Reasons To Hire A Property Management Company

Over time as you own more rental properties in Houston Texas and the surrounding areas you will find that it will become necessary for you to hire a property management company because, a qualified property management company will save you the time, money and hassle of managing your rentals yourself so you can focus on growing your portfolio of rental properties.

If you’re not sure that hiring a property management company is the right choice for you to make or not here are reasons to hire a property manager:

Set the Right Correct Rates for Your Rentals

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

Collect Your Rent on Time

Another area where we will be an asset to your 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.

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.

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.

Get Property Management Here

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

 

 

Pool Safety Tips To Start Using Now

The “dog days” of summer are officially here and for the coming months we can expect temperatures in the Houston area to reach the triple digits.

If you own a rental property with a pool or spa area it’s more important than ever for you to be enforcing pool safety rules because not only will this protect your tenants, it will also protect your best interests as well and avoid any accidents, injuries or lawsuits at your swimming pool.

Pool Safety Tips You Should Start Using Now

  1. Install anti-entrapment drain covers. Make sure that your drain covers are compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act of 2007. Virginia was the 6-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. She was killed in 2003 when the suction from a hot tub drain caused her to drown. The federal law was named in her memory. Between 2012 and 2016, 17 people were trapped by drains, 14 of whom were younger than 15 years old. 2 of those victims drowned, both in residential spas.

  2. Use safety vacuum release systems with pool pumps. If the pump detects a change in vacuum pressure that could be caused by a person’s body, the pump will either shut off, or the system will inject air into the pump. This will free the person from the suction, thereby preventing drowning.

  3. Educate parents on community pool safety tips, including keeping children away from pool drains.

  4. Train staff on first-aid and lifesaving techniques. Have a Red Cross employee train your staff and any interested residents on community pool safety.

  5. Child-proof pool enclosures. Fencing around your pool area should be at least 4 feet high. Check for areas where older children could sneak through. Make sure that gates are self-closing and self-latching, with latches out of reach of very small children.

  6. Post community pool safety rules in a prominent location. In writing these rules, residential managers must balance community pool safety with the danger of discriminatory language. A blanket rule such as “No children under age 13” may not pass legal muster. This is particularly true in California, where we have at least two precedents: Iniestra v. Cliff Warren Investments, Inc. and Llanos v. Estate of Coelho. Both cases found that rules restricting children from using pool facilities without an adult, or keeping them away from adult-only areas, were overly restrictive and constituted prima facie discrimination. For more on this topic, check out our post Watch Your Language: What Can We Learn from Recent HUD Enforcement Actions?

  7. Enforce no-alcohol rules in your pool area. Give your security guards the authority to remove residents or guests who are disregarding community pool safety or abusing pool privileges.

  8. Don’t allow plugged-in devices anywhere near the pool deck or hot tub. You can also disable electrical outlets that are in close proximity.

  9. Prohibit glass containers in the pool area. One shattered glass endangers a lot of bare feet.

  10. Get a staff member certified in pool maintenance. Even if you subcontract pool maintenance out, it’s a good idea to have someone on staff educated in chlorination, sanitation procedures, and what it takes to maintain a busy swimming pool. Here’s a list of certified pool operator training programs from the Center for Disease Control and the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

  11. Check chlorine and pH levels at least twice a day with pool test strips. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you check for free chlorine (2-4 ppm) and bromine (4-6 ppm). The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8. This will prevent outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease, which can be caused by pathogens that develop in insufficiently sanitized water, and can spread via water vapor or droplets.

  12. Inspect pool equipment annually, such as pumps, drains, and heaters. Keep a logbook to track inspections.

  13. Inventory lifesaving supplies. Check to make sure that no one has stolen, vandalized, or lost your pool rings and rescue poles.

  14. Consider hiring a lifeguard. Outsourcing this to a lifeguard service may make sense from a liability perspective. Ensure that your vendor is insured and bonded. If your budget is tight, you can potentially hire a pool attendant rather than a trained lifeguard. You can learn about the differences between pool attendants and lifeguards on Guard for Life.

  15. Hire a pool management company. Again, a properly licensed, bonded, and insured pool management company can take the day-to-day load of pool maintenance off of your staff. It also relieves you of the hassle of storing large amounts of HAZMAT materials on-site. Furthermore, since they carry their own errors and omissions insurance as well as general liability coverage, their insurers will absorb any liability that may arise from pool-related incidents. A professional pool maintenance firm will also keep up with community pool safety-related federal, state, and local laws—something that your staff may not have time to do.

  16. Consider installing CCTV cameras to surveil your pool area. These systems are much less expensive than they used to be even a few years ago. They can feed directly to your security shed at night and help you to prevent after-hours incidents and lawsuits.

