Will More Stock Market Investors Put Their Money in The Real Estate Investment Market?

The stock market has been experiencing another correction in recent days and with a stock market correction, it’s not uncommon for investors to put their money into the bond market or real estate investment market like commercial or residential rental properties.

This has happened before in the past before the crash of 1987 and 2008 because smart investors like to get out of stocks before their investments lose a ton of value like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos who lost a record $9 billion in one day.

Let’s say that you have $1 million in stocks, should you invest some of your money into real estate? The answer to this question is yes.

A Very Stable Investment

Like Bonds, the Real Estate investment market is very stable and can offer you an excellent return on your investment.

Real Estate is different than bonds though because with real estate you can rent it out, generate income and ultimately raise the rent for inflation compared with bonds which depending on the bond will only pay you a small return on your investment.

How Long Will the Stock Market Correction Last?

If you’re wondering how long the stock market correction will last, the answer is it’s anyone’s guess. Many institutional traders have been predicting that the market may lose up to 30% of its value but since we haven’t seen a wild swing like that there’s a good chance that the market may not lose much more value from here.

Tired of the up and down of the stock market? If you’ve been investing since before 2008, you’ve been riding the “roller coaster” for a long time.

Thankfully, with rental properties, you can enjoy long-term stability and cash flow from your investment plus a wide variety of other tax advantages compared to stocks or bonds.

Learn More About Houston Texas Real Estate Investments

To learn more about real estate investments in the Houston Texas area contact us today by calling (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

What Are The Most Cost Effective Options To Choose When Renovating A Rental Property?

Are you planning on renovating your Houston area rental property? If so, there are a variety of cost-effective options that you should consider.

In this article, we will list some of the most cost-effective which will also help to improve the value of your rental property as well.

#1: Replace Windows

Realtors consistently emphasize the importance of curb appeal when you’re trying to market a property. Upgraded windows are a smart way to make a good impression on prospective renters while packing a powerful punch for long-term energy savings thanks to increased insulation efficiency.

Remodeling Magazine reports 74 percent cost recuperation for vinyl replacement windows and approximately 70 percent for wood. Can’t find money in your budget for either one? Consider adding storm inserts and re-caulking existing windows.

#2: Freshen Paint

One of the most cost-effective remodeling projects for an investment property is to touch up walls and trim with a fresh coat of paint. Choose neutral colors, which resonate with a wider range of prospective residents. Consider using in-house staff to do the job–you’ll still have control over the quality of the work without the need for a professional contractor. This is one project that you can DIY to keep operations simple and costs low.

#3: Switch Out Flooring

Hardwood flooring continues to grow in popularity. Durable and easy to clean with a classic look, renters tend to prefer wood or engineered wood planking to linoleum, tile, and carpet.

Engineered wood is naturally resistant to changes in humidity and temperature. Unlike genuine hardwood, planks don’t buckle, shrink, or expand. Thanks to its waterproof qualities, engineered wood flooring is even appropriate for moisture-prone areas such as a front entrance, mud area, or bathroom.

Planks can be glued, stapled, or floated over a pre-existing floor. Some even come in interlocking segments that snap together to form a tight seal. Seek different suppliers and see if you qualify for bulk pricing to replace current flooring. If your property already boasts natural hardwood floors, consider refinishing them to enhance their appearance and longevity.

#4: Update Bathrooms

A noteworthy distinction exists between mid-range and upscale bathroom remodels. According to Remodeling Magazine, you get more bang for your buck when you limit bathroom renovations to a “mid-range” budget–but what does this mean in actuality?

New faucets, shower heads, and fixtures. Look for low-flow versions that cut water consumption by as much as 30 percent.

Ceramic floor tiling. Consider a geometric or playful pattern (but not so bold as to drive renters away!). Doing so draws the eye downward and makes the room more inviting.

A new tub and toilet. Go with standard porcelain for the tub. Keep in mind that federal standards mandate that all new toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

#5: Remodel Kitchen

As with the bathroom, a minor kitchen overhaul boasts a significantly more substantial return on investment than a major remodeling project. For example, instead of replacing cabinets in their entirety, simply switch out the doors and update them with new hardware.

