SmartEgg has been in business for a decade, so assessing the rental market in Austin has become our expertise! We will always shoot for the highest rent possible but this requires experience and knowledge to make that determination.
Many landlords think it’s easy to determine what rent they should ask when posting their rental home on the market. They go on Zillow or a similar site and see what others are asking for homes nearby. While this may seem like an obvious way to go, it’s actually not an accurate method to set rent.
Why not? Using Zillow is misleading. Zillow won’t show you what homes actually rented for; only what people are asking. Frankly, you have no idea from a listing what a home ended up going for! You might see a rental listing for $3500 on a house down the street but you don’t know a really important detail: what that home actually rented for. The landlord might’ve gotten no interest at $3500 and ended up renting it for $3200. A tenant might have negotiated a better deal for a longer rental term or gotten some other perk. You just don’t know.
On the other hand the MLS (multiple listing service), one of the main tools a Realtor® uses for understanding real estate markets, shows both what rents people are asking for and also what rents tenants ended up paying. In addition, it will show you if the rent has been lowered from the original asking price and how long properties have been on the market. Only licensed Realtors have access to this vital real estate tool. The MLS gives us an accurate measure of what rent is realistic to ask for. For example, if a property will reasonably rent for $2000 but is listed for $2500 and the MLS shows that it’s been on the market for 67 days, it tells us that $2500 is not realistic—unless you don’t care that it’s sitting vacant for months.
Accurate rents are determined by looking at many factors, but the most important is what homes have actually rented for, not what people are asking. This is true of the real estate sales market as well—when a real estate agent refers to setting the price based on comps (i.e., comparables or comparable properties), they are talking about sold homes.
Some of the other factors we consider are square footage, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, location, proximity to highways, special features, and other amenities that renters are looking for. This article talks about how these things are important, too. We will work with you to make sure you are getting the most for your investment. And make sure that the best tenants are approved for your property!