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The Importance of Property Management

Couple meets with realtor

Couple meets with realtor

There’s a high demand for rentals in scenic Los Brazos Valley, which makes the area an obvious choice for property investors who want high returns on their assets. And while choosing an investment property based on location, operational costs, profitability, and other factors have a huge impact on the success of your rental, there’s another thing that affects the performance of your rental – property management.

Texas property management is a 24/7 job, with professionals responding to tenants’ complaints and keeping vacancy rates high around the clock.

Find out what goes into property management and why it matters to property investors.

What is property management?

Property management is the profession of overseeing and managing the operations of a rental property, such as an apartment building or a multifamily. This task is typically performed by a third party, such as a real estate company with significant experience in operating rentals as well as access to a pool of renters.

However, in certain instances, the property investor may take over the role, especially if the rental is limited to just one or few units.

What does a property manager do?

Property managers perform a wide range of tasks related to the operations and management of your rental property. These tasks include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Scheduling repairs and maintenance work
  • Creating and promoting rental listings
  • Attracting and screening tenants
  • Evicting tenants
  • Returning deposit money
  • Preparing and administering lease agreements
  • Collecting monthly payments
  • Maintaining a record of financial documents
  • Preparing and sending regular reports to the property owner

And so on. Essentially, property managers must ensure tenant satisfaction, maintain records, and keep vacancies to a minimum.

Because of the amount of work that goes into property management, especially for larger rental properties, property managers must automate certain aspects of the role, such as billing, collection, and records management.

With the property manager taking over these tasks, you can choose the level of involvement in the rental.

If you want to be more involved, you can check in with the property manager on a day-to-day basis.

But if you have other commitments, or if you’d like to maintain some personal distance from your investment property, you can have peace of mind knowing that your rentals are being managed properly, even if you don’t communicate with the property management or tenants on a regular basis.

The importance of property management

Hiring a property management company comes with the following benefits:

  • Lower vacancy rates – With a property manager actively promoting your listings and securing tenants, you can expect to have a reasonably high occupancy rate year round, especially if your rental is located in a desirable area.
  • Quality tenants – The property manager will conduct a thorough background check to secure quality tenants. The screening process typically involves financial, employment, and criminal checks. The property manager may also speak with previous landlords.
  • Better tenant relations – Your property manager will respond to tenant complaints and requests for repairs to ensure tenant satisfaction and strengthen tenant relations. This, in effect, helps minimize turnover and vacancy rates.
  • Better-maintained rentals – Rentals get a lot of wear and tear from the sheer influx of people moving in and out of the units. Moreover, rentals must meet basic requirements for safety and building codes. A property manager will make sure that your investment property is properly cared for by scheduling regular maintenance and repairs.
  • Increased profitability – Well-maintained rentals are more attractive to prospective tenants, which is why hiring a property manager can help make your investment property more profitable. Moreover, they make sure that all the proceeds from monthly rentals, penalties, and other fees are remitted properly so that you don’t lose money in the process.
  • More time and freedom – Entrusting operations with a property manager frees up your time so that you can turn your attention to other investments. It also helps minimize stress and prevent burnout.

How to choose a property manager

When looking for a property manager in the Brazos Valley, choose someone who has proven experience in property management in addition to a robust portfolio of rentals.

Moreover, their personal values must be aligned with yours – choosing a property management company that strikes a balance between protecting your interests and making sure that tenants are treated fairly is ideal.

Looking for property management services in the Brazos Valley? Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (BHHS) Caliber Realty has over 60 years of combined experience in property management and leasing services. You can reach the BHHS Caliber Realty team here. You can also speak with a property manager at 979.694.8844, 979.694.2299, and Sales(at)BHHSCaliber(dotted)com.

History of College Station, TX

Albritton Bell Tower in Twilight

Albritton Bell Tower in Twilight

There’s nothing like living in College Station, TX – the games, parties, and quirky traditions of Aggieland will blow you away. But there’s more to life in this city than Texas A&M University, although the institution certainly plays a central role in day to day living in College Station.

The city offers a laid-back suburban environment where people from all walks of life can thrive and set down roots.

