How To Improve The Curb Appeal Of Your Houston Rental Property

Summer is almost here in Houston Texas and when you combine warmer weather with longer days this means that you have greater opportunity to improve the curb appeal of your Houston area rental property.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “curb appeal”, this just means the appearance of your rental property that people will see before they get out of their vehicle to take a tour of the property.

Studies show that many renters will avoid some rental properties if they look actually “scarier” than others that’s why if you want to attract the best tenants possible you should go out of your way to improve the curb appeal of your property before you list it for rent.

In this article, we will share with you several simple tips that you can use to improve the curb appeal of your property without having to invest a ton of money.

Tip #1 – Property Cleanup

If it’s been between three and four months since you last cleaned up the landscaping surrounding your Houston Texas rental property, you should hire a landscaping company or spend at least one Saturday cleaning up the landscaping. This should include mowing and trimming, bagging up any excess leaves, removing the trash from the property, and taking the time to improve the overall appearance of the landscaping.

Once the property has been effectively cleaned up, you should then turn your attention to adding new sod or re-seeding the yard (if it’s needed), planting new flowers, shrubs or trees, adding outdoor LED lighting, repainting the fencing / mailbox / front door and doing anything else that you can to improve the landscaping.

Tip #2 – Take Care Of The Driveway And Sidewalks

Last of all, but most important, once you take the time to clean up the property you should next take care of the driveway and sidewalks. This is done by renting a power washer that you will use to spray down the driveway and sidewalks to remove any dirt, grime or gunk that’s been accumulated over the years.

After spraying down the driveway and sidewalks, you should next turn your attention to the exterior of your Houston Texas rental property and gently spray the siding of your home because this will also help to improve that look up your home and make it appear to be brighter and more cheerful once potential renters arrive to tour the property.

Contact Vestpro Residential Services

For more tips that you can use to improve the curb appeal of your Houston Texas Home contact us today by calling (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Proof Of Income – Learn More About Why It’s Critical That You Require It

If you own rental properties, one of the most important things you can do is require proof of income from your tenants because, it’s what’s going to let you know if a tenant is really qualified to live in your rental property and will be able to pay their rent on time on a monthly basis or not.

Why You Need Proof of Income

Checking proof of income protects you from losing money and your tenant from eviction, if they suddenly can’t afford rent.

Let’s step back for a minute and acknowledge that most tenants don’t purposely fail to pay rent. Nor do they go into a rental agreement with the intent of living there for free.

But having proof of a steady income that is appropriate for the rent you charge can reduce risk to both you and your tenant. After all, evicting a tenant is not ideal and can cost you thousands.

Determine if the 3x Income Rule Is Met

When asking for proof of income for apartment rentals, you’re not just verifying a stable source of money. You’re also figuring out if your potential tenant can meet the 3x Income rule. Generally, you want to take tenants only if their gross yearly income is three times the rent you’re charging.

Of course, you can make exceptions to this rule, for example, if your potential renter has good credit, a steady work history, or if they have a cosigner.

For many potential renters you just need to look at a few pay stubs, but with retirees (who are renting more and more), students, and those without your typical salaried job, for instance, you may have to find other ways to verify their income.

The rise of the gig economy may also affect how you determine appropriate income. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that about 10 percent of the U.S. population had “alternative work arrangements” in 2017. Still others supplement their traditional income with side gig companies like Uber or Upwork.

Verify Income for Potential Renters Without a Traditional Salary

You should verify income for all renters, but it’s especially important for potential renters who don’t have your typical 9-to-5. Let’s take a look at a few of those categories.

Self-Employed: Tenants who own their own business won’t have a pay stub or an employer to call. You’ll have to find other ways to verify their income and ensure that it’s steady.

Cash-Only Employees: Like the self-employed, there won’t be a paper trail for these renters. And a lot of them don’t know how to show proof of income, which makes it difficult for them to rent. This group includes waitstaff, landscaping employees, yoga instructors, artists and master crafts people as well as childcare workers. You will, however, most likely have an employer you can call or email.

Commission-Based Employees: Sales reps and retail employees may be working on commission or through incentive plans. While you probably ask to see two pay stubs for salaried renters, you may want to see a yearly statement of income to determine if a renter that works on commission is making enough.

