When to Rekey Locks for Rental Property | Management in Austin, TX

Does a landlord have to change locks between tenants? Yes. If you don’t already know, you have to change your locks at your rental property between each occupant. This doesn’t mean just rekeying the locks between each tenant. If you have a short-term rental or you have a vacation house that you live in sometimes and rent out at other times, you need to change the locks every time someone new occupies the home. Read more

Austin, TX Rental Property Inspections – How Important are they?

Rental property inspections or property surveys while tenants are in place are necessary and important, but it’s not always a good idea to have them done by property managers. I always advise people to be wary of any property manager who claims to personally be at the property more than once a year. I don’t want to say anyone’s lying to you, but property managers have a lot of things they need to be doing. Physically being at a property that doesn’t have any current red flags is not a priority. A home inspection is important and necessary, but often a lower priority when emergencies are going on. Read more

Austin, TX Rental Market Analysis and Trends | Property Management Update

There is a lot going on in the Austin rental market, and today I am providing a market update. We’re also going to talk about how to navigate a challenging market. I have some statistics that I don’t want to bore you with, so I’ll give you the bottom line: we’re in a competitive market right now. It’s not oversaturated in all areas, but the supply is exceeding the demand in several areas. This is leading to above average lease times. Read more

Austin Job Growth 3.3% in 2016

According to a recent article in our local paper, the Austin American Statesman, the job rate in Austin and our surrounding cities was 3.3% in 2016. This is really great news but the article pointed out that this figure was off a tad from previous years. Payroll increased by 3.8% meaning that employees are earning more money. All of this bodes well for us investors in residential rentals as it means that our area continues to grow and attract both employers and employees who need housing. And since housing is still in short supply here, and since interest rates have increased and look as if they will continue to increase, coupled with the increased price of homes making saving for down payments more difficult, it looks like renting is the option for our new transplants. When you factor in that many people are “choosing” to rent vs. buying a home, such as retirees and minerals, this is driving the average rent price upwards.

Looks like the good times will continue to roll on for us – especially if you own Austin area rentals.

Rick Ebert / Austin, Texas / 26 March 17

3 Tips on Converting Short Term Rentals into Long Term Rentals in Austin, TX

Partnering with a professional property manager will help you convert your short term rental to a long term rental. Today, we’re talking about the process and sharing three tips to make it more efficient. Read more

Service and Emotional Support Animals – Guidelines for Your Austin Rental Home

Here in Texas, you do not have to allow pets in your property, and there is no limit on the deposit you can charge someone moving in with a pet. At Austin Landmark, we restrict size and breed when it comes to pets. Most of our properties do accept pets and we encourage landlords to accept pets unless there are circumstances like you’re terribly allergic to cats and you might move back into the property one day. Some natural hardwood floors are also very susceptible to dogs and cats. And, some landlords have had terrible experiences and don’t want pets. So there are times when we do say no to pets. Read more

How to Choose the Right Vendors for Your Austin, TX Rental Property

At Austin Landmark Property Services, we manage around 500 properties, which results in a lot of property maintenance services. That means we develop and maintain relationships with good vendors to make sure all repairs are made correctly and affordably. Today, we’re talking about those relationships and how to partner with vendors to succeed with your rental property. Read more

Two Congratulations to Mike Gonzales RPM® TRLS

Mike Gonzales is awarded the Austin area chapter of NARPM® “Member of the Year” award by chapter president Michael Ebert. Mike Gonzales’s was cited for his contributions and continuous support to the Austin NARPM® chapter and to his unfaltering assistance to the chapter president.  Mike Gonzales stated that he was both surprised and honored to be the recipient of the award.

This year Mike Gonzales is the president of the Austin NARPM® chapter. As incoming president he takes the reins from outgoing president Michael Ebert.  Austin Landmark Property Services, Inc., CRMC® is proud to have on their staff such dedicated professionals who promote the highest standards of excellence to be found in our industry.

Rick Ebert / Austin, Texas / 6 Jan 17

Why Aren’t Home Builders Building?

This was the headline in a recent post in REALTOR Magazine this week.  There were several reasons cited in the article.  Leading the list among them were increasing regulations regarding building.  The article stated, but did not identify what kind of regulations were adding to the cost of building new homes but the cost was estimated to have increased to 29% of the cost of construction over the last five years. I assume this means not only implementing the regulations but also finding the hardware and training craftsmen to make the changes through trail and error.  These costs can include building around trees, impervious cover, set back requirements meaning less land to build on, the height of door handles and light switches all of which have to be designed and then implemented, and the list goes on and on.  Additionally builders are citing the lack of suitable labor and the increasing cost of lots to build upon. 

My take on all this means that if you own a residential rental right now that you are in a good place.  Take all of the above, now factor in the rising interest rate and probably more to come, and the lack of folks to save for a down payment, and you have a lot more people needing to rent vs. being able to buy a house.  Now add in the millennials who have a penchant for “wanting to rent” as a life style choice vs. having to rent, and this throws more prospective renters into the market.  So with a shrinking inventory or rentals, say in the Austin area, and a bunch of folks moving here to take jobs, coupled with the millennials and with those who can’t afford to buy a house and you get rising rental rates.

Just a few good reasons for owning Austin area residential rentals!

Rick Ebert / Austin, Texas / 23 Dec 16 

What and Who is an Austinite?

In the December issue of Impact, a local monthly area-wide newspaper, the publication cited several facts obtained from the Austin city auditor’s office.

Population: For starters the report cited that the city is expected to increase its population by 88,419 over the next five years.  The report didn’t clarify if the increase was from folks coming here of from children being born here.  Either way that amounts to 49 people a day on the average.  This figure actually seems low to me as Austin has seen in the last e years an average of 100 people a day relocating and other sources indicate that this trend isn’t slowing.  Time will tell.  The number of Austin households is expected to grow from 356,998 from 2015 to 395,686 by 2020 which is just a tad over 10%.  Not surprising, the number of families is expected to expand to 201,371 from 183,564.  That figure is also a bit of a 10% increase.

Income: The average Austinite earns $52,460 a year or $4,371 a month.  This figure is just about on target for the average ALPS renter (actually a bit lower).

Housing Costs:  The report stated that renters spend 48% less on housing costs than homeowners with renters reportedly spending $1,240 monthly for rent and homeowners spending $2,390 for a mortgage payment.  Frankly, I don’t buy those figures.  A small one bedroom apartment in a decent area will run $1,100 a month here, and it goes up from there; way up!  I also base my thinking on our average rent in our managed properties are over $1,500 a month.  Also taking into consideration that the “average” Austinite who earns $4,371 month would typically qualify for a rent of $1,457 – so go figure?  The report also stated that 57% of all households rent vs. 43% who are homeowners.

The Californians are Coming!  Well  no surprise there.  In a recent article in the Austin American Statesman a piece stated that 8 Californians a day migrated to our fair city between 2010 and 2014.  And just what part of California is seeing the most of this outflow?  Guess what it isn’t Silicon Valley but amazingly it is Los Angeles!  And why are they leaving.  Well for one thing they are living in California (my former home state) and what does California have and Austin doesn’t have?  Affordable housing, a “go to” work spirit, and lower taxes.  I do give California the edge on having a great climate!  But the Austin area is “climate friendly” when compared to the rest of the nation.

What Does this Mean?  It means that for us investors in Austin area residential real estate that we are in a good place, a very good place.  Our rentals are located in a growing area that is seeing lots of folks coming here, lots of jobs coming here, and folks are making good money to pay the rent.

Rick Ebert/Austin, Texas / 15 Dec 16