How To Dealing With Hoarding Tenants

Do you have a hoarding tenant at one or more of your rental properties? You’ve come to the right place!

Hoarding is a big problem because not only is it a fire hazard, it can also lead to serious injury or death.

Thankfully, dealing with hoarding tenants is no longer difficult especially if you follow these tips.

Tips For Dealing With Hoarding Tenants

Understand Your Responsibilities

In most states, the landlord has a responsibility to provide a habitable dwelling. This duty is often referred to as the “warranty of habitability” and is implied in nearly every standard lease agreement. In exchange, most states require tenants to keep their units “clean and sanitary.” If someone’s hoarding interferes with either party’s ability to carry out their respective duties, it’s time to take action.

Determine What’s Messy vs. Hoarding

As a general rule of thumb, we consider a person to be “hoarding” if their behavior goes beyond clutter and blocks emergency exits or doorways; interferes with ventilation or sprinkler systems; attracts pests through improper food storage; or creates hazards for other residents.

Contact the Tenant ASAP

If you suspect a person is hoarding, get in touch with that resident as soon as possible, before the problem becomes more pronounced. Remind them of their lease obligations–namely, to keep the unit clean, sanitary, and free from clutter. Perhaps there’s a reason for the clutter. Maybe someone is preparing to move. Maybe the resident is temporarily housing furniture and other items while their parents’ home is undergoing renovations. There may be a legitimate reason for the clutter; and hopefully, the matter can be resolved swiftly–before it becomes a larger issue.

Offer to Help

Consider ways that you might be able to help your hoarder tenant. Is there extra storage space in your basement that they could lease? Do you have a deal with a local facility that could offer them a discounted storage unit? Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to help–but if it seems at all possible to extend a helping hand to resolve the issue, offer that carrot before reaching for the stick.

Document Everything

In the worst case scenario, you might have to evict the hoarder tenant. You want to start preparing for the possibility now. Begin to document everything. Take pictures, videos, and notes to document the property’s condition. Keep copies of all communication between you and the tenant. You’ll want to have these records if an eviction becomes necessary.

Begin Eviction Proceedings

Nobody likes evicting a resident; but an eviction is often the last line of defense for landlords, property managers, and HOAs. You’ll want to use all of the documentation you’ve compiled to date to show the court that you’ve tried everything you could to accommodate the resident before the eviction became necessary. If an eviction seems necessary, consult with a property manager and/or real estate attorney. Evictions can be messy (and worse, expensive), so you’ll want to follow procedures to a T.

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Does your Houston rental have a mold problem? Click here

One of the worst problems that every landlord faces is when they find out that their rental property has a mold problem.

Some unscrupulous landlords may try to paint over the mold and pretend it doesn’t exist. This is never a good idea because, the mold will only come back and could do much worse damage to the rental property than you really know.

What’s the solution to the problem? Learn how to diagnose mold in your rental property and find out how to eliminate this problem.

Mold Warning Signs

Mold does have a strange “pungent” smell especially when it’s confined to one or more areas of your home.

Mold typically lives inside walls of older properties or behind wallpaper but it can also grow within showers bathtubs or behind the toilet in the bathroom of your Houston Texas Rental Property.

A general “rule of thumb” is to search for mold in any area which might be prone to moisture in your Houston Texas Rental Property.

How to Clean Mold

If you have found mold in your Houston Texas Rental Property you can easily clean away surface mold yourself simply by using bleach to surface clean the area.

Make sure you let the bleach set for at least 15 minutes because this kill off any spores or fungicides yourself.

It’s also important to use a breathing mask and plus latex gloves when cleaning mold.

You should also use a dehumidifier to remove the humidity from the air as well but do not use a fan because fans will only spread mold spores.

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For more information on how to deal with mold, or to get Houston Texas Property Management, contact Vestpro Residential Services, LLC today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or CLICK HERE.

Did You Just Buy Your First Houston Texas Rental? Click Here For Property Management Tips

There’s no doubt that owning a Houston Texas Rental Property is a great investment, especially over the last four years as Houston has been one of the fastest growing cities for relocation in the United States.

If you own Houston Rentals, getting started as a landlord can be tough because there’s so much to learn. Thankfully, you can cut down on the learning curve by following these tips.

1. Screen Tenants

Don’t rent to anyone before checking credit history, references, and background. Haphazard screening and tenant selection too often results in problems — a tenant who pays the rent late or not at all, trashes your place, or lets undesirable friends move in. Use a written rental application to properly screen your tenants. For more information, see How to Screen and Select Tenants FAQ.

