Property Management Services in Houston Adjusting to Millennials

Property management services in Houston are making changes to adjust for the influx of Millennials to the condominium market. That’s right, Millennials who cherish their free time are choosing condominiums for their first home due to the “lock and leave” lifestyle they afford. They don’t want the hassle of owning a home, so if your property management services in Houston are doing their job, you’ll have a dedicated tenant.

millennial condo buyers

What millennials expect from property management services in Houston

The millennial population is tech savvy and they expect the same from the people they do business with. This trend has caused property management service in Houston to reconsider the way they do business. Many are rushing to upgrade their website to do more and be more user friendly.

Millennials prefer paying onlineIt’s now pretty much the norm to be able to pay monthly association dues and assessments online, plus see real time their account status. It’s how millennials do business, and property management services in Houston are making it happen. Millennials have no desire to chase your staff and work around your schedule just to make a payment.

Another big one for property management services in Houston when it comes to millennials is the ability to file complaints or request maintenance online and track the progress of that request. Again, millennials do not work around your schedule, that website integration is essential to keeping them happy. They want to put in their request, wait for your response and provide feedback all via a website interface.

Got announcements for the community? It’s fine to post them on the bulletin board for older residents, but millennials want to go to the website and get the info they need. Some property management services in Houston are still adjusting to this one; either doing one or the other but not both. Don’t’ forget to post your CCRs here too.

Millennials expect property management services in Houston to promote community

Millennials like to know their neighbors and they like management services in Houston to make that happen via community mixers. Keep them short, fun and light. This type of event is a time that allows residents to bond and can strengthen community relations which makes the property management services job a little easier.

Millennials and baby boomers can live in perfect harmony if the property management services in Houston manage the process. You must be everything to everyone. Companies like RISE in Houston get and they are making it happen.

Want more information on how your property can attract millennials and keep them happy, explore the RISE difference at www.riseamg.com or contact RISE at (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com.

The Top 10 Questions from Condo Buyers in Houston

Condo buyer inspecting unit

Condo buyers in today’s’ market are a mix of first time home buyers with small families, single millennials, and empty nesters. This diversity is resulting in condo buyers’ questions being a mix of old and new. For Houston property managers, Hurricane Harvey is also affecting questions during showings. Here’s a list of 10 questions you’re likely to encounter and a possible response.

Top 10 Questions to Condo Property Managers

  1. Did this property flood? Was it affected by Harvey?

    This is an easy question, it’s fairly black and white. Yes, we had flooding or no we didn’t. If you had flooding, be prepared to answer what level and how it was handled by the condo association. Be upfront about a unit that was damaged and provide proof of mold remediation and warranties.

  2. What type of insurance does your property carry?

    Condo buyer’s may want to see proof of coverage and limits. Understand your landlord insurance policy, what it covers and what it doesn’t.

  3. Are there mandatory types of insurance required by the association board?

    The answer can be found in the CC&Rs. Educate buyers on what insurance they are required to purchase. Let them know it is recommended they talk with a licensed insurance agent for optional coverage.

  4. Are we allowed to AirBNB our condo?

    This question is becoming more popular, as AirBNB, HomeAway and other sites are still relatively new. Not all condo properties allow short term rentals such as AirBNB. Most condo buyers won’t know what short term rental means, so educate them in the lease agreement.

  5. Do you have discount condos available?

    The term “discount condos” is defined by context. Discount condos can mean condos that flooded, selling at a discount in lieu of repair. In the rental market, this could be referring to Section 8 units or condos rented at a lower rate due to seasonal shifts. Answer accordingly.

  6. Does this unit have hurricane proof windows?

    In a showing, highlight the thick walls and protections against excess flooding and wind. Not sure, check with your maintenance man or management company to find out the age and certification of windows.

  7. What is the management team like?

    This is a common condo buyers’ question, buyers want a responsive management company who will protect their investment.

  8. Who makes the rules and what are they?

    The same reason people love a management company is the same reason they hate them; management companies propose the rules and enforce them in many cases. This is the preferred method vs. a condo association board handling the issue, but that’s a whole other article.

