What Are The Most Cost Effective Options To Choose When Renovating A Rental Property?

Are you planning on renovating your Houston area rental property? If so, there are a variety of cost-effective options that you should consider.

In this article, we will list some of the most cost-effective which will also help to improve the value of your rental property as well.

#1: Replace Windows

Realtors consistently emphasize the importance of curb appeal when you’re trying to market a property. Upgraded windows are a smart way to make a good impression on prospective renters while packing a powerful punch for long-term energy savings thanks to increased insulation efficiency.

Remodeling Magazine reports 74 percent cost recuperation for vinyl replacement windows and approximately 70 percent for wood. Can’t find money in your budget for either one? Consider adding storm inserts and re-caulking existing windows.

#2: Freshen Paint

One of the most cost-effective remodeling projects for an investment property is to touch up walls and trim with a fresh coat of paint. Choose neutral colors, which resonate with a wider range of prospective residents. Consider using in-house staff to do the job–you’ll still have control over the quality of the work without the need for a professional contractor. This is one project that you can DIY to keep operations simple and costs low.

#3: Switch Out Flooring

Hardwood flooring continues to grow in popularity. Durable and easy to clean with a classic look, renters tend to prefer wood or engineered wood planking to linoleum, tile, and carpet.

Engineered wood is naturally resistant to changes in humidity and temperature. Unlike genuine hardwood, planks don’t buckle, shrink, or expand. Thanks to its waterproof qualities, engineered wood flooring is even appropriate for moisture-prone areas such as a front entrance, mud area, or bathroom.

Planks can be glued, stapled, or floated over a pre-existing floor. Some even come in interlocking segments that snap together to form a tight seal. Seek different suppliers and see if you qualify for bulk pricing to replace current flooring. If your property already boasts natural hardwood floors, consider refinishing them to enhance their appearance and longevity.

#4: Update Bathrooms

A noteworthy distinction exists between mid-range and upscale bathroom remodels. According to Remodeling Magazine, you get more bang for your buck when you limit bathroom renovations to a “mid-range” budget–but what does this mean in actuality?

New faucets, shower heads, and fixtures. Look for low-flow versions that cut water consumption by as much as 30 percent.

Ceramic floor tiling. Consider a geometric or playful pattern (but not so bold as to drive renters away!). Doing so draws the eye downward and makes the room more inviting.

A new tub and toilet. Go with standard porcelain for the tub. Keep in mind that federal standards mandate that all new toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

#5: Remodel Kitchen

As with the bathroom, a minor kitchen overhaul boasts a significantly more substantial return on investment than a major remodeling project. For example, instead of replacing cabinets in their entirety, simply switch out the doors and update them with new hardware.

Replace appliances with energy-efficient models and shop around for a new mid-priced sink and faucet set. Remember to check into possible tax credits or rebates for your area.

Installing appliances requires a specialist’s help. Consider taking out a service contract to ensure that your appliances receive the care they need to stay running over time.

#6: Add Outdoor Space

Does your property contain open-air terraces or decks? Outdoor living space is a big draw for current and future renters. If adding exterior square footage is a feasible option at your properties, check into reliable sources of wood composite, which is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than natural wood.

Is there any room left in your budget for extra material? Fashion an arbor or pergola with seating, or build large containers for seasonal plantings. Anything you can do to enhance the flow of indoor-to-outdoor living benefits your investment, both in the short and the long term.

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For 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.

What Is the Best Way for You to Grow Your Portfolio of Houston Texas Rental Properties?

Are you interested in growing your portfolio of Houston Texas Rental properties but you’re concerned that adding another rental property may be more work or added responsibility than you can handle?

If you’re still managing all of your rental properties yourself, one of the very best ways to add more rentals to your portfolio without increasing your workload is to hire a property management company.

Reasons to Hire A Property Manager

Rent Collection – Hiring a Houston Texas property manager will save you the time, money and hassle of collecting rent yourself including dealing with the excuses from your tenants for why they are late paying their rent and when they promise to pay.

When you hire a property manager you can count on rent to be collected on time each month and deposited into your account all without you having to reach out to your tenants for payment again.

Tenant Selection – Another time-consuming task that comes with owning rental properties is tenant selection. With a property manager, you can remove yourself from this process and have confidence that your manager will always find and place the most qualified tenants in your rental property for you.

