Austin Property Management Blog

9 Tips to Improve Your Rental Property

System - Thursday, September 28, 2017

A common theme with rental properties is that individuals don’t consider them as home-y as your owning their own home.

make your austin rental home feel like home

Of course, when you live in one location year after year you’ll grow accustomed to it and consider that home. So what do you do when own a rental home and you want your tenants to feel at home during their lease? Here are 9 tips to make your rental feel more like home for your tenants.

Add Smart Home Technology

Adding trendy tech and helpful gadgets can go a long way with tenant satisfaction. You can install digital thermostats to save them money, Google Home or Amazon Alexa’s to give your tenants their own personal assistant in their home, you could install smart locks – something that feels like a complete upgrade for the tenant.

Install a Bar

No, you don’t have to keep it stocked with alcohol. A bar in a house allows your tenants to have a great place for them and their guests to gather around. A bar has plenty of uses in a home!

Add a Backsplash to the Kitchen

Judging appeal alone, a kitchen looks much better and can be better received by guests when it features a fitting backsplash. Installation can be easy and you can have your tenant’s feeling like the next Gordon Ramsey in their great kitchen.

The Garage

Garages, especially to larger families, are a big deciding factor when choosing a rental home. People care about their cars. If your property features a garage it’s best to keep it finished and fully functional!

Replace the Hardware

Of any home improvement you can do, replacing things such as the door and cabinetry can show the best returns on your home.

Replace the Applicances

Appliances are a big deal. Tenant’s want the luxury of doing their laundry in their own home and not have to walk across the street to the Laundromat.

Spruce up the Landscaping

First impressions mean a lot, this is why you’ll wear your best dress or suit when meeting with new clients or a date. Same goes for your rental home. If it looks great on the outside you’ll have more interest to see the inside. Making your rental’s landscape look great can make your property more attractive to potential renters.

Change Your Floors

Flooring can be ugly. If your rental still has the original carpet you may want to have it replaced. Replacing those pesky spots on your rental’s floor can have more of an impact then you think.

Office Space

The age of the digital nomad is upon us. More and more people are working from home. If your rental has the ability, offering flex office space can be an attractive selling point for some tenants. Especially in metro markets where the technology sectors have taken off. As the years go by, more and more people will probably be working mainly on their computers and office space will be popular.

rental home with office space

The best part about all of these improvements is they can also boost your rental rate and home’s worth if done properly. If you can capture the feeling of home and offer it to your tenant’s your renewal rate should see a positive uptick. Which one of these would you consider implementing on your rental? 

Renting v. Buying

System - Monday, September 25, 2017

According to the National Association of Realtors, within the next 7 years 5 to 6 million new renter households will be created. Americans are in no rush to buy it seems. Despite the access to funds in our economy to purchase such an asset most renters are staying put. The infographic below sheds light on the recent change in attitudes toward buying v. renting.

renting a home infographic

How to Make Your Rental More Energy Efficient

System - Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Just because you don’t own the home you’re currently living in doesn’t mean you have no control over your home’s energy use!

Here are some quick tips to increase your efficiency and minimize your carbon footprint. Allowing you to save money on your monthly bills!

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Using a programmable thermostat to take control of your heat and cooling levels will lower your monthly costs and energy use. A good one can be purchase for around ~$35 and installed in no time!

DIY: Install a Programmable Thermostat

Install Gaskets to Prevent Leaks

Put your hand next to the outlets in your home. Can you feel air flowing through? If so you should consider installing these gaskets to prevent heat and cooling loss when it’s most important!

DIY: Insulate Outlets & Switches

Seal Windows and Doors

It’s pretty likely your rental features single pane windows and these usually are affected by old or missing caulk. You can combat these types of airleaks by insuring you’ve re-caulked and sealed any windows or doors that may need some attention!

Power Strips

If you’re like most, you just leave your electronics plugged in and this wastes more energy than some believe. You can cure this by utilizing smart power strips that don’t allow the usage of energy while your electronics are dormant.

Water Heater Settings

Do a double check on your water heater and adjust the level to which it is set. If you can find the lowest comfortable setting you can increase savings. If you’re hot water hits scolding levels you may want to turn it down.

Clean your Fridge

You’re probably not going to purchase a new fridge for your tenure in your rental home. You can, however, improve the current one! By cleaning the coils on the back of your fridge you’ll help this energy hog run more efficiently.

