Routine Inspections of Your Rental Investments in Fort Worth

Though both are assessing a home’s maintenance needs, regular rental property inspections and one-time home inspections are not the same. Rental property inspections should happen anywhere from 2-4 times a year and be extremely thorough for rental investments in Fort Worth. Rather than just performing a “clean and safe” check, you should make an effort to dig deeper into an inspection, especially on move-in and move-out days. As a property owner, you may be thinking that frequent rental property inspections are too time-consuming or unnecessary, but the more regular inspections are, the more money you’ll save on neglected maintenance issues or non-compliance problems. Inspections protect you and your rental investments in Fort Worth, while also improving the tenant-landlord relationship. Fort Worth’s Specialized Property Management experts know exactly what to look for in an inspection and how to communicate with your tenant for you. We will conduct move-in, periodic, seasonal, and move-out inspections for you, resolving maintenance and tenant issues as they arise, all while saving you time and money. 

The Importance of Rental Property Inspections

This video by Specialized Property Management explains why inspections are so important and how, if performed correctly, they can protect your investment and improve your relationship with your tenant. Hiring a team of experts who have licensed inspectors on hand, like Specialized Property Management Fort Worth, can make the whole process run smoothly. Some other reasons regular inspections are important are: 

  1. Inspections make sure lease agreements are being followed. Just because your tenant signs a lease stating that they will follow all of your rules and regulations, doesn’t mean that they will remember everything perfectly. If you are a property owner that doesn’t want certain things in the home, like pets or too many people, make sure to put that in the contract and then follow up through regular inspections of your rental investments in Fort Worth. Your inspector should take note each time they stop by your property of which rules are being followed and which are being ignored and then enforce regulations. 
  2. Inspections foster better communication between your tenant and you or the property manager of your rental investments in Fort Worth. Tenants can be hesitant to contact you about a safety problem. They may not know that an overgrown tree is dangerous or they may know and be worried about bothering you. When you or your property management is there in person, you can ask if there’s anything they want to talk about and show them that you care. Once you’ve fostered a good relationship, the next time they have a concern, they’ll be more likely to tell you about it.  
  3. Inspections can catch maintenance issues early, saving you time and money. Tenants don’t know what to look for and may not report something until it’s too late, but inspectors will know if something that seems small is actually a big, costly maintenance issue waiting to happen. The only way to truly protect your rental investment in Fort Worth is to have a licensed inspector come out regularly to catch issues before they get expensive.
  4. Inspections improve tenant behavior. Regular inspections will keep tenants anxiously awaiting your arrival and making sure they’re not leaving the property too dirty or unkempt.
  5. Inspections create good relationships. The more you show that you care about your property and taking care of your tenant’s needs, the more your tenant will trust you and report issues back to you. Open communication and regular in-person inspections will create a better relationship and keep your rental investments in Fort Worth safe.  

How to Perform Rental Property Inspections 

  1. Set expectations with your tenant early in the process. Before your tenant even signs the lease agreement, make sure that they know how often inspections will be happening. Explain to them why inspections are so important, and have them mark their calendar for the dates you’ll be stopping by your rental property in Fort Worth. “Rent my home” should mean take care of it, but that doesn’t always translate. Make sure tenants take responsibility by signing a document that states they understand your inspection terms and will comply. As each inspection gets closer, send them a friendly reminder and make sure to give plenty of notice. Try to schedule inspections around the same time annually so that tenants know how to plan for each coming year. 
  2. Before tenants move in, take interior and exterior pictures of the property, making special notes of marks, spots or imperfections that are preexisting. If during an inspection, your tenants claim that a new mark was already there, you can show them photos as proof and let them know how any repairs will be handled, according to your lease agreement. Take more photos during each inspection so you’ll have something new to go off for the next visit. Be careful not to take photos of your tenants’ personal items as this article explains in “How to Perform a Rental Property Inspection”. Property owners with rental investments in Fort Worth know that they can trust the Specialized Property Management home inspectors to take pictures of all the rooms and areas of the house, including the exterior. They rely on them to take note of what needs repairing and report back. 

