What are your rental property’s best features?

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve owned rental properties in Houston TX, or the surrounding area, you’re going to one day face the prospect of your rentals competing with other rentals in the area that may have better features and or amenities. The key to success when this happens is for you to highlight your rental properties best features by doing the following.

Photograph the right features
The first step in highlighting your property’s most sellable features is to share photos of the right features—a.k.a. the features your potential tenants will care most about. These features can be both design-focused and functional; a mix of the two may appeal to the widest audience. Focus on features like crown molding, new appliances, large outdoor or patio space, and newly renovated areas of the home.

To make sure tenants see the property from every angle, put the images into a collage: “This allows somebody glancing through listings to see interior and exterior shots all at once. Because our homes are so beautifully staged, the split photos get a lot of attention and sets it apart from every other listing,” says Paul Moore, of Smith Mountain Homes.

You can also add multiple images to Facebook Carousel ads or Instagram’s new multi-photo upload feature to create a well-rounded view of the property.

Do virtual home tours
What better way to highlight your property than with a virtual tour? You can do this by taking a phone video and uploading to YouTube, or take live video with your Facebook or Instagram business page. Either way, this is also a great opportunity to engage with potential renters, so while giving the tour, ask questions. You might say:

“We just finished this bathroom, and added the brand new clawfoot tub. Do you like that vintage style? Tell me in the comments!”

“Tenants love using the back yard for grilling and hanging out with friends—the grill over there comes with the property. How often would you use this area?”

If creating all videos on a social platform, be sure to download them and upload to your YouTube channel. You can begin creating different sections for each rental property, so anyone interested in your listings can get walking tours whenever they want.

Share high-quality images

Photographing the right features is important, and the next step is taking high-quality photos. Luckily, you don’t need an expensive camera or photography experience to do that. The new iPhone 7, for example, has made it even easier for you to get expert-quality photos all on your own, thanks to its new dual lens camera, which features a wide angle and telephoto lens, according to iPhone 7 Rumors Confirmed.

Other new phones like the HTC M8 also have this feature, making it possible for you to take photos with depth of field. This is a feature traditionally found only in expensive SLR and DSLR cameras, providing you with a great opportunity for you to get high-quality photos without spending a lot.

Get Property Management Here

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.

Common Questions Asked By New Tenants

Are you just getting started with owning rental properties? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have purchased their first investment properties in the last year only to find out that there are common questions that every tenant asks when they express an interest in renting a new property that’s why in this article we’ve compiled a list of common questions asked by new tenants.

1. How much are rent and deposits, and how do I pay rent?

Prospects occasionally see outdated listings with old price points. Make sure you know current amounts for rent and deposits when you engage with prospects. You must also keep a standardized policy for the way your property handles those who bring in expired pricing offers. For compliance purposes, stick to this policy for all prospects.

It’s also important to clarify how tenants can pay rent. An online rent payment system is of tremendous value to tenants, as it allows them to pay by credit card, electronic check, ACH and more at no cost to your company. Offering a range of payment options helps to reduce late rent payments.

If you charge a non-refundable deposit (assuming it’s legal in your state), make it clear in the lease. Though the tenant is responsible for reading the lease thoroughly, consider emphasizing this fact before they sign.

You should also anticipate encountering prospects who will try to bargain or haggle. They might hope for a slightly discounted rent – say $100 per month – after hearing the average utility costs. Rather than getting caught off guard, consider beforehand if you’re willing to drop rent on the unit. Think of other contingencies as well, such as accepting a somewhat lower rent if they’ll sign a longer lease, which leads to…

2. Will you accept a shorter lease, or can we pay less if we’ll sign a longer lease than you’re asking for?

Property managers commonly want a minimum of a one-year lease, but what happens when a four-month vacancy has a prospect inquiring about a six-month lease? Decide the terms you will accept in advance and keep them consistent. Ideally, your community should develop a specific policy and hold to it. You should also have some idea as to whether you’ll drop the rent if the prospect signs a lease longer than your minimum requirement or, alternatively, guarantee the rate will not rise.

3. Do you allow pets? How about exotic pets?

You likely have a firm policy, as well as related deposits and pet rents, concerning dogs and cats. However, people keep everything from lizards to ferrets to sugar gliders (yes that is the name of a real animal). Develop a consistent and comprehensive approach to exotic pets for prospective tenants who ask about them. Keep in mind that while some can damage properties, others are fairly innocuous and unlikely to leave any lasting record of their stay. If you do allow cats, dogs or other animals you feel might compromise the property, clearly spell out the consequences of any damage (from charges to eviction notices) in the lease.

