Austin Property Management Blog

Should You Use a Professional Property Manager?

System - Sunday, March 12, 2017

Is using a professional property management company the right choice for you and your rental property?

Professional property management companies, like Stone Oak property management, can make owning rental properties a hassle-free experience for you. When deciding to use a property management company, one must weigh the pros and cons. Just like any service, there are companies varying on the service scale. Some property management companies are great and provide top-notch service and there are others that… aren’t. Connecting with a great property manager can have you feeling great about your investment and save you loads of time and headaches. 

Most property management models take a low percentage of your monthly rent in exchange of their companies services. If you’ve ever managed your own properties, you know that management can be a completely separate full-time job! Once you factor in the time investment managing your rental properties can be and how much that time is worth to you, that small fee you pay to a property management company will seem like a steal and an extremely affordable choice! This is especially true when you consider everything you are getting in return!

What is that exactly? How does a hassle-free, passive income stream sound? The choice to hire a property manager is an easy choice for property owners in a market like Austin’s. You can count on your property manager’s experience in dealing with the tenant pool, the housing market and other investor’s properties to provide you with an example as to what a property manager can offer you.

Self-managing can be tough, strenuous work. There are many reasons why hiring a property manager can be a great investment. Here are a few that outline our existing base of property owners we at Stone Oak provide service too.

  • You don’t live near your rental property
  • You aren’t handy when it comes to home maintenance and repairs
  • You can’t allocate 10-15 hours per month to deal with property related tasks
  • You aren’t constantly available in the event of an emergency for your tenant
  • You aren’t familiar with landlord-tenant law
  • You don’t want to deal with the stress of problem tenants
  • You aren’t great at screening and want to make sure you have great tenants

In need of property management for your rental properties in Austin? Discover what Stone Oak Property Management can provide to you as landlord and why tenants love us as their property manager! Have time for a quick and free consultation and rental analysis? Leave us your information at our management page!

Allowing Pets Can Increase Your Rental Rate

System - Tuesday, March 7, 2017

 Austin landlords and investment property owners may be overlooking a way to increase their profitability and bottom line by not allowing pets in their rental properties. 


According to FIREPAW, a non-profit organization whom handles animal welfare services, property managers who allow animals in their rental properties are seeing an increase in their bottom line profits. Their nationwide study found that the #1 reason pet owners gave up their pets were housing issues. Even though pet owners are willing to pay more in rent to keep their animals, there is still a shortage of landlords willing to accept pets.

You’d be hard pressed to find a city more pet-friendly then Austin and as a property management company we advise all of our landlords to consider pets when they present no risk to their properties or tenants. In terms of profitability, a separate deposit for pets can bring a landlord an extra chunk of change with each lease. The study conducted by FIREPAW also revealed that, on average, landlords and owners that allows pets will rent for a 20-30% higher rate than properties that don't allow pets. Other benefits for landlords that allow pets include:

 - Longer Tenancy – Tenants who have pets prefer to stay in one place for a longer amount of time.

 - Lower vacancy rates

 - More applications received per unit – Pet friendly living situations are much more popular than those who don’t allow pets in Austin.

While it is true that allowing pets can come with increased insurance costs, the relatively small costs are offset by the premium rent received by pet-friendly housing. Tenants with pets will pay their pet deposit and Landlords can subtract any damages from that deposit and not be out any money if there are ever any damages. In fact, the data collected from this study shows the amounts of damage from tenants with pets is not much higher than that caused by tenants without pets.

Stone Oak Property Management is your choice when it comes to Austin property management. Built by landlords for landlords, we are prepared to handle all of your property’s needs with the knowledge to do so. Our goal is to provide unrivaled service that save our property owner’s time, money and the headache often associated with other property management companies.

Finding Rental Properties to Invest In

System - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Austin Property Management and How to Find Profitable Properties

The Austin rental market is booming right now! The demand for rentals is at an all-time high, the rents in the greater Austin area are way up, and the time to invest is now after Austin was named #1 place to live! If you can find an Austin rental property to invest in, you could be the owner of an investment that should have consistent income for years to come. However, choosing the right investment property can be tricky and if chosen poorly you could potentially lose money instead of earning!

