A Property Management Company in Fort Worth Helps You Avoid Mistakes

You’ve probably heard the horror stories of complicated maintenance issues, unruly tenants, and mountains of paperwork that other landlords are dealing with by trying to manage their property on their own. You may be thinking to yourself that you are the exception, and that owning and managing a property by yourself will be easy. Even if you have all the skills and know-how to manage a property on your own, what you save in dollars, you’ll most likely spend in time. Think about what is more important to you – time or money. Most people want their real estate investment to be passive income, which means spending time doing something else, like a full-time job, and leaving the management aspect of owning a rental property up to property management companies in Fort Worth. Because companies like Specialized Property Management are experts in their field, they may end up saving you money in the long run by avoiding common landlord mistakes like the ones below. In the end, you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing your time or your money to be a property owner. 

Common Landlord Mistakes to Avoid

  1. The Learning Curve- The first mistake you can make as a property owner is thinking that you know everything. There is so much to learn and brand new property owners who try to DIY being a landlord usually realize early on that they are way in over their head. If you decide not to hire a property management company, do your best to do sufficient research and ask other successful DIY property managers about their methods. 
  2. Devaluing Your Time- Thinking that managing your property on your own won’t take up a lot of time is foolish. Most properties require regular inspections and maintenance so you’ll want to be realistic about how much time to devote to being a manager and how much to trust property management companies in Fort Worth. 
  3. Poor Property Selection- The property you choose to invest in is very important to the success of your home. Make sure to select the right property by looking at the neighborhood, the average rent for the area, crime rates, local things to do, and more. Try to select a property that is near shopping and schools and on a less busy road. The more you can appeal to families and pet owners the better, because families tend to stay longer in a rental than single tenants on average. More tips for choosing the right property to invest in can be found by asking your property management company in Fort Worth. 
  4. Always Be Available for Showings– Marketing isn’t just about putting your property out there. It’s also about responding quickly to interested individuals. Create easy-to-access video tours and images of your rental house and take advantage of social media as a marketing tool. This maximizes exposure and allows others to view your home online. In our digital world, reach out to potential tenants by listing your property on a variety of popular websites.
  5. Accurately Price Your Home- Since prices fluctuate, it is important that you understand the current market for your property’s location. Too high of a price will discourage tenants while too low of a price will decrease your bottom line. Specialized Property Management Company in Fort Worth knows exactly where the Fort Worth rental market is at and how to best price your property for you. 
  6. Extended Vacancies and Leasing Delays- Your home should never be sitting on the market for months or vacant for long periods of time. Many property owners don’t realize that there are simple things they can do to get their home rent-ready. Showing your home to prospective tenants before it is “rent-ready” with at least a professional cleaning and rekeyed locks is a huge mistake. They should also be advertising effectively and keeping current tenants happy. 
  7. Poor Tenant Selection– Finding, and keeping, high-quality tenants can be a stressful process, but Specialized Property Management Company in Fort Worth performs thorough credit and background checks to help you avoid tenant trouble in the future and be able to collect rent consistently and on time. Our effective and proven processes make sure you’re getting a responsible tenant who will want to stay for a while. It’s also important to be aware of all the laws and regulations that you need to adhere to, especially in regard to tenant interaction and problems in rent collection. If you or your property management company in Fort Worth aren’t hyper-aware of these laws, it could mean costly fees. 
  8. High Tenant Turnover- Many property owners have high tenant turnover and they don’t know why. It’s important to establish a positive, respectful relationship with your tenants and respond to their needs quickly. Rather than trick them into signing a lease in a property that needs a lot of maintenance or that has loud neighbors, be open and upfront with tenants and create trust. Do your best to make your property attractive and comfortable. They will appreciate your effort and respond by renewing their lease or at least giving you adequate notice before moving out. 
  9. Inefficient Rent Collection- Specialized Property Management Company in Fort Worth knows that collecting rent on time every month is crucial to your success as a property owner. You need to make sure you have an effective rent collection system that is easy for tenants to use. Let them know before they sign the lease what your expectations are for rent and show them how to do it online. The more straightforward the process, the less you’ll have to worry about getting paid. 
  10. Expensive Regulatory Violations- Keeping meticulous records and staying organized is crucial if you want to be a successful property owner. Regulations like the Fair Housing laws, habitability laws, confidentiality laws, The Americans with Disabilities Act, federal and state laws, and municipal codes you need to follow should be familiar to you because you’ve done your research. If you unknowingly break one of these laws, you’ll face costly fines and it won’t be worth the money you saved trying to do everything yourself. That’s why you should trust our team of experts at Specialized Property Management Company in Fort Worth. Our job is to know all the laws and regulations so you don’t fall into any legal nightmares!
  11. Maintenance Issues- One of the main reasons tenants decide to move out early or not renew their lease is because they are fed up with their landlord not addressing maintenance requests and concerns. Many landlords try to save money by putting off small repairs here and there but then they face huge, expensive repairs down the line. Do your best to respond quickly to tenant requests and conduct routine property inspections where you can apply preventative maintenance and address any small repairs that need to be done. 
  12. Tense Emotions- Owning a property can feel like an emotional investment because of all the time and money you’ve put into it, but in reality, it’s just a business. Remember that tenants need their privacy and should be treated professionally. How they live or act shouldn’t get you upset as long as they are keeping their end of the contract. 

