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.

Simple Curb Appeal Tips For Your Houston Rental Property

Struggling with adding Curb Appeal to your Houston Rental Property? One of the great things about flower pots is that this is a simple curb appeal improvement that anyone can add themselves and what’s even better is that they are super affordable so if you’re on a budget and just starting out with your first rental property you can stretch your budget further with this curb appeal “hack”.

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For the best property management in the Houston area contact Vestpro 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.

partial rent payments

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 Rental Property Trends 2016

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There’s no denying that the Houston Rental Property Market has enjoyed strong growth in recent years but with overbuilding and few energy jobs than last year where does the rental market stand right now?

In this article, we will break down the local rental market and provide you with insight about what to expect from Houston if you plan on buying rental property in the area or moving to Houston and renting here.

About The Houston Rental Property Market

Over the last two years Houston has been one of the top cities in the United States for job growth but with falling oil prices earlier this year and overbuilding we’ve seen a drop in the rental growth rate but, while hiring in the energy industry remains soft the city has predicted that we can expect to see over 20,000 jobs added this year.

In fact, the oversupply of luxury apartments may have contributed to the scarcity of affordable rentals. The Chronicle also mentioned that over 6,000 units have already been knocked down or are scheduled for demolition. These older and cheaper units were to be replaced by more expensive housing.

People with higher incomes may benefit from decreases in rent or other concessions that landlords might offer. Renters with more modest incomes still won’t find the rents affordable and may have trouble locating cheaper rentals in many parts of the city. While landlords may struggle with occupancy rates in neighborhoods that are typically considered the most desirable, middle-class renters may have to satisfy themselves with longer commutes.

The number of units downtown in Houston are expected to double by next year. The downtown market also has the highest average rental rates in the entire city. It doesn’t matter how much trendy and convenient urban apartments are if job growth doesn’t support the increase in inventory.

Source

Houston Rental Property

Opportunity For Growth In Urban Areas

With an oversupply of luxury apartments in Downtown Houston there definitely is an opportunity for investors to purchase older rental properties in urban areas like The Heights, especially if they fix up those rental properties and offer a more affordable rental property to tenants who don’t want to pay up to $1,800 per month for a luxury apartment with tons of amenities.

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For the best Houston Rental Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or CLICK HERE to connect with us online.

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.

What Does A Houston Texas Property Manager Do?

What does a Houston Texas Property Manager do? This is one of the biggest questions that property owners who manage their own rental properties have had over the years because some owners are under the misconception that we just collect a check without doing much to actually manage their rental properties.

In this article, we will break down what a Houston Texas Property Manager actually does so you will be more aware of what to expect when hiring a property manager to manage your rental properties.

Houston Texas Property Managers Ease Stress

One of the first things that Houston Texas Property Managers do is ease the stress that you may have experienced with owning rental properties in the Houston area in the past because we are your first line of defense when it comes to making sure that your rental properties are rented to the most qualified tenants, rent is collected on time every month and your single family home, condo, townhome or apartment is professionally managed each month.

Houston Property Managers Insure Efficiency

From determining what your rental property should be rented for, to coming up with a marketing plan to market your Houston Rental Property, your property manager ensures efficiency and can be relied on especially when the time comes to make repairs so you don’t have to make any of those repairs yourself or come out to your rental property to manage repairs on your rental property.

Handle All Financials

With every move in your Houston Property Manager will professionally handle the financials for your rental property which includes placing the deposit in a trust account, making payments for owners (if needed), maintain historical records for the rental property, provide easy cash-flow statements on a monthly basis and annual reporting that has been structured for tax purposes.

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For professional Houston Texas Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

8 Ways Real Estate Is Your Smartest Investment

 

Have you been thinking about investing in Real Estate but don’t know if it’s a smart investment to make for your portfolio? You’re not alone. 

Although Real Estate has been a strong place to invest for the last 4 years many people are still sitting on the fence deciding if they should but their first rental property when the right time has already arrived.

Stop what you’re doing, read this article and learn 8 reasons why you should get started with investing in Real Estate in Houston or elsewhere across the United States right now.

1. Positive cash flow.

One of the biggest benefits to income producing real estate investments is that leases generally secure the assets. This provides a regular income stream that is significantly higher than the typical stock dividend yields.

2. Using leverage to multiply asset value.

Another important characteristic of commercial real estate investing is the ability to place debt on the asset, which is several times the original equity. This allows you to buy more assets with less money and significantly multiply asset value and increase equity as the loans are paid down.

3. Low-cost debt leveraged to multiply cash flow.

Placing “positive leverage” on an asset allows for investors to effectively increase positive cash flow from operations by borrowing money at a lower cost than the property pays out. For example, if a property generating a 6 prcent cash-on-cash return were to have debt placed on it at 4 percent, the investors would be paid 6 percent on the equity portion and approximately 2 percent on the money borrowed, thereby leveraging debt.

