Property Management Tips – How to cleanly remove popcorn ceilings

Are you planning on buying another rental property but you noticed that it has popcorn ceilings?

Even though a popcorn ceiling can be tedious to remove the reality is that it can be done cleanly / efficiently by following the tips in this video.

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No time to continue managing your rental properties yourself? No problem! Contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

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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No time to manage your rental properties yourself? No problem! Get professional property management by calling Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

Best Tips For Newbie Landlords

Just getting started with owning your first rental properties? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we will share with you or best tips for newbie landlords who have just purchased their first rental properties and are now faced with the task of dealing with tenants.

1. Screen Tenants

Don’t rent to anyone before checking credit history, references, and background. Haphazard screening and tenant selection too often results in problems — a tenant who pays the rent late or not at all, trashes your place, or lets undesirable friends move in. Use a written rental application to properly screen your tenants. For more information, see How to Screen and Select Tenants FAQ.

2. Get it in writing.

Be sure to use a written lease or month-to-month rental agreement to document the important facts of your relationship with your tenants — including when and how you handle tenant complaints and repair problems, notice you must give to enter a tenant’s apartment, and the like. For what to include in a lease or rental agreement, see Ten Terms You Must Include in Your Lease or Rental Agreement. Not sure which to use? See Whether to Use a Lease or Rental Agreement.

3. Handle security deposits properly.

Establish a fair system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning security deposits. Inspect and document the condition of the rental unit before the tenant moves in, to avoid disputes over security deposits when the tenant moves out. For more information, see Leases and Rental Agreements FAQ.

4. Make repairs.

Stay on top of maintenance and repair needs and make repairs when requested. If the property is not kept in good repair, you’ll alienate good tenants, and tenants may gain the right to withhold rent, repair the problem and deduct the cost from the rent, sue for injuries caused by defective conditions, and/or move out without needing to give notice. For more information, see Repairs, Maintenance, and Entry to Rented Premises.

5. Provide secure premises.

Don’t let your tenants and property be easy marks for a criminal. Assess your property’s security and take reasonable steps to protect it. Often the best measures, such as proper lights and trimmed landscaping, are not that expensive. For more information, see Criminal Acts and Activities: Landlord Liability FAQ.

6. Provide notice before entering.

Learn about your tenants’ rights to privacy; see Repairs, Maintenance, and Entry to Rented Premises. Notify your tenants whenever you plan to enter their rental unit, and provide as much notice as possible, at least 24 hours or the minimum amount required by state law. For state-by-state information, see Chart: Notice Requirements to Enter Rental Property, State by State.

7. Disclose environmental hazards.

If there’s a hazard such as lead or mold on the property, tell your tenants. Landlords are increasingly being held liable for tenant health problems resulting from exposure to environmental toxins in the rental premises. For more information on lead, see Lead Disclosures for Rental Property FAQ. Check your state law for other landlord disclosures. – Learn more here!

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No time to manage your rental properties yourself? No problem! Get professional property management by calling Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

Get Property Management Here

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.

Are turnkey rental properties a smart investment for you to make?

On television, turnkey rental properties are highly touted because, many people like the idea of purchasing a rental property without having to do any work to get it ready for rent but the BIG question is are these rental properties a smart investment to make? 

About Turnkey Rental Properties

When we use the term “turnkey rental properties,” we are referring to the loosely defined investment strategy of buying, rehabbing, and managing a property through a third party. The process of working with a turnkey real estate provider typically looks something like this:

  1. Finding a property: Based on your personal investment goals, the company will help you to identify and build a portfolio of properties. Most claim to have a pre-vetted database of turnkey investment properties for you to consider. Some also have proprietary software to evaluate which properties are likely to produce the greatest returns.
  2. Funding the investment: Unlike experienced investors, most turnkey buyers are unfamiliar with the various ways to finance rental properties (e.g. various loan products, 401K, 1031 exchange). The turnkey provider will help you to evaluate a range of financing alternatives depending on your individual circumstances and goals.
  3. Acquiring the property: Once you’ve identified the property you’d like to purchase, the turnkey provider will assist you with all of the paperwork, home inspections, appraisals, loan documents, and more. They provide end-to-end service, much like a real estate agent would, but they specialize in working with long-distance buyers who want to take a hands-off approach.
  4. Renovating the property: Depending on the situation, some turnkey rental properties will be in need of major renovations, while others may simply need minor repairs to bring the property up to code. The turnkey provider will manage all renovations and maintenance for you.
  5. Managing the property: The primary reason that people buy turnkey rental properties is because someone else pledges to manage the property on a day-to-day basis. This includes finding tenants as well as responding to any tenant needs (e.g. fixing a leaky sink). It ostensibly creates a stress-free investment opportunity—all that’s left for the buyer to do is deposit those rent checks!

Generally speaking, most turnkey firms will charge around a 3% fee for property acquisition, and then anywhere from 7 to 10% for ongoing management of turnkey rental properties.

That said, it’s important to know that there are hundreds of turnkey firms across the U.S., and no two are exactly alike. Some will buy, rehab, rent, and THEN sell a property to you (the investor). Others specialize in helping you to find cheap properties (for as little as $20,000!) that need major renovations—and the turnkey company will take on all of those renovations for you. The range of services can vary greatly, so be sure to thoroughly research several turnkey providers before you commit to anything.

The Growing Popularity of Turnkey Rental Properties

Turnkey rental properties have proven a great fit for people like Yang Guo, a 30-year-old data scientist who lives and works for a tech company in San Francisco. Even though he earns a good salary, he’s been priced out of the Bay Area. Nonetheless, Guo still wanted to add real estate to his investment portfolio.

Guo ultimately purchased two properties: A small home in the suburbs of Birmingham, AL and another outside of Columbia, SC. He worked with HomeUnion, a turnkey real estate provider based in Irvine, CA. HomeUnion helped Guo to purchase the two properties for a total of $60,000—quite the bargain in comparison with the Bay Area, where the median home price is over $675,000. HomeUnion, a 3-year-old startup, handled all of the necessary renovations, and they now manage the property for Guo. He’s never actually seen the properties or met the tenants—but he collects a rent check each month from 2000 miles away.

“There’s too much risk with buying property in the Bay Area,” Guo says. “As long as the cash flow is coming and hitting my bank account, I basically don’t care about seeing them in person.”

Novice real estate investors like Guo are attracted to turnkey rental properties because they’re lower-cost and less time-intensive to manage. The average turnkey investment property sells for between $50,000 and $150,000. Most are located in markets that were hit hard by the housing crisis. For example, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Ohio have experienced an explosion of turnkey rental properties. In Florida, for instance, an estimated 12% of landlords are from out-of-state. Turnkey investors tend to come from high-priced markets and want to buy in states with low home prices and relatively strong rents.

However, long-distance real estate investors tend to lack local market knowledge. “You see these people coming from California and what I like to call ‘yuppie-ing up a place,’ but they don’t realize it’s not in the best area because they didn’t do their homework,” says Tony Kazanas, a Cleveland area real estate agent. There are all sorts of miscellaneous things that novice real estate investors don’t consider, like local vacancy rates or the need to obtain hurricane or other specialty insurance. Turnkey companies fill these important gaps by providing local market expertise.

The Dangers of Turnkey Rental Properties

Based on our overview so far, turnkey real estate investment might seem like a no-brainer! Not so fast: Turnkey providers often target uneducated buyers and sell the promise of a stress-free, cash flow-generating investment opportunity. Unfortunately, too many buyers forget to do their due diligence. They fall for a compelling pitch and slick marketing materials, only to regret the investment down the road.

See, there has been an explosion of turnkey providers since the downturn of the housing market. Many of these companies are run by young adults in their early 20s who have little experience in real estate. They bank on the fact that most out-of-state buyers won’t come to see the properties they’re selling in person, which often haven’t been upgraded to turnkey standards. Some are pitching portfolios of turnkey rental properties that look like they’re straight out of the foreclosure process, where upgrades haven’t even begun. This isn’t a red flag for someone who intends to spend money on renovating the homes; but many turnkey investment providers sell people on the fact that the homes have already been renovated when that isn’t actually the case.