  9. Is there storage space available?

    Not only do millennials like their toys, but so do the empty nesters. Highlight the bike racks, storage lockers, garage options and other amenities around storage.

  10. Does this community have a reserve fund and reserve fund study?

    Today’s buyers are educated, they want to know if their investment is being protected and they don’t want to get hit with assessment after assessment.

Kind of like a marriage, condo buyers’ questions are a mix of something old and something new depending on their perspective. Need information on what you should do, start with your management association, don’t have one, now may be the time to consider a change. Contact RISE (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com. RISE sets the standard when it comes to Houston high rise association management.

The “Love Is” Top Condo Amenities for 2018.

Remember the old “Love Is” series of cartoons? The top condo amenities for 2018 fit well into that cartoon scenario. Let’s take a look at a few of the “Love Is” condo amenities for 2018.

Condo Amenities 2018“Love Is”…Smart home technology.

Condo owners are individuals who like the freedom to do what they want, when they want. They long for uncomplicated lives. They want all the bells and whistles when it comes to their smart home technology. They want voice activation when they’re home, but control remotely for their spontaneous lifestyles. Don’t scrimp here or you’re bound to lose out in 2018.

“Love Is”…High end fiber optics and more.

The discerning condo owner today is looking for high end fiber and more. They want to know the building they’re buying into can support the future advances like electric vehicles and robotic technology and more. It takes sophisticated systems to run the tech side of the building and it occupants, don’t under deliver here.

See where Forbes is setting the expectation

“Love Is”…City views and social spaces in Houston.

In Houston, luxury condos are boasting spectacular city views that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your private balcony or in one of the many rooftop verandas that serve as social hubs. In fact, according to Inman, the social areas one of the most in demand condo amenities in 2018.

“Love Is”…Indoor basketball courts, glass bottom pools and gyms with personal trainers.

Condo dwellers love their walk-about lifestyle and like the over-the-top convenience of never having to leave their buildings to enjoy some cardio. Indoor basketball courts and in-house gyms with either personal trainers onsite or virtual trainers are a must in condo amenities for 2018. The more daring love the new glass bottom pools that allow you feel like you’re swimming in the clouds. It’s all about the snap!

“Love Is”…Personal shoppers, valet trash service, valet car service and more.

The final “Love Is” in this cartoon of must have condo amenities for 2018 is someone who can do everything menial for them. Dad’s birthday coming up…call the personal shopper, let them worry. You just show up with the perfect gift. Ready to leave, drag the trash to the hall, buzz the valet and have your car waiting for you all warmed up.

Make the “Love Is” happen.

These “Love Is” must have 2018 condo amenities don’t just happen automatically. It takes a top of the line association management company to manage this caliber of property. They must have the diversified services and qualified personnel to implement and continue the upgrade of your luxury condo property.

Need that kind of management association in Houston, check out RISE at www.riseamg.com or contact RISE at (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com.

Targeting International Condo Buyers in Houston

International Condo BuyersHow do you target the international market in Houston? First, face it, everyone wants to be a cowboy/cowgirl some time; it’s evident in the overwhelming number of international buyers investing in Texas real estate. According to the Texas Association of Realtors, “From April 2016 to March 2017, more than 34,000 homes worth $18.66 billion were sold in Texas to buyers from across the globe, figures compiled in the Texas International Homebuyers Report indicate.” That’s a lot of money in play and the condo market is nabbing their fair share. Check out this report for more about international condo buyers.

Here are a few tips to help tailor your property to appeal to multiple nationalities.

International Condo Buyers – Who are they?

It’s important to know who makes up the international real estate market in Texas. According to one statistic, 43% of Mexicans who choose to own homes in the US, choose to own in Texas. You’ll also find that 11% of the Chinese that choose to own in the US, choose Texas. The last significant group is from India and they come in at 10%. More stats found in this article.

That’s the who, but why are they choosing Texas over other states? Low unemployment is a huge factor, world class educational facilities, plus a variety of industry and top of the line medical facilities. Looking at the why, it’s easy to see how condos appeal to the international buyer.

