All Posts By

Neda Navidnia

6 Ways Houston Property Management Saves You Time and Money

By | Property Management | No Comments

Today we’re sharing six ways that using a professional property manager in Houston can save you both time and money.

Finding Tenants Fast

Professional property management will ensure you get your property rented out quickly. Property managers have access to a number of online resources, including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). We also use sites such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com, Postlets.com, GreenSheets.com and a number of other websites. We also utilize local advertising resources such as newspaper and magazine listings. The goal is to get the maximum exposure for your property. Professional photos and videos as well as detailed descriptions also ensure that the marketing is successful. We help tenants imagine living in your home.

Tenant Management

Your property manager can also help you avoid bad tenants and if necessary, get rid of those bad tenants. Property management companies like ours have excellent screening procedures, so we are willing to guarantee the tenants we place. If an eviction ever becomes necessary, that guarantee ensures we evict bad tenants and replace them with good tenants at no cost to you. If you need help getting rid of a bad tenant, we know how to do that legally and efficiently.

Regular Inspections

In an effort to minimize damages, property managers will conduct inspections of the property. This helps you identify and rectify problems early, before they become too expensive. It also allows us to note lease violations such as overgrown weeds, which might involve a citation and a fee from the city.

More Free Time

It’s hard to put an exact value on your time. When you have a property manager taking care of your rental home, you don’t have to worry about driving by to make sure everything’s okay. You’ll receive statements, videos and reports every time a tenant moves out. Our videos are so detailed that you can see the inside of your oven when we’re conducting move out inspections. Instead of dealing with the details involved in day to day management, you can spend time on your family, your own career or on finding other investment properties.

Legal Problems

A professional property manager in Houston will keep you out of legal trouble. Lawsuits can be very expensive and if you’re able to avoid just one lawsuit or one eviction, the entire cost of property management is worth it to you and your investment portfolio.

6 Ways Houston Property Management Saves You Time and MoneyAccess to Tools and Resources

Your property management team can utilize online software so tenants can pay rent online with a checking account, debit card or check card. It’s fast, easy and efficient, and there are no excuses for rent not arriving on time.

If you’d like to hear more about how professional property managers can help you save time and money, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to talk with you.

5 Best Practices to Increase Cash Flow in Your Houston Rental

By | Property Management | No Comments

Today, we are talking about five specific things you can do to increase the cash flow in your rental property. It’s important to educate yourself about the market so your investment property can bring you the maximum amount of rental income.

Flat Rate Fees

There are a number of professional property management companies to work with, but finding one that offers a flat rate management fee can save you a lot of money. Modern and innovative companies are embracing this type of fee structure and it’s better for you than the old method of paying a management company a percentage of your rent.

Efficient Software

You also need to make sure your property management company offers excellent software. This has an impact on your cash flow by providing tenants with a fast and efficient way to pay rent on time every month. Tenants should be able to pay 24 hours a day with a credit card or a bank account. When you know how to fully utilize technology, your rental properties will be more efficient and you’ll bring in more rent. It will also help tenants avoid late fees, so everyone benefits.

Vendor Relationships

Developing relationships with vendors and maintenance contractors will also help you earn more rental income. Property managers already have these relationships in place and they receive discounts on the services provided by vendors. This saves a lot of money on routine and emergency maintenance and repair issues. Good vendors will also help you make timely repairs so small issues do not become big, expensive problems.

Tax Help

While most investors are required to pay taxes on their rental income, you can offset that by deducting the expenses associated with your rental property, including the management fee. Talk to a tax expert who can help you save money on your rental income.

5 Best Practices to Increase Cash Flow in Your Houston RentalLow Vacancy

Vacancy is one of the most expensive problems that property owners face. Make sure your home is getting rented quickly to a high quality tenant.

If you have any questions about how to increase your rental income, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to help you.

Maintenance Tips and Tricks to Protect the Value of Your Houston Investment Property

By | Property Management | No Comments

Today we are talking about maintenance and how it protects the value of your investment property. Things begin to break and wear out on any property and before too long, you need to perform maintenance and make repairs and replacements. Maintenance requests from tenants can be frustrating, but these tips will help you cope with repair work a little better.

