At Home with April

You’ll find my blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because I care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. I’d love to talk with you!

May 22, 2020

Why Having a Property Manager is a Good Idea

May 21, 2020

April Huynh


Real estate investing is a fantastic way to grow your money and let it work for you.  It’s an often- used strategy that can open the door to financial freedom, early retirement, or even become wealthy.  But like all investments, there are pitfalls to avoid, and if not executed properly, can result in a ton of headaches and painful financial losses.  One of the questions faced by investors is whether they should utilize professional property managers or do the work themselves.  Let’s dive into this topic a bit. 

Size Matters

The answer, as in many areas of life, will be different for everyone, depending on what your personal situation is.  It’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons of what the best use of your time is or and whether or not you want to deal with your tenants. 

In general, if you only own a small number of properties, you may do just fine by doing your own property management  This is especially true if you are a hands-on kind of owner.  You may get much satisfaction from doing your own repairs and solving problems.  However, this too may turn out bad for owners who even have just one or two rentals.  

When they learned that I had gotten into property management, two of my personal friends volunteered their stories and told me that they wished they had hired a property manager to take care of their last rental.  These ones did not know how to properly ‘vet’ their tenants, going off of emotional surface factors such as “they look like they’re really nice” or “I like these guys -- they’re cool!” 

Both ended up selling their rentals to cut their losses after their tenants had destroyed their house, costing thousands to repair.  One couple said that they were out an additional five thousand dollars the tenant never paid for the three months’ rent prior to their eviction.  Both owners say that they’ve learned their lesson so that, if they decide to invest in a rental again, they would definitely use a PM to take care of it. 

Then, there are landlords like Charles Hobart, a retired professional photographer who managed three of his own rentals for several years (by the way, Charles is my own father).  He is ultra-friendly, likes meeting people and always has a soft heart to help them anyway he can.  A self-described “avid DIY (do-it-yourself) guy,” he views himself as a pseudo handyman who doesn’t mind getting calls from his tenant, values the rewards in maintaining his own properties to benefit his tenants, and relishes in the learning opportunity to fix things, even though he takes three times as long and costs himself financially because he loses precious opportunities to get tenants in sooner! (Really, it’s painful watching him but he insists on doing things his way...I apologize for digressing.  He is, after all, family.) 

After six years of managing his own rentals while in retirement , he has scaled back to only one rental home.  Out of six renters, all of whom he selected and approved on his own, three thrashed two of his units after their move out, requiring significant repairs each time.  This resulted in major rehabs that obviously ate into his profits. Yet he maintains that, if he had to do it all over again, he would again self-manage his properties, with one major exception.

 “The one thing I would do differently would be to have you (April) approve my tenants first,” said Hobart.  Lucky for him, I am there to do this because I have a PM business.  Otherwise, he would be right back to square one because there is no service that I know of where he could go just to find good tenants without signing a PM agreement.    

At the very least, now he values much more the process of vetting his prospects seriously, as opposed to his previous method of approval -- if he liked them upon meeting them once, they were approved.  Because he is my dad, I volunteered to vet his last two tenants for him.  These turned out to be the best tenants he ever had who regularly paid their rent on time, and of the one that moved out, left the place in great shape.  The other tenant is still living there, paying regularly, with minimal fuss. 

Another investor I interviewed who owns about a dozen properties, managed his own rentals for many years and was successful at it.  He, too, enjoyed knowing his tenants personally and felt that he could do most repairs on his own properly and was good at what he did.  Eventually, though, the constant maintenance requests got the best of him.  He decided that PMs were worth the price to free up his days to do what he wanted as he sought more time to devote to his volunteer endeavors and to his family.  Now all of his fourplexes are all professionally managed. 

On the other hand, if you own more than just a few rentals, you will more likely need the services of a good property management company.  PMs will take over many tasks that take up much of your time, especially with regards to handling unpleasant tasks that most landlords hate having to deal with on a day-to-day basis, such as shopping vendors to handle maintenance requests or issues that can consume hours.  

So that brings up a good question:  What DO PMs do anyway?

Management companies deal directly with prospects and tenants, saving you time and worry over marketing your rentals, collecting rent, handling maintenance and repair issues, responding to tenant complaints, and even pursuing evictions,” says, a website dedicated to helping people navigate through legal questions and provides legal help. 