International Condo Buyers – They’re looking for convenience

Most international buyers are looking for convenience. Employed in high-tech and professional jobs, they want to be close to their job, many prefer to be within walking distance. Condos built in the downtown area appeal to this buyer. Even if they can’t get in the downtown area, they want a condo on a major transportation line.

International buyers aren’t necessarily looking for large condos, even those with a family. In fact, many are accustomed to smaller well engineered spaces and find them more comfortable. Crowded urban cities are the norm in India, China and Mexico City ex pats and smaller living areas is typical. The new mini-condos are a big hit in downtown Houston.

International Condo Buyers – Why Houston?

Houston is becoming a home for multiple immigrant populations and they are renting, buying houses and condos. Some have even described Houston as the most diverse city in America. Chain family migration and an attraction to affordable living, stable jobs and a warm climate are all reasons contributing to international growth of Houston, TX.

  • Second largest Vietnamese-American population in the U.S.
  • Largest Indonesian population in the United States.
  • Largest Nigerian expat population in the U.S.
  • Largest group of ethnic Norwegians outside of Scandinavia

Why Choose a Condo in Houston?

  • Prices are still relatively low compared to other international hot spots.
  • Laws are mostly landlord friendly in Texas
  • Better cash flow, as much as 15%
  • No city or state transfer fees.

For another interesting resource about why the big Houston craze, check here.

Plus, like I said, everyone wants to be a cowboy or cowgirl some time in their life. Want to know how international condo buyer wants translates into action by a condo management association? Give the guys at RISE a call 712-936-9200 or email at info@riseamg.com.

Vertical Luxury Living in Houston.

Vertical luxury living is on the rise in Houston with luxury condos in short supply. The definition by price, of luxury condos in Houston is starting at around $750,000 plus. More about luxury premiums here. These vertical luxury living options, known as luxury condos have amenities that rival most 4-Star hotels and nothing less is acceptable for their discerning buyers. So, who are the buyers of luxury condos in Houston and what do they expect? Here’s the scoop from the associations that manage them.Luxury Condos

Luxury condos – Defining the Buyers

The buyers of luxury condos in the Houston area is mainly a draw of empty nesters from Memorial, Tanglewood, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and River Oaks. Houstonians are warming to the idea of larger vertical living spaces that are lock and leave, low maintenance and high on service.

Developers are accommodating with large open floor plans, 4-Star amenities and standard, top of the line everything. In short, luxury condo owners are people who know what they want, are accustomed to paying for it and expect what they pay for. They don’t threaten to sue; you hear from their attorney that they are suing. There’s nothing wrong with that either, but it does take a very special management company to manage a luxury condo property.

Luxury condos – Setting the Standards

From the point of the first preview, association management for luxury condos begins looking at the potential buyer. It takes more than just wealth to buy, the association management is creating a community and lifestyle that blends, it’s smart management.

Most luxury condos have right of refusal for prospective owners. Don’t discount the financial obligation either which is sure to include a substantial down payment, excellent credit score and above average income to qualify as a factor to maintain a standard as well. Owners and developers look to the association management to make recommendations to accomplish these task without fear of retribution in terms of a lawsuit or damaging publicity.

Luxury condos – High requirements on staffing, maintenance and living.

We touched on it earlier, luxury condo owners get the best because they are willing to pay for it. However, they also expect performance and not excuses. Demands for service are high and require top of the line staffing and plenty of it from their association management company.

In fact, many luxury condos hire in concierge services that handle their high-end clienteles’ personal request. Requests that can range from jet reservations to birthday gifts for family members. It started in New York, but it’s nationwide now.

Luxury Condo Buyers – They are savvy buyers and not afraid to sue.

It can’t be said enough; luxury condo buyers have a set of standards they expect you to meet and it’s not optional. They don’t just demand higher service, they demand a high level of performance by management when it comes to setting and enforcing the rules.

Developers are prime targets for this class of luxury condo owners; if you advertise a Jenn-Aire stainless steel appliance package in the kitchen, then it better be just that. It’s not just the developer of their property either. In Houston there are several ongoing battles between luxury condo owners and developers of surrounding property for a variety of reasons that center around changing the character of the neighborhood. Again, this high-end buyer has the means to be heard and the money to back it. Read more about some of these cases here.