The Risks of DIY Property Management 

One reason you may want to try DIY property management is that, though it is more than likely the more difficult route, it can be very rewarding—both financially and personally. You’ll develop better relationships with your tenants and can manage the property the way you want. That said, there is significant risk associated with that method and a good property management company in Fort Worth can mitigate those risks pretty easily. You’ll certainly pay for their services, but given all the headache and time they’ll save you, it’s more than worth it. You can still enjoy the rewards of owning a property and how investing in real estate can help you financially, but you won’t have to worry about the responsibility of knowing how to do everything on your own. 

The Advantages of Using a Property Management Company in Fort Worth

Specialized Fort Worth Property Management is considered one of the best property management companies in Fort Worth because we have over 30 years of knowledge and experience to help your investment succeed, as well as the technological processes needed to succeed in today’s digital world. In order to avoid any and all mistakes as a property owner, let our team of experts at Specialized Fort Worth be the ones to handle everything. We have proven systems set in place to take care of all of the important aspects of managing your property. We’ll communicate clearly and professionally with tenants and make showing properties, screening tenants, and collecting rent a breeze. We’ll also make sure to price your home accurately, market it smartly, and schedule regular maintenance inspections without you ever having to leave your home. You’ll no longer have to worry about unnecessary vacancies, high tenant turnover, or local regulations and rental laws when you trust Specialized Property Management Company in Fort Worth. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer you.

Fort Worth Rental Property Management Helps You Comply with Landlord/Tenant Discrimination Laws

Our society is more aware than ever before of everyone around us and their civil rights. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act was established to protect all citizens from being discriminated against for reasons such as race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or familial status when trying to rent or buy housing. Fair housing rules are important to know when you are deciding whether or not to accept a tenant application. These rules have created more opportunities for more people, but have also required that everyone be more aware and careful in the way they speak and run their businesses. Don’t take the risk of rejecting someone only to find out that you’ve unknowingly discriminated against them. In order to steer clear of uncomfortable legal situations, educate yourself on landlord/tenant discrimination legislation in Fort Worth. Rental property management companies like Specialized Property Management are a great way to ensure that you aren’t making any costly mistakes and can handle marketing, tenant screening, and more to ensure that everything is done in the correct way. To get a head start, begin by reading the laws and special situations listed below and making sure that you are in compliance with those. 

Marketing

Marketing your rental home property will help attract good tenants, especially if you market in the right way. Be careful not to market to one specific group of people. When you say that your property is ideal for families, senior citizens and single people may feel like they can’t live there. It’s better for you and the community if you encourage all types of people in all stages of life to live in your rental property. This will help create diversity and the feeling that no one is getting left out. Diversity is encouraged and appreciated all over the city of Fort Worth. Property management services will help you market your rental property in a way that is inclusive, without attracting tenants that are irresponsible or unreliable. The following checklist from MetroTex can help you determine if you are in compliance with marketing regulations when posting an online ad. 

  1. Does the ad contain any misleading statements, or does it tend to create a misleading impression in any manner? It is prudent for someone who did not design the ad to scrutinize it for any potentially misleading statements. Keep in mind that the standard is not whether a statement is true, but whether the advertisement “tends to create a misleading impression.”
  2. Does the ad contain the name of the real estate firm or broker? It should. 
  3. Does the person causing the ad to be published have proper authority to publish or submit the advertisement? 
  4. Is the price quoted the price agreed upon by the owner? 
  5. Does the ad inadvertently imply a limitation or preference to a protected class that could potentially violate fair housing laws? 
  6. Is the specific information relayed in the advertisement accurate?