With such a list of duties that most, if not all, large investors would not want to touch with a ten-foot pole, it's no wonder that PMs are viewed as a valuable piece of their investment strategy and they are willing to pay for this service.  PMs free up investors valuable time that can be better put to use to grow your business, which includes searching for new properties, evaluating deals, meeting other investors to arrange financing or managing current projects in various phases of remodeling.

Rick Taggard, an investor with a sizable portfolio in both California and Nevada says that, for him, property management is a must. “Can you imagine what would happen if a couple of my rentals in Las Vegas lost their A/C in the summer and I’m out working on my ranch and my phone’s not with me?  I can’t afford to leave those tenants without air conditioning in that kind of heat, those repair needs must be addressed ASAP, so I have people that do that for me quickly.  I also have to make sure that every tenant has been properly checked before I agree to rent to them.  Nowadays, credit and background checks have to be done so that I know who I am really renting to.  Some of my properties are apartments with multiple renters in the same building.  I have to make sure that, not only can new tenants have the track record that they can pay monthly, but also that they do not pose a threat to my current tenants.”

Other factors

Some other things to take in consideration on whether hiring a PM makes sense for you or not:

  • If your property is not near to where you live.  In this case, you really do need someone nearby to take care of the day-to-day activities on a monthly basis and to be able to look out for your property.  Additionally, if the property is out of state, then it’s even more imperative that you have a professional company manage it.  They would likely know the legal ins and outs of their business, especially when it comes to tenant rights, unpaid rents or evictions.  This is further magnified in the current corona-virus pandemic with tenants having the ability to forgo payment and not face evictions. Furthermore, some states, such as Nevada, have laws requiring property management if you live a certain distance away from the property. 

  • If your rental is a side hustle.  Here again, you may not have the time or energy to deal with the tenant(s) you have, as your full-time job is doing something else.  Plus, as in the above situation, you may not be ready to handle the legal aspects of property management. 

  • You don’t want to deal with your tenants.  Most mom-and-pop landlords think that renting out an extra house can be a smart and easy gig to pad some extra income, not knowing how a friendly start with a prospect can quickly lead to a seemingly unending nightmare.  Then when things get to the point in which an eviction is inevitable, many find themselves hate having to become the ‘bad guy’ and taking legal steps to evict someone they started out liking.  This emotional strain is usually not anticipated and is very difficult to go through, in addition to the financial expenses and probable fix up costs to get the rental ready for the next tenant, since the majority of evicted tenants do not leave the place in great shape. 

  • You don’t want to employ others.  Perhaps the best scenario for you is to hire a resident manager to take care of your properties.  However, you don’t want to be an employer for whatever reason, you can contract out that service by hiring a property management company.  You, then, simply pay a fee to get their services without being an employer yourself.  The PM company is not considered an employee. 

  • You have to have control.  Some owners are simply not comfortable letting someone else handle something as important as their rental property.  They feel that they must be ‘hands-on’ when it comes to repair matters/costs or dictating policies regarding the tenant.  In this case, you would do well to manage the properties yourself. 


Of course, there are even more scenarios that are not discussed here.  Needless to say, property management is a time-consuming and difficult business and, in the right situations, can do wonders for your investment strategy.  But, it’s like life insurance, you may not want to pay for it because you think you don’t really need it.  Until you really need it, of course.


If you have any questions on these or other situations, please feel free to reach out to me.


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May 15, 2020

What’s going on in the Las Vegas Real Estate Market Right Now?

May 15, 2020


It’s an understatement to say that Las Vegas has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak dramatically.  Job losses are staggering as the tourism, casino, hospitality, convention, and restaurant businesses, pillars of the Las Vegas economy, have all been hugely impacted, resulting in a cloudy future for the city and its inhabitants.  How is all this affecting the real estate market in Vegas?

The Current Picture

The bad news first. The market has definitely been affected by the lock down. However, it isn’t as troublesome as are some other markets or as the news would lead you to believe.  Comparing figures from the multiple listing service of the Las Vegas Realtors, formerly known as the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, March and April 2020 show that Realtors closed 5738 homes sales vs. 6774 for the same period in 2019. That’s a drop of 15.3%, rough, but not surprising, considering that we were all in quarantine.

Vegas, overall, is still considered to be a sellers market as indicated by only a 3.4 month inventory. This means that if no other houses came onto the market, the current inventory would be sold out within 3 and a half months. Most experts say that a 6 month inventory is a normal and balanced market. Fidelity National Title of Nevada assembles an index called the Market Action Index (MAI) which summarizes the previous week’s real estate activities.  Consistent with Las Vegas’ inventory, the index has shown Vegas to be a sellers market.  

