5 Tips for Filling Vacancies at Your Houston Texas Rental Property

By VestPro Residential Services

HOUSTON, TX. – Do you own a Houston Texas Rental Property that’s not attracting the attention of renters and you can’t figure out why? Although this is frustrating when it happens the reality is that there could be one or more reasons why renters are showing a lack of interest in your rental property and the following steps will help you to get to the bottom of the problem and fix it.

Step #1 – Check Your Rent

Although every landlord wants to rent their Houston Texas Rental Property for the most money possible the reality is that some people may be listing their rentals for more than they should.

To figure out what you should be renting your property for you should do a comparable analysis of similar rentals in your area to determine if you should consider lowering your rent a little in order to attract more tenants.

Step #2 – Improve Your Rental Ads

Let’s face it, advertising is the lifeblood of our business because it’s what helps renters find our Houston Texas Rental Properties.

Sadly, many landlords are running poor advertisements that are turning away potential renters rather than attracting them.

Before running another rental ad you should first take better pictures and video of your rental property then take a look at your ad copy, rewrite the headline, and revise the body copy so that your advertisement talks about all of the benefits, features, and amenities that your rental offers prospective tenants.

Houston Texas Rental Property

Step #3 – Bring Your Houston Texas Rental Property Up To Date

If the last time you updated your Houston Texas Rental Property was before the start of the millennium, you should start making some updates now because new flooring, window coverings, appliances and fixtures in a rental property can go the extra mile with making a rental feel fresh, new, and updated.

Step #4 – Think About Allowing Pets

In 2017 there are more renters out there than ever before who are searching for rental properties that will allow pets. If you don’t allow pets at your Houston Texas Rental Property you should consider changing your pet policy because you will open up your rental to a larger pool of prospective tenants, just make sure to update your lease agreement before renting to someone with a pet.

Step #5 – Ask Your Current Tenants for Referrals

Last of all, but most important, if you have tenants living in your other rental properties you should consider asking them for referrals because the chances are that they might know someone who is looking for a rental and this will save you the time/money and hassle of having to advertise your Houston Rental Property.

Get Houston Texas Property Management

For affordable and reliable property management for your Houston Texas Rental Property contact VestPro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Should you buy rentals in Houston? Even if you’re out of the area?

Thanks to the booming real estate market in the last 12 months there are more condos, town homes and apartment buildings available for purchase and rent than ever before but the big question is should you buy rentals in Houston even if you’re out of the area? The answer to this question is yes!

Pros of Buying Long-Distance Real Estate

  • The ability to buy in more affordable markets. Property values in second- and third-tier markets don’t command the premium of real estate in primary markets and there’s lower competition. That said, depending on the market, rents can still be very strong. Buying in one of these markets is a way to get your foot in the door, realize positive cash flow and build equity.

  • Real estate as a long-term strategy. Some investors decide to buy real estate in an area that they don’t currently live in, but think they might want to someday. For instance, I’d consider buying a home closer to my parents if there’s a chance I’ll want to live closer to them someday. Many investors use a similar mindset when considering real estate in vacation and retirement markets, like the Carolinas and Florida. These houses can be rented now and held in case an investor wants to live there someday, too.

  • Tax benefits. Say what you want about Trump, but when the New York Times released a copy of his 1995 tax returns it shed light on a stark reality: real estate investors are able to use the tax code to their advantage. The ability to write off interest paid on a mortgage and depreciation makes buying investment property highly attractive. The provision Trump took advantage of is no different than the loopholes that everyday investors use, too.

Get Houston Texas Property Management Here!

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

 

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Houston Rental Property – Maintenance Checklist

Fall is a great time of year because the holidays are around the corner and you may be enjoying more time with family but if you own Houston Rental Property it’s also a great time to take a step back and focus on maintenance, especially if you haven’t set foot in your rental properties within 6 months because focusing on maintenance now will help you to avoid problems later.

Maintenance Checklist

  • Paint common areas every five to seven years. Or, DiNatale says, “When they start to look worn and paint starts to chip or wear off, or has an uneven sheen, it’s time.”

  • Re-carpet hallways and other shared spaces every five years. This is about the time carpet will start to unravel and become a tripping hazard.