Replace appliances with energy-efficient models and shop around for a new mid-priced sink and faucet set. Remember to check into possible tax credits or rebates for your area.

Installing appliances requires a specialist’s help. Consider taking out a service contract to ensure that your appliances receive the care they need to stay running over time.

#6: Add Outdoor Space

Does your property contain open-air terraces or decks? Outdoor living space is a big draw for current and future renters. If adding exterior square footage is a feasible option at your properties, check into reliable sources of wood composite, which is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than natural wood.

Is there any room left in your budget for extra material? Fashion an arbor or pergola with seating, or build large containers for seasonal plantings. Anything you can do to enhance the flow of indoor-to-outdoor living benefits your investment, both in the short and the long term.

Get Property Management In Houston Texas

For property management in the Houston Texas area contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

What Is the Best Way for You to Grow Your Portfolio of Houston Texas Rental Properties?

Are you interested in growing your portfolio of Houston Texas Rental properties but you’re concerned that adding another rental property may be more work or added responsibility than you can handle?

If you’re still managing all of your rental properties yourself, one of the very best ways to add more rentals to your portfolio without increasing your workload is to hire a property management company.

Reasons to Hire A Property Manager

Rent Collection – Hiring a Houston Texas property manager will save you the time, money and hassle of collecting rent yourself including dealing with the excuses from your tenants for why they are late paying their rent and when they promise to pay.

When you hire a property manager you can count on rent to be collected on time each month and deposited into your account all without you having to reach out to your tenants for payment again.

Tenant Selection – Another time-consuming task that comes with owning rental properties is tenant selection. With a property manager, you can remove yourself from this process and have confidence that your manager will always find and place the most qualified tenants in your rental property for you.

Maintenance – From mowing the lawns at one of your rentals, changing toilets or full-blown maintenance, you can have confidence that your property manager will professionally maintain your rental property, saving you the time and hassle of having to do those things yourself so you can focus all of your time on growing your portfolio of rental properties.

Customer Service – Last of all, but most important, with a property manager serving your tenants you can also rest assured that should your tenants have a question or need assistance with their rental property, they will always have someone to call to handle those issues and you won’t have to worry about your phone “ringing off the hook” again. Continue reading “What Is the Best Way for You to Grow Your Portfolio of Houston Texas Rental Properties?”

Should You Change the Locks After Your Tenant Moves Out?

One of the biggest questions that landlords have had over the years is if they should change the locks after their tenant moves out of their rental property.

The answer to this question is yes, you should always change the locks to your rental property after your tenant moves out especially since they could have made a key while they lived there and that key could gain them entry back into the property after they’ve moved out.

Other Times You Should Change the Locks to Your Rental Property

Besides changing the locks after your tenant moves out of your rental property, you should also change the locks for the following reasons:

When a Key Is Lost

It might seem overkill to change the locks after a renter loses just one key, but it′s a small price to pay to guarantee peace of mind for the manager, the owner, and the tenant. While it′s unlikely the lost key will end up in the wrong hands, in the off chance that it does, it could spell disaster for all. When you′re dealing with prospective renters, letting them know that you take this extra security measure seriously can be a differentiator that demonstrates your commitment to safety.

When a Vendor Is Finished Working on the Property

Especially if you′ve just started using a new vendor or if you′ve had disagreements with one in the past, it′s important to recognize that vendors could have copies of your keys that you′re unaware of. When work is completed, hiring an independent locksmith to change your locks helps maintain a high degree of security. It′s also a good idea to be on-site to let vendors in and out of a building while you build a relationship with them instead of leaving a key in a lockbox and allowing all contractors to access it.

According to statistics from the FBI, 73.2 percent of all burglaries are committed on residential properties. When a tenant moves into a property, unless the locks are brand-new, it′s impossible for them to know who has made copies over the years and can access the unit at any time. Just one safety mistake has the potential to result in break-ins, theft, and, in the worst-case scenario, the irreparable loss of human life.

A great way for property managers to stay on top of security measures is by using smart home technologies, including smart locks and exterior cameras. Smart locks with access codes can log who enters a property and the time of entry, preventing landlords from having to have locks rekeyed for new tenants or vendors. Exterior cameras can record clips at unoccupied properties (as well as be an asset to tenants for self-monitored security when they move in).