The first course of action is to consider the type of property you would prefer to invest in. Single-family homes, condos and multi-family properties are all worthwhile investments. Before you start working with a broker, first decide what kind of property you’re willing to take on and what you can afford.

Consider who your ideal tenants are. Targeting areas of higher income such can lead to great, high-quality tenants though your initial investment will be greater. Also, consider whether you would be taking care of your rental property yourself or if you would need the services of an Austin property management company for your rental. Consider why you are investing in real estate and what you hope this investment will do for you. There are many books and online articles on this subject that can help you get started investing in real estate.

Once you know the tenant profile you’re after compared to the amount you’re willing or can invest, you should narrow down the neighborhoods and areas you would like to consider for your rental property. Our friends at Central Metro Realty offer a valuable tool for information on neighborhoods and the data for each region. On their home page you’ll see a neighborhood guide for all regions around the Austin area.

How do I identify areas and properties that would be a good investment?

Choose your desired rental area! The quality of the neighborhood will have a great impact on whether your rental property is a profitable investment, or whether it will sit vacant. However, Austin experiences an influx of people moving the area each day and while some regions are better than others, housing is booming and people are trying to live in all areas of the city. If you are not able to go to the neighborhood yourself, but aren’t working with a broker yet, use the neighborhood tool we provided above to learn more about the areas of greater Austin. Some neighborhoods that may appear bad at first glance can actually be great investments – as Austin is growing every single day with a great job market. It is wise, however, to check the crime stats for anywhere you are interested in buying rental properties, not just Austin either.

What Employers / Schools / Attractions are Nearby? The answer to this question will tell you what your potential tenants will do for a living, and what their lifestyle will be like. If high paying employers are in the area, your rental property may fetch a higher rent. Austin has experienced a tech boom comparable only to the likes of San Francisco. What’s desirable about that is these employers are spread all over the city. Up north you can find the likes of Samsung and Apple and as you move South you’ll find companies like Intel and Microsoft. Aside from excellent employers, Austin is home to the infamous UT so you can expect a steady flow of renters each and every year if you chose to invest close to the university. Finding a rental property with attractions nearby is ideal as you’ll be able to find quality tenants for your investment.

Consider your investment’s condition. You may choose a property that is in need of some renovation. You can usually find better deals on such rental properties, however your investment doesn’t just stop at closing. If you do so, you should prepare to experience a period of vacancy until the property is in rent ready condition. Keep in mind that different areas and different types of property will attract tenants with different definitions of what it means to be “rent ready.” Some properties that are generally in good shape may still need updates in order to become profitable rental property for the area all dependent on the profile of your desired tenants.

Look at property taxes in the area. If property taxes are increasing in the area, this can and is a significant expense for you. Be sure you have a firm grasp on the market and what you may be facing when it comes to taxes each and every year.

How much rent could I be earning in my desired location? All dependent upon the area and comparable properties in the area. Stone Oak Property Management actually provides those looking to invest in the area or those looking to begin renting their properties with a free rental analysis! You can give Jason Huval, our founding broker and market expert, a call – 512.921.7537 - and he can help you with that!

The best protection for your Austin rental property investment is quality property management services. Consider a professional Austin property management company with a record of excellence in the industry and years of expertise. Contact Stone Oak Property Management Austin to learn more about how we can make your investment a profitable one!

10 FAQ's We Hear at Stone Oak Property Management

System - Thursday, February 23, 2017

As a property management company in Austin, Stone Oak Property Management isn’t the only player in the game!

However, Stone Oak Property Management was built to fill the void for clients whom were disappointed with their current property manager. The founders of Stone Oak are all landlords themselves so they set out to build a company they themselves would be comfortable hiring as their property manager!

When searching for new property manager you should have a bundle of questions you come prepared to ask before deciding on the right company for your properties. Here at Stone Oak Property Management we talk to landlords and investors from all over the nation about their properties in Austin and San Antonio. Here are 10 frequently asked questions we hear from landlords!

