Top 3: Things To Look For In The Perfect Property Management Company

Investing in real estate—especially in booming markets like Austin—is a smart and popular choice for many people out there. However, being a smart and popular choice doesn’t make managing real estate easy. In fact, it can be a downright hassle. Enter a property management company that can fill vacancies and maintain properties for you.

Once you’ve decided that it’s time to hire a property management company, you need to find the perfect one. Picking out the right management can be a bit overwhelming. After all, the wrong manager could cost you both in cash and to the detriment of your properties. The perfect management company provides seamless transitions between tenants while keeping your assets well maintained. They can handle the big-picture stuff with ease without missing a detail on the small day-to-day operations.

top 3 things to look for in property management company

You can’t predict how well a company will work for your needs, but you can prepare in your search. Maximize your search for the perfect property management company by keeping these three things in mind:

  1. Find a company you trust

Look for someone who makes your job easy…your job being the owner, simply that. The right manager will not only do the physical job for you, but they will keep you updated on the state of your property without you having to ask. You hired a property management company to save you time and make your life easier. Because managing a property is so complex, you need to be sure that the people taking care of your real estate are capable. The last thing you want is to worry about having to clean up a mess resulting from mismanagement.
When you can trust your property management company you can step back from the demands of being a landlord and reclaim your time and energy for yourself.

  1. Have a manager that knows the market

Locality is a given; you know you want a property management company that can put a manager at your property in a moment’s notice. However an outstanding property management company goes beyond that. When a manager really knows the market, they can maximize the profitability of your investment. They can fill your home or condo with the right, quality tenant or tenants and find the best contractors for dealing with landscaping or maintenance issues.
Finding someone who gets your market means more and better ideas for managing your property, and that’s never a bad thing.

  1. They make you want to buy more property

Remember what we said about managing real estate not being easy? Well, that’s only kind of true. With the right partner many investors find owning and renting out real estate can be a breeze and they can get downright hooked. After all, investing in property is something you can see and feel which is not something you get from every investment.
If the stress of managing properties is the only thing holding you back from investing in more real estate, the right property management company can overcome that barrier for you.

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The Upside of Austin’s Growing Population

The ever increasing traffic problems and long lines at favorite local hot spots can put a damper on any Austinite’s mood. However, though hard to see, there are some actual BENEFITS to the population surge.

In fact, the recent Austin real estate boom could have many Austin residents changing their tune completely. According to KXAN, Austin is now number one in the country for fast home sales. Recent studies report 40% of Austin homes now sell within 7-10 days at an average of $60,000 more than other big Texas cities like Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

For homeowners, this is more than amazing news. There has never been a better time to put your beloved home on the market!

Population Increases Demand
It’s simple math. With an average of 110 people moving to Austin every day, it’s only natural the real estate market would also benefit. As of April 2014, Austin’s population totaled more 865,000. The entire metro area reached nearly 2 million.
Think about how many of those people need homes? No wonder Austin homes are selling like hot cakes. The demand is extraordinary.

Strong, Steady Market Here To Stay
Whether residents want to admit it or not, the growth is here to stay and will continue. Why not embrace it? After all, it is the main contributor to the strong, steady housing marketing real estate professionals and Austin homeowners have come to enjoy over the last couple of years.
In fact, many realtors claim the market will stay reliable and strong as long as interest rates and housing inventory remains low. Add the booming Austin economy, the ample job market, low rental rates (compared to other popular US cities), and overall cheaper cost of living and you’ve got yourself the perfect equation.