Get Property Management Here

Need property management for Houston Texas or the surrounding area? Contact VestPro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Rental Property Move Out Checklist

Move-outs are typically one thing that many landlords handle poorly because most landlords are usually in a hurry to get their property listed online and rented to a new tenant as quickly as possible.

Sadly, during the process of moving from one tenant to another, it’s possible that some landlords may miss damage caused to their rental property from their previous tenant and the opportunity to repair that damage before the next tenant moves in.

Step 1 – Do A Walkthrough

After your last tenant has moved out you should do a complete walkthrough of your rental property documenting the condition of the rental and any damage.

Questions to ask

  • Are the walls damaged or is its normal wear and tear?
  • Is anything broken in the rental?
  • Has the carpet been cleaned or is it still dirty?
  • Are the appliances functioning or will they need to be repaired/replaced?

Step 2 – Change the locks

Don’t forget to change the locks! This step is easy for some landlords to forget but it’s vital because with other copies of the key to your rental property potentially floating around out there it’s important for you to protect the safety of your new tenant by ensuring that your old tenant is unable to re-enter the rental property after they’ve moved out.

Step 3 – Research comparable rentals in the area

After taking the time to clean your rental and ensure that it’s in the absolute best condition, you should next start researching other rentals in the area to find out what you should rent your property for.

Don’t be hasty with this step! Take the time to really analyze and research comparable rental properties to determine what is the best monthly rent you should ask for your rental property.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management in the Houston Texas area contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Tenant Background Checks – Learn More About the Best Online Resources

If you’re just getting started with owning your first rental properties in the Houston area you may be tempted to go with your gut and rent to someone because you have a good feeling about them.

This is a mistake that many landlords and owners make because they want to rent their properties quickly and not do their due diligence with doing a thorough background check on a prospective tenant.

Thankfully, there are a variety of online resources you can use for tenant background checks that will make your life easier and provide you with an accurate background check on your prospective tenant.

Where to Get A Background Check Online

  • RentPrep
  • SmartMove
  • Experian Connect
  • Lease Runner
  • Cozy
  • Screening Works
  • Tenant Alert
  • Buildium
  • E-renter
  • tenatify
  • MyRental

How Much Do Background Checks Cost?

A typical background check will cost about $19.95 and it’s going to provide you with a breakdown of your potential tenant’s life/history including their FICO score, address history and more!

You never want to neglect a background check because you could be found liable if a crime was committed by your tenant at your rental property.

You should also think about the neighbors in the area and have a background check done solely to ensure their safety and security since you don’t want to bring in someone who could potentially be a danger to other people living nearby.

Get Property Management Here

Don’t want to conduct background checks yourself? No problem!

Contact Vestpro Residential Services today. We’re the most experienced property management team in the Houston area and you can count on us to manage your rental property with the most care.

To get started with property management contact us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Trying to Buy More Single-Family Rentals? Here’s What Could Kill the Deal

Are you thinking about adding more single-family rentals to your portfolio of rental properties? If so, you’re making a smart choice!

Even though you may currently own one or more single-family homes, the reality is that you can easily kill a home purchase deal by making one or more of the following mistakes.

  1. Lack of preparedness

Many property managers look at their business as a revenue source, but according to Propst, it’s so much more. He recommends viewing your business as an asset that can increase in value and consider how you want it to evolve down the road. By beginning with the end in mind and setting up goals to grow your business, you can make it more marketable when it’s time to sell.

  1. Poor financial management

In an acquisition, financials can be difficult to get your arms around and verify. Are the earnings you post on your financials what you are actually earning? Propst says it’s important to ensure the customer’s, tenant’s and business owner’s books are all reconciled. Both the buyer and seller need to understand that the numbers put into the system are accurate. If you reconcile your books on a monthly basis, life is much easier when it comes time to sell your business and investing in a certified audit may be a good idea.

  1. Lack of documented processes

When you acquire a company, you also acquire its processes. Propst recommends analyzing these processes so you can best leverage strengths and tweak areas that need improvement. From there, integrate the processes into your business as a whole. Use technology to document all processes, such as business procedures and communications with owners and tenants.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are important for anyone who is building their business and eventually wants to sell. Consider what is driving dollars and bottom line and focus on these areas. Instead of trying to do it all, set a few KPIs that help you reach your goal and place your efforts there.