2. Get it in writing.

Be sure to use a written lease or month-to-month rental agreement to document the important facts of your relationship with your tenants — including when and how you handle tenant complaints and repair problems, notice you must give to enter a tenant’s apartment, and the like. For what to include in a lease or rental agreement, see Ten Terms You Must Include in Your Lease or Rental Agreement. Not sure which to use? See Whether to Use a Lease or Rental Agreement.

3. Handle security deposits properly.

Establish a fair system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning security deposits. Inspect and document the condition of the rental unit before the tenant moves in, to avoid disputes over security deposits when the tenant moves out. For more information, see Leases and Rental Agreements FAQ.

4. Make repairs.

Stay on top of maintenance and repair needs and make repairs when requested. If the property is not kept in good repair, you’ll alienate good tenants, and tenants may gain the right to withhold rent, repair the problem and deduct the cost from the rent, sue for injuries caused by defective conditions, and/or move out without needing to give notice. For more information, see Repairs, Maintenance, and Entry to Rented Premises.

5. Provide secure premises.

Don’t let your tenants and property be easy marks for a criminal. Assess your property’s security and take reasonable steps to protect it. Often the best measures, such as proper lights and trimmed landscaping, are not that expensive. For more information, see Criminal Acts and Activities: Landlord Liability FAQ.

6. Provide notice before entering.

Learn about your tenants’ rights to privacy; see Repairs, Maintenance, and Entry to Rented Premises. Notify your tenants whenever you plan to enter their rental unit, and provide as much notice as possible, at least 24 hours or the minimum amount required by state law. For state-by-state information, see Chart: Notice Requirements to Enter Rental Property, State by State.

7. Disclose environmental hazards.

If there’s a hazard such as lead or mold on the property, tell your tenants. Landlords are increasingly being held liable for tenant health problems resulting from exposure to environmental toxins in the rental premises. For more information on lead, see Lead Disclosures for Rental Property FAQ. Check your state law for other landlord disclosures. – Learn more here!

Most Important Tip For New Landlords

Besides the excellent tips mentioned in this article, the most important tip for new landlords is to invest in property management sooner, rather than later.

Hiring an experienced property manager will save you the time, money and hassle of managing your rental properties yourself.

To learn more about the professional property management services we can offer you contact us today by calling (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

7 Reasons To Choose Vestpro To Manage Your Houston Rentals

There’s no doubt that owning Houston rentals can be an exciting thing to do because, you’re generating monthly cash flow while building long term wealth.

Sadly, owning rental properties can get complicated, especially as you add more properties to your properties to your portfolio.

Thankfully, owning rentals only gets easier when you hire Vestpro Residential Services to manage them.

If you’re “on the fence” about calling us to learn more about our property management services, here are 7 reasons to choose Vestpro to manage your rentals.

Why Hire Vestpro Residential To Management Your Houston Rentals?

#1 – Set the Right Correct Rates for Your Rentals

One of the biggest problems many property owners face is setting the incorrect rates for their Houston Income Properties.

We are your biggest asset in this area thanks to our market research, which will guarantee that we rent your properties for the right rates, insuring you have the right balance between stable monthly income and super low vacancy rate.

#2 – Collect Your Rent on Time

Another area where we will be an asset to your Houston Income Property portfolio is rent collection.

Over the years we’ve developed the right internal systems which will insure that your rent is collected on time every single month and deposited into your account or mailed to you.

#3 – Effective Property Marketing

As you grow your portfolio of properties you will find that one of the most time consuming duties is marketing a home, plex or property when you have a vacancy.

Vestpro has solved this problem for you. Effective property marketing is another of our biggest assets which will save you the time and hassle of property marketing yourself.

#4 – Choose the Right Tenants for Your Properties

Last of all, but most important, at Vestpro we will choose the right tenants for your properties by performing the following tasks including: credit check, income verification and reference checks so you don’t have to.

#5 – Property Management Maintenance

It doesn’t matter if you don’t mind cutting the grass or fixing toilets at your rentals yourself. Those things take time out of your day and are stopping you from growing your portfolio of rental properties. Thankfully, with Vestpro you won’t have to worry about doing maintenance again because our team of professional property managers will do it for you.

#6 – Customer Service 

Another benefit that comes from choosing Vestpro is that we will also be your first line of defense when it comes to customer service. You will never have to worry about taking calls from your tenants again because they will call us for their property management issues.