College Station celebrated its 75th year in 2013. Here’s a closer look at this city’s storied past.

Origins of a city

The city was built around Texas A&M University, which was founded in 1876. Situated on the Southern Pacific Railroad, then known as Houston and Texas Central Railroad, the city was named College Station, TX by the Postal Service in 1877 after the train station west of campus.

The university is the first public institution of higher education in Texas and is one of the largest universities in the United States. Situated on over 5,200 acres of land in College Station, the founding of the university was made possible through the Morrill Act, which allows for the donation of public lands for higher education purposes.

Early development

In the city’s early years, many Texas A&M faculty members lived in university-provided housing on campus. The railroad depot was built in 1883 along with two general stores 1884. Electrical service became available sometime in the 1890s.

Despite these developments, however, the population remained small at just 391 in 1900, comprised mainly of faculty, students, and others who were in some way connected to the university.

The electric interurban railway came to College Station and the neighboring city of Bryan in 1910 and was replaced by a modern bus system in the 1920s. In the same decade, the area north of campus gradually developed into a bustling business district.

Despite the city being built around a university, school-aged children in College Station attended school in nearby school districts until the founding of A&M Consolidated High School in 1920.

Major expansion

The growth of the university throughout the 1920s and 1930s drove city expansion in all directions. Seeing the need for smart planning and managed growth, College Station incorporated in 1938 with John H. Binney as the city’s first mayor. A zoning commission was established a year later.

Ernest Langford, known as the “Father of College Station,” was elected mayor in 1942 and served the city for 26 fruitful years, prioritizing robust city services over commercial development. College Station became a council-manager city government in 1943.

By 1940, the city had 2,184 residents, 60 registered businesses, and a new school. A decade later, the population grew to 7,898.

Texas A&M University launched a major expansion program in the 1960s and College Station grew along with the university.

The partnership between A&M and the city made way for the development of tech manufacturing industries in the city, with College Station becoming an esteemed research center.

Present-day College Station, TX

Today, College Station has grown into a prosperous and peaceful community that prizes education and hard work. It is primarily residential, made up of many subdivisions offering single-family homes, townhomes, and condos.

Residents enjoy great shopping, dining, and nightlife in Downtown Bryan, which is lined with specialty stores, art galleries, bars, and restaurants. Exciting events, like Restaurant Week, Margarita Mayhem, Family Festifall, and Downtown Street & Art Fair take place here throughout the year.

Post Oak Mall is anchored by major retailers like H&M, Forever 21, and Foot Locker. The mall also offers casual dining options like Chuck E. Cheese’s and Roman Delight Pizza & Pasta.

The local dining scene is underrated, with restaurants serving Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, German, and Pan-Asian cuisine. The city also loves its craft beer, with several breweries and pubs operating in the area.

College Station offers numerous green spaces for rest and relaxation. Many of the city’s parks feature nature trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, basketball courts, and soccer fields:

  • Bee Creek Park
  • Brother’s Pond Park
  • Stephen C. Beachy Central Park
  • Brian Bachmann Community Park
  • Richard Carter Park
  • Neal Park

Click here to explore Byran-College Station’s parks.

You can also enjoy a weekend of camping and golfing at Lake Bryan, Road Runners Campground, and Bryan Golf Course in College Station’s sister city of Bryan.

For more information on College Station, visit their official website.

Do you think College Station should be your new home? Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (BHHS) Caliber Realty is here to help. You can reach them here. You can also contact them at 979.694.8844, 979.694.2299, and Sales(at)BHHSCaliber(dotted)com.

Home Selling 101

House for sale

House for sale

Selling your home is never an easy decision. It’s more than just a piece of property – it’s a cherished investment that has grown with you over the years. But once you’re ready, you’ll want to avoid the common mistakes home sellers make. Here are some tips for selling your home in Brazos Valley.

Prepare your home for the sale

Tidy up. Clear away the dust, dirt, debris, and grime that conceal the true beauty of your home. This will make it easier to stage the property and have listing photos taken.

Make obvious repairs. This can be something as simple as fixing a leaking faucet or making sure that the doors and window open and shut properly. Not all buyers want a fixer-upper, and if they come across one, they expect the asking price to reflect the condition of the property.

