The Carvajal Group Blog

New CG Client

May 22nd, 2014


Newest client of the Carvajal Group was an interesting but pleasant addition. Being in my position, I get the joy of understanding the full back-story of the self-managing owners that hit a breaking point and reach out for help. The initial phone call had HELP written all over it- so I agreed to push some appointments around and meet with these customers the same day to explain first hand the process of property management.

In a nutshell- the owners were faced with a non-paying tenant and worse of all; the lease in place was not standard and had vital sections missing. After explaining all the advantages of our company and what we all have to offer- they immediately agreed to sign the contract and hired us on the spot! I knew with my prior experience that my next steps would set the tone with tenants and/or owners so I needed to make sure I was ready and quick with my actions.

I reached out to the tenants to inform her of the newest management change. Now let me just say I knew that the introduction of the Carvajal Group’s management change may not be intercepted with huge wide-open arms but I assumed the conversation would stay cordial. Boy was I incorrect; the very brief chat was quickly met with a loud dial tone all in about 1.5 minutes. Since its clear I wasn’t able to communicate via telephone I put it all in writing and delivered it in person.

Ah…. the joys of a property manager! In her mind I didn’t get enough of her so she continued her rude behavior in person by crumbling the management letter and notice to vacate. The only thing that was well communicated to me is that she had no intention on moving so I proceeded to explain the eviction process. Three days passed so I phoned the- all -so -kind tenant to check in about her moving-, which Iknew she had not done. Sadly, I had to start the eviction process.

Upon receipt of the eviction paperwork, she moved. Her days of manipulating and taking full advantage of the owners were over- she had met her match! Now, on to the most heart wrenching part for the owner- the walk through. The house was a nightmare filled with holes, strong stench combination of rotten food and pet urine, writing on the walls, a broken window and trash piled on more trash.

Tosha and I reassured the owner that we could cost effectively get this shaped up and ready to put on the market in no time. The owners agreed to all of our suggestions to fully paint the unit in neutral colors, make some alterations to the landscaping, and install different flooring to last longer. Using the Carvajal Group affective marketing strategies the unit is not only leased prior to even putting it on the market, the owners will be getting an additional $225.00 in rent per month.

Investments can be easy but it takes a professional like the Carvajal Group to run proper background checks, use proper contracts, and know how to deal with the most difficult tenants. Upgrades and maintenance don’t have to cost a lot- the smallest things can make a huge difference. We know the market and are more than confident in our team to make owners happy. This is just one of the thousands horror stories I have encountered.

→ No CommentsTags: Austin Real Estate Market

Ventana Condominium: Affordable Rosedale

February 21st, 2013

This property is a great option for someone looking to get into central Austin at an affordable price. It is well suited for a first time buyer but would also work as a second home or as an investment. Sandwiched between the popular central neighborhoods of Rosedale, Allandale and Brentwood; this well appointed condo is walking distance to many of the area’s most popular restaurants.

The 713 sq. ft. floor plan features a kitchen open to the living room, a separate large bedroom, walk-in closet, and spacious bathroom. The flooring consists of engineered hardwoods in the living area, hard tile in the kitchen and bathroom and brand new carpet in the bed room. The kitchen features granite counter tops, a large pantry, a gas stove, and a built in microwave. The adjacent laundry room has electric connections for a full size washer and dryer.

The private balcony faces East and overlooks La Mancha Mexican restaurant which will open soon and is being designed by Michael Hsu architects(see Rendering). Additional restaurants and bars within a short walk include: Billy’s on Burnet, Torchy’s Tacos, Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffles, Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar, Blue Star Cafe, The Omlettry, and Sarah’s Mediterranean; just to name a few. There are also several boutiques, cross-fit gyms, and tattoo parlors in the area as well(this is Austin after all). With more mixed use and retail in the works along Burnet Road, the area is exploding with activity and there something for everyone.  

As an investment, the property has previously rented for $1200 with current market rent of $1250-$1300. The HOA fees are a very reasonable $200 per month. At 20% down and 4% interest rate, the monthly cash flow would be approximately $75-$125 per month.

The property is being offered at $155,000.  Call Jonas at (512)496-0215 to schedule a showing or for more information.  Don’t miss this opportunity to live in one of central Austin’s most desirable neighborhoods at an affordable price!

→ No CommentsTags: Allandale · Austin Real Estate · Rosedale

Investment Opportunity – 3101 Harris Park

September 21st, 2012

3101 Harris Park is an awesome investment opportunity walking distance to the University of Texas and centrally located in the heart of the top city in the US.  One of Austin’s oldest neighborhoods, Hyde Park boasts an abundance of sought after charm with its unique architecture.  This unique property features a main house with a 2 bedroom, 1 bath which has been fully updated and has original hardwood floors throughout, white appliances, gas stove and a gorgeous retro style bathroom.

The second unit is on the top level and is a very large studio style apartment which run the length of the house and features a small kitchenette with a full bath and plenty of living/bed room with a separate entrance.

There is an additional living space, coined the “Hobbit House” which is a detached cottage style house that features a small kitchenette and full bath plus loft sleeping area.  This unit makes for a very nice supplemental rental arrangement or could easily be converted into a very nice office or guest quarters.

In my opinion the highest and best use of the property is  to purchase and hold as a rental for a while with the intention of converting the entire property to a single family home.  The upstairs unit was originally connected to the 2 bedroom 1 bath house and the owner left the property in such a way that it could easily be converted back.  This would leave the “Hobbit House” as an additional guest quarters with a full bath or even a very cool office/ studio.   This unit could also do very well as a vacation rental.

The property has been impeccably maintained by its local owner who has self managed the property since she purchased it.  The property has had many upgrades including a new roof, new HVAC unit and foundation work (warrantied) along with paint and other small improvements needed for longevity in the asset.

3101 Harris Park is being marketed without going in MLS and aggressively priced at 439k.  Because of the uniqueness of this property as well as its highly desired and valuable location, this property is one of kind and its very rare that you find a rental property that has been so well taken care of which is evident when you see it in person.

Current rental rates are as follows:

Unit A: 2 bedroom, 1 bath – $1250/month with long time tenant.  Tenant is responsible for mowing the property and for performing most maintenance as well as part of the decreased rent.  This lease expires December 31st, 2012 and has a 60 day clause allowing the landlord to have the tenants move out at any time with a 60 day notice.

Unit B: Studio – $925.00 month and the unit comes furnished.  Lease expires July 2013

Unit C: Hobbit House – $695/month and comes partially funished

*All leases are inclusive of basica utilities (water, waste water, electric and trash)

I do believe there are significant opportunities to raise rents however the landlord prides herself on quality tenants and she would rather have lower rent than bad renters.

If you have any interest in a private showing of this property or for assistance with your Austin Home Search, contact me today at (512) 786-1515.







→ No CommentsTags: Austin Home Search · Austin Investment Property · Austin Real Estate

Austin First Time Home Buyer FAQ

June 20th, 2012

Many of my clients over the last several years have been first time home buyers.  Below I have compiled frequently asked  questions along with answers.  I hope that this brief FAQ will help other people begin their Austin home search and ultimately purchase their first home in Austin.

Q:  I’m thinking about buying a home, what is the first step?

A:  The first step is talking to a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage.  This is an important first step because it helps you figure out exactly what how much home you can comfortably afford.  Lenders can also paint a clear picture for what your monthly payments will be at different loan amounts.  Lenders are also credit experts so they can usually recommend a few easy things to improve your credit and help you get the best interest rate possible.  If you do not have a lender, we can definitely recommend one for you.

Q:  I would like buy a home because I hear it is a great time, but I don’t have a large down payment?

A:  Conventional loans only require 5% down on for most properties and FHA loans still only require 3.5% down.  On a a $200,000 home that is only $7,000!  There will be additional closing costs, but it is often possible to to get the seller to contribute towards those fees.  Depending on your personal financial details and the specific property, there are also still some down payment assistance programs available as well.  You can also receive a tax free gift from a parent or close relative up to $13,000 per relative without tax consequences.

Q:  What is the option fee/option period and when will I need it?

