Property Management Tips – How to remove a stain from carpet

One of your rental properties just came up for rent and after inspecting it you’ve found that more than one room in the property has stains in the carpeting.

What do you do?

Hire a professional carpet cleaner to clean the carpet?

The good news is that you can easily remove stains from any carpet yourself simply by following the tips in this video.

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Are you showing your appreciation to your loyal tenants?

During the process of owning rental properties in the Houston Texas area, or elsewhere in the United States, one of the very best things you can do is show your appreciation to your loyal tenants because, it’s easier to keep a long term tenant than it is to put your rental property back on the market and search for new renters that’s why in this article we will share with you our tips for showing your appreciation to your loyal tenants.

Host events

Hosting an event redefines your presence with your tenants. Beyond the person who collects their rent checks every month, you become a friendly and generous person. Bringing tenants together is both fun and fosters a sense of community, making them feel +more comfortable and connected to their residence. When people have personal ties, it makes leaving a less casual decision.

One great option is a summer barbecue. Even if you only have a few tenants, inviting them to a local park for a day of food and fun can adds the kind of personal touch to your business that will go a long way in bridging the gap between you and your tenants, and even between the tenants themselves. However, you should express caution where food is involved. Be aware of any food allergies or special diets among your guests. Have a black bean patty ready for your vegan tenant, or a lactose free cheese for your lactose-intolerant tenant. They will remember that extra kindness.

Create a beautiful environment

If your tenant feels good about where they live, they are far more likely to stay in place. Go above and beyond your state’s mandated . A clean and well-maintained community will help guide each tenant’s decision to remain with you, and a proactive approach to maintenance and repairs matters. Pay extra attention to entryways and porch spaces; peeling paint and cobwebs can make your property feel shabby. Stay on top of cleaning and repairs and you will not regret it.

Give personal gifts

A small token of appreciation on a tenant’s anniversary with the community or on their birthday, such as a gift basket or a gift card, are always good ideas. If you are in a position to be better acquainted with your tenant, a personal gift can mean even more.

If you know that a tenant enjoys classical music, a gift of tickets to a symphony or an outdoor concert builds a deep, personal connection that could they give staying with you extra consideration when it’s time to renew their lease.

Small tokens such as non-denominational holiday cards or birthday cards are a nice touch and another way to let them know you care.

Leverage referrals

Studies show that tenants who have friends nearby tend to stay longer. If you have several properties in the area, you could benefit not only in tenant retention, but also by asking your tenant to unofficially function as a marketer for you. If your tenant loves their home, they are more likely to refer a friend to you.

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For affordable and professional property management contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 971-1841, connect with us online, or find us on Facebook.

 

Tips for Finding a Contractor You Can Trust

Are you planning on having some work done on your rental property? If so, one of the keys to success with maintaining rental property for the long term that also produces consistent cash flow is finding a contractor you can trust. Thankfully, we got you covered with these 11 tips that will help you to connect with the right contractor.

1. Insist on a license.

Don’t accept excuses like, “I haven’t renewed my license yet this year” or “It’s pending.” All of these coverages ultimately protect you, the consumer, with vital safeguards like insurance requirements.

2. Ask for referrals.

One of the best methods for finding a contractor that you like is to ask your fellow property managers who they use.

3. Check with state or county authorities.

They’ll have a record of any complaints or revoked licenses. Keep in mind that any contractor who’s been in business for a while may have a few complaints; what you want to be wary of is a negative pattern on their licensing record.

4. Use a General Contractor Firm.

General contractor’s licenses are more difficult to get. General contractors are accustomed to carrying insurance that protects both them and you, the customer, against damage that may be caused by their subcontractors.

5. Anticipate problems.

Jobs may not be completed as planned for a few reasons: a scheduling error, inadequate manpower, insufficient materials, or an injury on the job site. If you enter each job prepared for the worst, you’ll be more resilient in the face of unexpected issues.

6. Get multiple bids.

This is about more than getting the best price. A variety of bids will set a price range, and set your expectations for how the work will be done.

7. Don’t automatically take the lowest bid.

The lowest price, though enticing, may be because the company is using subpar materials or illegal labor; or they may be skimping on workers’ compensation.

8. Don’t pay for bids.

Reputable contractors will get their fair share of work from their own bids, without you having to pay just to get them to consider your project.