  • Replace lobby flooring, whether wood, stone, tile, or vinyl every 15 to 30 years. If maintained properly, stone, tile, and wood, can last as long as 30 years. Vinyl’s lifetime is shorter, usually around 15 years. But if a wood floor is cleaned weekly, it can last, then be rescreened or polyurethaned every two to three years. Stone can be buffed every two to three years to remain looking good. And remember to put down mats when it’s snowy or rainy, and have a front awning to protect residents’ and their shoes and boots.

  • Change light fixtures (not just bulbs) every 10 years or so. Quality fixtures can last for years, but many older ones aren’t compatible with new LED bulbs. Most buildings don’t tend to change the fixtures, however, until it’s time to repaint.

  • Clean and replace/upholster furnishings when they show wear.Good quality furnishings will last, but they should be kept clean on a regular basis.

  • Repaint or clean the exterior annually. Yearly inspections are important and have to be done in some cities and states. It’s wise to plan to repaint certain parts of the building every two to three years, tuckpoint every five years or so, and clean limestone, which can get very dirty every 10 to 15 years, depending on pollution and climate (salt air can be tough on materials).

  • Clean windows four times a year. At a minimum, twice a year, once in the spring and in the fall.Inspect terraces and balconies annually. Railings and balcony floors should be inspected to ensure they can support a set weight.

  • Clean and inspect downspouts, gutters, and other water-related features twice a year. Once in the fall when leaves are falling and again in the spring after trees flower to avoid debris getting clogged and causing backups.

  • Service and repair furnaces, air conditioning systems, and plumbing annually. In the Spring, check the AC and change fluids or filters, and in the Fall inspect the furnace and change filters.

  • Inspect and service elevators and sprinkler systems every year.Elevators and sprinkler systems should be inspected annually, usually by the fire department, but it may depend on your city code.

  • Landscape seasonally. Curb appeal is everything: invest in your outdoor plants every season to keep your building looking it’s best.

  • Upgrade gym equipment, computers, and laundry machines every few years. This will help keep your building efficient and your residents safe.

  • Replace roofs every 20 to 30 years. Good roofs will last decades, but should be inspected regularly, especially after bad weather.

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Get Houston Property Management

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

Tips for getting ready for leasing season

Do you own rental property in the Houston area? If so, you know that January is typically one of the busiest times of year for property owners and landlords because this month is when we typically have the most lease renewals and there will also be more calls from people searching for rentals in the area.

If you’re getting ready for a busy leasing season here are some tips you can use to approach this busy time of year correctly:

Tips For Leasing Season

#1. Pricing Your Unit

Proper pricing is critical to balancing your vacancy rates and your return on investment; this is how you make your money after all. If your units are priced too low, you may have an issue staying in the black. Priced too high, and you might find more than a few of your units are empty at any one time.

Many Property Managers still call in for rental comparisons within their area to find an accurate price, but there are many tools online that can do this for you (and give you more accurate data). By pairing your rental units against comparable units and their pricing in the area, these tools will tell you if you should raise or lower your rent relative to the properties in your area. 

#2. Effective Marketing Budgets

Most PMs are not marketing professionals, but knowing where and when to advertise your vacancies can set you well ahead of your market competition and help you fill vacancies faster. In an informal survey, we learned that about 50% of property managers spend $200 or less on their marketing budgets per property per month. Many of these PMs don’t even know where their money is going; it feels like they are throwing darts against a wall, hoping that something will stick. When considering how much you want to spend on marketing your properties, be intentional about where you spend your money and track whether or not those dollars are getting you renters. If they are not, it may be time for a new marketing approach.

#3. Listing Details Matter

Every property manager has at some point made the mistake of posting a vacancy before that listing is ready—you have one or two pictures that you took a few years ago, and you just don’t have time to make a listing with a full list of amenities. As the world becomes more and more mobile, prospects do almost all of their home shopping online. If you don’t have the most attractive listing, your vacancy simply won’t make the cut.

Take the time to create video walkthroughs for all of your units. These are becoming standard practice across online listings, and it won’t be long before posts without video are treated like posts without photos. On that note, take multiple photos of each room from all different angles, online listings can never have too many photos. Ensure that your listing’s written description is thorough and accurate. Taking even these small steps will show a significant decrease in turnover time, maximizing your revenue.

