How to Qualify Applicants – Finding the Right Tenant For Your Rental Property

By | Landlord, Property Management | No Comments

There are 3 main areas for qualifying the applicants for your rental property.

First, as a landlord, you should be familiar & practice Fair Housing Laws. You can not discriminate against protected classes. You should also deliver to the applicant the Qualification Criteria form before they apply.

Second, You must run a back ground check including criminal, rental, eviction, and credit. Using the right tools are essential in this process & you must rely on a very comprehensive system that covers a nationwide data base.

Third. A through examination of income& employment will determine the persons ability to make the monthly payment. Make sure the employment is contiguous & not a temporary job and the W-2s & pay stubs are verified as well.

Priority Tasks For Moving Into Your New Home in Houston

By | Buyers | No Comments

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

Safety Policy and Procedure

By | Buyers | No Comments

Your Dream Real Estate is a full brokerage and property management company in Houston. When it comes to personal on-the-job safety, real estate professionals are in a unique position. Because the nature of this business creates unusual safety concerns, it is critical to rely on certain protocols when working with every client.

Initial Meeting:

Instead of meeting you as a client for the first time at a vacant home we prefer to meet with you at our office or any public places. Please don’t be offended, after all you do not want to meet with a stranger at a vacant house, would you?


At this meeting don’t be surprised if your realtor wants to make a copy of your id, mortgage pre-approval letter and gets more details about an emergency contact information. These are components of safety procedure.


Of the precautions we have adopted in our policies is to ask our clients to drive separately in their cars when it comes to taking a tour of the homes. After all once the tour is finished clients or realtors may have some commitments that they have to attend to.

Touring Homes

Don’t be surprised if your realtor walks behind you while touring the homes. This routine habit is not only a safety precaution; it allows you to see the rooms first and get better views of spaces. Also, your realtor may decline to accompany you into basements, closets, or attics, but you should feel free to have a look around.

Vacant Properties

The best time to tour properties will be during the day time specially when the hooue is vacant. You may not see the defects that exist in the house, fore example you may walk in upstairs there could be loose step and you fall. So that’s not safe for realtor and the client.


If you ask your realtor about the safety of a neighborhood, please remember fair housing laws doesn’t let real estate professionals to act in any behavior that can be viewed as steering people toward or away certain areas. Instead your realtor can provide resources that you can use and see where you’ll feel comfortable.

Do I Need a Home Warranty for My Houston Rental? Advice from a Property Management Expert

By | Property Management | No Comments

For many people, purchasing a home warranty for the house they live in makes a lot of financial sense. The protection that’s provided is worth the investment you make. However, when it comes to your rental property, there are different considerations that need your attention when it comes to deciding whether or not you need a warranty.

Each home warranty company is different, and they all have their own procedures and requirements. If you decide that you want a warranty, talk to a property manager or a Realtor so you can get a referral to a reputable company.

Your decision to purchase a home warranty really depends on your ability to respond to maintenance issues at the property. If you have a good network of contractors and vendors who are reliable and provide excellent work for affordable prices, a home warranty may not help you much. Some warranty companies will not be as fast as your own vendors when it comes to fixing a problem. That can be difficult for your tenants, who will want the problem taken care of as soon as possible.

Many professional property managers advise their clients to avoid home warranties. We prefer trained maintenance professionals who can get to the property right away and handle the problem quickly and Do I Need a Home Warranty for My Houston Rental? Advice from a Property Management Expertefficiently. Not all home warranty companies understand the urgency of a maintenance situation, and they will schedule the work several days or even weeks after it could be completed. There’s also the problem of the vendors they use. Many warranty companies have a specific list of contractors that do the work, and your favorite contractors may not be on the list. That means you’ll be getting someone you’ve never worked with before; someone who doesn’t know your property.

If you would like to talk about the pros and cons of purchasing a home warranty for your rental home, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate. We’d be happy to share more information.

Dealing with HOA Violations – Houston Landlord Advice

By | Property Management | No Comments

When you own a property that happens to be part of a Homeowner’s Association or an HOA, there are a few extra things you often have to do as a landlord or a property manager. Not only do you need to make sure your tenant pays attention to your own rules and regulations, you also have to make sure your tenant understands the requirements of the HOA.

Lease Information

Your lease agreement needs to address and include everything that’s required and prohibited by the HOA. In most cases, tenants violate rules simply because they don’t know them. When you are able to provide all the rules and regulations of the HOA, the tenant will know what is expected. Be clear about what the violations might include and make sure your lease states how any violations will be handled.