4. Hedge on inflation.

For each dollar that is created, there is a corresponding liability. Real estate investments have historically shown the highest correlation to inflation when compared to other asset classes, such as the S&P 500, 10-year Treasury notes and corporate bonds.

As countries around the world continue to print money to spur economic growth, it is important to recognize the benefits of owning income producing real estate as a hedge against inflation. Generally speaking, when inflation occurs, the price of real estate, particularly multi-tenant assets that have a high ratio of labor and replacement costs, will also rise.

5. Capitalize on the physical assets.

Income-producing real estate is one of the few investment classes that, as a hard asset, has meaningful value. The property’s land has value, as does the structure itself, and the income it produces has value to future investors. Income producing real estate investments do not have red and green days, as does the stock market.

 6. Maximizing tax benefits.

The US Tax Code benefits real estate owners in a number of ways, including unlimited mortgage interest deductions and depreciation accelerations that can shield a portion of the positive cash flow generated and paid out to investors. At the time of sale, IRS allows investors a 1031 provision, allowing investors to exchange into a like-kind instrument and defer all taxable gains into the future. (See your tax advisor for full explanation.)

7. Asset value appreciation.

Over time, more and more inflation has made it into the economy, drastically reducing purchasing power. However, income producing real estate investments have historically provided excellent appreciation in value that meet and exceed other investment types. Properties historically increase in value as the net operating income of the property improves through rent increases and more effective management of the asset.

Click here to read reason #8!

Get Houston Texas Property Management 

Once you buy your first rental properties you owe it to yourself to get started with Houston Texas Property Management because, property management will save you the time, money and hassle of having to manage your rental properties yourself and best of all you will be able to devote more time to growing your investment portfolio.

Learn more about the affordable property management services we can offer you by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online. 

 

 

 

Houston Texas Property Management – 3 Tips for Tenant Retention

 

By Vestpro Residential Services, LLC

As a long time Houston Texas Property Management company we can tell you without a doubt that tenant retention is one of the keys to success with owning profitable rental properties because, the longer you have your properties rented for means you will have long term cash flow from each rental property.

If you haven’t thought about what you can do to retain your tenants this article will provide you with 3 tips you can use for tenant retention.

Tip #1 – Practice the Art of Regular Communication with Your Tenants

Although you may have the best tenants in the world, you should always practice the art of regular communication with them because, regular communication with your tenants will not only show them that you care and appreciate their business, it will also encourage them to contact you should problems occur at your rental property that need to be fixed or resolved.

Houston Texas Property Management

Tip #2 – Offer Your Tenants Incentives

Another successful Houston Texas Property Management tip that we can offer you is to consider offering your tenants incentives for doing things like paying their rent on time to reporting maintenance problems or issues to you when they occur. Some of the incentives you should consider offering your tenants include: free Wi-Fi (depending on rental property), free memberships to local health clubs and gift cards from local grocery stores.

Tip #3 – Create a Referral Program

Last of all, but most important, in the world of property management we know that if a tenant is responsible, pays their rent on time and keeps their rental clean the chances are that they have friends or family members who have similar tastes and traits so if you want to get more great tenants like the one that you currently have you should consider starting a referral program which includes paying your tenants a “bounty” when they refer people to you who may be interested in renting one or more of your rental properties.

Get Houston Texas Property Management

For Houston Texas Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services, LLC today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

How to Handle Emergencies and Keep More Tenants

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One of the biggest problems that can hurt any property owner is how they handle emergencies at their rental properties. Sadly, how any property owner handles emergencies should be one of the most important skills that they master because, it’s very easy to lose tenants if you don’t handle an emergency at your rental property quickly and efficiently.

In this post we will share with you several tips that you can use for handling emergencies at your Houston Texas Rental Properties so you can keep your tenants happy and not lose business.

Tip #1 – Make Contact with You Easy

Although you may not want to be available to your tenants 24/7, the reality is that swift communication with your tenants is the key to success with resolving problems and keeping them happy.

If you don’t have a team managing your rental properties you should consider signing up for a call center so that you can receive messages and be contacted after business hours should problems occur.

Tip #2 – Document Everything

Regardless if it’s a broken pipe or leaky toilet, you should document all problems that occur at your rental property and then document the solutions to those problems because, some tenants may use problems as excuses to not pay their rent, or to move to another rental property, and proper documentation is an important part or professionally managing a rental property and generating long term income from it.

Tip #3 – Keep a List of Contractors On Hand

Another important thing you can do to handle problems at your rental property quickly is to have a list of contractors on hand that you know offers fast, reliable service, especially after hours or on weekends, because, this will enable you have someone you can call to resolve problems quickly without further delaying getting the problem fixed.

Get Houston Texas Property Management

To get property management for your Houston Texas Rental Properties contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

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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.