Tips for Selecting Your First Rental Property

By Vestpro Residential Services

Are you planning on buying your first rental property? If so, you’re not alone. Now is a great time to buy a rental property because mortgage interest rates are still low and demand for rentals remains high especially in cities like Houston.

In this article, we will share with you several tips you can use to successfully purchase your first rental property.

Determine the Specifics of The Rental You Are Searching For

Before choosing a rental property it’s important to first determine the specific of what you’re searching for in a rental property including the location that you want to own a rental, because in most cities rental properties that are located close to downtown or close to colleges will rent for more money than rentals in suburban areas.

Set Your Budget

Since prices for Real Estate in many cities have reached all-time highs you should set your budget before you start searching for rentals because in this real estate climate it’s very easy for any buyer or first-time investor to overspend.

Create A List of Properties to View in Your Target Areas

Once you know the specifics of the property you’re searching for, and you’ve set your budget, you should next create a list of properties that match your criteria because this will help you to simplify your search especially when you use online tools to find suitable rental properties.

Some criteria that you should consider applying to your search for rental properties include:

  • Bedrooms – The single-family home, condo or duplex should have at least 3 bedrooms.
  • Bathrooms – 2 bathrooms are recommended.
  • Square Feet – Home should have no less than 1,200 square feet.
  • Age – The property shouldn’t be older than 60 years old since renovation or demo may be required due to removing things like radon and asbestos from the home
  • Rent – Property should rent for a minimum of $1,200 per month 
  • Garage – 1-car garage is preferred

Save Time and Money with Experienced Property Management

Once you find the right rental property don’t attempt to manage it yourself, save the time, money and hassle of managing rental properties by hiring our experienced and professional property management team.

Contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.  

 

 

Rental Property

Thinking Of Buying Rental Property? Here Are Five Things You Should Know

Planning on investing in rental properties? If so, before investing in your first rental there are a variety of things you should consider which include the following:

First, on the tax front, not only are all your cash expenses – including broker fees and management fees – deductible for your federal taxes, so is the depreciation of your property. Calculated over 27.5 years on a straight-line basis, depreciation protects the first 3.6% of your annual return from taxes. With returns around 5 or 6 percent right now (2017), that’s a big deal. Calculation below.

Second, leverage. If you can borrow money at a lower interest rate than the return you otherwise get from the property, the return on the portion you provide is higher. Calculation below.

Third, what about rents? Do they swing like home prices? How much can you raise them? And what’s the right rent to be charging in the first place? Each property is different and so is each location, so it depends. You should go online and see what other landlords are asking for a similar property in the area. You can ask local brokers, but take their answer with a grain of salt – they’d rather get the commission at any rent rather than have you hold out for a higher one.

 You can and should raise your rent every year. Inflation eats into your real revenue if you don’t keep pace. Rents don’t swing like home prices can; they rarely go down and usually rise a bit faster than inflation. If the neighborhood around your property changes, you can see rents rise even faster – and sometimes fall. This is one of the opportunities you have and one of the risks you take.

Get Professional Property Management Here

For professional property management contact Vestpro Residential Services by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

What should you be looking for in a rental property?

Are you planning on investing in rental properties for the first time but you don’t what to look for in a rental property? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article we will break down what you should look at before investing in a rental property.

 

  • Neighborhood: The quality of the neighborhood in which you buy will influence both the types of tenants you attract and how often you face vacancies. For example, if you buy in a neighborhood near a university, the chances are that your pool of potential tenants will be mainly made up of students and that you will face vacancies on a fairly regular basis (during summer, when students tend to return back home).

  • Property Taxes: Property taxes are not standard across the board and, as an investor planning to make money from rent, you want to be aware of how much you will be losing to taxes. High property taxes may not always be a bad thing if the neighborhood is an excellent place for long-term tenants, but the two do not necessarily go hand in hand. The town’s assessment office will have all the tax information on file or you can talk to homeowners within the community.