What does Andy recommend to document processes? Tools like Traxion or even simply Microsoft Word.

  1. Poor data management

Do you have streamlined property management data? According to Propst, businesses should establish clear policies and procedures for how data is entered so it can be easily accessed and interpreted across the board. When managing multiple platforms (such as a tenant portal and owner portal), you need to establish data standards so you and your team can consistently enter data in the same way and avoid confusion (e.g.- “TX” instead of “Texas.”)

  1. Not knowing your worth

Do you know the value of your business? Property managers who begin with the end in mind by setting clear goals, along with mission and vision statements, are better equipped for long-term success. Be proactive in planning and focus primarily on initiatives that drive revenue for your business. Propst says that “Stepping away from the day-to-day of your business to create a game plan is an investment that will pay tenfold.” Making time to establish, review and adjust your goals is essential to understanding the true value of your business.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management in the Houston Texas area contact Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Traditional and Creative Ways You Can Finance Your First Houston Rental Property

By Vestpro Residential Services

Are you planning on buying your first rental property in the Houston TX area? If so, as a first-time investor you’re probably wondering how you’re going to purchase that rental property especially if you already have a primary residence and other financial obligations.

Thankfully, you have options available that will help you get that rental property sooner than you think.

Get A Traditional Mortgage Loan

The first and obvious way you can finance the purchase of a rental property in the Houston TX area is to get a traditional mortgage loan and use the equity from your primary residence towards the purchase of that rental property.

Most new investors with good credit will go this route because it’s the obvious way of using the equity that you already have in your home and making it work for you.

Here are some more options to consider for buying a rental property:

Seller Financing

This involves getting a loan from the person you’re buying the property from. In some cases, if the seller is willing to lend you money, it’s easier (read: less paperwork) than getting a loan from a bank.

I’ve seen these deals work in a number of scenarios: The seller might finance either the down payment or the full purchase price. The seller might be another property investor — or they might be the property’s live-in owner.

The key to success is to ensure you agree on a fair interest rate for the loan. If you don’t have much experience in this area, it may be wise to work with your CPA and/or attorney. And regardless of how much experience you have, be sure to get the terms of the loan in writing, with signatures.

Partnerships

Another great financing option is to partner with someone who has enough money for a down payment. This is an effective strategy if you have a friend or family member who’s interested in getting involved in property investment, but maybe isn’t as interested in the day-to-day work of screening tenants and collecting rent payments.

In this scenario, what often happens is that one partner puts up money and the other handles all the actual work of being a landlord.

The key to success here is to agree on how to split proceeds. I recommend thinking about it in terms of aligning the risk and reward with costs and benefits. Your partner is taking on all the financial risk, but you’re putting in all the legwork of bringing in revenue via rent. Make sure the way you split proceeds reflects your contributions.

Whatever you decide makes sense, it’s best to have your terms in writing. Services like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer can help with drafting basic legal docs if you don’t have an attorney. (Full disclosure: Rocket Lawyer is a partner of ours.) Another strategy we find effective is to form an LLC, which requires you to put together an operating agreement. That document is a great place to lay out roles and responsibilities for all parties.

Government Programs

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was founded to encourage homeownership. One of the ways it does that is by offering homebuyers the chance to buy property with just 3.5% down.

While FHA loans are specifically designed to facilitate the purchase of owner-occupied homes, it’s completely allowable to buy a two-, three- or four-unit building, live in one unit, and earn rental income from the others. In fact, this can be an incredibly cost-effective way to finance a rental property, especially if it’s your first.

FHA loan limits are different in every county, so part of the art here is making sure the loan limit where you want to buy is high enough that you can purchase a multi-unit property.

Get Property Management in The Houston Area

Once you own your first rental property in the Houston area don’t waste time managing it yourself, let Vestpro Residential Services manage it for you. To learn more about our services contact us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

What Are the Perks That Come from Working with A Humble Texas Property Management Company?

By Vestpro Residential Services

Everyone invests in a rental property for the obvious perks like more cash flow that comes from this type of investment but what about the perks that come from working with a Humble Texas Property Management company?