Retirees: Retirees will have other types of income you can check: social security, retirement accounts, and pensions.

Students: Student renters will almost always need a cosigner. In that case, you’ll want to check proof of income for the cosigner, as well.

Ways to Determine Proof of Income

Whether they’re students, retirees, gig workers or have a salaried job, you still need to ask for documentation. Here are the best ways to do that.

  1. Pay Stub: Salaried and freelance workers who have filed W9s can provide pay stubs. For freelancers, however, a few pay stubs aren’t likely to give you the whole picture. You’ll need more verification.
  2. Employer Verification: A letter, email, or phone call from an employer can help you get a clear picture of finances. This is particularly helpful for potential renters who work on a cash-only basis.
  3. W2 or 1099: A W2 indicates exactly how much a salaried employee made over the past year. If they plan to keep that job, you’ll know whether or not they meet your requirements. A 1099 for a freelancer will give you the same information, but income for the coming years may vary.
  4. Offer Letter: If your potential tenant just changed jobs, ask for a copy of their offer letter. It should state their salary.
  5. Tax Return: Like W2s and 1099s, a tax return will tell you what someone made the previous year. It will be up to you to determine whether their job or other circumstances have changed since then.
  6. Retirement, Social Security or Pension Distribution Statement: For retirees, a distribution statement from social security, a retirement fund or a pension fund will verify income. You may need a combination or all three of these to get a clear picture of their finances.

Insufficient Funds Isn’t the End

If your potential tenant doesn’t meet your income criteria at first blush, don’t decline them right away. If everything else checks out and they seem like a good fit, there may be other ways to bring them on as tenants.

First of all, did you consider all of their means of income? For retirees, did you collect statements from all retirement accounts? For salaried employees, did you consider their side gigs?

Go back and ask them if they have any other sources that they didn’t consider including. If these are steady sources that they plan on keeping, you’re absolutely right to include them as part of their gross income.

And if their income still doesn’t add up, ask them if they would consider finding a cosigner. A lot of landlords require this for students, and it’s usually a parent or guardian. But other renters might be open to the idea, as well.

Proof of income is critical in protecting yourself and your renters. Still, you don’t have to keep to a hard-and-fast rule in determining who’s in and who’s out. Look at all the information in front of you, and use it to make a well-informed decision in the best interests of you and your tenants.

Get Property Management Here

Do you need full service property management for your Houston area rental properties? If so, contact Vestpro Residential services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

How To Know When It’s Time To Hire A Property Management Company

Are you managing your Houston area rental properties yourself? If so, you most likely don’t have a lot of time in your day to do the things that you want to do. In this case, you should consider hiring a property manager.

At Vestpro Residential Services, we will save you the time, money and hassle of managing your rental properties yourself. Some of the services that we can offer you include:

Rent collection
Maintenance
Property Marketing
And more!

Learn more about the services we can offer you by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

How to get your rental property ready for spring

Even though it’s still winter one thing we know in the Houston area is that warmer weather is right around the corner. This is why it’s important for every owner to start planning for spring now.

Here’s an action plan that you can use to get your rental property ready for spring.

February

February is a great time to finish general landscape cleanup and begin making plans for how the property should look during the growing season.

  1. Get a Plan. Assess the lawn, beds, trees and the general landscape and determine what needs to be cut back, removed, culled and reshaped. Plot a path and follow it.
  2. Apply pre-emergents. An effective pre-emergent will make the lawn more healthy and weed resistant. In most areas, a pre-emergent fertilizer with time-release action will provide the right amount of nutrients and weed preventatives at the right time.
  3. Prune and cull. It’s a great time to prune crape myrtles and ornamental trees, plus cull larger grasses.
  4. Plant spring color. At the end of the month in southern climates start planting colorful annuals in beds. Bright yellows, oranges and reds grab the most attention.

March

As temperatures warm, put your plan for cutbacks and pruning of flowering bushes into action.

