Austin Property Management Blog

Austin property management blog provided by Stone Oak Property Management. Providing frequent updates and insights into property management for Austin, Texas.

Tax Write Offs For Your Austin Rental Property

Grant Williams - Thursday, March 15, 2018

Owning a rental property has always offered great benefits to the owner. Almost all of their expenses can be deducted come tax season due to owning properties being treated similar to owning a business.

Tax season is approaching and many of you may be preparing close out your fiscal year with as many helpful deductions as possible. Here are a few tax deductions to keep in mind for your Austin, Texas rental home in 2018.

You Can Write Off Interest

Most property owners already know that they are able to write off the interest they pay on their mortgage for their investment property. This is typically the largest write-off of the year for any owner, however, there are several other types of interest one can write off for their property. Be sure to write off any interest paid on credit cards, lines for credit, and any other loan used to acquire, maintain, or improve your Austin rental.

Don’t Forget About Depreciation

In a city like Austin, you might not expect to be able to write of depreciation for your property. After all, hasn’t most of Austin real estate experienced huge appreciation the past several years? According to the IRS, a building’s “useful life” is 27.5 years. Every year at tax time this allows you to write off 1/27th of that property. However, in order to do so you must separate the value of the property from the value of the land. An appraisal can give you this information and you can also check your tax assessor’s database.

You’ve Been All Over the Place

Any and all travel associated with your Austin rental property can be written off at tax time. Travelling to Home Depot to get new appliances for the home? Be sure to track your mileage and expenses associated with that trip. It is even possible to write of the travel spent looking for properties here in Austin, Texas.

Your Employees & Contractors

Every time you pay someone to perform services related to your Austin rental home, you can deduct their wages/fees/expenses as a business expense for you. Be sure to keep your receipts and all records of such. Maybe the neighbor kid mows the lawn for you every Thursday so be sure to write off that $40!

Marketing Your Property

Your Austin rental property won’t do to well if there is no one renting it from you. Marketing runs any business and yours is no different. Maybe you paid for this brilliant website to feature your property, you’ve purchased signs to market your listing, or any other type of outreach for your rental home. Just keep in mind that any expense that occurs when doing so can be written off at tax time. Be sure to keep track of any and all ads you pay for.

Want to learn all of the new tax laws and how they impact your Austin rental property? You can read the full article here. If you struggle with tracking expenses and keeping everything organizes for tax season is may be time to hire an Austin property manager. As an Austin property management company, Stone Oak also assists landlords with protesting their property taxes every year. If you’re a landlord in Greater Austin and would like more information, please contact us.

Austin Homes For Rent: 8309 Horton Trail

Grant Williams - Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Austin Property Management Cycle

Grant Williams - Monday, March 05, 2018

It's that easy! Get started with Stone Oak's Austin property managers today and learn more about our Austin property management services!

5 Reasons to Fire Your Property Manager

Grant Williams - Tuesday, February 27, 2018

If you own rental properties in Austin, Texas, or any other major rental city, there is a good chance you outsource your day-to-day management for your property(s). A property management company will offer resources for your property that you, as the owner, just can’t provide. They have systems in place to lease your property quickly and then insure tenant satisfaction throughout the duration of their lease. Your property management company is a third party dedicated to relieving you from the stress of owning rental properties.

When the headaches begin returning to you, you’ve got problems. The instant you even begin to have to worry about your property you’re on the track to run into some problems. With nothing short of a plethora of management companies to choose from, spending time working with a property manager who isn’t getting the job done can be a costly mistake. Here are 5 reasons you may fire your current property manager for greener pastures.

Your Property Manager is Unresponsive

Imagine you own a business and are tasked with hiring a team of employees to properly run your business. You would most definitely target employees you felt you could trust and would be responsive to you as their boss. The same goes for hiring a property management company. Never forget, any property management company you choose to manage your rental properties works for you, not the other way around. Like any employee, your property manager you hire should be completely responsive to you as the owner of those properties. Having a hard time getting a hold of your property manager? Time to start shopping around for a new manager!

Failing to Adapt with the Industry

It’s 2018 and technology has taken us a lot farther then we could ever expect. We order rides with the click of a button, cars drive themselves, and your property manager has a lot more tech available to them then their used to be. Take a moment and think about what your property manager is offering both you and your tenants. Can your tenants pay rent online? Are they? Can you login in and check owner statements every month? Does the company provide property tax protests come tax time?

How do they connect with tenants and lease your properties? Do they actively market your properties or spray and pray with the MLS? A great property management company, like Stone Oak Management, has an in-house marketing team that is a Google Partner and hold certifications with the latest digital marketing suites and practices. Is your property manager adapting with the industry or are they stagnate?