#4. Review Your Online Application

If you don’t currently offer the ability to apply for your vacancies using an online application, you have a little bit of catching up to do—about 70% of all applications filed in the U.S. are electronic. Most renters expect the ability to apply online and prefer not to drive all the way to your property to file a piece of paper.

If you are using online applications, congrats! If you have properties in multiple locations, make sure that you are customizing each application by location. Depending on location, you may want to change the fee for your applications. In some areas of the country this fee is the responsibility of the applicant, and in others the PM needs to eat that cost as part of the rental process. The application guidelines for your prospects may vary by location as well.

#5. Update Your Screening Boxscores

When you’re screening a prospective new tenant, it’s important to look at them objectively not subjectively. In order to comply with Fair Housing laws, it is best to create a series of objective criteria that define a new applicant as acceptable or not. These criteria can include credit score or previous rent payment history but cannot include protected statuses like race, gender, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, or religion.

The turnaround on applicant screening is faster than ever before, and results come with much more detail than they did previously. Instead of a simple credit score, reports now come with all sorts of payment histories including car or student loan payment delinquencies. By creating a box score based on these objective criteria, you protect yourself from potentially bad renters as well as lawsuits. Record of objectivity will show that you do not discriminate in violation of Fair Housing laws.

#6. Check Your Leasing and Addenda

Every year, state and federal regulations for housing change and these can have a dramatic impact on how you run your business. These can include new Fair Housing criteria, but can also have an immediate impact on your leases and addenda. For examples, the beginning of 2016 saw many new requirements for pesticide use or mold prevention, and these changes need to be reflected in your leases. Failure to comply with these new changes can result in a possible lawsuit, so it is important to stay up to date on your state’s current requirements. There are many resources available online, check with your state’s online resources for more info.

#7. Upgrade Your Technology

Gone are the days of paper applications, faxing, and running from property to property to fix something in person. Mobile devices have all of the tools that we need to work from anywhere, and this saves you money! If your maintenance staff have mobile devices to track and handle requests, this saves you the gas they would have spent driving to and from the office to pick up paper requests. Some PM softwares have the ability to track the status of maintenance requests, granting greater visibility to you and your renters.

Mobile devices also give your leasing agents the ability to run their entire operation while hosting walkthroughs and engaging with prospects 1-on-1. Imagine being able to show a prospect properties, screen their application, and process their lease while standing right next to them. This is becoming a more popular trend as people do all of their initial research online, and taking a mobile approach to your business will save you time in the office and on the road, and will shorten those turnover times significantly.

Get Houston Property Management Here!

Tired of leasing your properties yourself? Contact Goldenwest Management today by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Should You Accept A Partial Rent Payment At Your Houston Rental Property?

HOUSTON, TX. – If you’ve owned Houston Rental Property for any length of time you know that things change in the rental market for a variety of reasons.

Your tenants may become unemployed temporarily, roommates may move out, and you may be asked at least once if you will accept a partial rent payment but the BIG question is should you accept a partial rent payment?

Get Everything in Writing

As with any business arrangement when it comes to a partial rent payment you should get everything in writing including the amount of the first partial rent payment and when you expect the remaining balance to be due.

Your written agreement with your tenant should also include late fees that they are expected to pay as well just so they will understand that they are expected to have their rent caught up by a specified date instead of constantly rolling over the money that they are behind on their rent by each month.

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If You Don’t Want To Accept Partial Rent Payments

If you’re not open to accepting a partial rent payment from your tenants you should make sure that your lease clearly states that partial rent payments are not accepted just so you can fall back on your lease and follow through with some of the typical penalties for tenants who are late paying their rent including late fees, daily late fees and eviction.

Partial rent payment situations hardly ever work out in the favor of the owner because once the tenant and the owner agree to a partial rent payment arrangement, the tenant may expect the ability to make partial rent payments in the future.

Worse yet, if the property owner or landlord chooses to evict the tenant they may be required by the courts to wait until the same time in the following month after the partial rent payment was collected because some courts will not start the eviction process in the same month that the partial rent payment was collected.

Get Property Management for Your Houston Rental Property

For effective property management at your Houston Rental Property contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (831) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us through our website.