If you’re looking for the type of management company it takes to run a luxury condo, look to RISE in Houston. Find out more about their service by contacting RISE at (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com.

Condo Airbnbs – Why Your Management Company is Your Best Partner.

Condo AirbnbAirbnb’s are a popular way for condo owners to make a little extra change and for travelers to save a little money on their stay. “Winter Texans” as we call them are a great target for this type of arrangement-6 months here and 6 months in their home state. But what happens when you Airbnb your unit and you get found out? Condo Airbnb – ing is not the same as a house. However, with the right property management company in place, it can be a win-win situation.

Condo Airbnb – What You Need to Know

When deciding on condo Airbnb, start with your CCRs. Short-term rentals would need to be allowed by your community. There is nothing worse than signing up on Airbnb, only to find out that it is against the CCRs for your community. Otherwise, there’s a real possibility of getting fined from the association.

Don’t forget to check your city regulations as well. Many cities have begun very strenuous regulations about not only condo Airbnb s, but short-term rentals in general. Here’s a recommended guide with city resources if you’re in the Houston area

Consider how you will get keys, relay the rules, etc. to your condo Airbnb guest. Then there’s the make ready between rentals, and cleaning. What if your guest break a rule? If you’re fined by the condo association, who’s paying that? There’s more moving parts then you realize.

Your management association could be an Airbnb ally.

Condos can become very popular on Airbnb, due to the amenities and often their proximity to downtown, restaurants and bars. How much money can someone make? An Airbnb host in San Fransisco was earning $4,000 per month by renting out apartments. For Houston, it’s reasonable to charge $65 per night in a newer furnished condo close to downtown or other amenities. $1,000 to $2,000 per month is possible per unit.

Airbnb can be an extra revenue source for condominium owners. One way is to rent unsold units until a buyer signs an agreement or even allowing a furnished model to be leased on weekends.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But we all know, with increased flexibility and revenue comes increased commitments in time, resources and liability.

  • Insurance is the first hurdle. Have your management association review not only what your current policy covers, but what changes would need to be made to cover the liability of short term rentals, not just for common areas, but for individually rented units.
  • Security is another consideration in condo Airbnbs. Permanent residents could feel unsafe with constantAirbnb traffic. Plus, it is not uncommon forAirbnb guests to be in town for a party; after all they’re typically on vacation. Noise violations could increase.
  • Don’t forget damages, who pays for them if they are to common areas? It could be your responsibility.
  • Finally, there’s just the day to day logistics of keys, repairs, cleaning crews, etc. Essentially, your condo becomes a hotel; and hotels require onsite management.

Looking at the list above, I’m sure you can see where a property management company is integral to the success of Airbnb  endeavors. Just as they act as a buffer and mediator between property owners; they can be that onsite management needed when offering short-term rentals.

If you and your condo property decide to move forward with an Airbnb model, be good hosts. Here are a few tips to help you out. Still want to know more? Get a free consultation from RISE in Houston. Contact us at (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com.

Look What Harvey Blew In… Flippers and Investors – The Pros and Cons.

 

Condo flippers are just a small segment of the new real estate buyer in Houston. Hurricane Harvey blew in a bevy of flippers/investors who are looking to stay in the Houston market. Storm ravaged properties are investors’ dreams. Investors and flippers want to buy low, invest little and sell for a profit. While these types normally will target single family homes, there are several that target condominium properties. Read more here.

 

Why Condo Flippers Love Condos for Investments

You might wonder why condo flippers find condos such a great investment. Consider this, they only need to improve the inside of the unit, studs out is normally the HOA. This reduces refurbish cost significantly over the purchase of a single-family residence that may need siding, painting, a roof, etc.

Insurance that is spread over the overall community vs a single owner can be significantly less expensive as well.

Let’s not forget the benefit of amenities without the upkeep; from yards to pools to tennis courts. It’s sounding better all the time.