#7 – We Will Increase Your Return On Investment (ROI) From Your Rental

Last of all, but most important, another great reason to choose Vestpro to manage your rentals is we will help you to increase your return on investment from your rental property. How? Our team of experts will look out for your best interests and make recommendations (when needed) that will help to increase the ROI from your rental.

Contact Vestpro Residential Services

To get started with professional property management for your Houston Texas Rental contact us today by calling (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us today.

 

Houston Rentals
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How to reduce late payments at your Houston Texas rental property

By Vestpro Residential Services

There’s no doubt that late payments will hurt any owner regardless if they’re just getting started with owning rentals, or they’ve owned them for years.

The truth is that most owners rely on the rent that they receive from their tenants to pay their mortgages so when a tenant is late paying their rent this means that the owner will have to pay their mortgage out of pocket.

What’s the solution to the problem?

Owners must reduce their late payments and getting started with this is easy especially when the steps listed in this article are followed.

How To Reduce Late Payments

Enable Electronic Payments

We’re a big fan of software that allows residents to make payments online, such as many property management software solutions. In this day and age, we’re all busy. Having to physically write a check, track down a stamp, and trek to the post office to mail a payment is a hassle. Some will certainly prefer to make payments that way; but if you want to collect payments on time, leveraging electronic payments will make it easier for you to do so.

Improve Your Resident Screening Process

There will always be one-off cases of residents paying late. However, if you find that multiple residents are making late payments more often than not, it could mean that your tenant screening process is in need of a few tweaks. Be sure that you’re calling landlord references, confirming proof of employment, setting guidelines for minimum income required to lease, etc. This should help to ensure that you’re choosing high-quality residents who can afford to make their payments each month.

Hire a Property Manager

If you’re struggling to collect rent payments and dues, or you simply don’t have the time or energy to track down late payments, consider hiring a property manager. Hiring an experienced property manager can help you to implement a stronger payment system to ensure consistent cash flow moving forward, and can provide valuable expertise on these kinds of situations in the future.

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For professional property management contact us today by calling 832-971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

 

late payments
Avoid late payments at your rental property when you work with Vestpro Residential services!

Arctic Storm – How To Deal With Frozen Pipes In Your Houston Rental Property

By Vestpro Residential Services

HOUSTON, TX. – Over the last week we’ve been hit with one of the coldest storms to hit Texas in recent memory and you may have been woken up to frozen pipes in your Houston Rental Property.

Although frozen pipes are not uncommon, many people don’t know how to deal with them and if those frozen pipes are left frozen for too long they can cause a major problem for the home.

Thankfully, you can deal with frozen pipes yourself if you follow these simple tips:

How To Unfreeze Pipes At Your Houston Rental Property

Tip #1: Use a Hairdryer to Thaw Frozen Pipes

As soon as you suspect that a pipe has frozen, try to find the problem area. It might be in your basement. It might be under a sink. Pipes located along exterior walls are most susceptible to freezing, so that’s a good place to start. Run an electric hairdryer along your pipes to warm them up and get water flowing again.

How to Fix Frozen Pipes

Tip #2: Wrap Hot Towels Around Frozen Pipes

If you don’t have a hairdryer handy, try this technique. The hot towels may slowly thaw the blockage. This strategy is best used on copper or galvanized steel piping, as metal conducts heat. It will be less effective on PEX piping. As the towels gradually cool, you can place a bucket under the pipe and continually pour hot water over them. (It might be a bit messy, but if it works, it’s worth it!)

How to Fix Frozen Pipes

Tip #3: Wrap Frozen Pipes with Heating Cables or Heat Tape

Heating cables and heat tape can be a lifesaver when cold weather strikes.

Heating cables are self-regulating, automatically varying their heat output based upon the surrounding temperature. You wrap the cable around your pipes (ideally before they freeze–but you can do so afterwards to thaw them as well) and then plug the cable into a regular electrical socket. The cable can be overlapped to provide extra protection.

Heat tape is a flat tape coated in rubber. The heat tape must run flat along the pipe and cannot overlap itself. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Some heat tapes cannot be used safely on plastic, such as PVC water lines.

If you plan to use either heating cables or heat tape, measure the length of your pipes before heading to the hardware store. This will help you to determine how much heating cable or tape you need. The cords come in various sizes, usually ranging from 30″ to 80″. Once applied, the cords will help to slowly thaw your frozen pipes; and if left plugged in, they can prevent your pipes from freezing again in the future.

