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Property Management

Security Deposit Disposition Advice from a Professional Property Manager

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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.

Inspections

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.

Timelines

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

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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

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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.

Investor’s Guide to the 2015 Rental Market in Houston

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Today we’re providing an investor’s guide to the rental market in Houston for 2015. In general, the market is strong and it’s a great time to buy rental property in this area.

Inventory

The inventory in Houston is pretty low right now, so it’s important to be creative when you’re looking for potential investment properties. You don’t want to rely only on the MLS. The drop in oil prices will lead to additional opportunities for investors in the Houston area, and you’ll be able to find real estate bargains in the market.

Return on Investment

Before you buy, make sure you understand the potential for cash flow and profit. Most people think the three most important things in real estate are: location, location, location. However, with rental properties, the three most important things are: cash flow, cash flow and profit. Do your math, analyze your numbers and get a good idea of what you can expect to earn in rental income and what your long term returns will be.

Great Property = Great Tenants

Tenants want high quality homes in good locations, so make sure you pay some attention to where you’re buying. You only want to buy properties in neighborhoods that have a high percentage of owner-occupied homes. These are desirable areas to good tenants. It’s also important to choose a property that’s in great condition and clean. The best tenants in the Houston area will be willing to fight for appealing homes in attractive areas.

Investors Guide to the 2015 Rental Market in HoustonFinally, don’t over-leverage your investments. If you do that, your entire portfolio will be at risk the next time the real estate market takes a dip. Leverage is an important part of investing, but it’s sometimes overused. Make sure you’re using it wisely when you invest in rental properties.

If you’re interested in exploring the Houston rental market, please contact us at Your Dream Real Estate, and we’d be happy to help you with our robust and hassle-free property management services.

6 Ways Houston Property Management Saves You Time and Money

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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