This week’s indexes indicate that the market still slightly favors sellers in Las Vegas and Boulder City, a quaint and cute city just a 30-minute drive from Las Vegas, while Henderson and North Las Vegas are still showing to be strong sellers markets.  However, the indexes of all four areas have dropped slightly from last month and are slowly moving away from sellers toward the buyers market. 

Vivek Sah, Director of the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies at UNLV confirms as much.  He sees a short term picture in which housing prices will dip and warns that sellers will need to adjust their expectations in terms of price, and how many offers they’ll get as he sees the market transitioning from a sellers market to a buyers market. 

Meanwhile, on the rental side, statistics from the MLS show that May’s median rental rates decreased by 4% from March and April 2020, going from $2500 to $2400. However, that fluctuation is seen throughout the year as rental prices ebb and flow due to seasonal demand. Therefore, the drop caused by the COVID-19 shutdown is rather insignificant thus far.  While this decrease is within range of what prices do throughout the year, it hints of things to come, since spring is usually a busy time for real estate activities in which we see rental rates increase, rather than decrease.  With the dismal report that the unemployment rate has gone up considerably in April, it would not be surprising to see rental rates drop a bit more in the next report. 


Not all the news is bad, however.  Beginning on May 9, 2020, Phase One of Nevada’s reopening plan began to be implemented by Governor Steve Sisolak, which will mean non-essential businesses such as restaurants, salons, and other service-related businesses can begin to open.  

Since real estate has already been deemed an essential service, therefore, business has continued to be conducted, albeit without open houses.  Although real estate agents could view listings on a one-on-one basis in non-tenant occupied properties, as long as they adopted precautionary measures and adhered to COVID-19 risk mitigation practices, the shutdown has resulted in a significant drop in activities for the last two months.  Yet since the announcement of the reopening on May 9, we have personally seen an uptick in requests to view our properties already.  The next significant milestone to look forward to in the reopening of Phase One, then, will be on June 1, 2020 -- when agents could begin holding open houses again.  I think that we will see even more activity stirred up in the valley.  That’s the hope, in any case. 

The Murky Future With a Silver Lining

While no one can predict the future of the market with certainty, the signs are there that Las Vegas will not experience a meltdown such as the one that made Vegas the poster child for all that went wrong in real estate in the Great Recession a decade ago.  

First, this time around, just up to when the coronavirus hit, home values reached a new all-time high of $319,000 as the median single family home price in March, up 6.5% from March of 2019, according to Las Vegas Realtors.  This was a steady and upward trend that had been going on for some 18 months.  With such a solid foundation, most agents say that they are not seeing the same collapse in the market this time around.  

"Had we been worrying about the housing market prior to this, I think it would’ve had devastating effects," said Tom Blanchard, President of Las Vegas Realtors. "But, due to the fact we had such a great year and a half, almost 2 years of continued increasing stability, and the last six months of a stable market, we are well set to be able to get through this," as he was quoted in a Channel 3 News segment on its April 8, 2020 news report.

Another sign that the effect of the pandemic is hoped to be short-lived is that there is a pent-up demand that will spur a good number of buyers to get out there to purchase the home that will have the features that the shutdown has revealed to be important to them -- a ‘Zoom room’ or a proper office for working at home, a bigger yard for the kids or pets, garage, etc…

Third, with mortgage rates hovering near historic record lows—the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was just 3.28% the week ending May 14, 2020, MarketWatch reported.  Some lenders are advertising even below 3% in some cases.

“Now is a prime opportunity to lock in a cheap mortgage rate and buy a home,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, as quoted in Money magazine. 


So, despite much uncertainty and in uncharted waters, we continue to move on.  We have to.  That’s how we’re built.  As unsettling as it may seem, I have to say that the Las Vegas real estate market will emerge stronger post COVID-19.  We’ve gone through much worse. The city and those of us who live here are a resilient and adaptable bunch that continue to thrive. #vegasstrong


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Posted in Market Updates
May 8, 2020

Should I Purchase an Investment Property Amid the Pandemic?

May 8, 2020


April Huynh, Realtor and Property manager

The C0VID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event that has turned the world upside down and inside out in a matter of just 3 months.  The ripple effect caused by the virus has reverberated throughout the entire economy and has affected virtually every segment of business. 