9. Get proof of insurance.

Specifically, you want to see proof of sufficient general liability, contractors liability, and workers’ compensation insurance as a minimum.

In addition, make sure that the total coverage amount is adequate in proportion to the size of the job and the nature of the building. If it’s not, you should feel comfortable asking the contractor to purchase more insurance.

10. Verify liability coverage.

Errors and omissions in professional liability coverage comes in two basic forms: “occurrence” and “claims made.” It’s important to understand the distinction.

  • Occurrence: Provides coverage for any incidents or accidents that occur during the policy period, even if you don’t file the claim or issues don’t even become apparent until after the policy expires.
  • Claims made: These policies do not provide coverage after the policy has expired, unless the contractor purchases tail coverage.

11. If you’re a landlord, consider a surety bond.

A surety bond is a kind of insurance protection for the landlord. The contractor pays a sum to a bond company, and in the event that the contractor fails to perform, the surety bond company pays a sum to the landlord.

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For affordable and professional property management contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

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.

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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.

New 1099 deadline change to impact businesses

Every year, tax season brings a variety of changes, from forms to regulations—and this year is no exception.

Beginning in 2017 (for the 2016 reporting year), many important deadlines will change. Filers will be required to send 1099-MISC recipient copies and submit the forms to the IRS by January 31, 2017, regardless of method (paper or e-file). This significant change to the deadline, which was previously February 28 for paper and March 31 for e-file, will undoubtedly dial up workloads and stress levels for companies.

To further complicate matters, the new filing deadline, as it relates to Form 1099-MISC, only impacts filers reporting non-employee compensation payments in Box 7. Although the overwhelming majority of 1099-MISC filers will report information in Box 7, there is bound to be some confusion.

As you are likely aware, many filers traditionally provide recipient copies first and wait for employees or vendors to review the forms prior to sending them to the IRS. This approach has allowed errors to be corrected and the fixed form to be filed to the federal government, along a new copy to the recipient, without creating a corrected 1099. The new reporting deadline all but eliminates this option, which we expect to result in more corrected forms being sent this year.

To avoid filing late and incurring penalties for noncompliance, it’s important to plan ahead for these new deadlines, form changes, and other deadlines. We also recommend reviewing the required data as soon as possible to allow extra time to edit errors or gather further information if needed. Click here to learn more!

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Do you need Houston Texas Property Management? If so, contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

As long time property management professionals we can save you the time, money and hassle of managing your own rental properties especially when it comes to things like rent collection, maintenance, customer service and all of the other property management tasks that you might currently be doing yourself.

Let us show you the difference our services can offer you and how we can simplify your business so you can focus on growing your portfolio of rental properties in Houston, Humble, Kingwood and the surrounding area.

Humble Texas Property Management – How to Avoid Losing Renters

By Vestpro Residential

Are you searching for Humble Texas Property Management information? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this article we will share with you actionable tips you can use to avoid losing renters.

Avoid Constant Rent Increases

The first Humble Texas Property Management tips we can offer you is to not raise the rent with each lease renewal because, the reality is that it’s not always a wise decision to increase the rent especially if you have long term tenants since it does cost more money to find a reliable long term tenant than it does to keep a tenant.

Always Handle Noise Complaints

When it comes to your Humble Texas Rental Property you should always treat noise violations seriously because, just about every tenant has a very low tolerance for noise so you should address the noise problem if it’s coming from a neighbor on the street where your rental is located, or another tenant in your rental property.

Humble Texas Property Management

Follow The Law If you have to Enter Your Rental Property

As long time Humble Texas Property Management professionals we can tell you that unauthorized entry is illegal in Texas and you have to follow the law if you plan on entering your rental property to show your rental to a prospective renter or get work done.

Always give your renters at least 24 hour notice in writing before entering your rental property and if you need to enter your rental property due to an emergency you should ask your tenant to sign a notice allowing you to enter the rental on short notice.

Don’t Allow Poor Maintenance

Last of all, but most important, another Humble Texas Property Management tip we can offer you is to never allow inadequate maintenance at your rental property because you will only be able to keep your tenants for so long before they become tired of living in a rental property that’s not been properly maintained.

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For the best Humble Texas Property Management contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us through our website.

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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.

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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.