Maintenance – From mowing the lawns at one of your rentals, changing toilets or full-blown maintenance, you can have confidence that your property manager will professionally maintain your rental property, saving you the time and hassle of having to do those things yourself so you can focus all of your time on growing your portfolio of rental properties.

Customer Service – Last of all, but most important, with a property manager serving your tenants you can also rest assured that should your tenants have a question or need assistance with their rental property, they will always have someone to call to handle those issues and you won’t have to worry about your phone “ringing off the hook” again. Continue reading “What Is the Best Way for You to Grow Your Portfolio of Houston Texas Rental Properties?”

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).

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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.

Traditional and Creative Ways You Can Finance Your First Houston Rental Property

By Vestpro Residential Services

Are you planning on buying your first rental property in the Houston TX area? If so, as a first-time investor you’re probably wondering how you’re going to purchase that rental property especially if you already have a primary residence and other financial obligations.

Thankfully, you have options available that will help you get that rental property sooner than you think.

Get A Traditional Mortgage Loan

The first and obvious way you can finance the purchase of a rental property in the Houston TX area is to get a traditional mortgage loan and use the equity from your primary residence towards the purchase of that rental property.

Most new investors with good credit will go this route because it’s the obvious way of using the equity that you already have in your home and making it work for you.

Here are some more options to consider for buying a rental property:

Seller Financing

This involves getting a loan from the person you’re buying the property from. In some cases, if the seller is willing to lend you money, it’s easier (read: less paperwork) than getting a loan from a bank.

I’ve seen these deals work in a number of scenarios: The seller might finance either the down payment or the full purchase price. The seller might be another property investor — or they might be the property’s live-in owner.

The key to success is to ensure you agree on a fair interest rate for the loan. If you don’t have much experience in this area, it may be wise to work with your CPA and/or attorney. And regardless of how much experience you have, be sure to get the terms of the loan in writing, with signatures.

Partnerships

Another great financing option is to partner with someone who has enough money for a down payment. This is an effective strategy if you have a friend or family member who’s interested in getting involved in property investment, but maybe isn’t as interested in the day-to-day work of screening tenants and collecting rent payments.

In this scenario, what often happens is that one partner puts up money and the other handles all the actual work of being a landlord.

The key to success here is to agree on how to split proceeds. I recommend thinking about it in terms of aligning the risk and reward with costs and benefits. Your partner is taking on all the financial risk, but you’re putting in all the legwork of bringing in revenue via rent. Make sure the way you split proceeds reflects your contributions.

Whatever you decide makes sense, it’s best to have your terms in writing. Services like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer can help with drafting basic legal docs if you don’t have an attorney. (Full disclosure: Rocket Lawyer is a partner of ours.) Another strategy we find effective is to form an LLC, which requires you to put together an operating agreement. That document is a great place to lay out roles and responsibilities for all parties.

Government Programs

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was founded to encourage homeownership. One of the ways it does that is by offering homebuyers the chance to buy property with just 3.5% down.

While FHA loans are specifically designed to facilitate the purchase of owner-occupied homes, it’s completely allowable to buy a two-, three- or four-unit building, live in one unit, and earn rental income from the others. In fact, this can be an incredibly cost-effective way to finance a rental property, especially if it’s your first.

FHA loan limits are different in every county, so part of the art here is making sure the loan limit where you want to buy is high enough that you can purchase a multi-unit property.

Get Property Management in The Houston Area

Once you own your first rental property in the Houston area don’t waste time managing it yourself, let Vestpro Residential Services manage it for you. To learn more about our services 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.

Single Family Tenant Retention Tips

By VestPro Residential Services

Do you have one or more families living in your single family rental properties? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article we will share with you single family tenant retention tips.

Single Family Tenant Retention Tips

Offer Your Tenants More Incentives To Renew Their Leases:

Everyone loves perks, ѕо оffеr tеnаntѕ something ѕресіаl to сеlеbrаtе rеnеwаlѕ. Suсh incentives dоn’t hаvе tо соmе аt the еxреnѕе оf уоur company. Cоnѕіdеr gifting uрgrаdеѕ thаt аlѕо bеnеfіt a hоmе’ѕ value. Flооrіng improvements, a оnе-tіmе cleaning service, lawn services, frеѕh wall paint аnd new аррlіаnсеѕ аrе all іnсеntіvеѕ that can еxсіtе tenants аnd еnhаnсе a rеntаl.