What to Inspect When You’re Inspecting

Every home inspector should have an idea of what to look for during a routine rental inspection, but with Specialized Property Management, you can rest assured that we will cover all the areas on your checklist and more. Rather than just checking for major maintenance issues, we’ll make sure that tenants are being compliant to all the terms of the lease agreement, such as number of residents in the home and whether or not there are pets. We’ll also notice things that other home inspectors may write off, such as a leaky pipe that could lead to a huge flooding disaster if left unattended. Your rental investment in Fort Worth and the included appliances, electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems, as well as the items included on this checklist, will last longer with regular performance checks, service, and filter changes. Our qualified home inspector will look at: 

  • The condition of the floors, walls, doors, and windows
  • The functionality of all appliances
  • The functionality and cleanliness of plumbing and pipes, check for any noticeable leaks
  • The functionality of all light fixtures and switches
  • That batteries are up to date in all smoke detectors
  • The functionality of electrical outlets
  • The functionality of heating and cooling systems, including water heater

Another thing that sets us apart from other home inspectors is that our team will repair issues while inspecting your rental investment in Fort Worth. It’s crucial that issues seen during an inspection, even if they seem small, are repaired promptly. Waiting to fix something usually leads to a bigger and more expensive problem down the road. 

Move-in and Move-out Inspections

We have been focusing on routine and seasonal inspections because move-in and move-out inspections should be common sense. No matter when your last inspection was, make sure to perform another one before any tenant moves into your property and before any tenant moves out. These inspections open up communication about the home’s current condition and sets the tone for what the tenant can expect from the property management company. Being at your rental investment in Fort Worth when a tenant moves in will also help reassure them and acknowledge that you are aware that any previous damage was not caused by them. During a move-out inspection, you can openly talk about any damage caused by the tenants and discuss how repairs will be paid. 

Specialized Fort Worth Property management 

Don’t let the task of regular inspections overwhelm you, especially if you have more than one rental property. Your Specialized Property Management team is designed to make life easier for you while saving you money by taking care of all inspections. We offer prompt and professional routine checks and communicate regularly with tenants to make sure they know what to expect. While performing inspections, we also perform quick and quality repairs, keeping your rental investment in Fort Worth safe and well taken care of. The better your property looks, the more tenants will want to take care of it themselves. 

Keep in mind that a well taken care of rental property will rent faster and sell at a higher price. We offer a free market assessment when you decide to hire Specialized Property Management, and our team of experts offer first-rate services and results when compared to other property management companies in Fort Worth. “Rent my home” will clearly translate to “take good care of my home” when regular, thorough inspections are happening. We’ll keep you up to date with each inspection by sending you condition reports and photos of both the interior and exterior of your property and make sure to give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice before the inspection. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you maintain your beautiful rental property. 

How to Select a Tenant with Fort Worth Property Management Services

So you want to rent out your investment property? Don’t tell anyone, or you may be bombarded with bad tenant horror stories. Other property owners will be happy to tell you all about their tenant selection mistakes. Unfortunately, these stories are common because property owners are more worried about avoiding vacancies in the beginning than they are about maintaining the value of their financial investment. Careless property owners can lead to careless tenants who cause property damage, legal issues, and even eviction which results in out of pocket spending on home improvements, legal fees, and maintenance repairs. High tenant turnover also means longer and more frequent vacancy periods with no rent coming in while you clean up the messes from old tenants. Rather than assuming that you’ll be the exception to the rule, it’s best to prepare yourself and learn how to increase your cash flow by making careful tenant selection a priority and enlisting the help of professionals like Specialized Fort Worth property management services. 

Finding the Best Qualified Applicant

At Specialized Fort Worth, our proven process for tenant screening ensures well-qualified tenants exclusively occupy your property. We have no qualms about performing thorough checks that analyze credit, background, employment, and rental history of every tenant who is 18 years old or older. Finding reliable tenants can impact the value of your investment, save you money, help you avoid the stress of vacancies, and even renew your faith in the tenant-landlord relationship that carries such a negative stigma. Part of Specialized Fort Worth’s property management services includes helping you prepare a thorough screening application that complies with your local and state laws, helping you find a great tenant while protecting you from making any discriminatory remarks unknowingly. Amazing tenants do exist, but to find the diamonds in the rough, you’ve got to put in the work, or hire Fort Worth property management services to do the work for you. Make sure that your application process follows the checklist below: 

  • Tenant applicants must be at least 18 years old and if there is more than one adult, each needs to fill out a comprehensive application. 
  • Be clear about the amount of rent and security deposit due and the due date each month. Tenant’s income must equal at least 3 times the rent rate. This decreases the risk of late rent payments. 
  • Make sure the security deposit required is significantly more than the monthly rent so potential tenants know that you are serious. 
  • Check credit, past employment, and income. Ask for a written explanation of poor credit scores. 
  • Ask about the last 2 years of rental history, if the rent was paid punctually and if damage was caused to the apartment. 
  • Require a criminal background check. Be on the lookout for those with a history of drugs, theft, violence, or sexual offenders. 
  • Call references like former employers, previous landlords, and colleagues and ask about the tenants’ behaviors, habits, and ability to pay rent on time. 
  • Stay current on federal and local laws and be sure to be in compliance with them. Fort Worth property management services can protect you against accidentally discriminating against prospective tenants based on race, color, gender, sex, religion, or service animals. 
  • Be clear about expectations and your role vs. the tenant’s role. Determine if they will be able to handle any situation with clear communication and a mature attitude. 
  • Always meet potential renters in person before signing any documents. You can tell a lot from a first impression and much miscommunication can be avoided when speaking face to face. 