Communicating with both the HOA and the tenants is critical. You’ll want to hear both sides whenever there’s a dispute, and find out if a mistake has been made or if your tenant really is in violation of something. Don’t jump to any conclusions and make sure you maintain a positive, respectful attitude when you’re dealing with all parties.

Stay Involved

It will help if you aren’t a stranger to your HOA. Make sure you know who is on the board, and even though you aren’t living at the property yourself, you still want to keep yourself in the loop. Follow any updates and communications put out by the HOA and make it a habit to read the board meeting minutes. If you don’t have Dealing with HOA Violations Houston Landlord Advicetime to stay on top of these things, work with a property manager who can handle the relationship on your behalf.

The relationship between you, your tenant and your HOA does not have to be combative. Make sure everyone understands what is expected, and you won’t have many problems.

If you have any questions about HOA violations, contact us at Your Dream Real Estate.

How to Renew a Lease as a Landlord in Houston – Property Management Tips

By | Property Management | No Comments

A successful landlord wants tenants who pay rent on time, take care of the property and stay for a long time. When you’re able to retain great tenants, you have lower turnover and vacancy costs, and your investment is able to grow in value. If you’re wondering how to renew a lease with your tenant, there are a few specific steps you need to follow.

Raising the Rent

Before you discuss lease renewal with your tenant, do a little research and decide whether or not you should raise the rent. If the rents in your market are climbing, you’re probably entitled to raise it a little bit. Just be careful, and keep the amount reasonable. If you have a great tenant who pays on time and causes little trouble, you don’t want to go chasing that tenant out of your property with an unrealistic rent increase. Don’t give good tenants a reason to leave your property.

Proposing Renewal

At least 30 days before the end of the lease, you’ll need to contact the tenants and find out if there is any interest in renewing. If you want your tenant to stay, make sure you say that. Showing tenants that you appreciate them is important. It’s also a good idea to offer an incentive, especially if a tenant seems undecided. Perhaps you can offer carpet cleaning or fresh paint or even a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store.

Inspect and Document

How to Renew a Lease as a Landlord in Houston – Property Management TipsOnce you and your tenant decide to renew the lease, conduct a thorough inspection of the property. This will help you and the tenant to determine what needs to be done and it also gives you the opportunity to make sure there isn’t any maintenance that needs to be done. Put any repair requests in writing, and make sure your lease is also renewed in writing.

Renewing a lease should be fairly straightforward, especially if you’re pleased with your tenants and your tenants are happy living in your property. If you have any questions about the process or what you need to do, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to provide more information.

Fair Housing Laws in Houston & What Investors Should Know Before Renting Out a Property

By | Property Management | No Comments

As a landlord, it’s important that you’re familiar with the fair housing laws. They are meant to protect people from discrimination when it comes to housing.

Protected Classes

There are seven protected classes of people, and none of your marketing materials, screening techniques or criteria for accepting or declining tenants can violate their rights. Those protected classes are;

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Familial Status

Disabilities are wide-ranging and they can be mental as well as physical. It might include someone who alcoholism or PTSD. Some tenants and applicants will require service animals, and you need to know how those differ from pets.

Tenant Qualification Criteria

Many landlords make mistakes with fair housing laws unintentionally. You can protect yourself from these potential errors by establishing a tenant qualification criteria and then applying it consistently to all applicants. You also need a written privacy policy that explains what you do with an applicant’s personal information. Remember to treat every applicant the same way – don’t make exceptions for one person and not another. That’s how you can get in trouble.

Accepting Applications

Document the date and time that you receive each application. That way, if you have several tenants who are qualified, you can offer the home to the first person who applied. When you deny an applicant, send an adverse action letter so they understand Fair Housing Laws in Houston & What Investors Should Know Before Renting Out a Propertywhy they were denied. Finally, never share an applicant’s personal information with other people. You need to protect their credit report and other materials.

Fair housing is an important part of owning and managing rental property. In addition to treating everyone fairly, you need to keep all tenant areas clean and in safe condition so people with disabilities don’t have trouble. If you have any questions about this topic, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate.

Security Deposit Disposition Advice from a Professional Property Manager

By | Property Management | No Comments

Disputes over security deposits are the most common types of disagreements that landlords and tenants have. There are a few things you can do to avoid any such tension when a tenant moves out and you determine how much of the security deposit to return.


Conducting a move in and a move out inspection is critical. This will allow you to compare the condition of the property before a tenant moved in to the condition of the property after a tenant lived there. Make sure you have pictures, videos and other documentation so you can support your claims of tenant damage. You cannot charge for wear and tear, and you need to make sure that you are withholding a reasonable amount from the security deposit. For example, you cannot charge the tenants $25 for a scuff mark on the wall.