Houston Texas Rental Property – Make Sure Your Stay On Top Of These Trends

HOUSTON, TX – Are you staying on top of the latest property management trends at your Houston Texas Rental Property? In this article, we will break down some of the latest trends that you should be on the lookout for the next time one of your properties comes up for rent.

Seniors Are Renting In Retirement

Did you know that more seniors are renting than ever before? That’s right, in 2016-2017 it’s not uncommon to find individuals over the age of 65 who are renting compared to 10 years ago when these same people were homeowners.

What’s also different about today’s senior citizens is that most seniors today want to stay active and prefer to live in areas where they can have easy access to transportation, cultural events, volunteer opportunities, community classes and trails for them to walk, hike or ride their bikes.

Multiple Generations in the Same Home

Another BIG change with today’s renters is that multiple generations are now living in the same home, and this includes seniors living with their adult children and grandchildren, so if you own a Houston Texas Rental Property that has dual living areas, this will be a major advantage since it will offer multiple generations living together the space they desire.

Houston Texas Rental Property
Houston Texas Rental Property

More Renters Work from Home

10 years ago the work from home trend was only just beginning and it wasn’t uncommon then to know someone who chose to work out of their home. In 2016-2017 times have changed and thanks to a recent study by Global Workplace Analytics we know that at least 25% of the U.S. population works from home.

How can you capitalize on this trend? If your Houston Texas Rental Property has a private office, ample storage space, or is wired for high-speed internet, you shouldn’t hesitate to promote these benefits when marketing your home online the next time it comes up for rent.

Get Houston Texas Property Management

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

How To Get Started With Entry Level Rental Property Investing — Even if You’re Renting

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There’s no denying that now is a great time for anyone to invest in Houston Texas Real Estate but how do you get started with Real Estate investing even when you’re renting?

Most people will tell you that you have to be a homeowner to get started with Real Estate investing but the good news is that getting started is a lot easier than you think.

You can get a mortgage through the FHA with a super low down payment if you live in the home. So, how do you live in it and rent it out too? No, not a roommate. You can purchase a duplex home and rent out one side while you live in the other. Because it is your principle residence, you can get FHA lending. You not only now own your home, you’re an investor too! The FHA will even let you count the future rental income to help you to qualify for the loan!

I’m not blowing smoke, and I’ll use a real life example duplex for sale in Houston, Texas, as well as rental rates, all as currently listed at Zillow.com. Here are the home particulars:

• Listed selling price is $255,000.
• Each side of the duplex is approximately 1996 square feet in size.
• Built in 2007.
• Rents of apartments and one side of duplexes in the local area justify a conservative rent income of $1,100 to 1,200/month.
• Zillow’s mortgage estimator shows the payment will be approx. $1,497/month.

Let’s become the world’s worst negotiator and pay full price for this home. However, we’re going to take advantage of the FHA and our credit score is good, so we’re going to be able to get a 3.5% down payment. With closing costs, we’ll bring about $9,350 to the closing table. Let’s run the numbers:

• You’ll be paying approximately $1,687/month with taxes and insurance included.
• You can reasonably expect to rent out the home for $1,150/month.
• Your gross out-of-pocket to live there is now $537/month.

Source – Huffington post

Get Houston Texas Property Management

Once you get started with buying your first rental properties make sure you save the time, money and hassle of managing those rental properties yourself with our Houston Texas Property Management services.

Call Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 498-0016 or CLICK HERE to connect with us online. 

 

Is It Time For You To Consider Houston Property Management?

Get Houston Property Management

There’s no denying that now is a great time to invest in local real estate thanks to great prices and low mortgage interest rates but as you grow your portfolio or rental properties you will also face more responsibility if you are managing those properties yourself and this is why you should consider Houston Property Management.

If you’ve been debating hiring a Houston Property Manager here’s how we can save you the time, money and hassle of managing rental properties yourself.

On Time Rent Collection

When you hire a Houston Property Manager you can rely on them for collecting your rent on time every month and either depositing the rent into your bank account or mailing you a check each month.

A property manager will also eliminate all rent collection delays and or excuses that traditionally come with rent collection for some owners plus insure that your rent is collected professionally each month without you having to go through the hassle of rent collection yourself. 