Does the property management company have a dedicated, licensed property management personnel and how many staff will be looking after my property?

With Stone Oak, your properties receive unparalleled management from a team of certified property managers. From the maintenance crew to the founding manager your property receives the full attention to detail it deserves. When we take on new rental properties, we treat them as if they were our own. Stone Oak provides the greatest support team in the Austin market and you’ll always have direct line of communication with everyone in the company. You can rest assured your properties are in the hands of professionals with decades of experience in real estate and property management!

Is the managing Broker(s) of the company involved in the day to day management and supervision of operations?

Yes! Our managing partners are both 100% hands on with the company. As mentioned earlier, both are landlords and set out to create Stone Oak Property Management to better serve and fill the void left by other property management companies in Austin, Texas.

How many years has the property manager looking after my property been working in real estate?

Great question! People often mistake a “brand-name” to mean that the service will be better, but we don’t feel that way at Stone Oak! Both of Stone Oak Property Management’s managing partners have been in the Austin real estate market since the early 2000’s. It doesn’t stop there! In 2008, Central Metro Realty was founded by Jason Huval, one of our partners, and continues to be one of the largest locally owned Brokerages in Austin! Everyone on staff at Stone Oak Property Management has a breadth of knowledge in real estate and property management providing you with the best service for your rental property in Austin.

How many years has the property manager been with the agency or office?

While the entire staff at Stone Oak plays a part in managing your properties, no one will do more for them than Jennifer Frizzell. Turnover in the industry can be very high as busy seasons come and stress mounts. This isn’t the case with Jennifer. As employee #1 of Stone Oak, Jennifer has been here since the very beginning. She’ll take the time to learn your property inside and out! Call us today and you can talk to her, call again in 6 months and she’ll still be there to answer your questions. We at Stone Oak Property Management don’t view this as a job, and instead we are passionate about providing you quality and having you as a lifelong customer and this is reflected by the staff we have on hand!

What geographic areas do you cover?

As an Austin-born property management company, we service every neighborhood and community in Austin! Income properties can pop up all the time and in different locations and your portfolio in a few years time could be spread out across the various suburbs of Austin. Stone Oak Property Management can provide you service whether your North, South, East or West. Thinking of branching your portfolio to San Antonio? Stone Oak Property Management has properties and a support staff in this market as well! Consider us the Central Texas property management experts!

Do you hand out my keys or do you attend property showings with prospective tenants?

When we take on the management of your property(s), we consider them our own. We’ll never give your keys to prospective tenants without the supervision of a manager on-site. Not only are we managers of your investments but we consider ourselves protectors as well!

How many properties does the manager look after?

This may be the most important question on this list. The majority of the landlords and investors we talk to are fed up feeling like just a number with their current property manager. Large property management companies are spread thin when it comes to staff available compared to properties they oversee. This can leave owners and landlords feeling neglected and leave a bad taste in their mouths. Stone Oak approaches ours as a team effort ensuring your property is always high on priority list and you’ll never be left feeling like just a number!

Are you available to show my properties 6 days a week?

We’d go as far as saying we’d be available on Sunday if we needed to be. With the rise of the internet, prospective marketing and tenant interest is a 24/7 ordeal. Stone Oak Property Management’s staff is available to show your property no matter the time! Unlike other property management companies, Stone Oak doesn’t charge a vacancy fee which leaves you with the knowledge that we are doing everything we can to find you high-quality, rent paying tenants!

Do you have a system in place for vetting prospective tenants with regards to credit, rental history, etc?

Yes! Stone Oak Property Management uses proprietary software to filter tenants based upon the desired criteria. In the many years of providing our services, Stone Oak has only had perform one eviction. Basically, we find quality tenants for your properties!

Will you go to court for me if need be?

This is a definite yes! Stone Oak’s managing partners, as mentioned earlier, are all landlords! Before Stone Oak was born and the software we have today was available they had to perform evictions to clear their properties as the systems to vet tenants weren’t in place yet! Stone Oak regularly speaks with potential landlords seeking eviction advice to which we refer them to our friends over at Texas Tenant Evictions! However, if we at Stone Oak Property Management manage your property we offer this service at a fraction of the cost others are willing to do it for!

