How to Avoid Inefficient or Overlooked Maintenance

Arlington residential property management

Stay Responsive While Lowering Your Costs

Costs ignored do not mean costs reduced. That’s an Arlington residential property management myth. It may mean you pay more in the long run. Here’s why. Regardless of how well your tenants treat your property, stuff breaks, systems wear out, and things need attention. Think of your current residence. How long is your honey-do list for short and long-term projects? The longer you put off needed maintenance, the bigger the problem may get and the more costly the repair. Additionally,  delaying a repair could also mean frustrating your tenants and motivating them to move, leaving you with turnover and vacancy costs.

Specialized, a trusted Arlington property management company for more than 30 years, understands proactive maintenance. You want to increase earnings and reduce costs. We can show you how to do both. Here’s the plan:

5 Arlington Residential Property Management Steps to Reducing Rental Maintenance Costs

    1. Prepare the property between tenants, so it is clean, well maintained, and meets basic habitability standards and codes. This not only protects you from fees and potential lawsuits but also adds to the curb appeal of your home that will then rent more quickly. The best tenants want to rent the best properties.
    2. Plan for maintenance costs. This is the inevitable “other end of the stick” when you own a rental property. Set aside 1-2 months’ rent per year to allow for ongoing, routine maintenance and turnover costs when tenants move. Having money set aside will also reduce your anxieties when you have a significant repair need.
    3. Check proactively to catch problems that could become more expensive if left too long. Perform seasonal maintenance and routine property inspections inside and outside to help you solve small problems before they escalate.
    4. Respond promptly when maintenance is required. Not only will your tenants feel important – they are your customer after all – but they will take a cue from you and are likely to treat the property better as well.
    5. Use our discounts. That’s what friends are for. Rely on Specialized for preferred pricing and discounts on service, appliances, repairs, supplies, etc.

Being proactive and prepared will help you plan for and reduce your maintenance bill while increasing your chances of keeping your tenants happy. Happy tenants stay longer and are more likely to pay their rent on time. They also take better care of the home. All of this translates into, yes, increased earnings. That’s why you are in the Arlington residential property management business after all, right? Specialized is here to help you accomplish that. Learn more about our comprehensive list of services today.

How to Avoid Neglecting Inspections

Arlington property management

Avoid Problems and Increased Expense with Proactive Attention

We second what Francis Bacon and others said about information: “Knowledge is power,”

When it comes to your Arlington rental, property management done well means keeping an eye on your property even when tenant occupied. Why? You don’t know what you don’t know. A lot can happen to a rental property between tenants. Also, it’s hard to make proactive decisions about maintenance, repairs, and lease compliance without real information about current conditions.

Our Specialized solution to empower you with this knowledge is three-fold. 1. We routinely send inspectors to your property. 2. We send you pictures and a report through your online owner portal. 3. If needed, we send in licensed reinforcements to do maintenance and repairs.

Arlington Property Management Inspection Steps

  1. Property and Lease Compliance Inspections

We give tenants advanced notice of the planned quarterly or semiannual inspections. Many appreciate the proactive approach to maintaining the property. We communication this inspection schedule at the time of the lease signing to help manage tenant expectations. We also take photos of the property at move-in to help establish the baseline condition. During the inspection, we assess needed maintenance – inside and outside – taking photos of areas needing attention. We also take note of lease compliance.

  1. Online Owner Portal Reports

All you need to remember is your password to our Arlington property management online owner portal where you receive a dashboard of information about your property. We upload inspection reports, photos, recommendations, and supporting information to help you make the best decision possible.

  1. Proactive Maintenance and Repairs

Based upon your review and direction, we coordinate with appropriate repair or cleaning personnel to respond to any situation we discovered. We also send and follow up with written warnings of any violations we observed. This process is done discretely and respectfully.  
In the end, if you have an Arlington rental, property management is likely forefront on your mind. Conducting routine property inspections – whether you do them yourself or use our Specialized team – not only gives you the peace of mind and information you need but also gives tenants a reason to care more about the property themselves. They are more likely to treat your unit well when they see you do the same. You set the tone. We can help. Call today to put our experience to work for you.