There’s also the benefit of rules pretty much already being in place and managed by either an HOA or a management association. This takes some of the pressure off the condo flipper should they become condo investor and rent the property out.

Now that you know why the condo flippers want to be in your community, let’s look at the pros and cons associated with their arrival.

Condo Flippers – The Pros

  • Condo flippers can drive the price of your units up. Because, while they buy low, they improve and sell high, thus increasing the value of the units in your property and other surrounding communities.
  • Consider this, if prices in your property are low enough to attract condo flippers, by not allowing them, what type of buyers will you attract and how will you market to those buyers? If not flippers, you may experience a large influx of first time home buyers who find condos a great way to move into the real estate market in terms of affordability and maintenance. Consider how that fits with your current demographic and what demands a first-time buyer may have on your infrastructure.
  • Condo flippers know millennials find condos a great way to move into the real estate ownership phase of their life. They buy condos with the idea they can live in them now and keep them for investment later. Upgrades by condo flippers may be very attractive to the millennial buyer bringing prices up in your community. Millennials are not just a group, but a movement that is changing the look of downtowns everywhere. Check out this article for more info.

Condo Flippers – The Cons

Although there are some positive to selling to a condo flipper, there are some downsides to consider.

  • When a condo flipper buys a unit, they normally have plans to renovate. Renovations can be minor cosmetic changes to a total gut job. Along with the renovation comes a long list of issues such as:
    • Security and access to a condo property for the multiple trades involved in any renovation.
    • Noise levels of construction, limiting hours for construction can help with the nuisance.
    • Risk of water damage, electrical outages and other disruptions to nearby units.
    • DIY repairs in lieu of licensed contractor repairs which can affect other critical building systems.
  • If the condo flipper makes the decision to rent the unit instead of re-selling, how will that effect your ratios to keep your FHA approval?
  • Condo flippers can tax the resources of your association management with increased traffic, improper vetting and failure to abide by your covenants and restrictions.

The bottom line, there is a lot of information to review when it comes to condo flippers and their fit in your community. If you have questions in Houston, the guys over at RISE can help. Find out more about condo flippers in Houston, get info from people who live it every day, explore the RISE difference at www.riseamg.com or contact RISE at (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com.

Spring Cleaning Condo Properties, A Community Affair.

It’s that time of year again, we’re all coming out of winter hibernation and slowly venturing out. For condo managers and staff, it means spring cleaning condo properties. Admit it, you’re seeing neighbors you thought had moved, it’s like a whole new community! Along with spring comes an annual rite of passage, “Spring Cleaning”. Spring cleaning started years ago, when homes in the winter were heated with coal furnaces/fireplaces and illuminated with oil lamps which left soot and residue on everything. When spring came, the house was opened-up and emptied out to be thoroughly cleaned. (Origins of “Spring Cleaning”) I don’t know about you, but I’ve slacked up a bit. But spring cleaning shouldn’t be limited to just your home, spring cleaning condo properties helps you complete a few items on your annual check list.

Tip 1: Spring Cleaning Condo Properties

Paperwork makes the world go around and your association is probably drowning in it. Spring is a great time to archive association management records in that cabinet. By now, all important paperwork should be with the CPA for tax preparation. Add a discard tag to your boxes if you don’t already have that system in place. Discard tags tell you when a box can be shredded or if it is a permanent file. I can already hear you saying, “our records are electronic”; guess what, you still need to backup files and store them on a separate HD or flash drive for security.

Tip 2: Management by Walking Around

Once you’ve cleared out the paperwork, try a little MBWA (Management by Walking Around). When RISE does spring cleaning for our clients, this is one activity that can’t be forgotten. Managers learn more about the needs of the property by walking around and interacting with staff and home owners. Speaking of staff, take your maintenance, landscaping and office employees with you. Use the time to gather input and identify needs of the community.

Tip 3: Preventative Maintenance

Spring cleaning is also important for preventative maintenance. There are a few items that require upkeep before the hot Houston summer is upon us – air conditioners and pools. RISE knows when those brutal Texas summers are on the way, it is essential to use spring as a time to tune up. HVAC in each unit should receive a tuneup and maintenance check and filters should be replaced. Outside, confirm the A/C condenser is clear of leaves and debris so they can operate efficiently.

Spring is also an important time to set a date for the pool to open. Beforehand, a pool must be cleaned and inspected, both inside and out. Repairs should be made if needed and filtration, PH and chlorine systems tested and ready for non-stop summer operation.

Tip 4: Get Everyone Involved!

Spring cleaning condo properties is best done as a community wide event! Don’t make it feel like a hassle for residents. Instead, get everyone involved, have a community wide kick-off party and give DIY tips for styling your balcony or patio. Come up with a contest, such as, “Most Improved Balcony!”. Get a few local sponsors and pass out gift cards and food. Have the onsite manager talk about why Spring Cleaning a Condo is important and efforts residents and the association is taking for upkeep. When everything is done, celebrate your accomplishment with the opening of the pool or a community party.

Want ideas on spring cleaning condo properties, talk to my Houston friends at RISE, get info from people who live it every day, explore the RISE difference at www.riseamg.com or contact RISE at (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com.

The Digital Condo Age, Tech Solutions to Age Old Problems.

Welcome to the new digital condo age; it’s the age of Alexa, Google Home, Amazon Key and smart home technology additions that can regulate temperatures, turn on/off lights and allow you to view your home from your phone while you’re away. The digital condo age can help provide solutions to age old problems like package management, energy conservation and security for condo management teams.

Gadgets for the Digital Condo Age

Let’s face it, most of us enjoy our gadgets and that’s good in the digital condo age. Alexa and Google Home devices are becoming more popular to voice control many of the functions in their homes. These devices interact with various smart home peripherals via Bluetooth or Wifi. In the digital condo age, Nest thermostats, doorbells with built in cameras and electronic locks are providing a new level of energy conservation and security. Products are flooding the market and the race in on; some devices will flourish, while other will flounder. Check out this smart socket introduced at the recent electronic consumers show (https://www.cepro.com/photo/new_smart_home_iot_devices_ces_2018_innovation_awards_winners/0).

Package Management in this Digital Age

Package management has long been a problem for management companies, but this digital age could provide some needed avenues for improvement. In the digital condo age here are some tips and suggestions that can be implemented to help: (https://www.advancedins.com/resolving-condo-association-package-management-issue/)

  1. Make sure tenants know where the liability for missing or mis-delivered packages that are not delivered directly to the management office lay. Even in the digital condo age, don’t take on a responsibility that is a liability.
  2. Consider installing package lockers as a capital improvement. Package lockers can provide an easy solution for deliveries to be secured. Amazon is currently working with communities to develop locker locations in a program known as Amazon HUB. (https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/99336:4:US)
  3. Another choice in the digital condo age for package management is the installation of smartlocks. Smartlocks can be used on a specific space for deliveries and accessed via key cards/codes for resident and package safety.

Amazon Key System

You may have residents who opt to use the Amazon Key System in the digital condo age. This system is not inexpensive coming in at almost $300 to set up. Then there’s the issue of someone you don’t know having access to your home while you’re not there. Some are comfortable with that, other’s, not so much. You can read more about how this works and the pros and cons in this article ( https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/10/amazon-key-unlocks-your-door-for-in-home-package-deliveries/).

The impact of the Digital Condo Age

It remains to be seen what new rules or amended rules may need to be put in place to accommodate the digital condo age. For instance, with the Amazon Key System, what is the liability to have delivery people going past the management office, wondering around looking for an individual unit they are delivering to? Who pays for the installation of digital options and once installed, what becomes the property of the unit?

Want to more about the digital condo age and how to manage the challenges it can provide, check out RISE at www.riseamg.com or contact RISE at (713) 936-9200 or info@riseamg.com.

Post Hurricane Demand for Houston Condos

If you’re looking for the calm after the storm, you probably won’t find it just yet. Post hurricane, the real estate market in Houston is changing. Depending on whether you are an owner, property manager or buyer, it could be positive or negative. Housing prices have increased along with rent in areas that didn’t flood.