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Risk Versus Reward: How to be Cautious with Potential Renters
Risk Versus
Assessing the riskiness of a potential tenant has never been an easy process. In an ideal society, everyone would pay their bills and rent on time. However, in today’s society, the rise of debt is making it increasingly difficult to have low-risk tenants. While difficult, there is a way to put a numerical value on the risk of a potential renter. Here’s a little information to help you decide screen potential tenants:How do you put a numerical value that holds weight to the situation?
If you are new to real estate investing, you may have some questions on how to screen potential renters. Luckily, we’re here to help. A key measure to consider is the debt-to-income ratio. How do you calculate a tenant’s debt-to-income ratio? Exactly how it sounds. Simply compare the amount of debt they have (student loans, car loans, etc.) to the income they make. The result may be an excellent starting point to determine how likely a tenant is to pay their rent – on time and in full.

Why should you consider a tenant’s debt-to-income ratio rather than just their rent-to-income ratio?
If the individual has no other debts, the two terms are basically the same thing. However, the general public usually has more monthly payments than just rent, water and electric. With that in mind, it is essential to take into account every single payment they make as these payments can be a deciding factor of if they can pay their rent on time, or at all.

What else should you consider?

While the debt-to-income ratio is incredibly important to take into consideration, it should not be the sole point of focus. Take their past into account and consult previous landlords for information on the tenant. Did they pay rent on time? While people can have a great debt-to-income ratio, they may also be sporadic in payments. But, the questions shouldn’t stop there. Consider asking previous landlords the following questions:

  • Can you confirm that ______ rented from you?
  • Did _____ pay his rent on time? In full?
  • Did _____ reasonably take care of the rental property?
  • Was the unit clean and in good order when ______ left?
  • Was _____ disruptive to other tenants or neighbors?
  • Would you rent to _____ again?

Keep in mind; this list is not comprehensive. Anything you ask can shed light on the habits of a potential tenant. You never know until you have the full story.

By taking steps to evaluate the big picture, you can mitigate risk, making you a happy landlord.

Are you looking for help managing your tenant situations? Reach out to us to start managing your investments today with Prism Realty Investments!


Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us. From decorating the house to having the whole family in one place, it really is the most wonderful time of the year…for the most part, that is. What could be the downside to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah? As it turns out, the holiday season is actually one of the worst times of year for the real estate market. Why? First and foremost, the cold weather doesn’t have anyone jumping to leave the comfort of their warm home to search for a new home. Plus, holiday parties and traveling to be with family dampens the number of potential buyers perusing the market. But, where there are disadvantages, there are also a couple of advantages. Buyers during this time tend to be more serious, and because there are fewer homes on the market, the competition is less fierce. Even so, you should seriously consider placing your home on the market. If you conclude that selling your home now is an absolute necessity, these tips for selling your home during the holidays are sure to make the process less of a challenge:
Don’t go overboard on holiday décor While you may turn your home into Santa’s workshop every year, we don’t recommend it if you are listing your home. Stick to general winter decorations that put your home in the holiday spirit, while not going overboard. Tasteful Christmas tree, garland on the banister or a wreath above the fireplace should do the trick.

Price to sell You won’t get the same price during the holidays as you would get during the spring or summer, it’s just the reality of the market. To ensure your home sells during the slow real estate season, price it to sell from the beginning. Don’t overprice to try and get a deal, only to realize you have to continually lower your price to receive any attention from potential buyers.

Increase curb appeal Have you ever heard the saying, “first impressions matter?” Whoever told you that was right, they do. To ensure potential buyers have a great first impression of your home, clean up the yard, touch up the paint and add a few holiday decorations, lights, to the front of your home. Doing these things will have potential buyers wanting to discover what awaits inside your property.

Hire a professional photographer As the Internet is the first place a buyer will see your home, make it count. You want a buyer to look at the photos of your home and automatically put it on their “must-see” list! To accomplish this, hire a professional photographer to take top-notch listing photos of your property to ensure its best angles are captured and on display for buyers.

Create a cozy environment Create a cozy, warm and inviting environment for buyers to escape the cold. Turn on all the lights, adorn furniture with pillows and blankets, and if you have a fire, consider lighting it for showings. These tips will help make your home stand out during an otherwise slow selling season. Do you have any questions about any of these? Give us a call; we would be honored to provide guidance. Are you thinking of selling your home this holiday season? We would love to help you navigate the slow market. Contact us today for more information!

4 Essential Fall Home Improvement Projects – Prism Realty

Owning a home and keeping up with maintenance and repairs can often feel like a full-time job…even more so during the cooler months! As fall is the precursor to winter, it is the ideal time to prepare your home for the upcoming cooler weather. Be proactive and add these home improvement projects to your fall maintenance to-do list – you’ll be happy your home is prepared when the colder weather arrives.

Roof inspection Inspect your roof for leaks NOW! To check for leaks, look for water stains on interior ceilings throughout your home. If you locate a stain, contact a contractor to inspect your roof to identify the location of the leak and repair it before the start of winter.

Gutter cleaning Clear your gutters of any debris and leaves before the start of winter. Clogged gutters can cause serious damage to your roof – which in turn can extend all the way inside your home. As leaves don’t typically fall until the end of the season, you can wait until then to clear the leaves and debris from your gutters. However, we recommend scheduling two times during the fall season to clear your gutters – the beginning and end of fall. To clear your gutters, simply stand on a ladder and, with gloves, remove the items by hand and place in a trash can. Or, call a contractor or maintenance professional to do the dirty work for you!

Window and doorway inspection Check your doorways and windows for air leaks before the cooler weather arrives. If you do find leaks, use weather stripping to ensure no cold air enters your home during the winter months. Weather stripping your home will likely save you money on your heating bill.

Patio cleanup As your patio likely saw increased use during the spring and summer months, it may be time to check it and other outdoor areas for wear and tear. Unless the patio and or deck damage is severe enough to warrant immediate maintenance, you can put this off until the spring. However, if you do want it ready for the warmer months, be proactive and make the necessary repairs NOW! As for other areas, like the driveway and sidewalks, consider repairing cracks immediately! These cracks could lead to bigger issues if left alone. Completing these home improvement projects in the fall will make your winter and holiday season more enjoyable. Are you searching for maintenance professionals around the greater Austin area? We would be happy to send you our recommendations!

Austin Events & Festivals – Fall & Winter

In a city as great as Austin, there is never a shortage of events and festivals. Whether you’re new to the Capital City or you’re just looking for some new events to enjoy with your friends and family, below is a list of the Austin events and festivals happening this fall and winter:

September 9/21 – 9/28 Fantastic Fest Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas
www.fantasticfest.com 9/23 – 9/24 Old Pecan Street Festival Sixth Street Austin
www.pecanstreetfestival.org 9/30 Texas Craft Brewers Festival Fiesta Gardens
www.texascraftbrewersfestival.org 9/30 AustOberfest Scholz Garten

October 10/6 – 10/8 and 10/13 – 10/15 Austin City Limits Music Festival Zilker Park
www.aclfestival.com 10/14 Oktoberfest German Free School
www.germantexans.org 10/20 – 10/22 FORMULA 1 United States Grand Prix Circuit of the Americas
www.circuitoftheamericas.com/events TBD Dia de losMuertos Festival Fiesta Gardens

November 11/3 – 11/12 Wurstfest New Braunfels, Texas
www.wurstfest.com 11/4 – 11/5 Texas Book Festival Texas State Capitol Building
www.texasbookfestival.org 11/4 – 11/5 Austin Celtic Festival Fiesta Gardens
www.austincelticfestival.com 11/5 Texas Monthly BBQ Festival City Terrace at The Long Center
www.tmbbq.com 11/6 – 11/8 Fun FunFun Fest Auditorium Shores
www.funfunfunfest.com 11/10 – 11/12 Sound on Sound Festival Sherwood Forest
www.soundonsoundfest.com 11/18 Chuy’s Christmas Parade Congress Avenue
www.chuysparade.com 11/23 Turkey Trot The Long Center

December 11/22 – 12/31 ZACH Theatre Presents: “A Christmas Carol” ZACH Theatre
www.zachtheatre.org 12/8 – 12/23 Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker” Long Center for the Performing Arts
www.balletaustin.org 12/12 Austin Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s “Messiah” Hyde Park Baptist Church
www.austinsymphony.org TBD 51st Annual Trail of Lights Zilker Park
www.austintrailoflights.org 12/31 Austin New Year Auditorium Shores

January 1/1 – 1/8 Free Week Various Locations around Austin
www.do512.com/freeweekaustin 1/15 Martin Luther King March and Festival Huston-Tillotson University


Austin Events & Festivals. Do you have any questions about the greater Austin area? We would be happy to provide guidance. Give us a call anytime.