Consider these tips to quickly reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Our Austin TX property managers are dedicated to a great experience for both our owners and tenants.  If you have any tips or suggestions, we’d love to hear your thoughts so shoot us an email!

Preparing Your Texas Home's HVAC for Cooler Weather

System - Sunday, September 17, 2017

Preparing Your Home for the Cooler Season

As the end of the year approaches so does the cooler weather of the later months. Another summer of Texas heat has almost been defeated by all of us here in Central Texas. As this cooler weather approaches keep these tips in mind to prepare your home for the cooler season.

Your HVAC system

Most homes in Texas center around forced-air systems for both their cooling and heating. If you’re not properly maintaining this equipment it can have a big effect on how efficiently your home’s HVAC equipment performs. Additionally, understanding how well your home holds its heat can help you save with a programmable thermostat.

Replacing Your Air Filter

Clogged air filters can restrict the air flow of your heating system, but also reduce the system’s efficiency and lifespan. Disposable air filters are more likely to buckle when they become clogged and can wind up circulating all the dust and dirt it’s collected back into your home.

To be on the safe side be sure to change your air filter every three months.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Furnace

Dust, dirt and other debris tend to collect around your furnace’s blower compartments if your system is leaky or clogged. An inspection can be performed by turning off both the thermostat and system’s breaker on your main fuse box.

Once you’re in you can remove the panel and clean the inside of dust and debris. A light brushing should suffice.

Air-Seal Your Ductwork

Taking time to air-seal the duct work in your home can have many benefits. A leaky return duct will pull less air from the rooms it’s supposed to – as well as pull from rooms it’s not. On average, 20-30% of air moving through duct work in a home leaks out through holes, gaps, seams, and disconnections which will make the rooms different from their target temperature.  Sealing duct work not only improves efficiency but also better controls the amount of debris and dust, moisture or mold problems.

Programmable Thermostat

If you keep your home on the same temperature to save energy then let us be the first to inform you that this is a myth. The cooler something is the easier it is to get colder. The same rules apply to heat. Knowing this and using a programmable thermostat can save you close to $200 every year in energy costs.

Consider these tips to prepare your Austin or Central Texas home for the approaching cooler weather. For more articles and tips to improve your home check out our property management blog.

From the Tenant: Leah M.

System - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

As dedicated Austin property managers..

One of Stone Oak Management's biggest priorities is not only our landlords, but our tenants. From the beginning, our goal has been to always provide a satisfactory experience for both parties and ensure our tenants feel like home in their properties. When we here from our tenants about great experiences they've had in dealing with our team it's very rewarding for us! So what are tenant's saying about Stone Oak's Austin property management service?

"Amazing company to rent from! All of our maintenance requests were handled in a timely fashion. Our rental house had a lot of problems because it's old but we were never over charged for rent and were compensated for the trouble. They have a super reasonable pet deposit policy. We wound up getting our entire security deposit back, minus utilities. Jennifer and the crew provide awesome customer service! After a terrible experience with Austin Manage/Realty Pros, Stone Oak met and exceeded all of my high expectations. Thank you!"  - Leah M.

Thank you, Leah, for your kind and encouraging words. Love your landlord and partner with a great Austin property manager!

Minimizing Your Dog's Impact on Your Rental Property

System - Thursday, August 31, 2017

When you love your dog, you wouldn't dream of ditching them for a new Austin rental home that isn't pet-friendly. As a responsible tenant and pet owner, you always make sure to find a new home or community with a reasonable pet agreement in the lease and you're more than willing to pay an extra deposit promising you and your dog will treat the property well. However, what do you do if a landlord or property manager won't allow your dog unless you promise there won't be a single sign they ever lived there? If your pet is well-behaved, then you are safe to make this promise as long as you take the necessary precautions to control the usual troubles like scratched floors, dog-smell, and shedding into the carpets. Here's are some quick tips to take care of the property and in return making your property manager or landlord very happy!

Bath Time Every Week

When your landlord or property manager is particularly touchy about dogs, probably their biggest concern is the aftermath when you move out. Some people are very sensitive to the smell that can be left behind and it can cause non-dog-owners to pass on the property later on. While your furry friend can't help but smell like what they are, as a responsible tenant you can reduce the amount that smell gets into the house by giving them regular baths.

