Walkthrough the property with your tenant on move-in day and log any cosmetic issues you both see. As an alternative, you can ask your tenant to provide you with a list of problems within three days of move in. Remind them that if they do not send you a list within three days, they agree that the home was in perfect shape. Your lease should already cover this in detail, but it never hurts to reiterate it.

Here’s the bottom line. A better quality property, sound in structure, clean, and well maintained, a better quality tenant you will attract.

If making your property ready for renters feels overwhelming, 1836 Property Management can help you take your time and do it right the first time. We help you manage all aspects of your rental property, from leasing to maintenance, so that you can achieve the highest return on your investment.

 

Why am I Not Making Money on My Rental Property?

A lot of factors are in play when it comes to making money from your rental property and sustaining a profitable rental investment business. As a new investor, you might be anxious to see your newly purchased property bring in cash flow, but it isn’t typical for properties to produce cash immediately, even when you are an experienced investor.

What affects your property’s ability to produce cash?

Here are two things to consider.

How much money did you put on the table?

Many people initially come to real estate investing as an owner-occupant, then they move out of the home and decide to turn it into a rental property. If you have lived in your home less than 2-3 years, it’s unrealistic to expect the property to start producing cash right away. It typically takes an average owner 4-5 years to break even with what they pay in mortgage principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (or, PITI payment). Each situation is unique. In many cases, the market doesn’t support rents high enough to cover your PITI payment and put a little extra cash in your pocket month over month.

The time it takes to get to this break-even point depends on how much cash you put down on your initial purchase and how fast appreciation and rental rates go up. Many homeowners take advantage of 10%, 5%, and even 0% down markets. It’s an excellent deal for home ownership, but it’ll take you longer to get to the break-even point, whereby you can start earning cash.

A smart investment strategy is to purchase a property with 20-25% down, with a goal of breaking even on the PITI payment, principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, in a shorter time frame.

For many experienced investors, cash flow is not their primary strategy because any cash earned in the investment cycle is subject to taxation by the government. Investors don’t always want to make cash in the short-term, but you can bet they want to make a profit in the long-term. There is just more to a great return on investment than cash flow alone.

Am I managing my rental correctly?

If you are post-purchase, there’s not much you can do to change the amount of money you put down on your purchase. However, in the short run, other factors could be contributing to your property bringing in less cash than it should on paper.

Maintenance issues and periods of extended vacancy are two essential aspects of managing rental properties, and they can directly affect each other. If you have ongoing or unresolved maintenance issues or repairs or have long periods of vacancy either due to the latter, or because you don’t have the time and know-how to oversee maintenance requests, inspections, and larger renovations properly, your bottom line will be impacted.

It might be time to consider partnering with a property management company to oversee your rental. The benefit to you is that property managers have proven processes, relationships with trusted contractors, and the market expertise to market your property to your ideal audience, rent it quickly, and ensure that the property functions smoothly during the tenancy. If you select the right property manager and follow their advice you should be able to plan on increased productivity and results.

Even if you’ve hired a property manager, maintenance issues and vacancies are incredibly important. Tackle these problems alongside your property manager when getting started. Get a handle on what is happening by having your property manager take pictures, or go together to visit your property in person. You’ll want to deal with any latent issues up front.

In the end, investing in real estate is a long game. Learn the data and understand your market. And, consider finding a good property management partner. Your property manager will have statistical proof of what the market is doing so that you can ensure the highest performance for your investment. 1836 Property Management can service your rental property from leasing to maintenance. We work every day to care for your property, minimize your risk, and maximize your profit.

 

What to Look For When Buying a Real Estate Investment

Real estate investing is a science. Experienced investors know the data, understand the market, and have a knack for picking rental properties that will make them money. What to look for in a rental property is relatively simple, and it comes down to what kind of investor you are.

Two Types of Real Estate Investors

The Speculator

The speculator is a gambler with deep pockets, who enters a hot or soon-to-be-hot market, who looks to buy big, expensive places and expects their value to rise quickly through appreciation. You’ll see this type of investor at play in markets such as Miami, Vancouver, and even downtown Austin. His or her game is typically short-term. While the rewards can be great, the risk can be greater. Markets are cyclical, and it requires experience and a heavy dose of luck to time them to your benefit. For a non-real estate example of speculation, you needn’t look any further than the current Bitcoin craze. The cryptocurrency bubble will burst, and folks that stay in the market too long stand to lose.

The more typical investor cares about the numbers, first and foremost.

The Number Cruncher

The number cruncher cares about two things: cash flow and return on investment. This investor usually owns 1-3 rental properties, and their end goal is long-term. Cash flow isn’t always an immediate benefit, but this type of investor knows that he or she is building a financial foundation that will pay off down the road.

What to look for in your rental property

  • Single family home or townhome
  • Suburban
  • 3 to 4 bedrooms / 2 to 3 bathrooms
  • No HOA or condo fees

Have some communities in mind? Look for a single story home, one that is the smaller, lesser expensive choice in the neighborhood. Generally, this type of home will be your safest bet for generating rental income.

Do you research, and consider future forecasts for Austin demographics, changing demographics in your chosen neighborhoods, and evolving trends in contemporary or traditional fashions. Knowing your market will enable you to look at potential properties with this information in tow, and will dictate whether you need to renovate the property you eventually purchase.

A cautionary note about fixer-uppers. While you may have romantic visions of buying and renovating a fixer (thanks, HGTV!), you could end up with a money pit. If a property is clean, functional, and the style fits your neighborhood, then that’s money you don’t need to spend. Save the fixer dream for your dream house.

If you’re ready to look for an investment property, we’d love to help! 1836 Property Management can assist you in finding your rental property and then help you manage it for the highest return on investment.