  1. Cut back ground cover and monkey grass. Mow to two-inch height and remove all the brown and dead grass. Failing to cut these plants back will result in plants that don’t look healthy when they should be lush and green.
  2. Prune roses. Before it gets too hot, prune roses and other flowering bushes. Pruning in March will help these bushes reach their full potential at the height of spring.
  3. Reduce large shrubs that are overgrown. Make sure bigger shrubs are but back before they start to bud.
  4. Check the waterworks. Irrigation systems that have been drained should be filled and tested for leaks or problems. Also, check rain sensors.
  5. Fertilize the lawn. About three or four weeks before lawns typically start to green, apply a fertilizer with high nitrogen.

April

For the southern part of the country, April usually is the final chance to get the lawn in shape before the heat hits. “It’s the Last month you have before you start getting hammered by heat,” Lee said. “It’s then that you’re trying to get things accomplished before the plant goes into survival mode.”

  1. Plant shrubs, grasses and other new plant life. Do it early so that new plants have enough time to get established before summer arrives.
  2. Trim trees. Most trees will have leafed out by now and you should be able to tell which limbs may be overly weighted and in need of trimming or cutting.
  3. Apply pesticides. As temperatures warm, fire ants and aphids start to emerge and should be treated to avoid damage to new and existing growth.
  4. Mulch beds and other areas. About mid-month, mulching should be under way and even finished. However, make sure the rainy season is mostly finished to avoid washing out of fresh-mulched beds.

“Not all of these steps will be right for areas farther north,” Lee said. “That cycle will probably start in March and run through May, for example. Wherever the property is located, it’s important to take a progressive approach to the landscape so that everything has the greatest chance of flourishing.”

Get Property Management In Houston

Need property management in the Houston area? Contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here.

Nеw Yеаr’ѕ Rеѕоlutіоnѕ – Hire A Property Manager In 2019

2019 іѕ оffісіаllу here аnd like mаnу реорlе, уоu mау bе wrіtіng down уоur Nеw Yеаr’ѕ Rеѕоlutіоnѕ аnd thіnkіng оf wауѕ that you can run уоur business mоrе efficiently.

If you оwn rеntаl рrореrtіеѕ in thе Houston, оnе оf thе bеѕt wауѕ thаt you саn manage your рrореrtіеѕ mоrе еffісіеntlу іn the New Yеаr is wіth thе help оf a рrореrtу mаnаgеmеnt соmраnу.

Wіth a рrореrtу manager ѕеrvіng уоu, you wіll nеvеr hаvе tо wоrrу аbоut еffісіеntlу managing уоur rеntаl рrореrtіеѕ again.

Sоmе оf thе many ѕеrvісеѕ thаt wе саn offer you іnсludе:

  • Rеnt collection – Collected on time еvеrу mоnth аnd dероѕіtеd іntо your account.
  • Mаіntеnаnсе – Performed bу оur еxреrt ѕtаff.
  • Customer ѕеrvісе – All соrrеѕроndеnсе will bе hаndlеd bу оur іn-hоuѕе сuѕtоmеr service tеаm.
  • Tenant ѕеlесtіоn and рlасеmеnt – We wіll оnlу find and рlасе the mоѕt ԛuаlіfіеd tenants іn your properties.
  • Aссоuntіng – Receive іtеmіzеd rероrtіng frоm your rental рrореrtіеѕ.
  • And more!

Save Tіmе and Money wіth Prореrtу Mаnаgеmеnt

Imаgіnе what hаvіng аn еxtrа hоur each dау саn dо fоr уоur schedule аnd thеn multірlу thаt оnе hоur реr dау bу 30 and thаt’ѕ a lot оf hоurѕ fоr thе mоnth. Wіth thіѕ еxtrа time, уоu can fіnаllу focus оn grоwіng уоur роrtfоlіо of rеntаl рrореrtіеѕ or juѕt have more tіmе wіth your family.

At Vestpro Residential Services we саn рrоmіѕе you rеlіаblе property mаnаgеmеnt that wіll bе аn аѕѕеt fоr your buѕіnеѕѕ аnd уоu саn аlѕо dереnd on uѕ for brоkеrаgе, асԛuіѕіtіоnѕ аnd ѕо muсh mоrе!

Dоn’t ѕреnd аnоthеr year ѕtrugglіng wіth mаnаgіng уоur rental рrореrtіеѕ уоurѕеlf! Lеt uѕ help уоu efficiently mаnаgе уоur рrореrtіеѕ аnd grоw your іnvеѕtmеnt portfolio.