They Keep Renting to Bad Tenants

There are a bunch of factors that play into whether your rental property is successful or not. All of the different parties play their part in receiving that rental check every month. The most important part in all of this is the tenants. When your property has great tenants it’s hard for things to be better. The money shows up on time every month and all parties are happy. If your tenants are bad apples then things are different. You or your manager could be left running down your rental payments, disputing damages to the property, etc. It’s your property manager’s job to get your property leased, but not just to anyone. If you’re property manager seems to place only bad tenants it’s time to fire them. Consider asking potential managers what percentage of their tenants they’ve had to evict. This answer should be low and if it’s high the alarm bells should be going off.

Your Tenants are Dissatisfied

Earlier we stated that your tenants were a huge factor that played into the success of your property. Sure, we want to avoid the bad ones, but just getting great tenants doesn’t guarantee a smooth rental property. Renters are needy, and as the party responsible for your monetary gain, it’s wise to keep them happy. If your property manager isn’t focused on your tenants satisfaction as much as they are focused on yours then the priorities of your property management company are wrong. Tenants are the lifeblood of your property and keeping them happy and content makes for a better time. If the company you’ve chosen to manage your rental home is slow on maintenance and repairs and keeping your tenant happy then finding a new property manager is advisable.

Nickel & Diming

No one likes, so why do companies do it? We get it, some people are really great at finding ways to monetize things. However, being greedy is unattractive, especially when it means charging money that should rightfully go to the landlord. For example, a big national property management company, who shall remain unnamed, seem to offer a great ‘flat-rate’ that can’t be beat. However, they probably aren’t telling you they are charging your tenants a percentage of their monthly rent on top of their normal payment for ‘convenience’. Shouldn’t the owner of the property be receiving that cash? What about charging for every little thing they do? Some managers charge outrageous fees for things such as inspecting the property. Something that should come with the service you’d think. Want to work with an honest property manager? The companies who are setup to take a percentage of your rent usually have a better idea of how their business works and what it takes to run them smoothly. Don’t be fooled by the low monthly fee, they are up-charging elsewhere.

Thinking of making the switch in managers? Start with Google and Yelp. Look at all the companies and what they have to offer. Being #1 in the search results for these companies doesn’t mean they are the best option. Be sure to do your due diligence and vet all potential management companies. Don’t partner with the biggest, partner with the best!

[Video] For Lease: 1150 Arbor Knot Drive

Grant Williams - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rental Homes: What's a Good Cap Rate?

Grant Williams - Monday, February 05, 2018

As with any investment, everyone wants to know roughly how long it will be for them to earn their initial back, otherwise known as cap rate. It’s a term that is widely used in the real estate investing world and the higher it goes the better.  Usually when discussing cap rate, investors are dealing with a multi-family project or commercial building, but what about rental homes? What’s a good cap rate for an investment property?

No two rental properties are the same, and there is no blanket answer for cap rate. To accurately calculate the cap rate of your investment property one must consider a multitude of external factors as well as the home itself.

Where the property is located will have a big say in how lucrative your investment will be. As they say, “in real estate, location is everything.” How strong is the rental market where you are looking to purchase a rental home? Typically, large metro markets with great universities and younger population make for prime rental home locations. By knowing where you want to purchase a rental home investment property you can begin to see the bigger picture. How much will the property cost in your chosen market? What’s the unemployment rate of the area? Median household income? Where you chose to buy will play a large impact on your rate of return. By answering the above questions, you’ll be able to narrow down desired markets to purchase within.

With all of that stated, what are investors getting as cap rate for their rental home investments? In a market like Austin, Texas’, a good cap rate for a single-family rental home is in the 6-8% range. This is generally regarded as a good return, as Austin has a strong rental market. According to Nolo, 4-10% is a reasonable range to earn from your investment.

Do you own rental properties and not sure what your cap rate is? Just subtract your annual expenses from your annual rent collected and then divide that number by the purchase price of the property. Per the formula below:

(Annual Rent – Annual Expenses) / Purchase Price

This number will give you an accurate representation of how long you have or have left till you’ve recouped your initial investment from a rental property purchase. While cap rate is an important statistic to track, basing an a rental home acquisition off this number alone won’t give you the full picture you’re in search of. You should still run regular price comps in the area your rental is located. Your home can also appreciate in the years following a purchase and this number isn’t factored into cap rate.

If you’re an investor and have interest in finding different markets with great cap rates to play in, you should consider a city with a strong rental market like Austin, Texas. The rental market is incredibly strong and the influx of people outweighs those that are leaving. Even if you’re not in the region, partnering with an Austin property management company or property manager in your area can make rental home investments a breeze. 

[Video] 424 Canadian Springs Drive | Austin Homes For Rent

Grant Williams - Monday, January 29, 2018

424 Canadian Springs Drive, Leander, Texas 78641

New construction home in Leander available now! Be the first to live in the home!

What to Expect From an Austin Property Manager

Grant Williams - Friday, January 26, 2018

When it comes to your Austin rental properties you want the best. A rental property is an asset proven to be a great investment over time and you want to make sure it’s cared for in a way that ensures longevity, as well as income. You’ve considered your options and have decided being a full-time landlord isn’t for you and we totally understand. The instant you put occupants in the property that asset is no longer just your rental property, but also someone’s home that you must start considering when making decisions regarding you’re Austin, Texas rental property.

So you’ve decided to partner with an Austin property management company. A quick Google search reveals you have options when it comes to property managers, so how do you decide who to hire? Well, it turns out not all Austin property managers are created equal. Like any industry, you’ll find a spectrum of companies in Austin offering different services, claiming to be the #1 Austin property manager and the best financial option for you.

So what should you be expecting from your Austin property manager?

Simply put, a lot.

Property management has a lot of moving parts that need to work in unison for you to experience a stress-free time. Partnering with a dedicated team with years of experience should be the first thing you look for in an Austin property manager.

A Dedicated Team

While there are individuals successfully managing properties for others, having a dedicated team for property management makes everything seamless. For your property(s) to run smoothly, it takes a team effort from everyone, marketing to maintenance. Your property experiences various stages of the rent cycle as the time passes. At times it’s vacant and needs marketing, at times it’s occupied and your tenant’s need support, and sometimes your property is experiencing difficulties and needs repairs. Partnering with an Austin property management company that has you covered regardless of the stage your property is in can leave you with a stress-free rental property!

Stone Oak’s highly experienced Austin property management team consists of individuals from different professional backgrounds dedicated to keeping your investment up to par year-round.


What is your current property manager doing to market your property? It’s 2018 and the times are changing. The internet now dominates the market and your probably still being told the usually ‘MLS’ spiel for marketing your property.

Marketing your Austin rental property goes beyond just putting the property on the Austin MLS and letting it syndicate to the various websites tenants may have chance of finding your property on. Sure, you can find tenants this way, but how much of an effort is being made and how fast is it happening? Stone Oak approaches rental home marketing differently. We have an in-house team that are Google Partners & hold certifications in the most-used digital marketing platforms, such as Facebook. We actively target potential renters using various media channels and are constantly putting your property in front of 1000’s of potential Austin renters. Our website,, experiences 1000+ unique visits a week from Austin area renters looking for rental homes just like yours! Our efforts here allow us to offer Stone Oak’s 30 Day Rent Guarantee.

Potential tenants are rigorously screened and vetted before being put in your property. When Stone Oak places a tenant in the property, we have full confidence that the tenant meets all desired criteria and could be in the property for beyond just one lease term.


What’s important to you is most important to us. Over the years, in speaking with hundreds of different Austin property owners, communication is every landlord’s #1 characteristic thing they look for in a property management company. Stone Oak practices single-point-of-contact management. Once you sign up with Stone Oak Property Management, your property(s) is assigned a portfolio manager. This individual will be the sole person you contact for everything involving our services. No hoops to jump through, no being put on hold to talk to another department, just you calling a live person every single time who is going to take care of anything you need done. Your tenants even have a dedicated individual to contact regarding maintenance for their property. This individual coordinates the entire thing from start to finish, resulting in quick repair times and happy tenants!

Owner and tenant satisfaction is our #1 priority at Stone Oak. If there is ever an issue at hand you can expect a quick resolve for all parties involved.


Your Austin property manager should be completely transparent and run an ethical business. Resorting to Google and Yelp, should help you get an idea of what other client’s think of the various property managers in Austin, Texas. It’s a good way to make sure that not only do owners like working with this property manager, but also that their tenants like renting from them and having them as landlords.

Stone Oak and our entire staff are dedicated to running an ethical business with transparency for all involved. As a property owner with Stone Oak, you’ll have the means to track all financial reporting tied to your property and keep tabs on what’s happening with your property in real time. Our software allows you to login and check on all of this from anywhere. Your property management company is basically an extension of yourself and has the power to make financial decisions for you, how transparent is your current manager?


Convenience for your tenants is key. Your Austin property manager should have systems in place to allow for the payment of rent as well as notify the manager of maintenance or any issues. As the owner of the property, you should be provided with the means to check in on your property and the status of it.

Stone Oak utilizes the best software suite in the business, providing convenient tools for both owners and tenants. Your tenants can pay their rent, report maintenance issues, and connect with the entire staff with the click of a button. You can track financials and the details of your property in real time via our owner portal on our website.

So you’ve decided to hire an Austin property management company to help with your rental portfolio. Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from a quality firm, be sure to shop around options and speak to everyone that seems like a good fit for you. Be sure to remember that your property manager is an extension of yourself and partnering with a team you can trust is key!

Renting is Over Taking the Housing Market

Jason Huval - Monday, January 15, 2018

According to the Urban Institute, single-family rental homes are growing faster than any other demographic of the housing market. Their research shows that the single-family rental market outpaces both single-family home purchases as well as apartment purchases.

“Young people are waiting longer to get married and have children, which can make renting more economical”, says Sarah Strochak of the Urban Institute as she expanded on how single-family rentals have risen 30% in the last 3 years.

As younger generations become more active in the housing market we should expect to see these figures climb.

The rise in renting

The 2008 financial crisis had a devastating effect on U.S. markets, especially the single-family housing market. While we’ve climbed back to traditional levels for things such as foreclosures and underwater mortgages, one thing that hasn’t recovered is the American population’s willingness to buy a home. The American dream of owning a home slowly began to wither and has gone from an investment everyone hoped to make to one that younger generations, such as millennial, all of a sudden have to question. Today, SFR’s and townhome rental properties make up 35% of the country’s rental properties compared to just 31% in 2006.

Without a doubt, millennials are the demographic leading this trend of renting over buying and a myriad of factors contribute to that fact. That myriad of factors includes everything from stagnant incomes, student loan debt, lack of commitment to an area and much more. For a generation that was coming of age during and just after the 2008 crisis, the hesitation to commit to a 30-year mortgage note isn’t unfounded.

However, it’s not only millennials who are affected by this ongoing shift in the housing market. Americans over the age of 55 have grown more accustomed to renting. According to RENTcafe, renters aged over 55 has grew by a total of 28% between 2009 and 2015. In areas such as Miami, Houston, and Minneapolis, more than two-thirds of new single-family renters were 65 or older.

Why did renting become so popular?

This trend in the rental housing industry was born when the recession took place. During the crash, the prices of nearly ever asset fell, including real estate. This opened the door for powerful firms and individuals to gobble up properties at huge discounts. Institutional investors were able to purchase the majority of the homes that fell under foreclosure and hard times. For example, from 2007-2010 in Phoenix, Arizona, the number of homes occupied by owners – not renters – fell by 30,000.

Renting instead of Buying

Renting can be a sensible choice over buying when looking to segment away from the apartment lifestyle, maybe even considered a stepping stone to actually purchasing. The attraction is obvious – buyers don’t need a hefty down payment to enable the sale. Traditionally, 20% is needed on a purchase but some metropolitan markets are becoming so expensive that just a 5% down payment can seem daunting to individuals.

What to know before renting a single-family residence

If you’re an individual thinking of making the switch from an apartment to a SFR, there are a few things to keep in mind. In a single-family home, utilities will be considerably more expensive. Maintenance also becomes a bigger issue when you find yourself in a home. Usually, it will be written into your lease agreement if you have any maintenance obligations to stay on top of. Renter’s insurance is important once you’re in a SFR, as your landlord’s policy more than likely won’t cover damage to or theft of your property.

If you’re an individual looking for some of the best properties to rent in Austin, Texas, be sure to check out Stone Oak Management’s available Austin rental properties

Austin Property Management in 2018

Jason Huval - Monday, January 08, 2018

2018 has arrived and ideally you’ve placed a tenant within the last few days on a 12 month lease and won’t have to worry about your Austin rental home for the next 12 months. That sounds ideal for a lot of us! If only rental properties and rental income were that easy.

For the upcoming 2018, put your property in hands that you can trust with Stone Oak Property Management. Your property investment is nothing to joke around with and partnering with a premium management service is in your best interest. Austin property managers do much more than just collect the rent, and handle maintenance requests from your tenants.

  As we begin the New Year, maybe it’s time to consider a better property manager. Some benefits of Stone Oak:

  • Property Management without breaking the bank. Stone Oak’s service charges 7% of your monthly rent without charging any of the outrageous fees. It’s a better deal on better management.
  • NO CONTRACTS TO SIGN. You’re obligated to work with no one!
  • Stone Oak has had 20k+ prospective tenants visit our website in the last 12 months giving your property the exposure it deserves.
  • Our service is backed by 4 guarantees!
  • Like dealing with a dedicated, responsive team. Owner and tenant satisfaction is our #1 priority and we take that very seriously. Our owners are given the tools to keep track of everything as well as the direct phone lines to those on their account. Tenants in Stone Oak properties enjoy online tools to pay their rent, have maintenance taken care of swiftly and much more!

Learn more about Stone Oak’s Austin property management services!

Looking for the best service for your Austin rental property in 2018? With Stone Oak Management, you can enjoy increased ROI, shorter vacancies, responsive management, no contracts to sign and more! 

Contact Us

Stone Oak Property Management
13497 N Highway 183, Ste. 700
Austin, TX 78750

Phone: 512.617.6766
Toll Free: 888.892.7940
Fax: 512.994.2300

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