Be Proactive

You never want to wait on repairs and allow the maintenance needs to pile up. Eat the frog early, while it’s small so you don’t have to deal with swallowing a huge one. Many landlords don’t want to spend the time or the money on minor repairs, or perhaps they don’t have the knowledge to take care of the problem. Having access to a professional property manager or a skilled handyman will help you diagnose and solve problems.

Communicate with Tenants

It might seem like your tenants are breaking things because they’re not caring for them properly. But think about how often you have to make small repairs at your own home. There’s a lot of ongoing maintenance for everyone, and the work required on an investment property is not that much different from the work that’s required at your own home. Talk to tenants about maintenance and what you expect. You want them to have a reason to care about your property and if you encourage them to report any problems they see, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your property maintained in the long term. Thank them for reporting any concerns by leaving a note or sending an email.

Regular Inspections

When you inspect the interior and exterior of your property regularly, you’ll be able to notice anything that needs attention. Look for hidden leaks under sinks and other problems that might be lurking in areas such as attics. Be sure to have the water heater and the air conditioning units serviced once a year so you can take advantage of their maximum lifespan. Clean the gutters seasonally and inspect the roof at least once a year.

Pest Control

Maintenance Tips and Tricks to Protect the Value of Your Houston Investment PropertyBe vigilant with mosquitoes, ants and other pests. Mosquitoes will lay their eggs in areas where water is stagnant or slow moving. Don’t invite them to your property with trapped water around your house. Treat your property for ants and other bugs so there aren’t any problems with insects.

If you have any questions about how to perform maintenance and maintain the value of your rental property, contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to help you.

Making Sense of the Costs in Houston Property Management

By | Property Management | No Comments


Before hiring a professional property manager, many people want to know how much it’s going to cost. Today’s blog topic is about how you can make sense of the costs in Houston property management.

Fee Structures

Each property management company will have a different fee structure in place. In the past, management companies would take a percentage of the monthly rent that you earn from your rental property. The range would usually be somewhere between five percent and 12 percent, depending on the location of your property and the services provided by the management company. A more modern fee structure is the flat rate structure, where one flat fee is charged every month, regardless of the amount of rent your property earns. This is better for property owners because it allows your rental property to be more profitable for you.

Remember that the amount you pay is not nearly as important as what you receive in exchange for those fees.

Advertising

Your management fee includes the costs of advertising, plus taking photos and videos and listing your property online. A professional property manager has the resources and technology to put your listing on many websites, which saves you time and money. Property managers also help you find a qualified tenant. At Your Dream Real Estate, we guarantee each tenant we place for 12 months. If the tenant stops paying rent or violates the lease, we evict the tenant free of charge and find a new tenant without any cost to you.

Vacancies

Some property management companies will charge you a monthly management fee, even when your property is vacant. We don’t do that because we believe property managers should be motivated to find you great tenants fast, and there’s no benefit to letting a property remain unrented.

Inspections

Your property management fee will also pay for inspections. At Your Dream Real Estate, we inspect the inside and outside of the property 45 days after a tenant moves in and then we continue to inspect the property every three months. We provide our owners with a video that captures the property’s condition and we include a written report so you know your property is in good shape.

Legal Issues and Liability

Property managers are up to date with all the laws and regulations associated with rental properties. There are a number of steps, procedures and disclosures that are required at every point in renting property out to tenants. Your management fee will keep you out of court and away from liability.

Maintenance

Making Sense of the Costs in Houston Property ManagementRoutine and emergency maintenance issues are also covered in the cost of property management. Tenants will call for help in the middle of the night and over weekends, and your property manager needs to be available to handle those phone calls.

If you still have questions about the cost of property management, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to tell you more.

How to Get the Best Houston Tenant for Your Rental Property

By | Property Management | No Comments

Today’s topic at Your Dream Real Estate, is finding the best tenants for your rental property in Houston, and we’re going to share three things you should consider. First, you have to understand who your best tenant is. Our goal is to find someone who pays the rent on time, takes good care of your property and is easy to work with.