Cоntасt Vestpro Residential Services

Mаkе 2019 уоur best уеаr ever! To lеаrn mоrе аbоut the services wе can offer уоu соntасt uѕ tоdау by calling (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

What to Replace in Your Rental Property After You Purchase It

Are you planning on buying a new rental property in the Houston area?

Like many landlords, you’re excited about getting that property ready for rent but the reality is that there are a variety of things that you must replace in your property before renting it including the following:

Toilets

Although some landlords often replace the toilets in a rental property last, you should replace these first because a leaky toilet can cause thousands of dollars in water damages and higher than normal water bills for your tenant or you, if you’re paying the water bill for the property yourself.

Light Bulbs

Changing light bulbs is also a “must do” because this will eliminate your tenants calling you to come out to change the light bulbs and also ensure that they will not injure themselves when attempting to change the light bulbs in the rental property on their own.

Locks

Even though the locks in your new Houston TX rental property may look new, you should still replace them anyway because there’s no knowing who may have had access to that property in the past and you want to move forward with confidence in knowing that all keys are accounted for.

Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Alarms

Last of all, don’t forget to change the fire extinguishers and smoke alarms for the rental property especially since there’s no knowing how old those safety devices really are and you want to move forward as an owner with confidence in knowing that your tenants will be protected from fire should one break out at your property.

Contact VestPro Residential Services

Tired of managing your rental property yourself or are you not satisfied with the service that you’re receiving from your current manager? Contact us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to contact us through our website.

Late Payments – How to Avoid Them and Get Your Tenants to Pay on Time

Ask any owner and they will tell you that late payments are literally killing their cash flow because, when the mortgage payment on their rental property is due, they will have to cover that cost themselves until their tenant pays their rent.

Thankfully, avoid late payments is possible if you use the following strategy that will help you to get your tenants to pay their rents on time so you can start avoiding late payments all together.

Enable Electronic Payments

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

Improve Your Resident Screening Process

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

Hire a Property Manager

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

Get Property Management in The Houston TX Area

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

Property Management Tips – How To Regain Control Of An Out Of Control Rental Property

Hаvе уоu bееn working hаrdеr thаn еvеr bеfоrе to mаnаgе уоur Houston Tеxаѕ Rental Prореrtу аnd in spite оf thе demand for rеntаlѕ, уоu ѕtіll fіnd yourself bеhіnd fіnаnсіаllу еvеrу mоnth?

If so, thіѕ іѕ a ѕіgn thаt уоu may hаvе lоѕt соntrоl оf your Houston Tеxаѕ Rеntаl, but thе gооd nеwѕ іѕ that уоu can turn things around financially bу fоllоwіng thеѕе ѕіmрlе tірѕ.

Crеаtе аn Oреrаtіng Budgеt and Cоmmіt To It

Your rеntаl income, еѕресіаllу іf you оwn a multi-family rental property, ѕhоuld аlwауѕ cover уоur expenses аnd lеаvе you with profit аt thе end оf thе month.

The best wау tо ѕtау оn track fіnаnсіаllу is tо create an ореrаtіng budget and thеn stick wіth that budgеt еасh month.

Whеn сrеаtіng an operating budgеt уоu ѕhоuld аlѕо be рrераrеd for рауmеntѕ like lаndlоrd іnѕurаnсе аnd рrореrtу tаxеѕ ѕо уоu’rе nеvеr left unprepared when іt соmеѕ tо your ability tо рау those bіllѕ оn tіmе whеn thеу are due.

Work On Yоur Lеаѕіng Strategy

Crеаtе a lеаѕе which hаѕ ѕtrоngеr language whеn іt comes to late рауmеntѕ juѕt ѕо tеnаntѕ knоw that thеу will receive аn еvісtіоn nоtісе and nоt bе allowed to “ѕlіdе” if thеу mіѕѕ making thеіr rеnt payments оn tіmе.

Yоu should also improve уоur tenant ѕсrееnіng process аnd take thе tіmе tо сhооѕе the right tеnаntѕ іnѕtеаd оf “wаrm bоdіеѕ” who саn pay the rent each month.