How to Avoid Costly Regulatory Violations: Take the Legal Risk Quiz

property management Arlington

Avoid Expense and Liability with Strict Compliance

Evaluate your understanding of your legal risk as a landlord – something all Arlington property managers should know – to protect yourself and your investment. Let’s start by matching the following three laws with one of the definitions below:

Legal Risk Matching Game

LAWS

The Fair Housing Act

Habitability Law

Americans with Disabilities Act

DEFINITIONS

A. A requirement that you not discriminate against potential tenants with disabilities, and that you allow the tenants to install adequate access features. You can require them to put the property back to its original condition. Plus you may never restrict or charge for service animals.

B. This requirement prevents landlords from making decisions based upon race, color, sex, national origin, handicap, or familial status. States and localities can add additional protected classes, and violations can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

C. This requirement varies from region to region for property management, Arlington included, but essentially requires that your rental property provides a safe, comfortable living environment for tenants. If you neglect the living conditions or your property, respond slowly or ineffectively to needed repairs, or require tenants to pay for them, you may end up with landlord-tenant disputes, lawsuits, or governmental actions.

ANSWER KEY

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act
  2. The Fair Housing Act
  3. Habitability Law

In addition to understanding and complying with the laws and regulations – local, state, and federal – the compliance team at Specialized recommends the following 7 action items to avoid litigation, liability, and expense proactively.  

    1. Hire licensed and insured personnel only to do repairs.
    2. Be licensed if you plan to conduct transactions that are only authorized for a real estate agent.
    3. Provide a 24-hour service line for your tenants to use evenings, weekends, and holidays. Respond promptly to their requests.
    4. Document, document, document. Remember actions and communication. This is your best defense in litigation.
    5. Keep tenant information private data confidential, both in what you share personally and in how you store your records. Keep records for as long as your state requires.
    6. Carefully handle and document security deposits and other funds.
    7. Stay current on all federal, state, local, and industry laws, codes and regulations.

As a landlord, it’s imperative to understand the potential landmines of legal risk associated with your investment. Typical lawyer’s’ fees are $250/hour, so a single legal issue could easily wipe out your entire annual profit. That’s why many Arlington property managers trust Specialized to reduce their risk. After 30 years of keeping our eyes wide open and our ears close to the ground, this is one of our specialties.
We would love to explain the legal side of property management, Arlington style, to you in more detail. Call the Specialized compliance team today for a free personalized evaluation of your current and greatest risks. Can you afford not to protect yourself?

Want to Avoid High Tenant Turnover? Ask Yourself Five Questions

Fort Worth residential property management

Want to reduce tenant turnover? Start with this quiz from the Fort Worth property management company, Specialized, with three decades of experience helping landlords like you turn a profit on their rentals.

The single largest expense for a landlord is:

  1. Vacancies
  2. Maintenance surprises
  3. Late payments

A home needing repairs and cleaning will stay vacant longer.

    1. True
    2. False

How much should a landlord budget each year to cover maintenance costs?

    1. Nothing
    2. $5,000
    3. Between 1-2 month’s rent

As a landlord, your customer is:

    1. The mortgage company
    2. Contractors
    3. Your tenants

Despite careful screening, seasoned property owners may see:

    1. Evictions
    2. Criminal activity
    3. Vandalism
    4. Accidents
    5. Lawsuits
    6. All of the above

Answer Key

  1. A. Vacancies are the biggest expense you will incur in Fort Worth residential property management because of everything you do to cover the rent and prepare your unit for new tenants. You lose the rent payment for that month, while you pay for cleaning, minor repairs, rekey services, utilities, lawn care, etc. Instead of money in the bank, it’s money out the door.
  1. A. True. In this market, your unit has to compete for a reliable tenant. Making the home rent-ready will help you attract more and better-qualified tenants. Is your rental a home a place you would want to call home? If so, interested applicants probably will, too.
  1. C. Anticipate and budget for maintenance. It’s inevitable. But how much should you put aside? The national average for maintenance costs on a rental home is one and one-half times the monthly rent. So, if your rent is $1,000 per month, save $1,500 a year for those times when your tenant calls about a leaky faucet. Budget more for older homes, less for newer homes.
  1. C. Your tenants are your customer. Responding promptly to their maintenance requests is the best way to keep them happy and, as a result, wanting to stay longer. When you proactively take care of the home, renters will want to take better care of it themselves. You set the tone for how to treat your investment.
  1. F. All of the above. For most first-time landlords, the property management process seems pretty simple. Before long, however, many experience problem tenants, late payments, collections, maintenance surprises, complaints from neighbors, etc. These unfortunate events are part of the daily business of Fort Worth residential property management, even when everything has been done to avoid them.

Bottom Line, keeping tenants is not easy, but it is worth it. The team at Specialized takes care of the realities of owning a rental property for you, so your vacancies go down, and your return goes up – without the headache. Because of our proven processes and dedicated team, landlords have trusted us as their Fort Worth property management company for over 30 years. Call us today, and we’ll explain how Specialized can do the same for you.

Protect Yourself and your Ft. Worth Property

Ft. Worth property management

Management Tips for Dealing with Difficult Situations

Ever heard the saying, “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised?” Denis Waitley was likely talking about property management in Forth Worth. After 30 years in this business, the team at Specialized has seen it all – the best and worst of rental property management. Here’s your ‘heads up’ guide.

The Best Case Scenario in Ft. Worth Property Management

You rent the property within days of listing it. The renters have a long record of paying their rent on time and nothing in their past that would make you doubt their ability to continue paying. They move in carefully and take impeccable care of the place as if it were their own. They only call between 10 a.m. and noon to request maintenance or repairs. Each month, they pay their rent early and bake cookies for the neighbors to maintain good relations. When their job transfers this little family of three to a new city, they give you 60 days notice and leave the place better than how they found it. Your next tenants, from your waiting list, move in the next week. Cha-ching – your profit margins fatten by the minute.

The Worst Property Management in Fort Worth

Your tenants tear up the lawn with the moving truck and leave half their stuff in the driveway for weeks. Layoffs occur at work the next week, and although they are actively seeking new employment, money’s tight and their first month’s rent payment came in three days late. They apologize profusely, but then wake you up that very night to request immediate maintenance because the air conditioner broke and they have a young baby. You pay double for a repair-person to respond after-hours who later calls you to report they couldn’t even get to the utility room because the door was blocked…with more stuff. At least it’s no longer in the driveway. You question if property management in Fort Worth is really worth it. Managed this way, probably not.

Prepare to Be Surprised

The worst will happen – we have the stories to prove it. Nothing about property management in Fort Worth surprises us at Specialized. But, we have the proven processes and expertise to prevent most of the negative experiences. We are prepared. If you partner with us, you will be too.
Putting the Specialized team to work for you means putting us to work finding and screening reliable tenants, showing and leasing your property, and performing ongoing maintenance. Your tenants call us with every care and concern, not you. It’s the best way to plan for the worst but expect the best – with no surprises. Call our team for a free consultation. Property Management in Fort Worth can be hassle-free and save you money. Ask us how.

Find More Reliable Tenants: Three Steps for Fort Worth Rental Property Management

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You tell your kids to choose their friends wisely because you know their friends can have a great influence on their lives long term – for better or for worse. You hope they don’t get desperate and hang out with just anyone.

They could say the same to you about the tenants in your Fort Worth property. Management of tenants is hard enough, don’t make it harder by renting to the first tenants who come along. Poor tenant qualification can lead to major problems down the road such as rent delays, property damage, higher turnover, legal issues, and eviction risks. On the flip side, renting to the right tenants – even if it means more work up front – can lead to consistent rent payments, a well-kept property, longer leases, and ultimately higher profits.

As Fort Worth rental property management professionals, Specialized offers sage advice: Three-steps for quality tenant selection.