Should I Think About Selling?
With so many homeowners taking advantage of the current situation, you may start feeling the pressure to put your home up for sale. It’s well maintained, renovated, and in a prime location. Just think: selling your home could finally be the financial break you’ve been waiting for!
Not so fast. Experts suggest not jumping the gun so quickly – no matter how good the market is. Yes, there are definitely small fortunes to be made, but as a homeowner, it always proves beneficial to err on the side of caution.
For example, it is always in your best interest to do your own research before seeking outside assistance. Checking things like the prices of homes sold in your area or homes similar to yours for the past 30 days could supply you with a tremendous amount of insight considering the everchanging nature of Austin’s current housing market.
Not to mention, the population growth has made many previously undesirable locations now desirable. If they can’t live downtown or within the confines of the exclusive 78704, chances are they’ll settle for locations that are close by. In fact, some transplants are so desperate to move to Austin that they’ll even settle for locations outside the city limits just to finally become a resident!
You’ll find obtaining this information (along with any other tidbits that you feel could make your home sell for above asking price) will result in a much more productive and hands-on meeting with your appraiser and help you ultimately decide on your next steps going forward.
On the other hand, your findings may take you in the completely opposite direction. Waiting to sell may prove to be the better option. If this is the case, property management companies suggest exploring the idea of renting your home instead. In doing so, you can still reap the benefits of the population boom but not have to officially part with your cherished home.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to stop complaining about the population surge and start taking advantage of it! The odds have never been so much in your favor. Just remember to use caution, perform your own research, and take guidance from real estate professionals to ensure the most satisfying and lucrative plan of action.

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5 Signs It’s Time To Hire A Property Management Company

Let’s face it. Being a landlord has its pros and cons. On one hand, you make a decent amount of money, monthly, on well-kept property you would otherwise have no other use for. You can choose who you want to inhabit the property, the type of vendors who will maintain the property, etc.
On the other hand, being a landlord can be quite time consuming and tedious. Though it may be nice to have the choice of who inhabits your property and who maintains your property; it unfortunately requires an extensive amount of work on the landlord’s end.
As a result, many landlords turn to property management companies to ease some of the burden. Property management companies can assist you with the day to day management tasks, find quality tenants to fill your vacancy (vacancies) quickly, and maintain your property in the way you see fit.
But how do you know if hiring a property management company is the right choice for you? Here are 5 tell-tale signs you need to hand over the reigns to a property management company ASAP:
1) You Own Multiple Properties/Units
If you own several properties or several properties with various units, management can be a real nightmare.
Many landlords find out managing these properties/units themselves turns into a full blown, 40+hour a week job that they did not sign up for. In this case, hiring a property management company can be highly beneficial.
The property management company will assign a manager to every property and will ensure all of its needs are met from monthly maintenance to property advertising and marketing.
2) You Don’t Live Close To Your Units Or Plan To Move In The Future
If living close to your units or property is not feasible or in some cases, desirable; having a local property management company manage your property could improve your situation tremendously.
You won’t have to worry about making frequent, expensive trips to check on the status of your property or have to wait days/weeks for rental payments to come in (if they come in at all).
You can simply hand over the responsibilities to a trusted, local property management company and rely on their skills and resources to perform all of the necessary tasks to keep everything running smoothly.
3) Close Management Isn’t Your Thing
Other landlords choose to hire property management companies simply to take away the stress caused by rental management.
Chances are, if you’re looking into a property management company, spending your days screening tenants, negotiating with your landscaping company, or dealing with bounced checks is not exactly ideal.
If a more “hands off” approach is what is you’re looking for, hiring a property management company is definitely something to consider.
4) Time Is Not On Your Side
Hiring a property management company is also a good choice for landlords who simply do not have the time to devote to their property/units. It’s no secret that managing a property correctly is very time consuming.
This is why many landlords forgo proper management procedures and hastily complete tasks that would otherwise demand a great deal of attention and time.
For example, hurrying through the tenant screening process can have some pretty dire consequences should you choose to run only a basic background check rather than a full, comprehensive check that includes evictions and misdemeanor felonies.
5) Managing The Property Has Taken Over Your Life
Lastly, if managing your property/units has completely taken over your life and you simply don’t want to deal with it anymore – hire a property management company. You’ll notice a significant increase in your free time as well as a much needed increase in the overall quality of your property business.
Tasks that used to keep you awake at night or cause unnecessary anxiety will now be handled with absolute care and be fulfilled with complete legal and government regulation compliance.
No more setting up lease contracts yourself or spending hours trying to find the perfect pool cleaners. A property management company will complete all tasks, day after day, month after month, to a satisfactory degree.