Get Property Management Here

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

 

Property Management Tips – How To Keep More Tenants

Searching for property management tips? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this article we will offer you several tips that you can use for keeping tenants happy because a happy tenant will be someone who wants to renew their lease each year instead of searching for another rental property.

 

Tip 1 – Update Your Rentals

Most renters these days want to know that their landlords actually care about them, and are not just renting to get their money.

You can keep your Humble Texas Renters happy by updating your rental units.

Consider painting the inside and outside of your Humble Texas Rental Properties, replacing bathroom and kitchen sinks, improving curb appeal and adding more lighting outside.

Tip 2 – Make It Easier For Tenants to Contact You

Offer your Humble Texas Renters more ways to contact you including by your mobile phone or email.

Most renters won’t be calling, texting or emailing you 24-7, but they will like to have the confidence in knowing they can reach you should they have a question, concern or problem which needs to be resolved.

It’s also important to consider offering your tenants the ability to pay their rents online via your website or a 3rd party payment platform so you can speed up the process of getting paid and won’t have to deal with the age old problem of collecting checks from your tenants.

Tip 3 – Offer Perks For Tenants Who Renew Their Leases

Last of all, you should consider offering perks to tenants who are considering renewing their leases.

Some perks to consider offering are: 3-6 month gym memberships, restaurant gift cards, basic satellite TV or Wi-Fi for 6 months or free rent for one month.

Property Management Tips

Get Property Management Tips Here

For more property management tips or for affordable property management for Houston Texas or the surrounding area contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to contact us through our website.

 

Planning for retirement? Why not buy an investment property?

Is your retirement around the corner and you’re searching for income producing investments to add to your portfolio? If so, why not add rental properties to your portfolio?

There’s never been a better time than right now to invest in Real Estate especially since more people continue to move to Texas every day and as an investor you will be able to capitalize on the demand for rental properties by investing in Real Estate.

Tips For Investing In Rental Properties

Gather as much information as you can. Talk to other investors, mortgage brokers andreal estate agents who have worked with income property about what owning a rental property is really like, in addition to reading books and articles on the topic. “It’s all about obtaining knowledge,” Rodriguez says.

Decide if you’re ready to be a landlord. Buying and managing property yourself provides the greatest return but also the greatest headaches. “Do you have the stomach for being a landlord?” Fleming says. “Stuff’s going to happen that just really ticks you off.” Other, less active options include becoming a partner in a limited liability company that owns properties or buying into a real estate investment trust.

Crunch the numbers carefully. A rental property is only a worthwhile investment if it makes money. Yes, the property may rise in value and yield a profit when you sell, but it also may lose value depending on which way the market goes. “If you’re banking on just appreciation, it’s really hit or miss,” Alexy says.

Make sure you have enough cash. Getting rich on real estate with no money down is a great dream, but it’s almost impossible to accomplish. Expect to need a sizeable down payment, reserves to pay for repairs and maintenance and a good income before you start investing.

Property Management Makes Owning Rental Properties SIMPLE

Before managing your rental properties yourself, learn more about how affordable property management is by calling Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

DIY Property Management Is HARD! Make it easy by calling Vestpro at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

How often should your Houston TX rental property be inspected?

If you’re like most owners you’ve probably wondered how often should you have your Houston TX rental property inspected.

Should you have it inspected every three months, six months or one year? In this blog post we will answer this question and provide you with more property management tips.

How Often Do I Need a Rental Home Inspection?

So how often should you schedule a rental home inspection? It depends upon several factors:

If you have crawlspaces or a basement, you might want to invest in a rental home inspection every 2-3 years, or each time your property comes up for re-rental. You may also want to inspect this more frequently if you have older plumbing or wiring, or if your home is in an area with a lot of moisture, an extreme climate, or both.

If your home is newer and was professionally inspected when you bought it, and you don’t have major weather extremes, you can probably get away with a longer inspection cycle.

If your home has never been professionally inspected since you’ve owned it, do it now.

Another reason to have a rental home inspection is if you are planning a major renovation project anyway. Why? You don’t want to have already committed thousands of dollars to a bathroom remodel only to discover that you need to replace your furnace. Conduct a reconnaissance before you march.

Get Houston Texas Property Management Here

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

 

 

 

 

Tenant Screening – Changes You Need To Know

There’s no doubt that tenant screening can be one of the most complicated aspects of owning rental properties because you have to follow the requirements of the Fair Housing Act and not offend anyone. 

In 2017 tenant screening has gotten a little more complicated for owners thanks to recent policy updates from the Department of Housing And Urban Development.

HUD rolled out a 10-page policy update last year advising all landlords and property managers that using criminal history for the purpose of tenant screening may actually be discriminatory. HUD notes that nearly one-third of the U.S. population (or 100 million U.S. adults) have a criminal record of some sort, and the misuse of background checks during the tenant screening process can hinder their ability to find safe, secure, and affordable housing—a key aspect of rehabilitation. Sometimes, even those who have been arrested but not convicted have difficulty securing housing based upon their prior arrest.