Step 1: Confirm Ability to Pay

Request an application for every tenant over 18 years of age. This is not extreme. It is necessary to confirm that the combined tenant income equals at least 3X the rent rate. Do a credit check on each applicant and verify employment as well as income. Call previous landlords and verify at least the last two years of rental history. Two questions to ask: 1) Was the rent on time? 2) Did they damage the property in any way? Watch for previous evictions or judgments in your search as well.

Step 2: Do Background Checks

Conduct thorough background checks and screen out those with a history of drugs or theft, especially violent or sexual offenders who can bring additional liability and concerns. In addition to official databases, your reference checks should also include employers or colleagues, not just friends or family, to get unbiased responses.

Step 3: Follow the Rules

Finally, before you start, know the law and stay in compliance with all housing, discrimination, contract, and Fair Credit Reporting laws throughout the screening process. Save yourself costly lawsuits, penalties, and fines by doing things right, every step of the way.

One last piece of advice from a team of professionals who have been around the Fort Worth rental property management block a few times. You do not have to do all of this alone. Specialized has over 30 years of experience to help you quickly place the most qualified tenants possible. We collect applications, confirm income and employment, and check credit, rental history, criminal backgrounds, and even terrorist lists. We make it our business to know and follow all of the regulations involved with owning rental property. We exist to protect you, your cash flow, and your property from nonpaying or destructive tenants. Consider Specialized one of your good-influence friends. Set a good example by giving us a call, then add us to your favorite contact list. We’ll add you to ours.

How to Make Your Rental Property a Perfect 10

rental property management Fort Worth

The Rent-Ready Quiz from the Leading Fort Worth Property Management

First impressions count. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t spend so much time worrying about how we look and act on a first date. Tenants searching for their next rental home are equally impressionable. Their first experience with your property will determine their next steps. Will you get a second date? Maybe a signed lease? The more of the following questions that you can answer ‘yes’ to, the more memorable first real estate date you’ll have with prospective tenants.

The Fort Worth Property Management Rent-Ready Quiz

    1. Is your property appealing from the curb? If you were driving by, would you stop to see more or hit the gas? (__Yes __No)
    2. Does your property need maintenance and repairs – including safety and security items as well as cosmetic issues? Think running or leaking plumbing, broken windows, mold, etc.? (__Yes __No)
    3. Did you rekey your property or install a keyless code entry? (__Yes __No)
    4. Are your appliances in working order with new filters? This includes your water heater, AC, and heating system. (__Yes __No)
    5. Do your smoke detectors and other monitors required by law such as carbon monoxide or radon detectors have fresh batteries? (__Yes __No)  
    6. Have you removed personal belongings from everywhere on the property? Including sheds and garages? (__Yes __No)
    7. Are the walls painted a neutral color, not touched up, and with no paint left behind for the renters to use? (__Yes __No)
    8. Are your utilities still on so potential renters may tour the property in light and a comfortable temperature? (__Yes __No)
    9. Has the property and yard been professionally cleaned and maintained? (__Yes __No)  
    10. Did you install a lock box? (__Yes __No)  

Now score yourself. One point for every ‘yes’.

1-5 = Your first impression is lacking. Most tenants are out of your league. Call a Fort Worth property manager professional for a pep talk and some assistance.

6-9 = You’re ready to call the team at Specialized for some fine-tuned advice.

10 = Put up that posting.

Think of your Fort Worth property manager team, Specialized, as your real estate dating experts. If you’re a 10, we’ll keep you there. If you’re anything less, we’ll help you get there. Making your property rent-ready will not only reduce your risk and liability down the road, but it will increase your chances of leasing it more quickly to the most reliable tenant possible. We lease more than 5,000 homes per month. We’ll be your best wing man.

Call us today.

Five Ways to Select the Best Rental Property in Fort Worth

Fort Worth property managers

Property Management Tips for Buying an Investment Property

Investing in real estate is smart. Investing in the right real estate, however, is even smarter. So start with a property management mindset. From our 30 years of experience in Fort Worth, property management perspective in the buying process is crucial to determine how long your rental stays vacant as well as the quantity and quality of tenant applications you receive. In short, your decisions today determines how you will manage your property tomorrow.