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Rents keep rising as home prices stagnate

By Les Christie @CNNMoney April 5, 2012: 4:36 PM ET
rental chart

“Buying a home is more affordable than renting now in almost every part of the United States,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Renting used to be cheaper than buying. But in many U.S. cities that’s no longer the case, as rents continue to climb and home prices stagnate.
While asking prices for homes declined 0.7% over the past 12 months through March, rents rose 5%, according to a report released Thursday by real estate listing site Trulia.
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The median rent for all types of rental homes hit $1,350 a month in March, up from a median of $1,285 a month 12 months ago, Trulia reported.
“Buying a home is more affordable than renting now in almost every part of the United States,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia.
Several metro areas recorded double-digit percentage increases in rental rates.
In Sarasota, Fla., the average rent jumped 12.9% year-over-year, the biggest increase of any of the 100 largest metro areas Trulia surveyed. Miami and San Francisco saw the next biggest increases, with rent hikes of 12.1% and 11.1%, respectively.
The metro areas that sustained the highest rent increases were a decidedly mixed bag, but obviously shared one factor: rising demand for a limited supply of rental units.
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The national vacancy rate for apartments fell 0.3 percentage points during the first quarter to 4.9%, its lowest point since late 2001, according to a separate report from Reis Inc., a real estate research firm. With such limited availability, it has put pressure on rentals of all types.
In cities like Miami that were hit hard by the housing bust and recorded a high number of foreclosures, all of the displaced residents have to live somewhere.
“A lot of people who were owners lost their homes in the bust in these places,” said Kolko. Many of them turned to the rental market, boosting demand and driving up rents, he said.
Other cities have put constraints on the construction of new multi-family housing, thereby limiting supply. For example, in San Francisco, where the median rent is a whopping $2,625, there are few tracts of land available to develop, raising demand for housing and pushing rents there higher.
Several Rust-Belt cities also saw large rent increases in the past year, including Indianapolis, where rents went up 9.7%, and Columbus, Ohio, where they jumped 9.3%.
These cities have seen big gains in the industrial sector, which have led to a growing number of jobs and higher rents, said Kolko. As hiring levels off, he does not expect the big rent increases to continue.
Buying a home is cheaper than renting
Meanwhile, asking prices for homes nationwide crept lower over the past 12 months, according to Trulia.
That, along with record low mortgage rates, has made buying a home more affordable than it’s ever been and a bargain compared to renting. However, many Americans will not be able to seize this historic opportunity to become homeowners, said Kolko.
Unemployed, too broke to come up with a down payment or with credit scores too battered to qualify for a mortgage, many people simply cannot qualify to buy a home right now, according to Kolko
With fewer consumers able to make the leap into homeownership, rents could continue to climb higher, he said.

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Buffet Recommends Single Family Rental Homes

When comparing all the potential places that a small investor might put his money in the world today, Warren Buffet said live on CNBC Monday morning February 27th: “Single Family Rental Housing maybe the best investment of all. I’d put it on a 30 yr mortgage and sell in 3 to 4 years for what I bet will be a very substantial profit.” This from the person regarded as the greatest investor of all time.

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Housing Crisis to End in 2012 as Banks Loosen Credit Standards

Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit.

The analytics firm notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is 700. While this is higher than scores required prior to the crisis, it is constant with requirements one year ago.
Additionally, a Fed Senior Loan Officer Survey found credit requirements in the fourth quarter were consistent with the past three quarters.
However, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability.
Banks are now lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. This is up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.
Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.”
In contrast to a low of 74 percent reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV.
While credit conditions may have loosened slightly, some potential homebuyers are still struggling with credit requirements. In fact, Capital Economics points out that in November 8 percent of contract cancellations were the result of a potential buyer not qualifying for a loan.
Additionally, Capital Economics says “any improvement in credit conditions won’t be significant enough to generation actual house price gains,” and potential ramifications from the euro-zone pose a threat to future credit availability. – By: KRISTA FRANKS
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