Investing in Austin Texas Real Estate
REAL ESTATE INVESTING IN AUSTIN TX – FAQ
Q: What does Crossland Real Estate do as agents for investor buyers?
A: We help financially qualified individuals identify and acquire residential homes.
Q: What does Crossland Real Estate NOT do?
A: We do not help buyers find flips, fixers, foreclosures or creative financing opportunities. We do not sell duplexes, 4-plexes or apartments, just good quality “rent ready” single family homes in good areas.
Q: Do you focus on and recommend certain areas in and around Austin?
A: Yes. We generally help buyers find homes in South, SW, & NW Austin as well as Cedar Park, Leander and West Round Rock. We don’t sell in newer, unestablished outskirts.
Q: Why those particular areas?
A: Because homes in these areas, in our opinion, offer the best combination of location, affordability, appreciation potential, schools and the median value housing stock that attracts quality renters.
Q: What price ranges to you recommend Austin real estate investors stay within?
A: $175K to $275K, in general. Or, roughly, 25% above and below the median Austin home value of $225K.
Q: Do you recommend a certain size and age of home?
A: Yes. We recommend homes that are 3 to 4 bedroom, 2 to 3 bath, 2-garage minimum, between 1,400-2,200 square feet in size, built 1980s and newer.
Q: Do you have other criteria investors should observe?
A: Yes. When possible, it’s best to have a 1-story home that has an additional flex room, such as a 2nd living area, formal dining, 4th bedroom or office. If it is a 2 story home, it’s best to have the master bedroom downstairs. Also, we help you avoid homes with “misfit attributes” or functional obsolescence.
Q: Is real estate investing risky?
A: Yes. Real Estate investing is extremely risky. You might lose money. You should only invest in real estate with extra, left over money that you’re willing to put at risk. This means you should already be maxed out with any employer matched 401Ks, have no debt attached to depreciating assets (such as cars or furniture), and have no outstanding balances on credit cards. In other words, your financial house should be in order with all other investment, retirement and debt categories in your life. If you have credit card debt, car payments and haven’t started saving for retirement, you should discuss that with your financial advisor or accountant before looking for investment property to purchase.
Q: How much cash on hand should I have before investing.
A: About $60,000 to $90,000 USD. This will provide funds for a 25% down payment and remaining reserves equal to 6 months rent. If you don’t have that amount of available funds for down payment and operating reserves, you should reconsider investing in Austin real estate.
Q: What are some basic financial assumptions about investing in Austin real estate
A: It will generally take 3.5 to 5 month’s rent to cover annual property taxes and insurance for the typical rental home. Property taxes average 2.4% to almost 3% of assessed market value, depending on the location in the Austin metro area. Assume 10% of gross annual rent toward repairs and maintenance, 10% of gross annual rent toward vacancy/leasing, and 10% of gross annual rent toward management fees if you will be using a property manager. The historic average appreciation rate in Texas is 4.5% over time, so that’s the rate we assume, even if the market at time of purchase is “hot” or “flat”.
Of course all of these numbers are averages and guesses. Two identical homes in the same neighborhood will perform differently over a 10 year period. Cash flow, or monthly “break even” cash flow amount will depend on how much downpayment you invest. You also have to factor in tax advantages, depending on your income level and tax bracket, equity pay down over time, and depreciation write off over time. A “negative cash flow” property may be positive once everything is factored in. You and your accountant should assess how real estate investing will fit into your personal financial picture.
Q: Can you help me decide if investing is a good idea for me?
A: No. Thats’ not what we do, other than to say we think it’s a good idea for many, but not for most. We help financially qualified individuals identify and acquire residential homes, but we are not financial advisors or accountants. The above should get you started on considering the basic parameters we think a prudent investor should consider. We’re here to help once you’ve determined that investing is a good idea for you and your financial goals.
Q: Can you give examples of listings you think make good candidate properties for investment?
A: Sure. See below. These are homes in SW Austin at least 3/2/2 in size, built 1980 or newer, between $175K-$275K in price. Not all would make a good investment property, but this is a sample of search results from which selections could be made.
THERE IS MUCH MORE TO CONSIDER! THIS IS A BRIEF OVERVIEW TO GET YOU STARTED