Do you own properties in Austin or San Antonio and have more questions for us? Give us a call or shoot us an email to learn more about what a property management company dedicated to your investments can offer you!

Stone Oak's Valued Partner

System - Sunday, February 19, 2017

While Stone Oak does staff a team of Brokers and real estate agents, our main priority is focusing on the landlords whom employ us and their properties!

Often we get those looking to purchase new homes and properties and while we do help these clients, we often refer them to our trusted real estate partners over at Central Metro Realty!

Central Metro Realty is an Austin based, locally-owned real estate Brokerage. While Stone Oak was built for landlords by landlords, Central Metro was built by agents for agents! With Central Metro you know you’re working with an agent who is Austin local with years of experience in the local market!

Central Metro is a diverse Brokerage with many nationalities represented throughout the firm. With Austin being such a diverse city experiencing an influx of people every single day, having Realtors from every corner of the world helps those transitioning to a new area such as Austin. If you’re an individual moving to Austin internationally, check out their roster of agents to connect with an agent of either a certain nationality or language!

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home, the family of Realtors at Central Metro will make the process as easy as possible for you! As a regular partner of Stone Oak, we cannot recommend their services enough.

Whether you work with Stone Oak or Central Metro to purchase or sell your properties, we can always provide you exceptional property management for any and all of your residential properties from Stone Oak Property Management! Let us know if you have any questions about the services we provide by giving us a call or emailing us

Rent: The Benefits of a Property Management Company Provides

System - Sunday, February 12, 2017

If you’re a landlord or landlady, you understand the life of your business – rental income! 

If a structure isn’t set in place and rent isn’t collected in full and on time every month your business will take a hit. When everything is running according to plan this is when your return on investment is great, as you already may know!

Setting Your Rental Rate

Knowledge of the local market and the ability to assess data on the MLS provides Stone Oak Property Management with a great understanding of what your income property should be earning every month. We provide a rental analysis free of charge to any property owner interested in learning what their property can bring them in residual income every month! While most investors like to see their rent usually equate to 1% of their property’s value this doesn’t always serve as the main factor in determining your properties rental rate. The only true way to determine what your rental property should be earning every month is doing price comparisons with other properties in the given area and adjust as needed to what the market offers. However, you can rest assured that any great property management company, like Stone Oak, will have you earning the highest rent your property allows! To receive your free rent analysis, you can contact a local market expert at 512.617.6766!

Collecting Your Rent

Collecting checks from tenants is a thing of the past! The logistics of having to have your tenants deliver their rent to you or you having to go pick up their checks can have you spending time on something there is already simple solution to. Property management companies have evolved with the times and have a better presence online than ever before! Stone Oak Property Management gives tenants the tools that allow them to pay their rents online which results in a direct deposit into your account every single month. No hassle involved whatsoever! 

Every property management is different in their policies concerning rent that isn’t paid on time. Stone Oak Property Management is adamant about making sure your rent is collected each and every month. Our thorough tenant screening process helps to insure you have high-quality, rent paying tenants in your property!

The services and the tools we provide make it easier than ever for your tenant to pay online, and for you to get paid every month! Ditch the hassle of collecting your payments from tenants every month and discover this and the many other benefits a property management company like Stone Oak can provide!

Increasing the Value of Your Rental Property

System - Thursday, February 9, 2017

Updating and Adding Amenities Can Improve Your Rental Property and Lead to Higher Rent!

When it comes to your rental property are you actively trying to upgrade or are you simply providing maintenance? It’s enough to keep everything in working order and maintain your property as livable, and there is nothing wrong with this. However, as the property owner/landlord you may be missing out on simple ways to increase the value of your rental property. It doesn’t take much, but a few well-placed additions and upgrades to your property can have the value and even rent going up. Upgrades to your rental property can increase your return on investment and attract high-quality tenants!

Adding value to your rental property can happen many ways and range from replacing a few small things here and there to a full remodel of your rental property. The time is always now to make these changes as the market is consistently on the rise and you may be looking to sell your property once it hits a certain point!

Aside from the usual rent-ready cleaning, consider the below suggestions to improve the quality of your property!

  • Rental property in need of a paint job? With time paint loses its color and begins to fade. If you’ve had tenants in for a while this is almost a guarantee. Adding a  fresh coat of paint can have your place looking more vibrant and livable! A neutral color is also desired for most tenants so the décor they decide to use doesn’t clash with their home.
  • How’s the carpet? A deep carpet clean can make any home, rental or not, look as though it’s a few years younger. Maybe the carpet needs replacing. If so, just like the paint, a neutral color makes for good practice so colors don’t clash.
  • Any hardwood flooring? Hardwood floors are very desirable and maintaining yours can have a tenant wanting move in tomorrow. Be sure to check on yours and see if any refinishing is required as well as replace any old linoleum flooring with brand new laminate!
  • What about appliances? Not only are updated appliances an attractive feature they can even make your home look better with their sleek designs! Consider getting eco-friendly appliances as well to entice new tenants to rent with lower electricity costs!
  • Lighting! Nothing sets the ambiance of a home like lighting. Adding new fixtures and intensity controllers can have any home looking great! Using energy efficient light bulbs can improve the costs for tenants as well, increasing the likelihood of finding great tenants!
  • Curb Appeal! First impressions are everything! Making your rental property look great starts with the outside. Improving the landscaping around your rental property can have your property looking great and attract more interest to rent or buy!
  • Parking. Prospective tenants are always fond of off-street parking! If it’s feasible consider expanding or even adding a secondary driveway to provide more space for tenants.

There are a lot of upgrades that can go into any rental property so feel free to go above and beyond these suggestions. If you’re in need of vendors who can provide you with these additions give us a call. Stone Oak Property Management can help connect you with the resources you need to increase the value of your rental property! 

Out of State Investors and Stone Oak Property Management

System - Monday, February 6, 2017

Investor or Investment Group with Rental Properties in Austin, Texas? Discover Stone Oak Property Management!  

It’s no secret that the real estate market in Austin has been growing rapidly year after year. The greater Austin region has seen unrivaled growth, with Georgetown considered the fastest growing city in the nation with a population greater than 50,000 residents. According to Austin Relocation Guide, the greater Austin region experiences 157 net arrivals a day! This means people are looking for a place to live and they are looking all the time.

Maybe you’re a savvy real estate investor or a part of a larger investment firm wanting to invest in the greater Austin real estate market. Regardless of who you are, you’re going to need someone to look after your rental property and manage your investment day to day. Everyone likes a safe investment and everyone likes to keep their investment safe! The majority of Stone Oak’s employers (clients) are those who don’t have feet on the ground, but instead have chosen to invest their money here! All based on one thing – they trust us and the service we provide! Stone Oak Property Management, with our attentiveness and hand-on approach to all we do, provides out-of-state investors with the ease of mind that their investment property is left in the right hands. You’ll have access to real-time reporting through our website, keeping you in the loop with what is going on with your investment property. You’ll have the comfort in knowing you can always get a hold of anyone from the handyman to a managing partner and you’ll never feel like just a number with Stone Oak Property Management!

Investing in the Austin market has proven year in and year out to be a consistent pay off. Understanding the real estate market here can be a tough task however. We can guide and help you with finding the right properties to invest in as well as protect that investment with our management services! Property managers normally try and lock you down with a contract for the first year. You won’t find that with Stone Oak Property Management as we continually feel the need to earn your business. If you’d like to learn more about the services we provide to real estate investors and investment groups please visit our property management services page or email us with any questions you may have!

Tenants and Their Preference to Rent Through a Property Manager

System - Sunday, February 5, 2017

Do Tenants Prefer to Rent Through a Property Manager?

Just as most landlords will have horror stories of tenants throughout the years, the same applies to tenants in dealing with landlords. Thankfully, a great property manager should have both parties feeling satisfied! We’ve talked to plenty of tenants who prefer renting through a property manager opposed to a landlord for numerous reasons! We’ve all had that one landlord who was to nosy and too much involved in what should be the tenant’s privacy. If you've experienced this than you can understand how this can make a tenant feel a bit off about the place and less likely to renew their lease. At Stone Oak Property Management, we take tenant’s rights and privacy very seriously and someone renting a home from us will find themselves feeling at ease having a property manager who is there when they need them, and not there when they don’t.

While we take what is basically a personal interest in our client’s properties, we do our best to make the tenant feel as though it is their home. We understand and are up to date on the laws that involve rental properties and their tenants. While we always act in the interest of the landlord, we take pride in fostering an atmosphere that makes tenants happy to be where they are. Stone Oak is there 24/7 for tenants in the event of an emergency as well as provides them with ease of access to paying rent and submitting maintenance requests!

A property manager should make it easy for both the landlord and tenant and that’s exactly what Stone Oak Property Management does. As much as we are focused on building our business, we are more focused on building yours! This is why we hold our accountability to high standard when dealing with your tenants and why tenants love renting from our landlord’s properties. Hiring the right property manager is a choice not to be taken lightly and can affect your ability to attract high-quality, rent paying tenants! Make sure Stone Oak Property Management is on your list - your tenants will thank you! 

Property Management and the Role it Plays with Your Properties & Tenants

System - Monday, January 30, 2017

 

Austin Property Management and Your Properties and Tenants!

 

If you own a rental property or dozens of them, you are fully aware of the worthwhile experience it can be as it often generates a constant stream of income. This is only a guarantee though when you have great, quality tenants in your rental property who pay on time and don’t destroy your property. Everything is always great when you’ve got high quality tenants until those tenants turn out to be problems. This is where a property management company can really pay dividends!

It all starts with the marketing which should be included in your fees as it is with us! We syndicate your property for rent to numerous sources on the internet and physical locations in search for great, rent-paying tenants for your place. A professional property management company does the due diligence and provides all the screening for potential tenants for you. Most of the time landlords will run simple background checks and credit checks on tenants and while this may provide some detailed results on tenants for your rental property sometimes it isn’t very telling of the type of tenant they would be. Stone Oak Property Management provides thorough screening checking databases landlords on their own wouldn’t think to, calling out to all previous landlords dating as far back as we can, and ultimately we interview the tenant in-person to get a true feel for their personality type and the type of tenant they may be.

Consider your property management as your personal assistant and you’re the owner of a company who wants to be hands-off. Like others, Stone Oak Property Management is the middle link in the chain that is the landlord-tenant relationship. In many cases, landlords with property management companies working for them never meet their tenants so trust in your management company is a must. If you’re ever feeling like just a number with your property management company, then you’re with the wrong company. You should always feel at ease with your property managers and they should always be at your beck and call as they, again, are basically your personal assistant! They’ll deal with all maintenance requests, tenant inquiries and overall any situation that arises with your property under their watch. Stone Oak Property Management makes it easy on your tenants and you. We provide online rent collection and maintenance requests as well as real time reports for you to keep track of your property(s) and costs associated with it.

As always, nothing in life is guaranteed. Eventually there will come along what seemed like a great tenant and actually turned out to be a major headache. The costs associated with a property management company can be recouped with the avoidance of just one lawsuit! We make sure your property is in compliance and up to date with all property codes and safety laws for you to be able to rent to tenants and always dot our I’s and cross our T’s when it comes to documentation with a tenant so that none of this can be used against you. Stone Oak offers eviction services and in some cases will partner with an eviction service to provide comprehensive solutions to problem tenants.

From marketing your property, finding and screening for high quality tenants, acting on behalf of you to the tenant & ultimately dealing with any problems that arise a property management company is an ideal investment for any landlord looking to handle their business professionally. In a market like Austin’s, rental properties are abundant so if you are a landlord and interested in learning more about what a company like Stone Oak can offer you do not hesitate to contact us! 


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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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