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.

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.

Should You Change the Locks After Your Tenant Moves Out?

One of the biggest questions that landlords have had over the years is if they should change the locks after their tenant moves out of their rental property.

The answer to this question is yes, you should always change the locks to your rental property after your tenant moves out especially since they could have made a key while they lived there and that key could gain them entry back into the property after they’ve moved out.

Other Times You Should Change the Locks to Your Rental Property

Besides changing the locks after your tenant moves out of your rental property, you should also change the locks for the following reasons:

When a Key Is Lost

It might seem overkill to change the locks after a renter loses just one key, but it′s a small price to pay to guarantee peace of mind for the manager, the owner, and the tenant. While it′s unlikely the lost key will end up in the wrong hands, in the off chance that it does, it could spell disaster for all. When you′re dealing with prospective renters, letting them know that you take this extra security measure seriously can be a differentiator that demonstrates your commitment to safety.

When a Vendor Is Finished Working on the Property

Especially if you′ve just started using a new vendor or if you′ve had disagreements with one in the past, it′s important to recognize that vendors could have copies of your keys that you′re unaware of. When work is completed, hiring an independent locksmith to change your locks helps maintain a high degree of security. It′s also a good idea to be on-site to let vendors in and out of a building while you build a relationship with them instead of leaving a key in a lockbox and allowing all contractors to access it.

According to statistics from the FBI, 73.2 percent of all burglaries are committed on residential properties. When a tenant moves into a property, unless the locks are brand-new, it′s impossible for them to know who has made copies over the years and can access the unit at any time. Just one safety mistake has the potential to result in break-ins, theft, and, in the worst-case scenario, the irreparable loss of human life.

A great way for property managers to stay on top of security measures is by using smart home technologies, including smart locks and exterior cameras. Smart locks with access codes can log who enters a property and the time of entry, preventing landlords from having to have locks rekeyed for new tenants or vendors. Exterior cameras can record clips at unoccupied properties (as well as be an asset to tenants for self-monitored security when they move in).

Get Property Management Here

Need property management for Houston Texas or the surrounding area? Contact VestPro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Rental Property Move Out Checklist

Move-outs are typically one thing that many landlords handle poorly because most landlords are usually in a hurry to get their property listed online and rented to a new tenant as quickly as possible.

Sadly, during the process of moving from one tenant to another, it’s possible that some landlords may miss damage caused to their rental property from their previous tenant and the opportunity to repair that damage before the next tenant moves in.

Step 1 – Do A Walkthrough

After your last tenant has moved out you should do a complete walkthrough of your rental property documenting the condition of the rental and any damage.

Questions to ask

  • Are the walls damaged or is its normal wear and tear?
  • Is anything broken in the rental?
  • Has the carpet been cleaned or is it still dirty?
  • Are the appliances functioning or will they need to be repaired/replaced?

Step 2 – Change the locks

Don’t forget to change the locks! This step is easy for some landlords to forget but it’s vital because with other copies of the key to your rental property potentially floating around out there it’s important for you to protect the safety of your new tenant by ensuring that your old tenant is unable to re-enter the rental property after they’ve moved out.

Step 3 – Research comparable rentals in the area

After taking the time to clean your rental and ensure that it’s in the absolute best condition, you should next start researching other rentals in the area to find out what you should rent your property for.

Don’t be hasty with this step! Take the time to really analyze and research comparable rental properties to determine what is the best monthly rent you should ask for your rental property.

Get Property Management Here

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

Tenant Background Checks – Learn More About the Best Online Resources

If you’re just getting started with owning your first rental properties in the Houston area you may be tempted to go with your gut and rent to someone because you have a good feeling about them.

This is a mistake that many landlords and owners make because they want to rent their properties quickly and not do their due diligence with doing a thorough background check on a prospective tenant.

Thankfully, there are a variety of online resources you can use for tenant background checks that will make your life easier and provide you with an accurate background check on your prospective tenant.

Where to Get A Background Check Online

  • RentPrep
  • SmartMove
  • Experian Connect
  • Lease Runner
  • Cozy
  • Screening Works
  • Tenant Alert
  • Buildium
  • E-renter
  • tenatify
  • MyRental

How Much Do Background Checks Cost?

A typical background check will cost about $19.95 and it’s going to provide you with a breakdown of your potential tenant’s life/history including their FICO score, address history and more!

You never want to neglect a background check because you could be found liable if a crime was committed by your tenant at your rental property.

You should also think about the neighbors in the area and have a background check done solely to ensure their safety and security since you don’t want to bring in someone who could potentially be a danger to other people living nearby.

Get Property Management Here

Don’t want to conduct background checks yourself? No problem!

Contact Vestpro Residential Services today. We’re the most experienced property management team in the Houston area and you can count on us to manage your rental property with the most care.