  • Schools: Your tenants may have or be planning to have children, so they will need a place near a decent school. When you have found a good property near a school, you will want to check the quality of the school as this can affect the value of your investment. If the school has a poor reputation, prices will reflect your property’s value poorly. Although you will be mostly concerned about the monthly cash flow, the overall value of your rental property comes in to play when you eventually sell it.

  • Crime: No one wants to live next door to a hot spot for criminal activity. Go to the police or the public library for accurate crime statistics for various neighborhoods, rather than asking the homeowner who is hoping to sell the house to you. Items to look for are vandalism rates, serious crimes, petty crimes and recent activity (growth or slow down). You might also want to ask about the frequency of police presence in your neighborhood.

  • Job Market: Locations with growing employment opportunities tend to attract more people – meaning more tenants. To find out how a particular area rates, go directly to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or to your local library. If you notice an announcement for a new major company moving to the area, you can rest assured that workers will flock to the area. However, this may cause house prices to react (either negatively or positively) depending on the corporation moving in. The fallback point here is that if you would like the new corporation in your backyard, your renters probably will too.

  • Amenities: Check the potential neighborhood for current or projected parks, malls, gyms, movie theaters, public transport hubs and all the other perks that attract renters. Cities, and sometimes even particular areas of a city, have loads of promotional literature that will give you an idea of where the best blend of public amenities and private property can be found.

  • Building Permits and Future Development: The municipal planning department will have information on all the new development that is coming or has been zoned into the area. If there are many new condos, business parks or malls going up in your area, it is probably a good growth area. However, watch out for new developments that could hurt the price of surrounding properties by, for example, causing the loss of an activity-friendly green space. The additional condos and/or new housing could also provide competition for your renters, so be aware of that possibility.

  • Number of Listings and Vacancies: If there is an unusually high number of listings for one particular neighborhood, this can either signal a seasonal cycle or a neighborhood that has “gone bad.” Make sure you figure out which it is before you buy in. You should also determine whether you can cover for any seasonal fluctuations in vacancies. Similar to listings, the vacancy rates will give you an idea of how successful you will be at attracting tenants. High vacancy rates force landlords to lower rents in order to snap up tenants. Low vacancy rates allow landlords to raise rental rates.

  • Rents: Rental income will be the bread and butter of your rental property, so you need to know what the average rent in the area is. If charging the average rent is not going to be enough to cover your mortgage payment, taxes and other expenses, then you have to keep looking. Be sure to research the area well enough to gauge where the area will be headed in the next five years. If you can afford the area now, but major improvements are in store and property taxes are expected to increase, then what could be affordable now may mean bankruptcy later.

  • Natural Disasters: Insurance is another expense that you will have to subtract from your returns, so it is good to know just how much you will need to carry. If an area is prone to earthquakes or flooding, paying for the extra insurance can eat away at your rental income.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management contact Vestpro Residential by calling Vestpro Residential Services at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online. 

 

 

 

Tips for making your rental energy efficient

One of the keys to success with owning rental properties in 2017 is offering a rental property that’s also energy efficient because, these types of rentals will be more attractive to millennials and other renters who want rental properties that won’t come with expensive energy costs each month.

In this article we’re going to provide you with easy tips you can use to create an energy efficient rental property.

How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient: Tip #1

Reduce Drafts

One of the easiest ways to make your property more energy-efficient is to reduce the amount of air that comes in or out of the home unintentionally. Drafts force tenants to turn up the heat; and at the end of the month, they’re the ones who pay for it.