Professional Property Management

Your rental property will be professionally managed by a qualified property manager including all of the additional time consuming aspects of property management like maintenance requests and other service related issues.

Excellent Customer Service

Sometimes having an actual human being to call your tenants back matters most in the world of property management and when you hire a professional Houston Property Manager you can have confidence that all of your tenants will be responded to in a timely manner when they call or email the property manager.

Excellent Backup For You

Another benefit of hiring an experienced Houston Property Manager is that you can depend on them to be on top of any issues related to your property so that regardless if you live in Portland or are out of state your home or multi-family rental property will be professionally managed by caring professionals.

More Time to Grow Your Portfolio

Last of all, but most important, when you hire a professional Houston Property Manager you will have more time to focus on growing your portfolio of rental properties and focus on the next rental that you want to purchase for your portfolio.

Get Houston Property Management 

To learn more about our Houston Property Management Services contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

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3 tips for getting your Houston Texas Rental Property Ready For Summer

 

Houston Texas Rental Properties

Summer is right around the corner and with the weather already in the 70’s and 80’s during the spring one can only imagine what the summer is going to be like that’s why it’s important for you to get your Houston Texas Rental Property ready for summer by following these simple tips.

Tip #1 – Inspect Your HVAC System

Since your tenants will be using their HVAC systems during the summer months you should get HVAC and air conditioning units inspected now to insure that they are all running smoothly during summer months once warmer weather arrives.

 

Tip #2 – Check Insulation and Weather Stripping

Last of all, but most important, you should check the weather and insulation in your Houston Texas Rental Properties because proper insulation and weather striping will help your tenants to lower their energy costs and insure that their homes stay cool during the summer months.

Tip #3 – Close Up Crawl Spaces Under Homes

If your Houston Rental has a crawl space underneath it you should close up that space or any access point to your basement or underneath your home immediately because snakes and critters will seek shelter in cool spaces during the warmer months in Houston.

Tip #4 – Clean Up Brush And Dead Vegetation Surrounding Your Property

Take the time to clean up brush and dead vegetation surrounding your property since this will also make your yard space less attractive to critters and also create a firebreak between your home and open spaces if a fire breaks out during the summer.

Tip #5 – Remove Wood From Your Home

Another fire hazard and inviting spot for critters like snakes are wood piles and if one of your Houston Rental Properties has a wood pile somewhere on the property you should move it immediately to insure that the best interests of your tenants are protected during the hot Houston summer.

Get Property Management For Your Houston Texas Rental Property 

To learn more about how you can get your Houston Texas Rental Property ready for summer, or to speak with us about our property management services, contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

Should You Accept Cash From Your Houston Texas Renter?

 

So you’re just getting started with owning your first rental property and your Houston Texas Renter wants to pay their rent in cash. This is one of the most common Houston Texas Property Management questions property owners have and for good reasons because although accepting payment in cash may seem easier than other forms of payment it’s not always the best option for the property owner especially for these reasons.

You Won’t Really Know Who You Are Renting To

Although not everyone who refuses to pay via check has something to hide, you will always know who you are renting to when you require your tenants to pay via check, money order or cashier’s check because each form of payment has an actual record associated with it and you can always go back to the institution that issued the check or money order if problems arise with tat payment.

You’re Not Safe Storing Or Carrying Cash Rent Payments 

Another reason to have a no cash policy is because you will ultimately have to take that cash to the bank, or store it in your office temporarily, and there’s always the potential risk of keeping large amounts of cash lying around until you’re able to deposit it.

Cash Isn’t The Easiest Optin For Your Houston Texas Renter 

Last of all, but most important, another reason to not accept cash from your tenants is that those payments will always have to be logged and the tenant who pays in cash will have to receive a receipt.

Accepting cash can open the door to problems for your company because the tenant can always say that they didn’t receive a receipt from you so it’s best to state your preference for checks, cashier checks or money orders in the very beginning rather than accepting cash or make it easier for your tenants to pay their rent by setting up an online payment system so they can pay rent via their smart phones or mobile devices.

Contact Vestpro Residential Services, LLC

To learn more tips on dealing with Houston Texas Renters or to get more information about the property management services we can offer you contact us today by calling (832) 498-0016 or CLICK HERE to connect with us online.