Property Condition

The best tenants are looking for the best properties. Make your property appealing to them. This can be achieved by making your property irresistible. Keeping your home well maintained and in good condition is essential. Everything should be in good working order. The tenant should be able to imagine living there right away. Don’t put the house on the market if you’re still making repairs and getting it ready. Everything should be clean and smell good. Don’t forget to take care of front yard. Mow the grass and keep the bushes trimmed.

Advertising

Your property has to be on all the relevant rental websites. You should also consider using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for the most visibility. You want to get a lot of attention, so you need detailed descriptions and professional photos. Consider creating an online video that takes the viewer from room to room so potential tenants can get a feeling for the place.

Screening

The most important step in finding good tenants is screening. Every step of your tenant screening process should be documented and you need to take it seriously and professionally. Good tenants have good credit and no criminal history. They should have a stable job and their income must be at least three times the amount of rent. Always ask for references from past How to Get the Best Houston Tenant for Your Rental Propertylandlords. When you talk to those references, ask about rent payments and whether they were received on time. You also want to ask previous landlords if the tenants left the property in good condition when they moved out.

When you’re looking for the best tenant for your rental property in Houston, make sure the property is ready for the market, it gets the maximum exposure online and that you screen tenant correctly.

If you have any questions about finding tenants, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to help you.

Top 10 Tips – Preparing Your Home For Fall

By | Property Management | No Comments

Top 10 Tips – Preparing Your Home For Fall

To 10

We wanted to provide a great list of fall maintenance tips for our renters.  Please look through the list below and let us know if there are any items that you need us to coordinate on your behalf with Neda our head property manager!

  1. Change the air filters in your home: If you have a central air conditioning system, change the air filter regularly. If you have a window air conditioning unit, remove from the window or place a waterproof cover over it to prevent damage during the winter. Change the filters in stove vents, clothes dryers and room fans if applicable.  (Clean air filters will keep your family healthier in the fall months!)
  2. Examine your gutters and downspouts for debris: Clear any leaves and dirt from gutters and examine downspouts for damage or loose pieces.  If the gutters on your home are too high to get to safely, submit a maintenance request so that we can have a company do the work on your behalf.
  3. Check your faucets for leaks: Before the temperatures start to drop, be sure to look at your faucets for any leaks.  If you find any problems, it would be better to get them fixed now versus dealing with a burst pipe in the middle of winter.
  4. Remove leaves from the grass and flower beds: It is very important to remove leaves from the grass and flower beds as they begin to fall, before the cold come.  If you don’t pick up the leaves, there is a good chance they’ll kill the grass and landscaping which is expensive to repair.
  5. Disconnect water hoses from exterior faucets: If you leave the hoses connected to your water faucets, you run the risk of the freezing which can break the supply line.  The simple fix is to simply disconnect the hoses.  We recommend that you store the hoses in your garage to help them last longer!
  6. Prepare your fireplace: If you have a working, wood burning fireplace, make sure the damper is open to allow air to freely move through the chimney.  Check the damper handle and springs to ensure the flue is operating correctly.
  7. Have your lawn and garden power tools serviced: Once your grass begins to go dormant, take your lawnmower, trimmer, and other power tools to get their engines serviced, blades sharpened and fluids topped off.  People are surprised when they take their equipment in and are told that it will take weeks to get them back.  This happens because everyone else is doing the same thing.  Get in early to avoid the delay and your tools will be ready to go!
  8. Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture: Store cushions in a dry area to prevent cracking, and fading over the fall and winter months. Once spring arrives, you will be pleased that you stored them and they’re ready for use!
  9. Examine the grounds of your property: Check walkways for cracks and loose paving material. Report any major problems with your walkway and entryway areas before slippery weather can cause someone to have an accident.
  10. Check windows and doors for drafts: The conditioned air in your home is lost through leaky windows and doors.  Go through your home and make sure the seal and caulking around the window frame is in good condition. Think of adding heavier drapery around windows that are extra drafty, to help block air loss.  This will make a difference in your heating and air conditioning bills!

 

Your Dream Real Estate

Why Work With Your Dream Real Estate to Manage Your Houston Investment

By | Property Management | No Comments


Today we are sharing some of the reasons you might want to work with Your Dream Real Estate when you have a rental property in Houston. We are a family owned and operated company local to the area and we specialize in caring for residential properties. One of the reasons we do so well as property managers is that we own rental properties of our own. We know what it’s like to handle all the details that come with investment property.

Business Model

Our investment and management experience has resulted in a business model that works well for any type of property owner. It doesn’t matter if you own one rental property or 50. Our system is the result of the work we’ve been doing and the procedures we’ve been perfecting over our many years of property management. Everything we do is for the benefit and protection of you, the property owner, and our systems will ensure your investment is successful. Whether your priority is peace of mind, investment growth or current cash flow from rental income, we can take the frustration of managing a property away from you and provide the tools and resources that come with a full time brokerage and property management company.

Maintenance

With our own properties, we do a lot of rehab work. This gives us experience and knowledge when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Our team will take care of any minor repairs at your property and if a more specialized skill is needed, we work with the best contractors and vendors in the business, all of whom are licensed and insured.

Fees and Services

At Your Dream Real Estate, our fees are fixed so you won’t have any surprises when your rent payments are made. You’ll receive a statement of understanding before we begin working together. There will not be any hidden fees or surprise charges that leave you wondering what exactly you’re paying for.

Marketing and Screening

Our marketing strategies and tenant screening practices are outstanding. In addition to widely advertising your property, we screen thoroughly to ensure only the best tenants are placed in your home. We back this up by providing a one-year guarantee for each tenant we place.

State of the Art Technology

Why Work With Your Dream Real Estate to Manage Your Houston InvestmentWe use the best property management software available, which provides a number of online features for our tenants and owners. Tenants can pay rent online and submit maintenance requests. Owners can review statements and see what’s happening at the property no matter where in the world you’re located.

At Your Dream Real Estate, we believe in and practice the abundance theory, which means we grow when you grow. When you’re successful, we’re successful. If you have any questions or you’d like to hear more about the property management services we can provide, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate.

What You Need to Know About Home Inspections

By | Property Management | No Comments

What You Need to Know About Home Inspections

house_inspected

Whether you’re buying your next home or another investment property, the inspection process is the single most important stage between an accepted offer and the closing. However, it’s not always straightforward. Depending on the home and how comfortable you feel, you may choose to have certain elements professionally inspected while analyzing others on your own.

The Dangers of Ignoring Home Inspections

While buying a home may be exciting, it’s also a very serious process. Even for professional landlords with handfuls of properties, a mistake with one house can completely damage an entire portfolio. That’s why it’s so important to get home inspections.

According to professional home inspectors, some defects are more common than others. Dave Swartz claims faulty wiring is the number one defect, with roof problems, HVAC issues, plumbing problems, and poor insulation in the attic following closely behind. Rick Yerger and Austin Chase, also reputable home inspectors, both claim they encounter foundational moisture, drainage, and water damage more than anything else.

However, the list doesn’t stop there. There are plenty of other common defects (especially in older homes), including window and door leaks, minor structural damage, termite damage, wood rot, stucco issues, undesirable grading slopes, and presence of unwanted chemicals or dangerous substances.

Important Home Inspections

The undetected presence of even one of these issues can be costly. That’s why it’s so critical to have the following home inspections done prior to closing:

• General home inspection. The first thing to get done is the general home inspection. This will be your most expensive (somewhere between $300 and $500) and comprehensive inspection. This inspector will look at things like electrical wiring, roofing, plumbing, insulation, structural integrity, and more. He or she will produce a written report that discusses any issues and necessary repairs.

• Termite inspection. If the previous owner already has a termite bond in place, you may simply be able to transfer it to your name. However, if there is no existing termite bond (or if the home inspector finds any evidence of termite damage), you should invest in a new inspection. Termite inspectors will search for signs of structural damage and identify any possible issues. A good termite inspection usually costs around $100.

• Water inspection. For homes that are supplied by a well system, a water inspection is critical. This report will tell you about the makeup of the drinking water and identify metals like cadmium, lead, and arsenic. Furthermore, homes with septic tanks need testing.

• Radon inspection. The EPA recommends every home be tested for radon prior to purchase. This dangerous chemical is directly linked to cancer and causes thousands of deaths per year. Testing is the only way to detect the presence of radon and it should only cost between $75 and $200. That’s a low price for peace of mind and health.

• HVAC. Many people overlook an HVAC inspection (assuming the general home inspector can identify all issues), but this can be a costly error. While a general home inspector will briefly examine HVAC units, it’s not always as thorough as you may like. A good HVAC professional will look at the furnace and heat exchanger, identify pre-existing conditions, ensure all systems are working, verify thermostat settings, and more.

While these are five of the most important inspections, there are others you may want to invest in depending on the age, location, price point, or findings in the general home inspection report. It may be wise to have older chimneys inspected, square footage verified, soil tested, large trees examined, and more. However, do note that you can spend thousands of dollars on inspections. In most cases, the five inspections above should be adequate – but do follow the direction of your general inspector if he or she sees any red flags.

Common Home Inspection Mistakes

As you can see, the home inspection process isn’t something to be taken lightly. Missing something here can be extremely costly (or even damaging to your health and safety). Be aware of these two common home inspection mistakes so you don’t fall victim to the same errors:

• Selecting based on price. You should never choose a home inspector based on the company that offers the cheapest price. To some extent, the price will be correlated with thoroughness and quality. Your home inspection is something worth paying for, so don’t give it to the person with the least experience or lowest qualifications. Your real estate agent or attorney should be able to give you multiple referrals and you can then interview each for information regarding licensing, insurance, and affiliations.

• Not being present. It’s certainly not mandatory, but it is ideal to be present for the actual inspection. This gives context to the report and allows you to really understand where the problem areas are, how serious they are, and what you should do about them. Without being there, you’re likely to over or underemphasize issues. “I did one inspection where the buyer didn’t come along, and he ended up getting worked up about first-floor plugs that weren’t grounded and completely ignored that the water tank was drafting carbon monoxide,” says Aaron Flook, owner of a Pittsburgh-based inspection company.

Quick DIY Checklist

Before placing an offer or calling a home inspector, you can always perform a firsthand inspection to identify any obvious issues. Here’s a simple checklist of tasks you can perform yourself (so that you can ask the inspector about them):

• Run multiple faucets at the same time and check to make sure water drains properly.

• While running the kitchen faucet, go ahead and taste the water to see if the pipes give it any extra, unwanted flavor.

• Open the electrical panel and make sure everything is clearly labeled (and that there aren’t any signs of damage).

• Pull the carpet back at the corners to see if there’s any presence of mildew, mold, or moisture.

• Open the windows to make sure they aren’t stuck or cracked.

• Light the fireplace to make sure it’s in working condition (and that the chimney is clear).

Contact Your Dream Real Estate Today

At Your Dream Real Estate, we understand how big of an investment a home is. Whether it’s for your own personal enjoyment or intended to be an income-producing property, you want to make sure everything checks out. For additional information on anything related to real estate – and specifically property management – please contact us today!

Your Dream Real Estate

Everything you need to know about Landlord Insurance

By | Property Management | No Comments

Everything you need to know about Landlord Insurance

Landlord sinsurance

Though most landlords will tell you their job is rewarding, they’ll also tell you it’s not without great personal risk, and that landlord insurance is one of the best investments you can make. A simple policy can mean the difference between seeing a profit and shelling out thousands a month for legal and property damages. For just a few hundred dollars a year, you can ensure that you are protected from property damages, maintenance issues, contract disputes, and even rental defaults from tenants.

Landlord insurance ensures that you’re covered when disaster strikes, and it’s something you don’t want to be without. Imagine if the Texas rains become so much in the Houston area that your rental property is washed away. Sure you’ll have home owner’s insurance, but it’s also important to make sure that you, your assets, and your finances are insured in the event of a lawsuit or any other unforeseeable damages.

When you’re choosing the right insurance for your rental property, tread carefully. It’s easy to get caught up in an insurance policy that doesn’t fit your specific needs. If you’re new to the landlord insurance game, use this guide to get you started on finding the perfect policy for you.

Consider Your Coverage Options

Begin by researching your coverage options. Like most things in life, landlord insurance is a little more complicated than it appears on the surface. It’s a multi-faceted entity, and finding the right policy for you will mean exploring each of your options and comparing them to your needs. Here are some of the coverage options available to landlords.

Most Important Options

These coverage options are worth serious consideration for landlord insurance.

• Property: This will cover you for any damage to your property, ranging from natural damage (earthquake, storms, fire, lightening, etc.) to vandalism. It’s important to note that flood insurance is a separate policy. Ask your insurance what they recommend based on your property’s location.

• Landlord Contents: If you’re renting out a partially or fully furnished unit, don’t skip the contents coverage. This covers you in the event of damage to anything from appliances and chairs to carpet and paint. It’s worth the extra investment, particularly if the property is furnished with high-end items.

• Loss of Rent: It’s impossible to control every aspect of your property, and if your tenants find a mold infestation and have to move out, you’ll lose out on payments unless you have loss of rent coverage. This ensures that you’ll receive a rent payment if the property is deemed uninhabitable, so long as you’re working to get it back up to an inhabitable level.

• Liability: No one is safe from lawsuits these days, particularly landlords. Liability insurance covers you from legal issues associated with your property. In other words, your tenants can’t sue you if they fall and break their leg while on your property.

Other Options

These coverage options can be quite useful, but they aren’t as common or as necessary as some others. Still, depending on the neighborhood of your rental home and the kinds of tenants you typically deal with, these options could come in handy.

• Rent Guarantee: This insurance deals particularly with tenants that default on the rent, which means that they are always late or miss payments. If you are renting to low-income individuals, this rent guarantee plan could be very useful.

• Unoccupied Rental: Unfortunately, it might be very difficult to keep your rental unit filled at all times. Though this policy won’t pay the rent for you, your insurance will still cover the property in case of damages, even if the property has been vacant for more than 30 days.

• Landlord Emergency: For older rental homes, landlord emergency insurance is always a good option to consider. It will cover the cost of emergency repairs, such as gas leaks, plumbing issues, lockouts, and more.

• Guaranteed Replacement: If something happens to your property that would require a rebuild or complete renovation, the guaranteed replacement policy will take care of all associated costs.

Take stock of your specific needs and then decide which policies apply best to your situation. Ask a trusted insurance advisor for suggestions if you aren’t entirely sure which policies you’ll need.

Screen Insurance Agents

Insurance can be a tricky game. It would be nice to say that insurance companies always attend to your claims without dispute in a timely manner, but that’s just not true. You want to do everything you can to ensure that you’re hiring an agent or company who will treat you, your property, and your tenants professionally.

The best way to avoid getting mixed in with a sneaky or stubborn insurance company is to screen prospective agents well. Make sure that you are asking the right questions and you feel satisfied with their answers. Look for an insurance agent that treats you like a human being and is concerned with getting you the best deal and the best coverage. For more ideas on screening insurance agents, see this blog post.

Look for Insurance Packages

Often times, insurance comes in packages in the rental world, and you can save a fair amount of money on a policy if you bundle different types of insurance together. For example, many insurance companies will offer you a discount if you bundle your landlord insurance and homeowner insurance for multiple properties in the same policy. These kinds of incentives are the best way to cut costs on this necessary measure.

Utilize Your Dream Real Estate

Insurance isn’t easy to navigate, especially if you’re new to the landlord business. However, it’s extremely important to find the right policy to protect yourself from the unknowns that come with renting out a property, and Your Dream Real Estate can help.

We are a team of experts devoted to helping you get answers to any questions you have regarding every aspect of your rental property. We want your property to succeed, and we have many of the tools that can help make that happen. For any questions about how we can help you protect your income property from physical and legal damage, contact us today!

Your Dream Real Estate

How to Handle Late Rent Excuses from Tenants

By | Property Management | No Comments

How to Handle Late Rent Excuses from Tenants

late payment

 

As a landlord, you’ll quickly be forced out of your comfort zone. For individuals who strive to avoid confrontation or offending others, it can be easy to become a pushover landlord. Unfortunately, you won’t last long with this kind of reputation. You need to tackle late rent issues head-on to avoid any future catastrophes. Do you know how to effectively handle the plethora of excuses tenants will throw at you?

Common Tenant Excuses for Late Rent

If you’re an experienced landlord, you probably think you’ve heard all the excuses in the book. However, you’ll keep hearing new ones as long as you’re in the business. For new landlords, you need to be prepared for the apologies and excuses you’ll hear. Here are some of the most common:

• “I mailed it a few days ago –the post office must have lost it.”
This is by far the most common excuse. Everyone likes to blame the post office, because it’s nearly impossible for the landlord to trace the lie.

• “It’s been a tough month. I had to buy groceries for my kids.”
This is an example of a sympathy excuse, and almost always comes at the expense of children. After all, who’s going to demand a rent payment over a needy child?

• “Work has been slow. I’ll have it next month.”
For self-employed tenants, it’s quite common – true or not – to blame late payments on a lack of business. This excuse is often used over and over for an extended period of time.

• “I’ve been sick and medical bills have wiped me out.”
Much like excuses related to children, tenants know that landlords will be forced to feel sympathy if they’ve been sick.

There are literally thousands of other excuses, but they all come down to a single problem, that you don’t have your rent payment in hand. While it can be easy to feel bad for tenants after hearing their excuses, you must accept the truth; it’s either you or them. Without rent payments, it’s entirely possible that you’ll be the one in a bad financial situation –not the other way around.

Starting with the Basics

We have already talked at length about how to screen the proper tenants and find long-term renters, but it’s worth repeating. While you can’t avoid all future problems, you can certainly reduce your risk by finding reliable tenants from the start.

Instead of taking on tenants at random and dealing with the consequences later, you must implement a calculated approach. Use a rental application, run credit and background checks, contact references, and above all else –get comfortable. Interview potential tenants and find out what they’re really like.

Tips for Handling Late Rent Excuses

Even after discovering all of the details and conducting a personal interview, you can’t always find perfect tenants. It’s in these situations that you need to have a plan in place to handle late rent excuses.

• Be strict from the start.
One late payment isn’t usually a big deal for a landlord. What is a big deal, however, is when it becomes a habit. While you may like to give your tenant the benefit of the doubt the first time they miss a rent payment, do so cautiously. Many tenants are skilled at handling landlords and look for weakness or compassion. Bad habits are hard to break and a tenant with financial issues will always look for a pushover landlord. Be strict from the start and you’ll show your tenants you’re serious about rent collection.

• Encourage communication.
Tenants that understand their landlord as a person, rather than someone they send money, are more likely to pay their rent on time. Encourage communication with your tenants and don’t be afraid to meet with them face-to-face on a regular basis. You can even drop by in person to collect rent; it makes excuses that much harder to use. By encouraging communication, you are actually facilitating a functional relationship.

• Implement a late fee.
One of the best ways to show you’re serious is to implement a late fee. There is no greater motivation for a tenant to get their payment in on time than money, or the loss of such. There are various strategies on how much to charge – as well as a legal maximum – but the point is to make it inconvenient and costly for the tenant to miss their rent payment.

• Have a plan ahead of time.
The problem many landlords encounter is that they don’t have a plan for handling excuses. Instead, they are left to come up with an idea on the spot. If you’re forced to do this, you’re already behind. You should have strict rules in place to avoid letting emotions run the decision making process.

• Evict if you must.
While eviction should only be used in extreme cases and as a last resort, it is a tool, and can be used for tenants that are way behind. After all, when a tenant is behind, so are you. Before evicting a tenant, ensure that you’ve given them multiple chances to pay their rent and make up the outstanding balance.

• Always remain professional.
Above all else, avoid losing your cool. Dealing with late payments can be frustrating, but you will gain nothing from threatening to cut off utilities or take legal action. Personal attacks won’t be looked upon favorably by anyone involved. The more professional you remain, the more receptive your tenants will likely be.

You Don’t Have to Do it on Your Own

Thankfully, being a landlord doesn’t mean you have to deal with the challenges of collecting rent. Instead, you can partner with a professional property management company to take the frustration out of the equation.

Let Your Dream Real Estate Collect Your Rent Payments

At Your Dream Real Estate, we are experienced at rent collection and property management in the Houston area. In fact, we’ve been doing it for many years. That means we understand how to interact with tenants and get you your money on time, every time. For more information on the services we offer, please contact us today!