Update the interiors. Some homeowners will take months or years to prepare their home for a sale if they feel the need to update the interiors. If you’ve been living in your home for a while, you may need to make a few upgrades that suit contemporary tastes.

Do your research

Get a feel for the local market. Are you in a sellers’ market? Then you might have the slight edge in negotiations. But if you’re in a buyers’ market, you’ll have to make a few concessions to close the deal. College Station, for instance, has a stable housing market with limited supply for the most in-demand homes.

Research home prices. Find out what the average home price is for comparable properties, or comps, in your neighborhood. This will give you an idea of how much you can sell your home for.

List your home with an agent

Choose the right representative. Selling your home is an intricate process with lots of moving parts. Working with the right agent will help you stay on top of deadlines, paperwork, and other requirements.

Set a justifiable asking price

Price your home accurately. It can be difficult to maintain an objective view of your home’s value if you’ve poured a tremendous amount of effort into maintenance and renovations. But it is important to base your asking price on existing data, such as average home prices, in order to attract reasonable offers and not risk alienating buyers. Your agent can give you access to relevant data and provide an objective view of your home’s market value.

Stage your home

Declutter. If your home is buried in stuff you’ve accumulated over the years, now’s the time to sort through your belongings. Decide which ones to keep and which ones to let go. Freeing up the space creates the illusion of a larger property and enhances the flow of the layout.

Depersonalize your home. Remove any items that mark the home as yours, including family photos, travel souvenirs, collectibles, and so on. Depersonalizing the space makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves moving in with their stuff. It also helps protect your privacy during public home viewings.

Keep it neutral. Not only is a neutral palette elegant, it also makes it easier for buyers to imagine the home in other colors. Keep décor to a minimum and stick with essential furniture and appliances.

Remove pets and pet accessories. If you have any pets, consider re-homing them with friends or family just before the open house. Put away their toys, feeding bowls, and litter boxes in the meantime.

Some buyers have expressed concern over the presence of dogs in a property. Others might get turned off by the sight or smell of your cat’s litter box.

Pets can also escape or get stolen during open houses, so re-homing them prior to home viewings can help prevent this from happening.

Market the property

Invest in marketing collateral. It’s worth paying a professional to take high quality photos and videos to be used for your listing. Most buyers start their home search online, and the quality of these images can make or break the sale.

Get the word out. Your agent will utilize their professional network to promote your listing. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the word out on yours – tell friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers that your house is for sale. You might just find a willing buyer within your own circles.

Vet offers

Evaluate offers. Once the offers start coming in, you’ll need to decide which one to accept depending on your goals and motivations as a seller. In some instances, the highest offer isn’t necessarily the best offer – if you’re pressed for time, you might want to sell to someone who is willing to waive certain contingencies and close the sale quickly.

Negotiate. Not quite happy with their offer? You can make a counter offer. You can also sweeten the pot by throwing in extras like furniture and artwork. Work with your agent to get the best deal possible.

Ready to list your home? Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (BHHS) Caliber Realty is here to help. You can message them here. You can also reach out at 979.694.8844, 979.694.2299, and Sales(at)BHHSCaliber(dotted)com.

A Guide to Buying Your First Home

Woman with Keys

Woman with Keys

So you’re ready to buy your first home. You’ve fallen in love with the Brazos Valley and feel that this is a place where you can set down roots. We don’t blame you – its natural beauty, high quality of life, and prime real estate make it an obvious choice.

Don’t let the excitement of buying a house in Texas turn into anxiety – this first time homebuyers’ guide will help you navigate the process from start to finish.

Getting ready to buy a home

Prepare your finances. When buying your first home, it’s not enough to save money for the down payment. You’ll encounter many expenses throughout with the buying process, such as inspections, closing fees, and relocation fees.

Likewise, you’ll need an emergency fund for when you move to your new place just in case something breaks within the first few months of your stay.

If you have existing debt, such as student loans or consumer debt, pay it down as much as possible – it will reflect more positively on your credit score, which is one of the main factors lenders take into consideration when approving (or rejecting) loan applications. You can also consolidate multiple loans to make them more manageable.