To get started with property management contact us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

How To Buy Rental Property In A New Market

Are you planning on buying rental property in the Houston Texas area for the first time but you’ve never purchased property or lived here before? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

The Houston TX area is a great place to buy rental properties because there’s been tremendous growth here over the last six months that’s why in this article we will share with you the things that you should be searching for in an investment property in a new market.

Here’s What You Should Look For

  1. Job Growth Compared To Vacancy

We look deeply at the job growth of an area and compare those figures to the local vacancy rates. When you can find an area that is growing without an oversupply of rental homes, it is in most cases a good indication of not only fewer days on market, but also potential rental rate escalators. – Mike Tamulevich, Marketplace Homes

  1. Standard Local Market Demographics

When we get an investment financing request in a new market, the three local market demographics we focus on are appreciating versus depreciating neighborhoods, school ratings and crime ratings. While we also look at household median income and access to jobs, those factors can be harder to compare from one market to another. School rankings and crime rates are easier to compare on a national basis. – Beth O’Brien, CoreVest Finance

  1. Economic And Population Growth

An area that is growing economically, in population or even just in demand as a destination will offer far better chances for appreciation. The fastest appreciating areas are those that have been recently “discovered,” that many people now desire and often where there is a backlash against further growth. “Nimbyism” has a lot of downsides, but price appreciation is not one of them. – Sean O’ToolePropertyRadar

  1. Major Retail Trends

A few of the indicators I look at are what retailers are existing and what new ones are coming to the market. If it’s a new development, I validate with the actual retailer to make sure they are coming. Do your homework. Another great resource is the local building department, where you can learn what stage a development is in and if they have actually submitted their plans. – Jill Szymanski, Bar Louie

  1. State Of Infrastructure

The infrastructure should be strong enough to support the market. For example, how’s the access in and out of the market, what kinds of schools are located nearby, is there additional transit, are there growing companies, are there amenities, etc. If these are all relatively strong, then this is a market that should continue to be attractive because it has good “bones.” – Vinny DiMeglio, colliers.com

  1. Metro Rail Development

Look for metro rail development in a given city to see what infrastructure commitments have been made. Find the stations/stops. Fan out and have fun. Look for properties where the density has been increased and which cleared the major regulatory requisites. Ride the rails — as long as they lead somewhere. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties

  1. Absorption Rate, DOM, Median Sales Price

On specific areas, I recommend my investors look at the absorption rate (the number of months of inventory) versus the days on market (DOM) versus the median sales price. These three factors are what I call “health of the market” indicators. If the number of months of inventory over the past couple of years appears to be changing and minimally impacting the other two, then the market is healthy. – Michelle Ames, HorsePower Team Texas/Independent Realty

  1. Rent Trends

In a new market, the investor should look at rent trends. The best check is a recently purchased property that is being renovated. Find out what the rents were at the time of sale (if the property was marketed, ask the broker for the offering memorandum — it will most likely have a rent roll). Then check to see what rents are being advertised now. 

Get Property Management In The Houston Texas Area

At Vestpro Residential Services we serve Houston and the surrounding areas including Liberty, Dayton, Humble and Atascocita. To learn more about our services contact us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Property Management News – Over 5 Million Have Lost Money Due to Rental Scams

By Vestpro Residential Services

If you’re searching for a rental property in the Houston TX area it’s likely that you may have seen at least one ad online that’s a rental scam.

The way these scams typically work is it all starts with an ad that was supposedly written by an owner who lives out of state.

Once you contact the owner, they will tell you to go check out the property for yourself and then contact them via email if you’re interested in renting it or not.

If you like the house, the owner will ask you to send them a payment online or a money order in exchange for keys but when most people send their payment the “owner” never sends the keys and the person who falls for the scam finds out that the rental is in fact earned by someone else.

Half of Young Renters Have Fallen for Rental Scams

The three-bedroom home on Lexington Court in Largo, Fla., 20 miles north of St. Petersburg, looked like the perfect family home, with a nice front yard, central cooling and laminate floors. For 18 families, it turned it was too good to be true — and at a serious cost.

A married couple, Nicole and David Johnson, allegedly posed as the owners of the rental property, giving tours and collecting more than $25,000 from those families, local television news station WFTS reported in late June.

The home, it turned out, belonged to Nicole Johnson’s parents and was not available for rent. The Johnsons targeted the families using social media and by posting to Craigslist. Local police have called it the largest rental scam they’ve ever seen. Many of the victims only realized that the listing was a fraud when they showed up to the property on the same day and notified police.

Some of those families were moving to Florida from out of state, and many have had to resort to GoFundMe campaigns in an effort to recoup their losses, according to WFTS. The scammers are believed to have fled the state.

Get Property Management in Houston Texas

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