Black and Latino Americans are disproportionately affected, the memo notes, as they are incarcerated at rates disproportionate to their share of the general population. Black and Latino individuals comprise an estimated 58% of the U.S. prison population, despite accounting for only 25% of the total U.S. population.

Consequently, the memo states:

Criminal records-based barriers to housing are likely to have a disproportionate impact on minority home seekers. While having a criminal record is not a protected characteristic under the Fair Housing Act, criminal history-based restrictions on housing opportunities violate the Act if, without justification, their burden falls more often on renters or other housing market participants of one race or national origin over another (i.e., discriminatory effects liability). Additionally, intentional discrimination in violation of the Act occurs if a housing provider treats individuals with comparable criminal history differently because of their race, national origin, or other protected characteristic (i.e., disparate treatment liability).

This does not mean that criminal history cannot be considered at all during the tenant screening process. Instead, HUD is basically telling landlords and property managers:

You cannot institute a blanket ban on all applicants with a criminal history.

You cannot reject a tenant based upon an arrest that did not result in conviction.

You must treat comparable criminal histories similarly without consideration of race, national origin, or other protected classes.

Because Black and Latino Americans are incarcerated at higher rates than their peers, any blanket policy for tenant screening that bans applicants with a criminal history would inadvertently discriminate against minorities. HUD cites a Supreme Court decision in reminding us that simply being arrested often has little probative value in showing that someone has actually engaged in misconduct—which is why arrests without convictions should not be used as the basis for denying a tenant.

Convictions are treated differently. Landlords and property managers may reject an applicant whose background check reveals that he/she has been convicted of a crime. There’s one big caveat: The landlord or property manager must show that excluding a person with a conviction achieves a “substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory purpose.” To put it simply, you have to distinguish between criminal activity that creates a demonstrable risk to resident safety and/or property, and criminal conduct that does not.

Given the new HUD guidelines, landlords and property managers should consider the following questions when reviewing a person’s criminal history:

Was the applicant convicted of a crime, or were they just arrested?

What was the severity of the crime?

How long ago was the crime committed?

Has the person reoffended since their original conviction?

Was it a drug-related crime? (HUD allows a blanket ban on those who have been convicted of illegal drug manufacturing or distribution.)

New Guidelines for Tenant Screening

HUD’s new policy memo has the downside of making the tenant screening process more complicated than it already is. It muddies the waters in terms of how landlords and property managers evaluate criminal history, as there is no guidance on which crimes should generally considered acceptable and which are not. Landlords and property managers are asked to use their discretion, with the memo acknowledging the need to look at circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Here are a few tips to help you to comply with the new guidelines:

Screen tenants based on their financial and other qualifications first. Only conduct a background check if a person appears to be otherwise qualified. This will protect you from denying a tenant based upon another qualification, and having the tenant argue that they were denied based upon their criminal background.

If a background check reveals a criminal history, evaluate the nature of the crime (see questions above). If you plan to deny a person based upon this information, put a note in your internal file explaining why you felt a denial was appropriate (e.g. how this protects you, other tenants, and the property). Sign and date the note. This will protect you if the applicant ever alleges discrimination.

Review all existing rental policies and applicant screening procedures. Some landlords or companies may be facing a complete overhaul given the new HUD guidelines. Be sure that all members of your team clearly understand the new policies so they can be implemented uniformly by all.

Get Property Management Here

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

 

 

tenant screening

New Year Resolutions – Hire A Houston Texas Property Manager In 2017

By Vestpro Residential Services

HOUSTON, TX. – With the 2016 holidays officially over many people will be coming up with their New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 and if you own rental properties in Houston one of the best resolutions you can make is to hire a Houston Texas Property Manager in 2017 especially for these reasons.

Saves You Time And Money

An experienced Houston Texas Property Manager will save you the time of managing your rental properties yourself especially when it comes to day-to-day tasks like rent collection, customer service, and maintenance because these are all tasks that you will no longer have to do yourself.

You will also save money when you hire a Houston Property Manager because you won’t have to chase down tenants when they don’t pay, or make repairs to your rental property yourself because our team of trained professionals will complete those property management tasks for you so you can focus on growing your portfolio of rental properties.

Property Management Makes Life Easier

Let’s face it, as you purchase more rental properties you can expect to have more responsibilities but with an experienced Houston Texas Property Manager you can focus on the things that matter for you like spending time with your family, enjoying life and growing your rental property portfolio knowing that the everyday tasks of property management are being handled for you on the back end.

To learn more about our property management services contact Vestpro Residential today by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us through our website.

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”.

Get Houston Property Management

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. 

Houston Rental Property Trends 2016

Need Property Management? Click Here For A Quote!

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.

Get Houston Rental Property Management

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.