A:  The option fee is due at the time you go under contract along with the earnest money.  The option fee is usually $100-$200 paid directly to the seller for the option period.  The option period is usually 7 to 10 days during which time the buyer can terminate the contract for any reason and have their earnest money refunded.  The primary purpose of the option period is to perform due diligence including having the property inspected negotiating any critical repairs.  The option fee is usually credited to your down payment at closing.

Q: What is earnest money when will I need it?

A:  Earnest money is also due at the time you go under contract.  Essentially it is a good faith deposit which also provides the buyer incentive to move forward with the purchase after the option period is over.  The standard amount for earnest in Texas is 1% of the purchase price.   Earnest money is credited towards your down payment at closing.

Q:  When will I need the down payment?

A:  You will need the down payment and any additional closing costs not paid by the seller by the closing date specified in your contract.  Once you have a property under contract, you can get a good faith estimate from your lender which will give you a good idea of how much money you will need to bring to the table.

Q:  Are there any other costs or fees, which I should be prepared for?

A:  Yes.  It is highly recommended to have the home inspected by a licensed Real Estate Inspector.  The cost of the inspection may vary based on the property size, type, and age, but can also vary from inspector to inspector.  For most first time buyers, $350 to $500 should be plenty to budget for an inspection, but larger or older homes could require up to $600 or more.  Additional inspections for specific items(electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc) may be subject to a service all fee as well.

Q:  After we get a property under contract, how long until I will be able to move in?

A:  You can usually plan on 30 to 45 days from the date you go under contract to the date you will purchase and close on the home.  Depending on the seller’s situation and the current market, the sellers may negotiate a leaseback where they occupy the home for a week or more after closing.  However, it is more common for buyers to take possession of the home on closing day.

Q:  Ok, I’m ready and I’m pre-approved, what now?

A:  Call Jonas Lord @ (512)496-0215 to start your Austin home search or click here to search online on the Carvajal Group website!

If you have a question that was not answered here, please email for a quick response!


→ No CommentsTags: Austin Home Search · Austin Realtor · Buying a home in Austin

Austin Home Sales up 10.4% for January 2012

February 22nd, 2012


Before you begin your Austin home search, it is important to understand the climate of the market you will be buying in.  Inventory is at a 3 year low and competition is fierce for homes in many Central Austin Neighborhoods.

The Austin board of Realtors released sales data yesterday, summarized in an Austin American statesman article below.

“Home sales in the Austin area rose 10.4 percent in January compared to the same month in 2011, marking the eighth straight month of year-over-year sales increases, the Austin Board of Realtors said today.

The board said 1,051 homes were sold in January, compared with 952 in January 2011. 
January’s median sales price was $176,550, down 7 percent from a year ago. By another measure, home sold for $107 per square foot, down 5 percent from the $112-per-square-foot sales price in January 2011.

“It is encouraging to see last year’s momentum continue into the new year,” said Leonard Guerrero, chairman of the Austin Board of Realtors.

January was the eighth month in a row that the supply of homes has decreased from the prior-year months, according to the board. The Austin market had 4.1 months of inventory in January — 1.4 months less than January 2011 and the lowest inventory level since the board began tracking the statistic in January 2009.

There were 6,557 active listings in January, 19 percent fewer than January 2011. Pending sales were up 16 percent, with 1,638 homes in the pipeline to close, the board said.”

While the statistics say prices are going down, I can tell you from first hand experience that prices in many central neighborhoods are being forced upwards.  Listings priced well in popular central Austin neighborhoods are receiving multiple offers in just days on the market with some selling 5-10% above the list price.  In fact some out of town buyers with out the luxury of living in Austin are making offers site unseen!  The hot neighborhoods include Bouldin Creek, Clarksville, Tarrytown, Barton Hills, and Central East Austin.

In a highly competitive market such as central Austin.  It is more important than ever to have an expert Realtor guide you through your Austin home search.  Call an expert at the Carvajal Group today at (512)496-0215.

→ No CommentsTags: Austin Home Search · Austin Homes for Sale · Austin Real Estate Market