Applying the property management perspective is simple to remember when compared to the nursery rhyme This Little Piggy. After all, your investment could be a perfect piggy bank for you if you purchase the right one. “This little piggy…”

“Went to Market”

Not the grocery store. Think real estate market. Not all markets are created equal – some have lower vacancy rates, higher rents, and appreciating values. Talk to an expert at Specialized for help identifying the best property choices in Fort Worth. Property managers who live and breathe this information every day are best poised to point you in the right direction.

“Stayed Home”

Remember, this is someone’s future home. Is this a place where you would want to stay? More families are seeking to rent long term. So say yes to single family dwellings less than 15 years old with rent below $1700/month, 3+ bedrooms, 2+ baths, fenced yard, and a standard layout.

“Had Roast Beef”

How close is your rental property to shopping, dining, schools, and other amenities? That’s the meat of real estate location. If you’re looking to purchase in Fort Worth, property managers who have seen the effect of these dynamics on of different housing locations will be the best advisors.

“Had None”

No city ordinances and regulations for landlords, minimal municipal regulations, and zero HOA rules and codes would be ideal, but it’s not practical. Just be aware of these potential costs and know that they vary. Do the math – or call Specialized to do it for you – to save long term.

“Went All the Way Home”

This little pig was obviously happy to be headed home because your rental property is so nice, but how did it get there? Mother Goose never tells us. It could have been public transportation, which is on the rise. A property close to rail or bus lines is always a plus.
Specialized has been around almost as long as Mother Goose. We know the rental market like she knew nursery rhymes. Call us before you purchase. We will help you select the best piggy bank property for your buck.

How Property Managers, Fort Worth, TX, Avoid Extended Vacancies

property managers Fort Worth

Avoid Rent Losses with Faster Leasing

When you hear crickets chirping at your empty rental property, it likely means your bottom line is dropping as is your confidence that your asset will turn a profit. Thanks to 30 years of service as Texas rental property managers, Fort Worth and in the surrounding area, we know how to keep tenants in your unit and money in your wallet. Our Specialized strategy focuses on three phases.

Prep and Price

First, we act quickly to prepare your home for leasing. Our checklist includes tasks such as key replacement, lockbox installation, and improvements needed to help your property rent faster. Secondly, we will determine an accurately rental price for your property. Our expert management team understands the local market and can help you find the perfect balance between competing and creating profit.

Cast a Wide Net

Just as a great photo requires a great subject, a worry-free property management requires excellent tenants. So it’s crucial to search carefully for them. Specialized offers clients a proprietary leasing process that advertises aggressively on the most popular rental sites. Then right on cue for our experienced property managers, Ft. Worth rental inquiries are treated seriously and are quickly responded to with actual property showings or online virtual tours. The more snapshots you take, the more likely you will find that winning shot and practically perfect tenant.

Sort Seriously

Screen. Screen. Screen. Our expedited, thorough background checks of every potential tenant over the age of 18 should help you find the quality tenants you want in your home. We cover criminal, credit, employment, and rental history. We take the task of screening tenant applications seriously because well-screened tenants stay longer and reduce costly turnovers.

The end. Or more accurately, our proven leasing process is the beginning of shorter vacancies, more reliable tenants, and longer lease terms. It’s a process that takes time, which is why we are here as your personal, experienced property managers. Fort Worth homeowners have trusted our experience for over thirty years to manage the rental cycle from start to finish, over and over again. All you have to remember is the password to your info-packed online owner portal where you will receive regular, clear communication and updates about your property without the time-consuming headache of self-management.

Cut the cricket soundtrack and pump up your peace of mind regarding your property by contacting your team at Specialized. We are eager to explain our ten-step process to faster leasing. Based on our 98% customer satisfaction rating, we know that our proven methods will maximize your profit and minimize your risk. If you like the sound of that, let’s talk. Call Specialized today.