How to Fix Frozen Pipes

Tip #4: Crank the Heat to Thaw Frozen Pipes Behind a Wall

The first three solutions won’t do much good if you can’t access the frozen pipe. If the frozen pipe is located behind a wall, one of your best (and only) options is to crank the thermostat. Sometime, heating the problem area is all you need to thaw the blockage. To speed the process along, consider using space heaters and/or infrared lamps against the wall where you suspect the frozen pipe is located.

How to Fix Frozen Pipes

Tip #5: Find a Plumber with a Thaw Machine

When all else fails, it’s time to bring in the pros. Most plumbing companies will have at least one thaw machine on hand. A thaw machine is a small, portable unit that a plumber will connect between a working pipe and a frozen pipe. Once the connections have been made (which look similar to jumper cables), the machine will then shoot electricity from one end to another. This heat conduction process is usually enough to thaw even the most stubbornly frozen pipes.

How to Fix Frozen Pipes

Tip #6: Don’t Use a Blowtorch to Thaw Frozen Pipes

One thing that you should never do is use a blowtorch to thaw frozen pipes. It may seem like a logical solution, but the high-pressure heat could actually damage your pipes. You’re also creating a fire hazard if there are combustible materials nearby. Frozen pipes are bad enough–the last thing you want to do is burn the house down trying to fix the problem!

If frozen pipes continue to be an issue, considering hiring a property manager. An experienced property manager will be able to manage these stressful situations for you. They should also be able to give you sound advice on issues of all kinds, including preventing frozen pipes in the future.

Get Houston TX Property Management Here

For professional Houston TX property management contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (831) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Enjoy The Tax Benefits Of Renting Your Home During Special Events

 

Are you planning on going on vacation this year? If so, you might want to wait to go on vacation during an annual event in the Houston area.

You may be able to rent your home for more money while a special event is in progress like Comicpalooza because more people will be in town during the week of that event and willing to pay higher rental rates.

Could Be Tax Free Income

Homeowners go on vacation and make tax-free income while temporary tenants rent their home. Homeowners can benefit from a little known provision in the tax code that does not require taxpayers to recognize the income derived from renting their home for less than 15 days per year. See Plan Ahead for Tax Time When Renting Out Residential or Vacation Property- special rules.

This situation can particularly benefit homeowners where there are large sporting events nearby like golf and tennis tournaments, championship games or other high attendance venues. The demand for a private residence can be more attractive than staying in a hotel which makes the price go up.

Obviously, there are challenges with personal belongings and damage but getting a premium rental rate and not having to recognize the income could be worth it. You’ll certainly want to discuss this with your tax professional prior to making this decision. You’d probably also want to get some help from an experienced real estate professional.

Source – In Touch Weekly

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

 

 

5 Tips for a Low Stress First Rental Property Investment

Tip #1: Advice is OK, but Do Your Own Research

Take courses, read investment books, go to a seminar, or any other learning process that helps you to gain confidence to make decisions. I suggest that any books, courses or seminars be about how to select locations, value properties and evaluate the rental market. Your success will be based on your due diligence and most of all buying right in the right area.

Your first rental property investment is best done in your area of residence, where you know what’s going on economically. You want to know that the economy will support today’s decision into the future, as this isn’t a short term strategy. Understand who the major employers are, what drives people to move in or move away, and if things look good into the near future.

Tip #2: Don’t Just Rely on Real Estate Agents

Sure, now and then you can work with a real estate agent who handles foreclosures and get a good deal. Remember though that these will be “listed” foreclosures on the MLS, Multiple Listing Service. You and all of your competitor investors have access to the same information, so competition will likely drive up your cost of acquisition.

If you do your own marketing and locate motivated sellers, you have a greater chance of negotiation a good deal. Another approach is to work with an experienced real estate wholesaler. They are investors too, but they are experts and finding great deals that they can flip to rental property buyers at a below-market value price. Just check their references out and be sure they do know what they’re doing.

Tip #3: Know What Will Rent and for How Much

Check with property managers who handle single family homes. Go to the classifieds and check out what homes similar to the one you’re considering are renting for. Are the owners offering incentives like free months? This is usually a sign of a soft rental market or heavy competition, so you may want to try another neighborhood or property type.

Call on ads, drive around, talk to landlords as if you’re a tenant. The most important thing for you to know before the next tip is what you can reasonably and conservatively expect for rental income and low vacancy.