Tenant Selection

Using a Fort Worth rental property management company is very important when selecting tenants. Once you’ve got a good amount of interest in your property, you have the opportunity to begin the screening process. You have the right to ask tenants about their rental history in order to see how they will treat your property and how seriously they will take their tenant responsibilities. Talk to former and current landlords about if the tenant paid rent on time, gave proper notice, or violated any lease terms. Use a written or online application that collects the information you need such as names, contact information, social security numbers, current and past addresses, employment information, and landlord references. 

The entire screening process can be lengthy and time consuming. If you use Specialized Fort Worth Rental Property Management company, you will save so much time and worry by letting them handle the screening process and do so without risking discrimination. When you ask about tenant’s background, you have to be careful not to mention any questions that could be related to race or disabilities. Things you can ask about are financial history, sex offender charges, and criminal records. In order to gauge how reliable a tenant is, you are able to ask questions about past and current employment as well as check their credit score. You may also ask why they’re moving and how many people and pets will live in the residence. 

Service Animal Compliance

Speaking of pets, service animals must be allowed, whether your rental property allows pets or not. Since they are required in some medical situations, service animals cannot be denied under any circumstances, including breed or size. In addition, someone who needs a service animal cannot be rejected because that would also be considered discrimination. Be careful to not make any slips that would make you appear non-compliant. Saying that your rental property does not allow pets, and that there are no exceptions, could put you at risk for being non-compliant when the exception is that service animals are allowed. Specialized Fort Worth’s property management services are aware of all the special needs that go along with disabilities and service animals. They will be able to inform you of what to say and what not to say when meeting someone with a service animal. For example, your potential tenant must provide proof that they need a service animal, but don’t have to explain why. 

LGBT Compliance

The state of Texas doesn’t have any current ruling for LGBT housing issues. The more people talk about these issues, the sooner there will be changes in laws in order to protect the housing rights of people who identify as LGBT. In the meantime, property owners should be aware of how they are advertising their property, be honest about available units, ask questions that aren’t discriminatory on lease applications, and avoid tenant screenings for things other than what is allowed by state regulations. If you were to suggest that you had no vacancies when you actually did, it could be grounds for a real estate agent to lose their license and the denied tenants would have grounds to file a complaint with the real estate licensing board. No matter what your personal beliefs are, it’s important to think of your rental property as a business, separate from religious or emotional views. Like anything else, there are some exceptions to Fair Housing laws, but you would have to have years of experience and knowledge to be able to identify which exemptions applied to you. That’s why employing the help of Fort Worth property management services can help you avoid costly fines from unwittingly going against current or future regulations that have the potential to change all the time. 

Disability and Reasonable Accommodation

The definition of a disability is a mental or physical condition that substantially limits that person’s ability to participate in major life activities that are important to daily life. Disabilities are not always identifiable just by looking at someone. That’s why it’s important to be careful when first meeting potential tenants and putting them through the screening process. Be careful not to say or do anything that may be discriminating, regardless of whether they have an apparent disability or not. Conditions like heart disease, epilepsy, or even anxiety, may not be obvious when meeting someone, but may require special requirements or service animals. Fort Worth rental property management knows that reasonable accommodations for someone’s disability are required by law. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has laid out what it means to provide reasonable accommodations to these tenants. Some examples may include changes to parking policies, rent collection procedures, or the allowance of service animals. In order to not be discriminatory, it’s important to wait for a reasonable request to be made, rather than offering it and assuming that someone has a disability or the need for a special accommodation when they don’t. 

Fair Housing Laws

No one wants to be discriminated against, and no one wants to discriminate. Most non-compliance happens because property owners aren’t aware of all the laws and regulations that exist at the federal, state, and local levels. Violating the Fair Housing Act comes at a cost, whether in the form of hefty fines or losing one’s real estate license in Fort Worth. Property management services can be the difference of hundreds of dollars for you, if you allow them to be the authorities on what laws are out there and how you can avoid breaking them. Specialized Property Management is required to stay up to date on past, current, and changing Fair Housing laws, protecting you from making mistakes that could result in hefty penalties and fines. Partnering with a professional property management company like Specialized Property Management will give you access to correct legal counsel, providing you with peace of mind knowing that you are always complying with the laws and not discriminating against anyone. As the leader of Texas property management companies, Specialized Property Management keeps you compliant with all federal and local laws and regulations. Contact us today!

Top Mistakes Fort Worth Landlords Must Avoid

Making mistakes with your rental property is easier than you think.

Many new landlords and even experienced investors think managing a property is as easy as finding a tenant and collecting rent. But, owning and operating a rental property is a bit more complex than that, and a lot of expensive mistakes can be made. If you want to have a good experience with your Fort Worth rental property, make sure you can avoid these common errors. Read more