“THE SUPPLY IS LOW AND THE DEMAND IS HIGH” read the headlines. I’m talking leasing, not
sales. The plight/experience of leasing agents has exponentially grown with frustration
and dissatisfaction based on several current factors in the Austin MLS market.
Bear with me as I, as briefly as possible, describe my last 10 days. A lovely couple called me to
see a condo I had for lease off 2222 in 78731. As it turned out, they wanted more space and
more natural light. Perfectly reasonable, right? We found a home in the Balcones area they
really liked. We submitted an offer with all the bells and whistles required: the TAR app,
pay stubs, copies of driver’s licenses, certified funds: security deposit, 1 month’s rent, and application
fees. A day later we received the downer call: too many applicants, and landlord went with another
On their second trip to Austin, the focus was changed to neighborhoods w/great schools:
Steiner Ranch, Round Rock W, Canyon Creek, and Avery Ranch. Spent almost another 5 hours looking
at possibilities. And found their favorite about mid-day in Avery Ranch. Before their 2nd visit, I
checked with the agents to make sure a future 6-week move-in would work for the landlords. The
family is being transferred from Houston. The husband and wife are from S Korea, and he was hired by
his company initially in S Korea. In 2017, they moved with the same company to Houston.
Now he is transferring to the Austin headquarters.
Again, the family went through the application process, and the applicant returned
the previous certified funds to his bank and acquired new ones for the new rental in Avery.
The upset here is that the background check company the listing agent recommended to his client, the
landlord, required the family to fill in more applications. By this time, the family was in
CA on their way to S Korea, and it was Sunday, and the wife had taught in S Korea but had no job
experience in the US as a stay-at-home mom. Applications were delayed in getting to the landlord until
late Monday after the husband was able to reach the help center at the application process
company to clarify his wife’s application.
Finally, 4 days after submitting applications, they received approval and the green light to move into the
Avery Ranch home.
As a 20-year real estate agent in Central Texas, I have observed how tight and cumbersome the leasing
process is. This is a new phenomenon: in May 2011, we were in a typical market for the era. All of a
sudden, demand began to shorten days on market, and property owners’ interests were piqued about
selling. That very tight market trend has continued and spilled over into the leasing market as well. We
can’t seem to satisfy the leasing public either.
I recommend the leasing process be examined closely to perhaps ease some of the angst involved.
It is actually easier to buy a home in Austin than it is to lease a home in Austin.
Basically, with a shored-up leasing strategy by the ABOR/MLS training should be stressed for any
agent wanting to act as a lease listing agent or a leasing agent.
Below are my thoughts on the new leasing system I am recommending:
- certified funds not be required until landlord approval for move-in or at some more
reasonable time frame. The time it takes to go back to the bank and re-deposit and have new
certified funds withdrawn is exhausting and interrupts moving on to the next property’s
- Lease listing agents should provide/recommend background checking entities w/out requiring
potential tenants fill in a second application. The TAR application should suffice and is the only
required application at this time.
- Lease listing agents and leasing agents working with clients should be required to take a Leasing
101 class in which both sides of the transaction are taught with a view toward success in a
leasing environment such as we have today.
I appreciate your time and consideration to the current leasing situations we are facing in Austin.
Everything is solvable!