Bathing once a week and each time they get into messy situations is a good starting point. Make sure to use a mild-smelling shampoo and work it all the way down to the skin, being careful around the ears, face, and paws. Always rinse thoroughly and towel dry. If your dog has never been comfortable with baths, it can help to have a baggie of treats on hand and you may want to sit in the tub with them for supportive (if soapy) cuddling during the process.

Short Nails

After every bath time, while their nails are still a little softened, it's time to clip. Long dog nails are a major problem in homes with wooden floors and can sometimes even rip holes in linoleum or scratch softer tiles. For this reason, you need to keep your dog's nails short enough that they don't touch the ground when your pet walks around. If the nails were long before, it's important to only clip a small amount each week so as not to cut to the quick, a sensitive part of the nail, which bleeds but also gets shorter after a proper cut.

Dogs are also usually pretty sensitive about their paws and nail treatments so the bath time treats are helpful here as well. Depending on your pup's temperament, you may want to do one or two paws at a time, take a break, then come back to the task when they've calmed down a little.

Shedding Control

Dog fur is insidious. During shedding time, which can be all year for some breeds, it gets into absolutely everything from the carpet to the air vents. Residual dog hairs embedded or lodged into unseen places can cause later allergic tenants to become absolutely miserable, which is likely one of the reasons your landlord was hesitant about your companion in the first place. In order to mitigate this problem, your job is to get all that loose shed fur off your dog and out of the house as efficiently as possible.

To do this, you'll want to brush thoroughly about once a day during shedding time and twice a week otherwise. Start by laying down a sheet to catch all the falling fur. While backs are the typical area brushed, make sure to get their full underbelly, under the chin, the backs of their legs, and all the way down the tail as well.

Steam Cleaning

A steam cleaner is a quick and efficient way to lightly shampoo a carpet, then suck up all the dirt, grime, and pet dander that has fallen into the fibers over time. They work by first spraying warm soapy water from one chamber into the carpets in an even distribution, then sucking it up like a vacuum into another chamber. Your goal is to do this until the water is mostly clear when you dump it out.

If you follow all of these steps carefully and make sure to clean up any incidental messes, your landlord and property manager are very likely to be pleasantly surprised by the total lack of evidence that you ever had a dog in their property when it's time to move on. 

Stone Oak Management loves our tenants and their pets and does our best to insure owners and their pets enjoy their home. If you're looking for pet friendly rental homes, check out Stone Oak's available properties!

Water Damage: Quick Ways to Dry Out & Move On

System - Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hurricane Harvey hits Texas and that can mean trouble for your Austin home..

After the crazy weekend of hurricane weather and high winds a lot of us here in Texas are left with damages to our homes. When it comes to water damage, drying out should be the top priority for those looking to remedy the damage. As the floods continue to happen, keep these quick suggestions handy to help with any damage to your home.

Move Air Naturally

Once the raining has ceased and it’s nice enough out, open your windows and let the natural air filter throughout your home. Be sure to open any closet doors, cabinets or drawers to allow the circulation of air to any affected areas.

Move Air Mechanically

You can rent or buy high-powered fans to speed up the circulation of air. If you live in an area affected by flooding then the initial investment into fans can pay off down the road. If this is a freak accident then renting for a night or two should suffice. Positioning fans throughout your home to create a trail of wind can speed this process us.


A dehumidifier is great to take care of moisture in the air. When using this be sure to place in a room with all doors and windows closed to prevent humidity from outside sources seeping in.

Pump Water

Flooding can get bad and once it’s saturated it’ll start to rise. A sump pump is submersible pump that removes water via a hose or pipe. If you have standing water in your home, there isn’t a more effective or time-saving manner to remove it.

Wet Shop Vac

Maybe the water isn’t standing but you’re carpet is completely saturated and quickly ruining. Shop vacs rated to deal with water can be a lifesaver when a flood happens. Using an ordinary vacuum can be costly as the mechanicals aren’t slated to deal with water.

Remove Objects

Take any rugs or removable carpets and placing them in sunlight or in a well-ventilated room. You can also remove sheet or vinyl or linoleum flooring to promote max evaporation.

Absorb Moisture

Desiccants, such as silica gel, clay or calcium oxide, can absorb moisture like a sponge. Place these water-permeable packages in airtight containers or in sealed areas, like closets. Most of these feature color changers that indicate when they are ready to be replaced.