It’s also generally advisable to avoid making big ticket purchases, like a new car or flat screen TV, in the months leading up to your loan application.

Talk to your financial advisor about how you can best prepare your finances for a home purchase.

Gather the necessary documents. The loan application process entails a great deal of documentation and paperwork. Get everything ready before speaking with a lender to speed up the process.

These are some of the necessary paperwork when applying for a home loan in 2020:

  • Pay stubs reflecting at least 30 days of income
  • Names and addresses of previous and current employers within the last two years
  • W-2 forms from the last two years
  • One or two years’ worth of tax returns
  • An accomplished Form 4506-T/4506T-EZ
  • Bank statements from the last two or three months
  • Bonuses
  • Information on existing debt (Car loans, student loans, etc.)
  • Security accounts (stocks, bonds, etc.)
  • Dividend earnings
  • A copy of earnest money deposit

If applicable:

  • Year-to-date profit and loss statement (if self-employed)
  • Signed returns from last two years (if self-employed)
  • Social Security and Disability payments
  • Proof of pension income
  • Child support1 Footnote
  • Alimony1 Footnote payments

Know your reasons for buying. This may seem like an obvious question, but there’s no harm in clarifying your reasons and motivations for buying. Are you looking for a forever home? Will you upgrade to a bigger house in the future? Do you have plans to resell within the next few years? The answers to these questions will help guide your decisions as well as manage any expectations you might have of the process.

Applying for a mortgage

Find a lender. It’s generally recommended to speak with more than one lender in order to find the best terms possible. Shopping for a lender lets you compare terms and rates.

Get a preapproval letter. Having a preapproval letter can give you an advantage in buying process, especially if the seller receives multiple offers. A preapproval letter sends the seller the message that you’re serious about buying the home and that you’re in a financial position to buy.

Finding a real estate agent

Work with a licensed agent. There’s substitute for professional guidance when buying a home in Los Brazos Valley, or in any market, for that matter. Buyers have access to more real estate information than ever, thanks to technology. However, information doesn’t always translate to knowledge. Only a seasoned agent can help interpret data and anticipate every scenario that can come into play during the buying process.

The agents at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (BHHS) Caliber Realty offer quality service to first time homebuyers in Brazos Valley. The agency has won numerous awards in the area, including the Newman 10 Award for small business growth.

Choosing a home

Go through your options. With so many gorgeous homes in the Los Brazos Valley, choosing is truly the hard part. Buyers have the pick of the litter, from luxury townhomes to custom built single family homes.

Working with an agent will give you access to the MLS, which contains numerous listings. Your agent will also utilize their network to find off-market listings and other listings that match your criteria.

Attend open houses. If the home will serve as your primary residence, it’s worth taking time off your schedule to attend the open house. This allows you to get a first-hand impression of the home as well as ask the seller’s representative questions about the property.

Have the home inspected. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes buyers make is skipping the home inspection. It’s a necessary expense, as it can help uncover underlying issues with the property, such as cracks in the foundation or dampness in the basement.

Making an offer

Craft a strong offer. Once you’ve found your dream home, don’t let it slip away by making a lowball offer. Although it’s customary for agents to offer just below the asking price, then countering with a higher offer when the seller refuses, this may not work in instances where there are multiple offers on the home. Assess the situation carefully and work with your agent to come up with a good offer.

Closing the deal

Open escrow. Once the seller accepts your offer, you’ll have a short window of time in which you must review and accomplish the necessary paperwork as well as entrust the funds with an escrow company.

Get the keys to your new home. If the escrow period goes by without a hitch, you can do a final walkthrough of the home to determine whether it’s in the same condition as when you made an offer.

If you’re satisfied, the property will be transferred to your name and you will finally be able to move into your new home.

Ready to explore the Brazos Valley real estate market? Berkshire Hathaway Home Services (BHHS) Caliber Realty is at your service. You can reach the team here. You can also get in touch with them at 979.694.8844, 979.694.2299, and Sales(at)BHHSCaliber(dotted)com.

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