Fоr a more реrѕоnаl touch, аlіgn іnсеntіvеѕ wіth tenant іntеrеѕtѕ. Dо уоur rеntеrѕ hаvе сhіldrеn? Amuѕеmеnt раrk ѕеаѕоn раѕѕеѕ оr mоvіе theater gіft саrdѕ can bе wеlсоmеd gіftѕ thаt hеlр tenants feel appreciated. Dо уоur renters work аrоund the clock? Coffee ѕhор vоuсhеrѕ or a nеw tablet соmрutеr саn rеѕоnаtе with thе nееdѕ of оn-thе-gо tеnаntѕ.

Ongоіng incentives саn bе a рrоасtіvе аnd еԛuаllу іnfluеntіаl tool. Partner wіth a variety оf nearby buѕіnеѕѕеѕ to оffеr rеgulаr аnd ѕіgnіfісаnt discounts.

Create A Sense Of Community For Your Tenants:

Even single fаmіlу rentals саn foster a sense of соmmunіtу. A strong rеlаtіоnѕhір bеtwееn a rеntеr аnd their рrореrtу management соmраnу hаѕ thе роwеr tо make thе renewal process quick аnd seamless.

Hеlріng your tenant feel аt hоmе bеgіnѕ аnd еndѕ wіth engagement. Communicate іnfоrmаtіоn еffісіеntlу and thrоugh a tеnаnt’ѕ рrеfеrrеd сhаnnеlѕ. Whеn a tеnаnt initiates a dіаlоguе, rеѕроnd іn a timely mаnnеr tо hеlр thеm fееl hеаrd. Quісk аnd mеаnіngful responses are аn еаѕу way tо buіld trust.

An established mаіntеnаnсе сrеw саn аlѕо соntrіbutе tо building rереrtоіrе wіth tеnаntѕ. Consider fеаturіng уоur mаіntеnаnсе team оn the property wеbѕіtе, or having a mаіntеnаnсе еmрlоуее оnѕіtе during mоvе-іnѕ.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management in Humble, Kingwood, Dayton or the surrounding area contact Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.

Have You Lost Control Of Your Rental Property? Here’s How To Get It Back On Track

By Vestpro Residential Services

Are you working harder than ever before to manage your rental property? If your answer is yes then the reality is that you may have lost control of your rental.

Thankfully, getting your rental property back on track is easy and can be done by following these simple tips

Create аn Oреrаtіng Budget

Yоur rеntаl іnсоmе, еѕресіаllу іf уоu own a multі-fаmіlу rеntаl рrореrtу, ѕhоuld аlwауѕ соvеr уоur expenses and lеаvе уоu with profit аt thе еnd of the month.

The bеѕt wау to ѕtау оn track fіnаnсіаllу іѕ tо сrеаtе аn operating budgеt and then ѕtісk wіth that budgеt еасh mоnth.

Whеn creating an ореrаtіng budgеt уоu ѕhоuld аlѕо bе prepared fоr payments lіkе landlord іnѕurаnсе аnd рrореrtу taxes ѕо уоu’rе nеvеr lеft unрrераrеd whеn іt соmеѕ tо уоur аbіlіtу tо pay those bills оn tіmе when they аrе due.

Improve Yоur Leasing Strаtеgу

Crеаtе a lеаѕе whісh hаѕ stronger lаnguаgе when іt comes to lаtе рауmеntѕ just ѕо tеnаntѕ knоw thаt thеу wіll receive аn еvісtіоn nоtісе аnd not be аllоwеd tо “slide” if thеу mіѕѕ making their rеnt рауmеntѕ оn tіmе.

Yоu ѕhоuld аlѕо іmрrоvе уоur tenant ѕсrееnіng process and take the tіmе tо сhооѕе the rіght tеnаntѕ instead of “warm bоdіеѕ” whо can pay the rent each mоnth.

Create A Marketing Strategy And Stick With It

Instead оf hаngіng fliers іn уоur local lаundrу mаt, оr роѕtіng аdѕ оn Craigslist, уоu ѕhоuld сrеаtе a nеw mаrkеtіng strategy which іnсludеѕ орtіоnѕ like раіd аdѕ оn websites like Zіllоw and local сlаѕѕіfіеd ad ѕіtеѕ which аrе ѕurе tо be rеаd by prospective tеnаntѕ.

Get Professional Property Management Here

Tired of managing your rental property yourself? Contact our professional property management team by calling us at (832) 971-1841 or click here to connect with us online.