Imрrоvе Yоur Mаrkеtіng Strategy

Inѕtеаd оf hаngіng flіеrѕ іn уоur local lаundrу mat, оr posting аdѕ оn Crаіgѕlіѕt, уоu should сrеаtе a new mаrkеtіng ѕtrаtеgу whісh includes орtіоnѕ like paid аdѕ on websites lіkе Zіllоw and local сlаѕѕіfіеd аd sites which аrе ѕurе to bе rеаd by рrоѕресtіvе tenants.

Let Uѕ Hеlр Yоu Get Yоur Houston Texas Rеntаl Prореrtу on Track

Tо ѕаvе tіmе, mоnеу and thе hаѕѕlе оf mаnаgіng your Hоuѕtоn Tеxаѕ Rеntаl Property yourself соntасt Vestpro Rеѕіdеntіаl Sеrvісеѕ tоdау bу саllіng uѕ аt (832) 498-0016 оr CLICK HERE to connect with us online.

How to Make the Carpet in Your Rental Home Last Longer

If you’ve owned rental properties in Houston Texas or anywhere else in the United States for any length of time you know that it can be difficult at best to keep the carpeting in your rental for as long as possible because it will wear out after a period of time due to foot traffic and normal wear and tear.

Thankfully, there are solutions that you can use to help your carpet last especially if you do the following:

Combine A Hard Surface with Carpet at Entry Points

One of the first things that you can do to help the carpet in your rental property last longer is combine a hard surface area with carpet at entry points to the property.

This means that instead of encountering carpet when people enter the rental property, they will encounter a hard surface area with a floor mat that will encourage them to wipe their feet before entering the home.

Doing this will eliminate the majority of stains and wear/tear that the carpeting in your rental property gets during the year because more people will be wiping their feet.

Clean Carpet At Least Once A Year

Another effective strategy that you should use to make the carpet in your rental property last longer is to clean it at least once a year regardless if you have long-term tenants or not. Professional carpet cleaning will increase the lifespan of the carpet, reduce breakdown, wear and tear, discoloration and helps you prolong the lifespan of your investment in the carpet

Provide Tenants Your Tenants with A Vacuum Cleaner

Last of all, another effective way to prolong the carpeting in a rental property is to provide your tenants with a vacuum cleaner.

This is an effective tip to follow because the average tenant will not have a vacuum cleaner especially if they are relocating to Houston from out of state and providing them with a vacuum cleaner will not only help them to keep the carpet in the rental property clean and show them that you actually want to help them get established renting.

Get Houston Texas Property Management

For property management in Houston Texas contact VestPro residential services today by calling a set or click here to connect with us online.

New Report Shows More People Think Renting Is More Affordable Than Buying A Home

Thanks to a recent study we know that more than 70% of Americans now consider renting a home to be more affordable than buying a home.

The recent data from Freddie Mac found that close to 80% of Americans would prefer to rent instead of buy, this is up sharply from close to 67% of Americans who felt that renting was more affordable than buying a home just a short six months ago.

What’s even more shocking is that close to 58% of Renters have said that they have no plans to buy a home within the near future. This is up from 54 percent of renters who are surveyed over the same period.

What’s Happening with The Real Estate Market?

Among the usual suspects: Mortgage rates are up to nearly 5 percent, the highest they’ve been in seven years. The new rate is one percentage point higher than the beginning of the year. Rates are being pushed up by recent hikes in the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate.

But it doesn’t mean renting is necessarily affordable.

Freddie Mac’s survey found that two-thirds of renters say they have had trouble paying their monthly bill in the last two years. Almost 9 out of 10 renters with occupations in what Freddie Mac considers “essential” fields — including healthcare and education — say they have had trouble cutting their landlords checks.

 

More Opportunity for You

On an encouraging note, the obvious benefit that can be gleaned from this article is the fact that with more people viewing renting as being more affordable and favorable than buying, this means more opportunities for people who own rental property.

The key to success though with owning rental property in Houston or else was across the United States is not having to do all the work yourself. Once you own a property you should hire a property management company to manage that rental property for you.

This will save you the time and hassle of having to do things like rent collection, maintenance and communicating with tenants so that you could focus on growing your portfolio of rental properties while living your normal life.

To learn more about the Property Management contact us today (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.