Real Estate Market Update
While the real estate sales market continues to adjust to the interest rate changes earlier this year we still see a healthy demand for rentals in our market that continues to have a housing shortage. The population of many Texas cities continues to grow with employers moving or expanding in Central Texas, and as of 2022 the US Census Bureau stated that “Georgetown, Texas, remained the fastest-growing city by percent change in 2022.”
As mentioned in our previous update many apartment developments are coming online, but there is a certain portion of the population that prefers detached housing and are willing to pay a premium for it over stacked apartment housing. An article in April from Money magazine states that Austin saw the highest drop in rent pricing since 2020, which in our experience is certainly tied to apartments rather than detached dwellings. That will likely continue and slow or reverse some of the gains in single and detached multifamily dwelling rents.
In a couple of weeks we’ll be posting some detailed statistics and information about the market, so keep an eye on the blog for that update. We’ll also reference it in our next post in case you miss it.
Property Tax Cut Plan
At the time we’re writing this it appears the Texas Legislature has come to an agreement on an $18B property tax reduction plan. This plan mostly impacts properties with a homestead exemption, but it also made changes to other properties valued at less than $5M. There are plenty of articles that were published last week that talk about the details, so we’re going to link one to help you get started if you’re interested in a Q&A formatted explanation. Ultimately, it appears the plan is not final because it requires a constitutional amendment that will go up for a vote in November.
Service and Assistance Animals
The state legislature passed a law to reduce misrepresenting a pet as a service animal. It is yet to be seen if this changes anything when it comes to residential leases, but it is unlikely to have any direct impact since housing accommodations are based on federal law rather than state or local. It is possible that this will discourage people from misrepresenting their animals overall and reduce the number of requests we receive for accommodation, but the reality is that there is no reliable way to quantify it.
Stone Oak's Holiday Hours
We have updated our company holiday calendar in an effort to give everyone here at Stone Oak more time off with their families and friends. You can find our updated holiday closing schedule on our website!
Real Estate Scams are Prevalent
We just want to remind you that we will never call you to ask for your bank info, social security number, or other personal information on the phone or by email. We will also never ask you to pay for anything with gift cards, cryptocurrency, etc. All of our emails will come from our domain, www.stoneoakmgmt.com, or through our software as a long string of letters/numbers from the domain @stoneoak.mailer.appfolio.us. Our property management software includes a texting service that will not match our office number, but if you try to call that number it will go directly to our main office phone line.
Please stay vigilant, maintain a healthy amount of skepticism, and contact us directly with the number on our website or our direct emails if anything looks questionable.
HOA Compliance Notices
Did you know your HOA can send important notices and compliance letters directly to Stone Oak to enforce? As your Austin property manager, we can take care of that for you! Please be sure to provide your HOA with Stone Oak's direct contact information so we can ensure the timely delivery of notices.
Please contact your Property Manager for more information.
Nature Is Bringing Two Spectacular Shows to Central Texas
In October 2023 and April 2024, there will be two solar events that aren’t to be missed. If you’ve never witnessed a solar eclipse then you should certainly make it a point to try to catch one, if not both of these.
In October there will be an annular solar eclipse, which is where the moon is slightly smaller than the sun thus creating a “ring of fire” at the peak of the event. This link provides more info about the October event along with a map of the path. In April 2024 there will be a full solar eclipse, and here is a link to the event info and path. If you’re going to try to watch one or both of these then we strongly suggest going to a location as close to the center of the path as possible to enjoy the best, and longest view. Make sure to track the weather around that time to see where the best place to go will be for clear skies. Here is another link to some info about these events, and there is a lot of info out there as Central Texas gears up for these.
Both of these events will have peak viewing near Austin as long as the weather cooperates but the path is very long for both of them if you’re in a different part of the US. Over the next several months we’ll be providing solar eclipse viewing glasses to all new tenants as part of their move-in welcome gift, and we’re making them available for pickup to our current tenants and clients. If you’re interested in getting some glasses please check in with your property manager so we can arrange for you to pick some up.
Thank you for being a client of Stone Oak Property Management. Please don't hesitate to contact your property manager should you need anything at this time.
Maintenance Approval Process Changes
In addition to the info below about funding repairs, we want to notify all owners that we are modifying our escalation process when we can’t reach our clients in order to make sure we are complying with property code requirements. In bonafide emergencies, we are acting within our authority to mitigate damages, however after it has been contained or in non-emergency situations we reach out to our clients for work authorization that is required above the limit set in the management agreement. In those cases, we now have a strict process going into effect that will have a time-based escalation if we cannot reach you. The time frame will be that if we can’t reach you by the 3rd day from when we first reached out we will then reach out to your emergency contact who can aid us in getting authorization or contacting you. If you’d like to update your emergency contact we have on file please contact your property manager. Keep in mind that this contact should be someone outside of your immediate household who you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot be reached by them or us.
Funding Make-Readies & Maintenance for Your Property
Please note that it is Stone Oak's policy that the owner has reserve funding on hand with Stone Oak to help us commence work faster when it comes to make-readies and maintenance on your property. Stone Oak cannot perform maintenance without first receiving authorization and funding, which can slow down the turn-around times of our vendors and their availability in this market. This can also potentially create a negative experience that tenants will remember when it comes time to renew, and we always want to avoid turning over the tenants. Any time we request authorization for work on your property, the best practice is to immediately fund your account when you provide written authorization to move forward. This is as simple as going into your owner portal and using ACH for a free transfer, or if you prefer a credit card the processor charges a fee as part of the transaction.
Keep in mind that tenant charges on your account are not considered an offset to this amount as we keep a strict accounting system for both our and our client's benefits. Any tenant chargeable items will be posted to their account, and once they are paid it is immediately credited to your account. If you have any questions about this reserve amount held with Stone Oak please contact your property manager.