4. What’s your tenant screening process?

Some people will seek more information regarding your screening process. If you use tenant screening, you can familiarize yourself with the criteria and databases the company uses.

People familiar with credit checks may also ask if your community performs a hard or soft inquiry given that hard inquiries have an impact on credit scores.

To avoid Fair Housing problems, always clarify that you use an objective screening system based purely on numbers. Never make decisions based on race, religion or other controversial factors. Working with a screening service that uses objective methods will also help ensure compliance.

Get Property Management Here

Save the time, money and hassle of managing rental properties yourself, contact Vestpro Residential today by calling us at (832) 971-1841, connect with us online, or find us on Facebook.

Property Management Laws Texas – Learn More about the Texas Evictions Process

One of the keys to success with owning a portfolio of profitable Texas Rental Properties is understanding property management laws in Texas, especially the evictions process because, if you don’t understand the laws you could face penalties and a lawsuit.

In this article we will share with you more information about the Texas evictions process so you know what to expect if you face the prospect of having to evict a tenant.

FILING AN EVICTION IN TEXAS

Evictions in Texas MUST be filed in the county and precinct where the property is located. Complete the “Eviction form for Texas” and have it notarized or sign it in front of one of the Court Clerks. Bring a copy of your “Notice to Vacate” along with the eviction form and any copies that you would like to have for your own records.  You’ll be given a court date when you file your eviction with the Texas Court.

 Find an Eviction Lawyer in Texas

 Summary of Four Basic steps in the Texas Eviction process

  • The notice to vacate
  • Filing the Suit
  • Going to Court
  • Writ of Possession
  1. NOTICE TO VACATE

If a landlord alleges a tenant is not paying rent, the Landlord is required by law in Texas to give the tenant written notice to vacate the premises. This notice can be delivered to the tenant personally with a witness, by certified mail (return receipt requested) or by any other method allowed by law. Unless your lease specifically states otherwise, the law requires you to deliver the written notice, and then wait three days before filing your suit in Justice Court. This is a legal requirement which must be met and cannot be overlooked.

  1. FILING THE SUIT (EVICTION)

You must file an original petition with the Court and pay court costs of $72 (subject to change). These court costs pay for filing your suit, your court hearing, and for the Constable to serve the citation. The citation is the notice to the tenant that you are attempting to evict him.

  1. GO TO COURT (Both Landlord and Tenant)

LANDLORD: You must go to Court and prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. Simply filing a suit does not necessarily mean you will win your suit. You should bring all documents and other evidence with you to Court in a well-organized fashion. At the hearing, you will have to present evidence to show that you are entitled to possession of the premises.

TENANT: If you wish to defend your position and not be evicted, you must go to court. If you fail to appear, a default judgment will most likely be awarded to the Landlord. If you need a lawyer, contact a local Legal Aide Group in Texas. Check with your local court or on this web site.

  1. WRIT OF POSSESSION

If you have won your suit in Court, and the mandatory five day appeal period has passed, and the other party is still in the premises, you can file a Writ of Possession in Court. A Writ of Possession is a Court order to the Constable to place you in possession of the property. The Writ of Possession will cost you an additional $155 (subject to change), and may be requested at the JP office where the judgment is. The Constable of your particular Precinct can answer your questions about this Writ.

How long does it take to evict someone in Texas?

From start to finish approximately three weeks.

  • 3 days from notice to vacate to filing of suit
  • 8-10 days to serve the citation- The law requires the defendant have six days’ notice before the hearing.
  • 5 days to appeal the suit following the hearing required by law.
  • 2 days- The Constable is required by law to post a 24 hour vacate notice on the Writ of Possession
  • 20-23 days is the minimum amount of time to evict someone in any County in Texas. NOTE: that any eviction suit is subject to appeal to the County Courts-at-Law.

Is there a faster way to evict someone? There is a remedy that can shorten the time period from 23 days to ten days if you prevail in Court. This is known as a Bond for Immediate Possession and includes a Notice to Defendant of the Bond for Immediate Possession. By filing a bond for immediate possession, the eviction process could be shortened provided the defendant does not request a trial or post a counter bond.

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Learn More about the Texas Evictions Process

To learn more about the Texas Evictions Process, or to speak with us about our property management service, contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.