Tip #4: Get the Right Financing & Cash Flow

You need to know all of your costs, including estimating repairs and other maintenance costs. But, the mortgage is going to be your largest cash outlay, so it is your most important cost consideration. You’ll need to put 20% down or more in most cases. For a rental unit you may also pay a slightly higher mortgage interest rate. A great credit history helps in this regard.

Get a firm handle on all of your costs, then see what your mortgage payment with taxes and insurance escrowed will be. Let’s use an example of a $150,000 home with a $32,500 down payment and closing costs. If you can manage to clear even $250/month over cash out of pocket, your return on the actual cash invested is going to be around 9%.

Tip #5: Lock in Equity at the Closing Table

NEVER buy at retail market value. If you can’t get the home at a 10-20% discount to its current market value, don’t do the deal. You want to leave the closing table with that equity as either future profit or a cushion should you have to sell before your initially planned liquidation date.

If you’re going to work with a wholesaler who you may meet at a local investment club, be clear that you’ll want to see their valuation calcs and you’ll check them with your own. You give them your requirement. If it’s 15% below market value, then they will know what they have to deliver.

You’re in control here, and you don’t have to make a deal until you know it’s going to be a great investment.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management in the Houston Texas area contact Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online. 

How to make landscape maintenance easier at your Houston rental property

Is landscape maintenance a problem at your Houston rental property? If so, like most owners you’re probably searching for ways to simplify landscape maintenance to either make your job easier or ensure that the landscaping is easy for your tenants to maintain.

Thankfully, landscape maintenance is easier than ever before especially if you follow these simple tips.

Invest in a Tractor

Getting the job done easily and efficiently comes down to having the best equipment. If you don’t currently have a tractor to help with your landscaping, this should be the number one item on your list.

“Whether you are building a fish pond, retaining wall or planting shrubs to beautify your home, you need a tractor,” says Dave Boyt at Hobbyfarms.com. “Use the front end loader of rear lift to move rocks and fill dirt and the blade to sculpt the ground, level off hills, direct drainage and build small ponds.”

When choosing a tractor, the most important factor to consider is horsepower: “If you are going to make a mistake, always make the mistake of buying too much horsepower,” says William C. Nelson III, president of Nelson Tractor Company. Horsepower will determine load size, which attachments you can use, and more.

Use this guide from Countryside Daily to determine the best tractor for your needs.

Choose Native Plants

Before you start planning the layout of your flowerbed or garden, find out which plants are native to your area. Native plants have already been proven to thrive in the soil and the climate in your immediate area, allowing you to do less while maintaining their regular growing cycle, according to Better Homes and Gardens.

Use the official USDA zone map to determine which plants will live most successfully in your region.

Build a Berm

A berm, or a small mound of dirt where you can plant flowers and trees, is a great way to make landscaping easier for two reasons:

  1. This landscaping element helps with drainage, thanks to the gentle slope of the mound. That means you have to worry less about overwatering your plants, as extra water will flow down the sides.
  2. A berm creates a focal point in your yard. With just one out front or back, you can forget about dealing with extra plants and other elements that would require more work to maintain. Add brightly colored plants to make it stand out.

HouseLogic recommends keeping the berm about 2 feet high, with 4 to 6 feet in width for every foot in height.

Don’t Focus on Plants & Trees

Plants and trees are what take a lot of maintenance time. Instead, focus on turning your landscape into an oasis with other elements that will look great even without regular upkeep. For example, build a flat rock walkway from your garage to the back patio, or create a community space where residents can sit on benches and enjoy evening fires. These small touches will go a long way in creating an inviting space that doesn’t require constant maintenance.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management contact Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

Should you sell your Humble Texas home or rent it out?

Are you thinking about selling or renting out your Humble Texas home but can’t decide which decision is the right one to make?

You’re not alone.

Although the Humble Texas Real Estate market is going strong it may be a better decision for you to rent your property out rather than sell it, especially for these reasons.

Reason 1 – Your Home Will Generate Cash Flow

A rental property will bring in positive cash flow which you can depend on and use to supplement your income from your other investments

Reason 2 – Real Estate Is A True Asset

When you own Real Estate you will still continue to own a true asset that will continue to appreciate over time. 

Reason 3 – Owning Rental Property Is Easy

Thanks to property management services like Vestpro Residential Services you will be able to rent out your Humble Texas home without the traditional hassle or headaches which come with owning rental property.

We take care of everything for you so you can enjoy life and rental income as well.

Reason 4 – Create Income For Your Retirement 

Another great reason to rent your Humble Texas property is the fact that you can use the income generated from your home for your retirement.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management in Humble Texas call us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.