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OWNERS NEWSLETTER – MARCH 2018

“With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.”   Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

OWNERS NEWSLETTER – MARCH 2018

A/C CHECKS AND SERVICING – We have started our annual servicing of air conditioning units for those owners that have requested this preventative maintenance. The service includes checking the wiring, housing, and fan relay of the inside unit. The fan motor, housing, blower wheels, air filter, thermostat, plenum, attic ducts, evaporator coils, and drain lines are also checked. The outside unit coils, wiring, fan motor, blades, Freon level, and pressure are checked as well. The cost of this service is $65.00 plus tax and does not include parts should a repair be necessary. If you wish to have your property added to our list, please e-mail our maintenance department at repairs@HunterRentals.com

IMPORTANCE OF THIS SERVICE – Barring a roof replacement, your property’s central air system is the single most expensive aspect of the dwelling. With proper maintenance, the average life span of a residential air conditioning system is eight to twelve years. New systems have been costing property owners $4,000 and up. Lack of maintenance is the number one cause of system failure. Even if your renters replace their air filter monthly and maintain a very clean home, it is absolutely worth the cost to have a trained technician inspect and service the system prior to the intense Texas summer heat kicking in.

DEPLOYMENTS – Approximately 3,500 soldiers from Fort Hood’s 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, will be deploying this spring to Germany in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

RENTAL TRAFFIC – We leased twenty-six single-family homes in February and seven apartments. We ended the month with 98% of our houses occupied and with 99.9% of our apartments occupied. We have already rented more properties this month than in February. Presently, we have only four vacant houses, two duplexes, and two apartments available. The Fort Hood area housing market can be quite fluid and go from feast to famine in a relatively short amount of time, but it has been more than fifteen years since we have experienced such high occupancy levels. As is almost always the case, there are multiple factors impacting the current market. There are now fewer homes for sale in the area, so demand for rental housing has subsequently increased. Interest rates have been on the rise, and every time mortgage rates tick up, it reduces the numbers of potential buyers. These would-be buyers will then likely resign to renting. The Texas population continues to be on the rise, and Bell County has seen its share of growth. Many of the new arrivals to our area work elsewhere in areas between Austin. Georgetown, Round Rock, etc.

David Gerke

Broker

Owners Newsletter – February 2018

“When everyone is against you, it means you are absolutely wrong–or absolutely right.”    -Albert Guinon

OWNERS NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2018                       

INTEREST RATES – As the economy continues to pick up steam, mortgage interest rates have also been on the increase. One month ago, the fixed interest rate on a 30-year conventional loan was 4.25%. Today, the rate is 4.5%. The VA fixed interest rate on a 30-year loan was 3.75% last month, but is presently 4.125%. It is widely anticipated that mortgage interest rates will continue to rise. If you’ve been toying with the idea of refinancing your current mortgage or purchasing a new home or investment property, now is a good time to revisit those plans and take advantage of what are still historically low interest rates. A shrinking existing home inventory and rising interest rates have spurred many lenders into loosening up their qualifying requirements as a preemptive move to maintain and/or increase customer levels. Lenders do not want to lose business, so easier qualifying requirements translate into less money down for purchasers in many cases.

RETURNING SOLDIERS – This month marks the return of approximately 3,500 soldiers with Fort Hood’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team from their nine-month deployment in South Korea. Several hundred soldiers have already arrived back at Fort Hood with the remainder of the unit expected to make their return in the coming weeks.

RENTAL TRAFFIC – January was a busy month. We rented forty-two properties last month consisting of thirty-five single-family houses and seven apartments. We ended January with 98% of our houses rented and 99% of our multi-family properties occupied. Steady demand for rental housing has continued into this month as soldiers return to Fort Hood from their deployments as well as families utilizing their tax refunds to move.

INSURANCE – Please take a few minutes this month to review your existing homeowners insurance policy. Do you have adequate coverage on your investment property? Are you paying too much? Your investment property may not be located in a flood plain, but does your existing coverage protect you against flash flooding or run-off resulting from new construction? What about sudden and accidental water discharge, foundation, or back-up of sewer drain lines and seepage? Does your current policy protect you against dog bite claims? More than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims are the result of dog bites and canine related injuries. Toby Brooks (toby.brooks@goosehead.com) is an agency owner with Goosehead Insurance and an expert on all matters related to property insurance. Give Toby a call (254-721-8104) or e-mail him if you have insurance questions. Toby will work hard to find you the best policy and can save you money in most cases.

David Gerke

Broker

Owners Newsletter – January 2018

“Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.”-Niels Bohr

OWNERS NEWSLETTER – JANUARY 2018  

DEEP FREEZE – Temperatures here in Central Texas dropped below the freezing mark beginning Sunday, December 30th, and did not rise above freezing until Wednesday, January 3rd. During that time period, temperatures fell into the low 20s at night and generally remained in the upper 20s during the day with periodic snow showers. We began notifying all of our renters last week of the coming cold front and gave them instructions on how to prepare and take preventative freeze measures in order to minimize property damage. A few properties did experience frozen and burst water lines.

Some effects of the hard freeze will not be known until this coming spring. Sustained hard freezing temperatures will often kill St. Augustine grass root systems and severely burn or kill many varieties of plants and shrubs that might otherwise handle brief drops in temperatures below the freezing mark.

YEAR-END STATEMENTS – Year-end summary statements and IRS 1099 forms were both e-mailed and posted to owners’ on-line accounts on January 1st .

MORTGAGE COMPANY DATA – At some point between last month and this March, your mortgage company will furnish you with a copy of your escrow accounting showing expenditures for taxes, insurance, and interest for the year 2017. This information is provided by the mortgage company for your tax filing. When filing your taxes, you should also include any receipts for personal expenditures you had, such as costs associated with travel to visit your property in 2017.

INTEREST RATES – Rates continue to remain low. The current interest rate on a 30-year conventional loan is about 4.125%. The VA rate on a 30-year note is 3.625% and 3.75% for FHA loans. The rates are lower on 15 and 20-year notes. Now is still a great time to purchase real estate or refinance.

6,700 – Approximate number (20%) of Fort Hood soldiers currently deployed around the world.

28.3 MILLION – Current population in Texas after gaining 400,000 new residents last year according to the Census Bureau. Texas had the seventh fastest growth rate in the country in 2017.

2017 – Killeen’s deadliest year in over twenty years with 21 homicides. The Killeen Police Department has sought assistance from the Justice Department in an effort to formulate a crime reduction strategy.

David Gerke

Broker

Owners Newsletter – December 2017

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is
the cemetery.” – Harold Wilson

OWNERS NEWSLETTER – DECEMBER 2017

WINTERIZATIONS – With temperatures forecast to dip into the 20s over the holiday weekend, we moved forward with winterizing all of our vacant properties last Friday. We will continue to winterize properties as they become vacant in advance of freezing temperatures expected in the coming ten days. The winterization process includes draining all plumbing lines, covering all exterior water faucets with insulated covers, and applying nontoxic and environmentally safe anti-freeze in all drains throughout the dwelling. The cost of winterizing is $45 plus materials. Once a property has re-rented, the cost of de-winterizing is $35.

RENTAL TRAFFIC – In spite of the many soldiers deployed away from Ft. Hood, we successfully leased twenty-five properties in November. Of those properties we rented, nineteen were single family houses and six were apartments. We ended last month with 97% of our single-family houses occupied and 99% of our duplexes and townhouses occupied, respectively. We also renewed the leases of twenty-five of our existing renters. One noticeable change we have observed this year is an increase in the number of non-military families that are renting from our office. Historically, 95% of our renters were military. Presently, we estimate that approximately 30% of our current renters are non-military.

WWW.HUNTERRENTALS.COM – On December 21st, our new web site went live. With our new property management software, properties we advertise on our website are also listed on hundreds of other listing sites. Prospective renters can now apply to rent via their smart phones. Although our thorough screening and qualifying of  prospective renters has always been fast, the credit reports and criminal background checks of applicants can now be completed in minutes. Renters can now pay their rent on line with zero transaction fees, pay by credit card, or pay by cash in their local CVS or 7 – Eleven store.

$70 MILLION – With President Trump’s recent signing of the National Defense Authorization Act, Fort Hood is set to receive close to $70 million in funding. From that amount, $37 million will be used to complete renovations on the 1st Cavalry Division’s headquarters building. The remaining funds will be used to construct motor pools and make repairs and renovations to barracks. The act also provides a 2.4% pay increase for soldiers.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS – From the entire staff here at Hunter Rentals, we wish you a safe and blessed holiday season. We sincerely appreciate your faith, support, and patronage. Best wishes for a happy and successful New Year!

David Gerke
Broker