Without a doubt, Nevada is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak in which “two out of every five jobs are in leisure, hospitality, or retail, the state will likely lose 5.3 private of private-sector jobs,” states the The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in its March 2020 report.  In this unsettling environment, does it still make sense to purchase investment properties in Las Vegas right now? 

Prior to the outbreak, Las Vegas real estate was red-hot!  Why, just last June Channel 13 News ran a segment in which they reported that “Las Vegas rents, growing faster than any big market in the country, are up 8.9 percent from last May, with the next fastest growing rents to be found in San Jose.” As for real estate prices, many expected that Las Vegas home prices have the potential to reach a new record in 2020, due to strong demand for housing and a persistently tight listing supply. 

Across the city were multi-billion dollar projects in various phases of construction to showcase the city’s future entertainment possibilities.  These included the World Resort, the first casino and hotel to be constructed on the Las Vegas strip since City Center over a decade ago, the nearly-completed Allegiant Stadium to be occupied by the Las Vegas Raiders , and the MSG Sphere, a technologically advanced venue described as “the concert venue of the future” by those reporting on the development. 

With all this going on, clearly the Vegas real estate market was hitting all the right notes...but that was all before March 20, 2020, the date Las Vegas was ordered to shut down... So now what?

For the balance of this blog, I’ll cite three reasons why Las Vegas is still a strong market for you to invest in. 

  1.  The Fundamentals are Still Sound

There is still a shortage of homes in the Las Vegas valley and people will always need a place to call home and, therefore, the rental market is still active and percolating.  Combine this with the tight inventory of listings for sale, therefore rental properties will lose little value, if at all within the next year or two.  

In its April 30, 2020 report,, a site dedicated to help people find homes for rent, reveals that despite all this negative impact caused by the virus lockdown, 2 bedroom rentals prices have gone up 1.7% over the previous month’s rent and 3.5% on a year-over-year basis while 1 bedrooms have gone done 2.1% month over month and 2% year-over-year.  This insight tells us investors will do better investing in 2+ bedroom homes, which I encourage anyway. 

  1. Real Estate Can Be a Sound Investment During a Recession

During times of uncertainty in the stock market, many investors turn to real estate to diversify their portfolio, hedge against the volatility, and generate an additional income stream.  

In an April 2020 US News & World Report article, writers Rebecca Lake and Paulina Likos  argue that there are good reasons to buy real estate in tough economic times.  They make the case that property investments can produce stable income, may be less sensitive to market volatility, and that they may outperform stocks and bonds. In fact, they cite Jim Egan, head of commercial real estate banking and senior vice president at Bryn Mawr Trust, as stating that “a recession can be the best time to buy real estate.”   

  1. Recovery

While it is true that the road to recovery will be lengthier for Las Vegas due to its strong reliance on industries that have been hit hard by the virus, nonetheless, many believe Vegas will re-emerge stronger than before.  It always has and it will again.  If anything, the Great Recession has taught us that Las Vegas is a market that is resilient and innovative.  Its leaders will continue to adapt, re-invent, and morph so that Vegas remains America’s playground and the capital of entertainment. While we await the recovery, investors will still have a robust rental market in which they can earn an income during these shaky times. 


To conclude, many are asking whether this is the right time to invest in real estate.  The answer, as is often the case, is:  it depends.  First, there are risks in all investments.  Can you stomach the risks in real estate investments over risks in other markets?  At this time, many are fearful to purchase properties in this climate of uncertainty.  However, the often repeated adage in stock purchases can also apply here:  “Be greedy when others are fearful, be fearful when others are greedy.”  Acting under that philosophy, purchasing a property now would be considered a great move.  

Now let’s consider some final relevant factors.  State Governor Steve Sisolak is looking to methodically loosening the Shelter-in-Place order as he’s outlined a plan to open up the economy in phases starting this month and that is good news.  Also, be sure that you choose the right market product for your investment.  Going forward, I see Single Family Residences priced above the entry level to be a safer and more secure product, since many are already unable to pay their rent at apartment or homes at the entry level because they are the first to suffer from the economic downturn.  Finally, make sure you have adequate funds to ride out the storm as you await the recovery. 


If, after careful consideration, you see that accumulating some investment properties now make sense for you, you may look back years later and see that what you added to your portfolio has given you a beautiful return!


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Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates