Austin, Texas Market Update
As we wrap up the year going into the holidays we are experiencing the same seasonal market downturn that is expected. We’re also experiencing several other factors that are weighing heavy on the market. The sales market has slowed significantly and is adding rental inventory on top of the apartments that are completing construction thus making the market more competitive. We’re seeing leasing specials like a free month or other incentives that we haven’t seen for several years. Our clients have recently begun offering incentives as well to stay competitive after seeing much longer vacancy periods.
Here is a recent article about the housing market discussing the swing from being a frenzied market to having a much larger inventory with reluctant buyers and sellers.
That being said there isn’t much to report and we will all wait and see how the market levels out over the next few months as externalities take shape.
2023 Holiday Season Closures
You can find our updated holiday closing schedule at this link. Everyone here at Stone Oak wishes you a healthy and happy holiday season.
Landlord Insurance Policy
As most of you know, having a landlord insurance policy is a must for anyone looking to lease their home. It will help protect you from unforeseen circumstances that might pop up during your time as a landlord. It’s extremely important to make sure you have the right type of policy and adequate coverage. We’ve seen firsthand what happens when there isn’t enough or the right type of coverage. If you just want to review your policies, need a new policy quote, or are interested in shopping your rate to weigh your options, Stone Oak has partnered with Andor Insurance Agency for Texas landlord insurance.
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.
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.
Normal Wear and Tear
We have spoken to many of you during the move-out process about what is and is not considered normal wear and tear. Recently, the American Apartment Owners Association published an article that discusses this in-depth and is very informative. You can find that article here if you’d like to learn more.
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.