Frequently Asked Questions
We provide property management, sales, leasing, and mortgage services in Austin as well as Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, and Pflugerville areas. We can provide mortgage services in Texas.
Are you looking for a property manager or Property Management Company to manage your home or assist you in selecting an investment property? Below are sample questions you should ask any property manager you are interviewing to manage your property in Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville or Austin.
Do you manage properties in all areas of Austin or specialize in specific areas?
Yes. We are the premiere management company for managing properties in Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Austin areas. We also have a dedicated property manager for South Austin Properties.
Specializing in leasing and managing homes in these areas helps us lease properties faster, because we usually have multiple active listings available every month. We also have established relationships with outside Realtors who know to call us if they have a client needing a home in these areas. It is not uncommon for us to receive a call on a home that has been leased and show that lead another property in the same subdivision or area. Specializing in these areas gives our company more leverage and exposure to lease your investment property quickly.
Do you have a dedicated leasing team to assist in leasing and marketing rental properties?
Yes. We are a full service real estate company with highly trained, dedicated leasing agents and cross-trained sales agents. We have several dedicated leasing agents who specialize in leasing properties in the Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Austin areas. No other Austin property management company has more licensed and fully trained leasing agents than SmartSource Realty. In fact, our trained leasing agents outsource their services to other Austin property management companies who don’t have agents to show properties in the Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, and Pflugerville areas.
Having dedicated and fully trained leasing agents allows us to provide outstanding service, because we can show a property within minutes of getting a call from a prospective tenant.
What are the benefits of using a professional property manager in Austin?
Utilizing the services of a Professional Property Management Company makes owning an investment property easy. We handle all tenant issues, turnover, rent collections, and repair and maintenance issues. We provide online statements, copies of all invoices, and disburse owner funds through electronic ACH transaction. All you have to do is check your bank account to make sure your disbursement is received. You can focus your time and efforts on other issues instead of worrying about your property. You are in good hands.
How long have you been managing real estate?
We have a team of property managers and leasing agents with over 25 years of experience. We manage and lease hundreds of homes. Our principle broker, Chris Warren, has been licensed since 1995, has a BBA in Marketing, MBA and multiple property management designations including MPM® and RMP® offered by the National Association of Residential Property Managers. Our team of property managers also have the RMP® designation.
Does your company provide sales services?
SmartSource Realty is a one stop shop full service real estate sales, leasing, property management and mortgage company. We have a team of property managers, dedicated leasing agents, and sales agents cross trained to provide leasing and mortgage services. Our team can help you select an investment property, lease the property and find tenant, originate your mortgage, assist in getting property ready for lease, and manage the property. The more services we provide, the more we can save you money. Click here to read more about our service.
To which professional organizations do you belong?
National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)– Property Manager Chris Warren has been a member of the NARPM since 2003 and served five years on the Board of Directors of the Austin Chapter of NARPM. Positions include President and Treasurer. Chris Warren holds both the RMP® (Residential Management Professional) and MPM® (Master Property Manager) designations.
Austin Board of Realtors – SmartSource Realty is a full service real estate and property management company and has been a member of the Austin Board of Realtors since 1997.
Houston Association of Realtors – SmartSource Realty has been a member of the Houston Association of Realtors since 2003. We provide sales services in the Austin and Houston areas.
How big is your Austin property management company?
We have a full staff providing outstanding service to owners, tenants, investors, landlords and home buyers. We have a full time accountant, two assistants, dedicated leasing agents, and over 10 licensed real estate agents. Our staff is fully trained to help you with leasing, sales, and property management needs. We manage over 300 doors in the Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, and Pflugerville areas.
Don’t make the mistake of hiring an inexperienced property manager or one that does not have a presence in your area. With dedicated leasing agents, we have a proven track record and lease properties quicker than our competition.
How will your Austin property management company market our home when it needs to be rented?
We have dedicated leasing agents who monitor online internet leads, emails, and phone messages seven days a week. Unlike many other property management companies, we list our leasing agents phone numbers on all ads we run including craigslist, Postlets, and other online sites.
All listings are listed in MLS with multiple pictures and can be viewed at Realtor.com, AustinHomeSearch.com, ListHub.com, our web site and others.
What technology does your property management company provide?
We are one of the leading Austin Property Management technology companies in town. We offer owners ACH electronic disbursement and provide online reporting. We have an online owner portal where owners can access current and previous monthly report 24 hours a day. All work orders and copies of invoices are stored on the owner portal. Tenants can also pay rent through a tenant portal. Additionally, we can process rental application fees, rents, and security deposits with check by phone, bank draft, regular check/money order, and all forms of credit cards. In fact, we have our own credit machine on site and, and our leasing agents can process application fees using their smart phones.
We scan checks electronically eliminating the need to deposit at our bank. This helps us process checks quickly and make funds more readily available. We can even convert checks by converting to ACH Draft. This can be especially helpful in processing NSF checks.
We have an Exchange server onsite which is backed up daily and is professionally monitored remotely by an IT professional. Our agents and staff can check email, share calendars, prepare leases at office or remotely from home or on the road.
Will you allow tenants to have pets in our property?
We are flexible with our pet policy. About 50% of our tenants have a pet. Some owners prefer not to have a pet, but this will limit half of your pool of prospective tenants. Not accepting pets can increase your vacancy period. We usually charge a pet deposit of $350 and may set weight limitations. We can increase this with more than one pet or larger pets. We do not allow certain aggressive breeds of dogs such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.
Do you allow smoking in our Austin rental home?
No. We even include in special provisions that smoking is not allowed inside property.