We hope these tips and suggestions can help you deal with the rain and weather we’ve been experiencing here in Austin and the state of Texas this past weekend. If you are a tenant in one of our Austin rental properties, be sure to contact our 24 hour maintenance line for assistance! Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

5 Ways to Improve Your Rental Home's Kitchen

System - Sunday, August 13, 2017

Quick Ideas to Keep Your Austin Rental Property's Kitchen Up to Date and Like New!

Keeping your rental home up to date and like new is the key to retaining great tenants and getting the maximum rental rate for your property. The infographic below shows 5 ways owners and investors can keep their Austin, Texas rental property's kitchen up to date!

improve your austin texas home's kitchen

Stone Oak caters to maximizing our owner's ROI on their rental homes. We regularly audit properties and recommend only necessary and beneficial for them and their tenants. Ready to discover better property management for your Austin rental property

TGIF: Let's Eat Sushi, Austin

System - Thursday, August 10, 2017

While Stone Oak is a leader in Austin Property Management, we are only human.

When we aren’t finding your Austin rental property great tenants or making sure your residents air conditioner is working we like to indulge. One of the biggest benefits of being a property manager in Austin is the seemingly endless supply of great restaurants and places to eat!

Despite our better judgment and hatred towards those extra calories, this awesome city sometimes doesn’t give us a choice. From our owners to our maintenance team, we consider ourselves foodies and we regularly make it a point to find a new, great place to eat in the greater Austin area! Stone Oak is a locally-owned Austin business like the many restaurants we visit, so we’re going to Keep It Weird and give our favorite local spots a shout-out!

Today is a special Friday for us in the office! It’s Sandy’s birthday and we’ve decided to go to order our favorite sushi spot for their awesome lunch special. Midori Sushi is unanimously the favorite sushi spot for everyone here at Stone Oak Property Management. 

Located at 183 and Anderson Mill by Gold’s Gym, Midori is a little spot offering large flavor. They run an awesome lunch special everyday from 11-2 that can’t be beat. Each lunch special you get features your favorite roll, phoenix roll with Midori sauce, as well as a couple of pieces of sushi. Believe us when we say they've figured out how to do rice for sushi the right way. Plus all of this for around $11 has us recommending this spot to every one of our friends, family and clients.  The staff is excellent every time we visit and always greet us from the moment we enter the door. If you’re a foodie in Austin that is into sushi, be sure to check out Midori. You can find their menu and more online

Happy Birthday, Sandy!

Austin Property Management - What are the Costs and What's Worth It?

System - Monday, August 7, 2017

Just like any other industry or market, Austin provides rental property owners with various options of property management companies to partner with. While these companies all provide similar services, just like with anything else, that there will always be differences. In any market you’ll find big money players, those willing to do it for less than anyone else, and everywhere in-between.

Discount property management is marketed everywhere. One low monthly fee and the company will handle every headache and issue with the utmost responsiveness – or will they? Property management is no easy task and requires a lot of moving parts and coordination with teams. Yes, your Austin rental property is a house, but it’s much more than that. It’s an asset that requires great management and care to consistently see high ROI. So you’re paying someone a flat fee of $40-50/mo, how much of a priority is your property for them at that rate? Be wary of property managers offering a what seems to be an unbeatable price – hiring the RIGHT property manager will be the best decision you ever make – not the cheapest.

Stone Oak Property Management, like some other property managers in Austin Texas, provides our owners with premium property management services for a low monthly percentage of your rental rate. When you call around and do your shopping for your next property manager, ask them how their business model runs and how extensive and helpful their staff is. You’ll often find that the low monthly option guys only have one individual overseeing a multitude of properties due to inability to hire a full-time staff – so are you a priority?

When starting our company, our founders looked to inspiration from many property managers across the nation and discussed with them how their model was set up, what we needed to charge to provide our clients with a profitable asset as well as a perfectly maintained one, how we could work to improve our relationships with our owners and much more. This is why Stone Oak is the only property manager in Austin TX that doesn’t lock owners into a contract, proving month in and month out 

With a market like Austin’s, when it comes to property management you’re going to get what you pay for. Some managers, like Stone Oak, have found a formula that lets us house an incredible, supportive staff while providing you with the best deal and service for your rental property.

Just be sure to understand what you’re getting and what you aren’t when you partner with a discount property manager. If you’d like to learn more about Austin property management and the many benefits of partnering with the right manager, please don’t hesitate to contact our awesome team!

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

Phone: 512.617.6766
New Accounts: 512.615.7737
Toll Free: 888.892.7940
Fax: 512.994.2300

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