In this article, we will list those perks so you can feel confident in your decision to hire a property manager to professionally manage your rental properties in Humble Texas, Kingwood, Atascocita or the surrounding area.

The Perks of Working with A Property Management Company

Perk 1 – You Will No Longer Have to Collect Rent

Let’s face it, even though you enjoy positive cash flow from your rental property, you don’t like collecting rent when tenants are late paying it. Right?

With a Humble Texas Property Management company like Vestpro Residential Services, you can count on us to collect the rent from your tenants, especially when they are late paying it so you no longer have to deal with their excuses for why they can’t pay their rent on time again.

Perk 2 – Customer Service

Another HUGE perk that comes from working with a property management company is customer service. You can count on us to provide your tenants with excellent service 24-7 so you will no longer have to concern yourself with taking calls from your tenants at all hours of the day or night again.

Perk 3 – Maintenance

From weed eating that field behind your rental, pulling toilets or doing small plumbing repairs, all of those things that time, right? Thankfully, one of the best perks that comes from working with our Humble Texas Property Management company is that you will never have to perform maintenance on your rental property again because we will handle it all for you.

Get Property Management Here

Started by Mike and Kim Buish, Vestpro Residential Services is a Humble Texas property management company specializing in residential property management for Humble, Kingwood, Atascocita and the surrounding area.

Whether you are a property owner or a prospective tenant, Vestpro has the expertise to handle your property management needs.

For professional Humble Texas Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Planning on Buying Apartments? Choose The Houston Texas Rental Market

By Vestpro Residential Services

There’s no doubt that apartments or multi-family rental properties make excellent rentals because more doors equals more money for landlords. If you’re thinking about adding apartments to your portfolio or rental properties there no better place than the Houston Texas rental market.

Houston is in the midst of an apartment boom. A just-released, national report suggests that boom may not slow anytime soon, as it lists Houston as a top buy for apartment investors — and an area that will see rising rents in the foreseeable future.

Ten-X Commercial, an online platform for commercial real estate transactions, also identified Fort Worth as a city that commercial investors should target in its annual U.S. Apartment Market Outlook. Only three other American cities are considered strong buys for apartment investors: Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Salt Lake City, Utah. The data in the report is generated from the more than $20 billion worth of transactions handled by Ten-X Commercial.

In analyzing the two Texas cities, Ten-X Commercial finds that both offer strong net operating income benefits (a key driver in commercial real estate) to investors for years to come. Houston’s apartment rents are buoyed by a “resurgent energy sector” that is “turbocharging the local economy” and jumped 6.1 percent year-over-year. The report also forecasts that Houston is “likely to prove considerably more resilient during a modeled downturn than other markets.”

A quick breakdown of the numbers illustrates good news for anyone looking to cash in on Houston’s apartment market.

  • Q1 2018 rent: $987
  • 2021 projected rent: $1,184
  • Q1 2018 vacancy: 6.2 percent
  • 2021 projected vacancy: 4.4 percent

Things look equally promising in Fort Worth, which the report notes is enjoying “low unemployment and solid job growth, with total employment up 3.1 percent year-over-year.” Apartment rents in the city are projected to leap to 12.3 percent higher by 2021. Fort Worth’s breakdown shows good news for investors and landlords, bad news for renters.

  • Q1 2018 rent: $907
  • 2021 projected rent: $1,018
  • Q1 2018 vacancy: 3.7 percent
  • 2021 projected vacancy: 4.4 percent

With every top buy report comes a warning to sell. Cities where investors should consider unloading are New York; Miami; San Francisco; Oakland, California; and San Jose, California. These markets are witnessing rising vacancies and flattening rents.

But how much is too much growth? Nationally, according to the research, multifamily completions should reach an all-time peak in 2018 as more than 300,000 new units flood the market, outpacing even the highest absorption levels in recent history. As a result, vacancies are expected to drift above 5 percent by the end of the year for the first time since 2011.

Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio noted in the report that “while millennials and other demographic groups continue to forego homeownership in favor of renting in walkable neighborhoods, developers appear to have gotten ahead of themselves in creating rental supply.”

Get Property Management in Houston TX

For property management in the Houston Texas area contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.