How do you screen tenants?
Our rental applications require two years of rental history. We obtain recent pay stubs to verify employment and verify rental history from previous landlords. We search for evictions and collections through a national database and also cross reference addresses with owner occupied owners. We require gross income to be three times grossly rent and total debt ratios including rent payment not to exceed 50% of one month’s rent. These are general guidelines. We also pull a criminal background check.
No screening process if full proof. Credit scores alone are not factors in determining if a tenant is going to pay rent on item. It is even more difficult to screen for if a tenant is going to take care of the property. Many times current landlords are not aware of any damages until tenants vacate and surrender property. If there are no collections from landlord on credit report and no damages noted in our rental history report, we can only assume tenant was responsible and paid rent on time. We do our best to screen applicants, verify employment and rental history.
The best tenants are applicants with marginal credit with good jobs. High fico score tenants most likely will take care of property and pay rent on time. However, they rarely live in a home more than 1-2 years and will purchase a home. The most profitable tenants for landlords are tenants with poor credit and a good job. We have some tenants who have rented the same home for five years or more. This is rare with high fico score tenants. Yearly turnover, make ready, and leasing fees are very expensive for landlords.
What type of lease do you use?
We use a promulgated lease provided by Texas Association of Realtors. It is very landlord friendly. Click here for a sample lease agreement.
How do you determine market rent?
Austin has a very robust MLS system. We can pull most recent active and leasing data to determine market value. Tenants want to lease the best home, in a good neighborhood, at the best price. We recommend listing property at or just below market. Unlike selling a home, most tenants will submit an application once they find a property that meets their needs. Pricing your home above market can result in extended vacancy period. We normally lease a property within 30-45 days, assuming home is in good condition, shows well and is priced competitively.
How much security Deposit will you require from new tenants?
We generally charge a security deposit equal to a month’s rent for single family resident properties. We charge less for duplexes and fourplexes.
Do you require reserves for repairs?
No. We do not require reserves for repairs. Most repairs are less than $500 and are deducted from monthly rent. In the event we have a large repair for a hot water heater replacement or a/c condensing unit, we sometimes can split up payment over two months to increase your monthly cash flow.
Do you recommend using a Home Warranty Company such as American Home Shield?
We generally discourage owners from purchasing a warranty program. Most warranty plans provide poor service and are not responsive. We get many service call requests on late Fridays and weekends. Most tenants will not accept having an a/c system down 3-4 days because of poor service from a warranty company. Many will not cover repairs such as dirty coils, or the removal and installation of Freon. When buyers purchase a property, a warranty plan is usually included. However, we don’t recommend renewing the warranty plan.
What type of bills will your property management company pay?
We will pay your yearly HOA dues, lawn service, repair invoices, utilities and any other services related to the property from rents received for your property. We do not pay mortgage payments or property taxes.
When will I receive my monthly disbursement and report?
We submit owner ACH disbursements between the 10th -14th of each month. We encourage owners to receive monthly disbursements electronically with ACH disbursement. We will cut owner manual checks the 15th of each month. Invoices and monthly reports are included with manual checks. We post copies of work orders and all invoices to owner portal.
Because we have tenants moving in every week of the month, we post monthly reports and copies of invoices online a few days before the end of the month. So owners receiving ACH disbursements will see their deposits early but will not have access to reports and invoices until end of month.
How do you handle repairs? Will you notify me of any repairs?
We will notify you by email or phone if we have a single repair that is more than several hundred dollars. We process over 100 invoices every month. For minor repairs, we will simply deduct from rent and include a copy of the invoice. We do not require an approval in advance to complete repairs. We have a strong relationship with our vendors who provide quality work at competitive prices. We will notify you about a large repair so it is not a surprise when you receive your owner disbursement.
Do you inspect property?
At owner’s request, we can provide a home inspection using a third party vendor. For a small fee, our vendor will take pictures and provide owners with a detailed report.
Do you charge a markup on maintenance invoices?
No, we do not mark up maintenance or repair invoices. However, we do have an in house handy man employee who does all minor repairs.
What fees do you charge for managing and leasing homes?
We charge a 7% monthly management and an 80% listing fee when we list a property for lease and manage the property. We do offer leasing only services and will charge 90% of one month’s rent if you prefer to manage the property yourself. We do not charge a renewal fee or setup fee.
Do you charge any other fees?
We charge $50 an hour to evict. However this is deducted from the tenant’s security deposit. We also charge a yearly fee of $75 per property for general liability insurance. Our management agreements require landlords to add the property manager as an additional insured. Most companies will not add the property manager as an additional insured. Hence, we have a commercial $1 million general liability policy that charges a premium by property. We bill each owner $75 per single family residence, $100 for a duplex, and $150 for a fourplex.
How does the eviction process work and how long does it take?
Texas is a landlord friendly state. In the event we file an eviction for non payment of rent, it will take 3-4 weeks to setup a court date and obtain a judgment from the time we file the eviction. We only evict as a worst case scenario. We try to setup an acceptable payment plan and can also process rent payments by credit card if a family member is able to assist the tenant(s). The eviction process is a lose lose scenario for both landlord and tenant. We only file when the tenant has no ability to pay rent. The most common reason for filing an eviction is loss of employment. We have less than a 3% eviction rate. Most of the time we can setup a payment plan.
What type of Property Management Agreement do you use?
We use the Texas Association of Realtors Property Management Agreement along with some other forms as listed below.
- Sample Property Management Agreement
- Owner Notice of Property Condition
- Addendum to Property Management Agreement
- W-9 Form
If you have any questions, please contact us.