Move Out Procedures

At the time your tenant signs the lease, provide a written list of things that need to be done. You can remind the tenant about these written procedures again when you receive their notice to vacate. When a tenant is informed, there can be no disputes over what you have clearly stated is required in order to receive their full security deposit.


It’s very important to have your tenant’s forwarding address so you can send the security deposit to the right place. You have 30 days from the move out date to return the security deposit and a letter that itemizes all the charges that were made. If the tenant wants to dispute something, invite them to do so in writing and ask for proof that you are incorrect about the charges. The check you send must be made out to all the tenants who are listed on the lease. You don’t need to include occupants who Security Deposit Disposition Advice from a Professional Property Managerare not on the lease.

You don’t want to find yourself in court over a security deposit dispute or because you didn’t get the money back to the tenant within 30 days. Be thorough with your inspections and documentation, and keep the lines of communication open with your tenant.

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

How Much to Charge for Rent in Houston – Rental Price Basics for Landlords

By | Property Management | No Comments

The best way to ensure you get a high quality, long term tenant quickly is by charging a competitive rent. Setting the right price for your home is very important because you want to start collecting rental income as soon as possible. Vacancies are expensive.

Market Research

Understanding the local rental market is really going to help you set the right price for your property. You want to do a little research and find comparable rental prices in your local area. Make sure you’re comparing properties that are similar to yours; they must be in the same location, the same size and in generally the same condition.

Competitive Advantage

Once you know what others properties are renting for, you need to figure out why potential tenants will want to live in your house instead of other homes. Think about what makes your house special, whether it’s recent upgrades or great amenities or top notch school districts. Use these factors when you market your property so you get a lot of interest.

Avoiding Vacancy

It’s a good idea to consider lowering the rent just a little bit to help you minimize the vacancy, especially if you’re in a tough market or there are a lot of similar properties available. Waiting for a tenant who is willing to pay the higher rent will only cost you money. For example, if houses similar to yours are listed for $1,250 per month but they’re all vacant, you should price yours at $1,200 per month. It may seem like you’re losing $50 a month but you’re actually gaining. Losing the $600 over the course How Much to Charge for Rent in Houston Rental Price Basics for Landlordsof the year (12 x $50 =$600) is much better than losing $1,250 because your home sat vacant for an extra month while you tried to rent it out.

Many landlords have an idea of what they want to earn on their property, and that idea usually depends on the amount of mortgage, expenses and additional cash flow. However, it’s really the market that determines the rent – not your own wishes. Get to know your local market and if you’re not sure what other houses are renting for, contact us at Your Dream Real Estate. We’d be happy to help you.

Eviction Process in Houston: Landlord Advice from a Local Property Manager

By | Property Management | No Comments

Evictions have a reputation for being complicated and expensive. While no landlord wants to go through the eviction process with a tenant, it’s important to take steps early if you realize that you’ve got a bad tenant who needs to be moved out of the property.

Reasons to Evict

There are two major reasons for why you might need to evict a tenant. If you are not getting the rent on a regular basis, eviction is necessary to protect your income and your investment. The other reason to evict is because the tenants are violating the lease in some way. Perhaps you’ve noticed unauthorized occupants or there are noise complaints and police activity at the house on a regular basis.

Filing an Eviction

Every eviction starts with a 3 Day Notice. If your tenants have not paid rent, you serve a 3 Day Notice that demands they pay the rent or leave the property. It’s important to send this notice properly. You can deliver it in person to the tenant or any occupant who is 16 years of age or older. You can also mail a copy of the notice, and if you do this, make sure you request a return receipt. You can also post the notice on the inside of the front door, but if you do that, we recommend that you send a copy by mail as well. At this point, you can negotiate with the tenant or follow through with the eviction.

Appearing in Court

If you decide to pursue the eviction because the tenant has not met their obligations, you’ll need to file with the court and wait for a court date. When you go to court, bring your lease agreement, your rent roll which shows how much the tenant owes you and any documentation or communication that reflects your attempts to resolve this issue with the tenants.

Writ of Possession

After the court rules in your favor, you’ll need to file in order to get possession of the property back. Schedule a date with the Eviction Process in Houston Landlord Advice from a Local Property Managersheriff to deliver the Writ of Possession and help you get your tenants out of the property. When this happens, take pictures and videos so you can document the condition of the property after the eviction. If the tenant leaves belongings behind, you’ll need someone who can help you remove them. Then, you can change the lock and start getting it ready for the next tenant.

Evictions can be emotional and feel very personal. However, the best thing you can do for yourself and your investment is to learn from the experience and move forward. If you have any questions about how to avoid evictions, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate.