Historically, real estate is one of the best investments that you can make. Turning your Austin, Texas house into a rental home could be a great financial decision that helps generate passive income while paying off an asset you'll own in the future.
However, owning a rental home in Austin differs from operating one. Finding renters and managing your tenants could be a whole lot more than you bargained for and being on call for maintenance at all times might not be your thing. These are the most important questions you should ask your Austin property manager, or any property manager if you’re shopping around!
What do you charge for property management?
Your rental home was purchased as an asset intended to make you money, right? That's why knowing how much it'll cost you to hire a property manager is an important question. Most property managers you'll speak with either charge a predetermined flat-rate or will charge you a predetermined percentage of the monthly rent. Once you know the fee you will better be able to determine the expected cash flow you should receive for your property.
What are the fees that are not included in the monthly management fee?
These might include extra fees for evictions, notices to vacate, or HOA violations. You don’t want to be surprised 6 months into a lease when your account doesn’t reflect the full amount you’re expecting. It's important to also remind owners that the property manager you hire is a direct extension of yourself to your tenants and for the health of your rental unit. You'll need to make sure you trust your property manager with operating your rental property so be wary of going with the cheapest company on the block just to save more money on the fees. Like most things, you get what you pay for...
How is maintenance handled within your property management company?
two three things that are guaranteed in a landlord's life - death, taxes & maintenance requests. When hiring a property manager for your rental home you'll want to ask them how maintenance is handled within their company (specifically relating to overseeing quality, price, and emergency issues). You'll want to make sure that the person who is overseeing any work done on your home has the knowledge and know-how to get the job done efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.
Our maintenance team at Stone Oak Property Management has over 40 years of combined experience handling the maintenance for real estate organizations and property management companies. We keep an updated, ever-evolving list of the top vendors in our area so you know the people who touch your property have experience necessary to get the job done quickly and with minimal costs.
How often will you inspect my property?
Once you hire an Austin property manager you're trusting them to be your eyes and ears for your rental property. They are seeing your property, right? That's why it's important to ask any property management company you are considering hiring how many times they'll inspect your property throughout the year.
While you don't want to continually bug the tenants in a property, you need to be sure that they are properly maintaining the home as they live in it. Your property manager should be inspecting your property at least twice a year. Any maintenance done on the home should serve as an opportunity to inspect the rest of the property as well. Stone Oak also informs our vendors to keep an eye out for anything they might see on the property that should be brought to our attention as well. We've got you and your property's back!
How will I receive my rental income?
It's probably why you got into buying investment real estate in the first place - money. How do they collect your rent and when will, the owner, receive the monthly rental amount. Most property managers will have their own process for distributions so be sure to ask each unique company you talk to. At Stone Oak, we begin distributions to owners on the 8th of every month (unless it falls on a holiday or weekend). Most managers try and get your income to you by the middle of the month with some choosing to do so at the end of every month.
How is the situation of past-due rent and evictions handled within your company?
While it's ideal to avoid evictions, it's also important to have a property manager with the know-how and expertise to properly navigate the different Justice of the Peace courts here in Travis and Williamson Counties. While it's great to work with tenants who might face temporary hard times, it's also important for your investment's health to remove a tenant that is affecting your property both physically and financially.
Immediate action should be taken if a case that warrants an eviction arises. That doesn't mean you need to go through with the eviction, but it gets the process started and lets the tenants know you are serious about removing them should the situation not be corrected. This also a good reason to hire a property manager, as a landlord-tenant relationship is a bit different than a property manager-tenant relationship and a lot of self-managing owners will be more likely to be more lenient with tenants which can dig themselves into a hole pretty fast if that tenant doesn't pull through for you in the end. You could be out a couple of months of rent while still covering the mortgage during that time - not good.
At the end of the day, you need to look at your goals as a homeowner and investor. Share your goals with the property management companies you speak with and choose the one that best aligns with what you are looking for. If you have any questions about property management in Austin, Texas please feel free to reach out to our team.