As it turns out, many of these turnkey providers are expert internet marketers, not expert real estate professionals. Many are less than capable of managing the properties that they’re selling to you.

Here are some key warning signs that a turnkey real estate company may not be as legitimate as they seem on the surface:

  • Inexperienced operators: Find out how long the company has been in business, where they’ve invested in real estate, and how many buyers they’ve worked with. Don’t be shy about calling references. If you’re going to be getting into business with someone, you have the right to do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line.

  • Lack of direct investments: Has the company invested in its own portfolio of turnkey rental properties? If so, what types of returns are they getting? It’s a major red flag if the company doesn’t own and manage its own properties—how else will they know how to look after yours?

  • Weak support structure: Is the person who’s selling you on the investment the same person responsible for property acquisition, renovation, tenanting, and maintenance? If so, that’s an indication that there’s a weak support structure in place. Legitimate turnkey firms typically have a deep bench with professionals of varying expertise. If someone promises you that they can do it all alone, how much individual attention will your properties really be getting?

  • Shoddy renovations: Before going into business with a turnkey company, take the time to tour a few of the other properties that they manage. What condition is the property in, and have the renovations been done properly? If the company claims that thorough renovations have already been completed on the property you’re considering, an inspection is worth every penny. Otherwise, you could get stuck with costly repairs down the road.

  • Rental guarantees: Experienced real estate investors know that there is no such thing as a “rental guarantee.” A property may be more or less likely to rent quickly, but there’s no guarantee that it will be rented at the price the turnkey operator has stated. Spend some time doing your own market research to understand what rent prices are like in the area where you’re looking to purchase.

  • Overpriced properties: Similarly, spend some time researching the local market. Turnkey providers are notorious for selling overpriced homes to out-of-state investors who are used to expensive real estate markets. A home that sells for $200,000 might seem like a bargain compared to where you live—but if local comps are selling for half that, then there’s a good chance you’re being duped.

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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.

 

7 Tips for Getting Your Humble Texas Rental Property Ready for Rent

By Vestpro Residential Services

Are you planning on getting your Humble Texas Rental Property ready for rent? If so, make sure that your rental is ready to be toured by prospective renters by following these 7 tips

Tip #1 – Re-Key Your Locks and Change Alarm Codes – This is by far one of them most important things to do before renting your Humble Texas Rental Property because, you want to make sure that your old tenants cannot have access to your rental property, including the gate or mailbox after they move out.

Tip #2 – Professionally Clean All Carpets and Floors – One of the top things prospective tenants do not like is dirty floors and dirty carpeting so you should have them both professionally cleaned before showing your rental property.

Tip #3 – Clean Up Your Yard Space – If your Humble Texas Rental property has a yard space, you should clean it up (regardless of the size) because, you want prospective tenants to see it as a usable space that they can be excited about instead of seeing dead flowers, dying shrubs or an overgrown yard that may turn them away.

Tip #4 – Change Air Filters – Does you’re the HVAC or air conditioner at your Humble Texas Rental Property have filters? If so, you should replace them because, this will help your tenants to breathe easier, especially if they have allergies.

Tip #5 – Clean Your Rental from Top-To-Bottom – Another important thing that you can do to get your Humble Texas Home ready for rent is to thoroughly clean it from top to bottom because a dusty or dirty rental property may lead some renters to wonder what else may be wrong with the rental property.

Tip #6 – Inspect / Clean Ceiling Fans – Although ceiling fans can help to cool a home or keep it warm, they can also accumulate dust during the year and spread that dust around the home when they are turned on, this is why you should have those ceiling cans cleaned and serviced before tenants move in so you can have confidence that they are working properly.

Tip #7 – Let in The Light – Last of all, but most important, you should get your Humble Texas Rental Property ready for rent by letting in the light. To do this you should clean all windows in the home and replace light bulbs because more light can create a positive mental picture in the minds of potential tenants so they can see themselves living in your rental property.

Get Property Management for Your Humble Texas Rental Property

For professional property management for your Humble Texas Rental Property contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or CLICK HERE to connect with us online.