Reduce drafts and energy bills with the following fixes:

  • Exterior doors: There are a number of ways to stop drafts from sneaking under the bottom of the door. We recommend sealing doorways with inexpensive solutions like draft stoppers, foam tape, or door sweeps.
  • Windows: Old windows are especially prone to letting drafts in. If you’re not ready to replace them just yet, check out this weather stripping tutorial for an affordable solution.
  • Fireplace door: If your unit has fireplaces, whether or not they’re actively used, fireplace doors block drafts from entering your home. Sam Wilhoit of Brick-Anew explains, “[Fireplace doors] were originally designed so that a person could let the fire die down and then close the doors before they went to bed. That way the room would not be freezing cold the next morning from the cold air that came into the room.”Choose clear or tinted glass to accent your space.

For both doors and windows, your best bet could be to replace them, as we suggested in last week’s post on energy-efficient updates. This reduces drafts while also boosting the property’s security and aesthetics. You can also mention that your unit has brand new doors and windows in your rental listings.

How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient: Tip #2

Install Energy-Efficient Bulbs

Lighting is an important area to focus your attention because “an average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy budget to lighting,” according to Energy.gov. As a result, they explain, “Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills.”

Start by replacing bulbs in the 5 most frequently used light fixtures in your home. In doing so, Energy.gov says, you could save $75 each year. Consider which rooms are used most–likely the bathroom, kitchen, and living room are at the top of the list–so you can make the most of this investment. In addition to indoor lamps, consider replacing bulbs in outdoor lighting that might be left on for a long time.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are two of the most popular options, with LEDs using just 20-25% of the energy used by traditional incandescent lightbulbs. “For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR,” suggests Energy.gov. New bulbs will last longer and improve energy efficiency–a win-win.

How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient: Tip #3

Choose One Big Upgrade

Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances is expensive. It’s a hard investment to justify as a landlord who’s worried about how potential renters will treat these valuable items. Instead of investing in all new appliances at once, start with one big upgrade. Which one should you start with? According to Direct Energy, these 4 appliances pack the biggest savings punch:

  • Washer: $40/year and $415/lifespan
  • Air purifier: $27/year and $215/lifespan
  • Clothes dryer: $16/year and $160/lifespan
  • Air conditioners: $11/year and $99/lifespan

If you don’t have the extra cash to replace old appliances just yet, focus on downgrading wherever possible. “Make an effort to buy appliances that suit your needs–no bigger and no smaller. Oversized air conditioners, water heaters and refrigerators waste both energy and money,” explains Mary Boone on Zillow.

When all is said and done, don’t forget to update rental listings to feature any upgrades you’ve made. Use buzzwords like “eco-friendly,” “environmentally friendly,” “green,” “sustainable,” and “energy savings” to pique the interest of tenants that care most about these features–and highlight the money it’ll save.

Get Property Management Here

For professional property management for your rental properties contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

Rental Property Maintenance – Why It Really Matters

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Maintenance is one of the biggest things that most owners don’t budget for over the course of one year and sadly many people find themselves scrambling for money when their tenant calls to tell them that the water heater has gone out.

One maintenance call after another: when does it end? When you’re a property manager, maintenance costs can eat up a significant portion of your budget. However, you don’t need to get to a crisis point. If you’re wondering how to reduce your maintenance and repair costs, being proactive rather than reactive can yield the savings you need.

Avoid Extra Fees: Get There Before the Crisis Hits

We’ve all been there: the water heater cracks or the furnace quits in the middle of a winter’s night. These emergency repairs can be expensive. While these types of situations happen, being proactive with your repair and maintenance schedule can help you get there before the crisis hits and avoid huge emergency call-out fees. If larger troubles do arise, keep your warranties handy. Net Integrity recommends spending the extra money on warranties when purchasing large appliances, such as refrigerators or water heaters. The cost of expensive repairs or replacements will far outweigh the small expense you’ll pay upfront.

Ongoing Care Can Reduce Rental Property Maintenance Costs

Regular property maintenance includes everything from annual checkups for ACs and furnaces, assessing decks, railings and steps for repairs, and inspecting roofs for loose shingles. All of these services and more are items that you probably outsource, and all of them are activities that each of your properties will need one or more times a year. Being consistent about your rental property maintenance not only keeps you from being surprised by larger fees, it also allows you to set up a consistent fee schedule with your vendors. Standardizing your costs for specific repair and maintenance activities helps you manage your budget.

Source – Property Ware

Get Houston Property Management Here

For professional Houston Texas Property Management contact RPM Central Valley today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us online.

 

3 Reasons to Consider Passive Houston Texas Real Estate Investing

So you’re thinking about getting involved in Houston Texas Real Estate Investing but will your Real Estate investment be a passive investment?

In this post we will share with you 3 tips you can use to insure that your Houston Texas Real Estate investment will be 100% passive so you can continue working in your current job while your rental property makes money for you, even while you sleep.

Passive Tip #1 – Purhase a Property with Existing Tenants

Instead of buying rental property that’s vacant or needs repairs you should search for rental properties with existing tenants because the cash flow for those properties is already established and your money can start working for you 24-7.

If you are short on funds to purcahse a propert consider crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is opening up investing to anyone with a little extra cash these days as regulations change and entrepreneurs take advantage of the expanding marketplace.

Source – abc15.com

Passive Tip #2 – Hire a The Right Property Management Company 

One of the big mistakes most investors make when they are just getting started with buying rental property is thinking they can do everything themselves.

Don’t make this mistake! Hire a property management company in Houston Texas immediately when you buy your first rental property because this will save you the time, money and hassle of having to manage your property yourself and you will have more time to actually grow your portfolio.

As an investor and entrepreneur, you should always be on the lookout for ways outside the obvious to improve your return. When using personal funds to invest, the best way to do it is through a self-directed IRA. A self-directed IRA is the same as the usual IRA, however, it allows alternative investments for your retirement savings. By investing through an IRA, you can avoid using your taxed income. Most banks have this option, so it’s best to speak with a financial advisor before diving in head first with this kind of investment — and remember to leave yourself with something for retirement.

Source – entrepreneur.com 

Passive Tip #3 – Use The Tax Advantages Uncle Sam Offers You

Last of all, but most important, as you are buying Houston Texas Real Estate you should keep in mind that there’s a lot that Uncle Sam can do for you especially if you have an investment that’s equity structured because will be able to keep most of your income and have cash returns which are tax deferred.

As a rental property owner, you are able to deduct nearly all the expenses you’ll pay to manage your property. Everything from the mortgage interest you pay on the loan all the way down to the paper you buy for your printer (if you are using that printer primarily for real estate investing purposes, that is).

Source – Biggerpockets.com 

Get Houston Texas Property Management

To get Houston Texas property management contact Vestpro Residential Services, LLC today by clicking here to connect with us online or calling us at (832) 498-0016.

 

4 Tips for Successful Houston Texas Real Estate Investing

Are you thinking about getting started with investing in Houston Texas Real Estate?

Now is the right time to start investing in rental properties thanks to high demand for rentals and low mortgage interest rates nationwide.

Everyone from Robert Kiyosaki to Warren Buffet are advocates for Real Estate investing thanks to the steady cash flow you receive from your rental properties each month and the wide variety of other benefits which come from owning rentals like tax deductions and equity.

To get you started with Real Estate investing right here are our 4 tips for successful Houston Texas Real Estate investing.

Tip #1 – Continue Your Houston Texas Real Estate Education

This tip is vital to follow because once you stop learning about Real Estate investing you won’t continue to see the same success that you’re enjoying when you’re learning about Real Estate investing.

Establish a set daily time for studying and following what other Real Estate investors are doing so you can stay ahead of other investors and even find great deals no matter what shape the economy is in.

Tip #2 – Establish Goals For Acquiring Houston Texas Real Estate

Once you get started in Houston Texas Real Estate investing don’t get satisfied with just one property, set clear goals for yourself on how many properties you want to buy so your net worth will grow every year.

For example: one of your goals could be to save $20,000 and use that profit from your rental property to use as a down payment on one new Houston Texas Rental each year.

Tip #3 – Don’t Start Speculating

Although the market may be up, or down, NEVER speculate on where you think it’s going to go or speculate on what your short term gain will be if you purchase a new rental property in Houston Texas now.

Always use wisdom backed up by hard data when you’re investing because these are the two things which will ultimately contribute to your long term success as an investor.

Tip #4 – Make Cash Flow Your Primary Goal

When investing in a Houston Texas Rental property your primary question should be “what is the cash flow I will get from this property” because cash flow is king and also the key to your success if you’re trying to build cash flow for your retirement.

Get Houston Texas Property Management

For more information on how to get started with Houston Texas Real Estate Investing, or to get a property management quote, contact Vestpro Residential Services today by calling us at (832) 498-0016.

Rental Market News – Rents Show No Sign of Letting Up

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By Vestpro Residential Services, LLC

HOUSTON – Thanks to the recent rental market news from the U.S. Labor Department we know that rents continued to increase by 3.5% year-over-year in the month of May 2015.

Rent is without a doubt one of the biggest costs consumers nationwide have to pay while food prices have also risen by 1.6 percent as well during the same period of time but one interesting thing to report is that clothing costs have decreased by 1.5 percent.

What Does This Mean To You?

One of the good things about the current economy is that after the recent havoc the economy has seen in the China and United States most economists and investors are predicting we’re not going to see an increase in mortgage interest rates this year and what’s shocking is that we could even see them lowered to 0 percent.

These factors mean that NOW is a great time for you to buy a rental property in Houston or elsewhere across the United States if you’ve been thinking about adding property to your portfolio.

How to Get Started With Buying Rental Property

To get started with buying rental property in Houston Texas or elsewhere across the United States make sure you do the following:

  1. Know what type of rental property you are searching for (example – 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms or 1,200 square feet). This step is important because knowing your ideal rental property will keep you from buying a more expensive rental because it has better features.
  2. Establish your budget and know the costs – This step is vital because it’s easy to go over budget when buying rental property and you will quickly realize that you can’t charge enough rent to cover your costs.

Learn More

To learn more rental market news, or to speak with us about our property management services contact us today by calling (832) 498-0016 or click here to contact us online.

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Should You Allow Smoking In Your Houston Texas Rental Properties?

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By VestPro Residential Services, LLC

You’ve worked hard to build your Portfolio of Houston Texas Rental Properties over the years but one of the biggest problems you could be facing in your rentals is smoking from tenants.

Why Smoking Will Be Bad For Your Rental Property

Although smoking is frowned on by the medical establishment, and the media, the reality is that smoking is still a problem, especially if tenants are smoking in your Houston Texas Rental Properties.

Smoking causes the following damage in a home:

Ventilation System – Since cigarette smoke also has moisture, cigarette smoke bonds itself to the air ducts and ventilation system in any home or space where someone is smoking.

Walls – Thanks to the tar and nicotine in cigarettes, smoke from cigarettes will also bond itself into flooring, walls and the furniture of your home.

Electronics – Cigarette smoke can also ruin electronic components over time, especially the systems which you may use to monitor the temperature or secure your home.

Habitability – Cigarette smokers will also affect the habitability of your rental properties, especially if you own multi-family units because, renters who don’t smoke cigarettes almost always do not want to live near other smokers.

Time for a No Smoking Policy

One of the best ways to insure that your Houston Texas Rental Properties stay smoke free is to create a no smoking policy for your properties.

Since the City of Houston already has a no smoking ordinance in place it pays to create a no smoking policy in place to protect the long term habitability of your rental properties.

Rent Your Houston Texas Rental Properties

For more information on how to efficiently manage your Houston Texas Rental Properties contact Vestpro Residential Services, LLC today by calling us at (832) 498-0016 or click here to connect with us through our website.