Choosing to make an investment in real estate, especially rental properties, can be an incredibly rewarding decisions and business can scale rapidly.

Many investors start by purchasing a single rental property and leverage those assets into multiple properties creating a compound return on their initial investments. However, more property means more of a need for management of those properties. And as appealing as investing in properties can be, it takes a special type of person to be equally as passionate about managing them.

Property management can be incredibly time-consuming and very stressful, especially for newer investors. That’s why so many investors outsource their property management as soon as they can. Hiring a property management…

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Ensuring that you’ve found a quality tenant often requires rolling up your sleeves and doing a little investigating of your own. The right information won’t just come to you, and unfortunately, the typical verification methods are rarely enough. It’s easy enough to falsify rental applications, and not always easily recognizable, so landlords need to do their own research and double-check the facts.

To start, always run your own credit report. It may seem like the potential tenant is helping you out by providing a credit report for you. However, this option leaves room for the applicant to doctor numbers. Don’t take the risk: Just run your own report.

Along those same lines, double check the proof of residency and proof of employment. Today, most…

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To Trust or Not to Trust: Poor Credit Scores

So you’ve gone through the applications, held all the interviews, and you think you’ve found the perfect tenant. The problem? They don’t have a solid credit history. Maybe they’re fresh out of college. Maybe they just haven’t built up enough of a financial history. You like them, but you don’t like their credit score.

There are a couple of alternative ways to make sure they’re reliable before you take that leap and have them sign the lease.

First: references, references, references. Definitely check out past employers as well as current employers. However, remember that legally employers are limited in what information they can share with you. So make sure that you branch out a little and ask for some…

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Keeping rent prices at market value is as important to property maintenance as any other component of upkeep. Most rental property owners realize this is just a reality of the business. Unfortunately, tenants aren’t always as understanding, and they’re certainly never pleased. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few key considerations and best practices for property owners to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Keeping Costs in Perspective

Costs don’t determine rent; costs determine whether or not property owners stay in business. Don’t forget that rent has as much influence on overall property value as maintenance and conditions. A property owner who allows rent to fall below market is essentially allowing their property to deteriorate, just…

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There is no questioning that Austin’s property prices have become quite expensive. However, there is reason to question whether or not those in the market for homes should find this so upsetting. When investors and homebuyers can get beyond the sticker-shock and take a look at the reasons behind the higher cost of real estate, those prices can become much more reassuring than disconcerting.

Over the past several years, Austin’s many thriving industries have resulted in major population growth, and therefore, real estate demand. Just last year, Austin's population exceeded the two million mark and is projected to go as high as 3.2 million by the year 2030. According to The Chamber's monthly Economic Indicators report, Austin is experiencing a 4.0% job…

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In this post, we will be expanding on our previous post in this series: common mistakes of first-time and beginning property investors. In the previous post, we discussed the idea of treating property investments like any other type of business venture and employing some general best businesses practices. We covered everything from the availability of cash reserves to rental potential, and the importance of knowledge of the market.

A major component of knowing the investment market is understanding how location relates to property value. We previously touched on rental potential and foresight. Often, new investors find deals and think they are paying a good price based on square footage, bedroom and bath count, etc. without having a good understanding…

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We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of real estate investors in Austin over the past few years. As you might expect, the low-interest rates and a growing economy have attracted more and more investors to our fine city. However, it’s not only those investors with backgrounds in real estate that are looking to cash in on the prime market. Many of these new investors are also new to the world of real estate investment generally, and we had them in mind when creating this month’s posts. With that said, novices and seasoned property investors alike can certainly benefit from a refresher on best (and worst) practices.

Cash flow is a vital element for any business minded, but especially when it comes to entering the world of property investment.…

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As previously discussed, valuation services like Zillow (or Redfin, Trulia, etc.) are an unreliable source of home value information. To summarize: these services rely on AVMs, mathematical models that generate estimates mostly from comparable sales data. Limitations in the model and data—especially in non-disclosure states like Texas, where sales prices are not reported—compromise the accuracy of those assessments. With a variable and sometimes extreme margin of error, such services should not be the basis for significant financial decisions. In states that do provide such disclosures, this is not an issue, but if you’re looking in Austin, it is. Make sure to check your states provisions.

Inaccurate AVMs are prevalent and easily accessible, often the…

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Today's consumer is tech-savvy and, with unprecedented access to information, can be educated and discerning about even mundane transactions. For large transactions, like those involving real property, sellers and buyers are going to do their research, and generally that's a good thing. The problem is that their first stop will probably be an online real estate portal like Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, etc. and the information supplied by these third party providers can be largely inaccurate (which we will cover in the following sections). If sellers are thus misinformed before visiting a real estate agent the discrepancy in estimated value makes it difficult to trust the agent actually representing their interests.

The proprietary algorithm used by Zillow…

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I don’t write these posts to be advertisements; I want to provide helpful advice to all owners.  We’re often praised by our clients for our policy on late fees from tenants (we believe that any late fees from tenants belong to the property owners – not the property management team), but there are many more considerations to be made when choosing the best company to manage your property. I want to share 3 of the most notable with you here.

When you’re looking into property management services, it’s vital to find the right property manager. You’ll want to look for a management team that views your property as the asset that it is, not just another leasing company that handles rent collections, repairs and gets your property ready to be leased once again.…

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