Choose the Right Property Location

If you want the best tenants, you’ll want to make sure that the property you are investing in is located in a good area. This will attract tenants who are responsible and want to stay for an extended amount of time. Consider the quality of the school district, nearby shopping centers, the cleanliness of surrounding neighborhoods, and the safety of the area as well. Once you have great tenants, it will be easier to practice tenant retention. 

The Fair Housing Act 

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 save you hundreds of dollars, if you allow the professionals 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. 

The Importance of Background Checks

An independent research firm, Liminality, Inc, conducted a survey recently on behalf of a nationwide property management firm. A survey of 150 rental owners who were self-managing their property revealed that some don’t conduct background checks at all, and those who do are not strict or thorough about it. Implementing Fort Worth property management services will ensure that a thorough background check is performed for each potential tenant. Not performing background checks increases your chances of renting to criminals, posing a threat to neighbors, the value of your investment, and your steady stream of income. The Bureau of Justice reported in 2014 that 76.6% of prisoners released in 2005 were rearrested within five years. In fact, 21% of the property owners surveyed said that they “sometimes or never” conduct background checks on potential tenants. They also reported these frightening statistics: 

  • Only 44% check for a previous sex offender
  • Only 51% perform a criminal background check
  • 23% “sometimes or never” require credit checks
  • Only 51% call previous rental references 

Red Flags to Watch Out For 

Fort Worth property management services can guide you on exactly what to look for in a potential tenant-responsible, trustworthy, law-abiding, etc. but being on the lookout for red flags is equally important. Many people can seem great at first, but over time reveal their true character. If you keep your eyes peeled for the following signs, you’ll protect yourself from future headaches and out-of-pocket expenses: 

  • Late to Meetings – If you set up an appointment with a potential tenant to show them a property and they are more than 5-10 minutes late without a good reason, you may have a problem. If they can’t respect your schedule and be on time, they are likely to be late paying rent as well. 
  • Disheveled Appearance – We aren’t talking about discrimination based on looks, because that would not be in compliance with the Fair Housing Act. We are talking about taking notice of how someone chooses to present themselves. When they meet you for the first time, they should look at it almost as a job interview because they’re trying to make a good first impression. If they look like they don’t take care of themselves, how can you trust them to take care of your property? 
  • Wrong Information – If a tenant is being dishonest and reporting untrue information on their application, it’s a clear sign that they can’t be trusted. Faulty information is defined as either false or unable to be verified. It’s normal for some applicants to accidentally miss a section or misunderstand something, but when you call them about it, they should be able to provide that information or correct it right away. 
  • Inability to Pay – Specialized Fort Worth property management services require a fee before prospective tenants can fill out an application. The fee is usually $25-30 and pays for the background/criminal check. This is normal, but if a tenant can’t pay the amount right away, they probably also don’t have the funds to pay for rent. 

Fort Worth Property Management Services

Take advantage of Specialized Fort Worth’s property management services that include inspections, marketing, showing, collecting rent, maintenance, monthly reporting, and possibly most importantly, tenant screening and selection. Our team of professionals will not only find the best tenants for you, they will also interact with them and address any tenant concerns during their stay at your property. Our goal is to reduce your risk while minimizing costs and maximizing cash flow on your rental property. With over 30 years of experience and a 98% customer satisfaction rate, you can be sure that your investment is safe with us. Contact us today to learn more about tenant selection and our property management services. 

Understanding Lease Agreements with Fort Worth Rental Management

When you choose to invest in a property, you bear the responsibility of knowing everything there is to know about housing laws on a local, state, and federal level. If you rent out your property, you’ll also need to be aware of what a lease entails and when you have the right to terminate a lease. Your lease or rental agreement should contain general core elements as well as specific regulations depending on the state you live in. In the state of Texas, Fort Worth rental management like Specialized Fort Worth property management can ensure that you are current on all rental agreement issues outlined below and that you don’t unknowingly discriminate against prospective tenants or create a reason for a small claims lawsuit. With over 25 years of experience, we can prepare and execute lease documents with precision and according to law while addressing all the rules and regulations that govern a rental agreement. With effective communication and mutual respect, landlords and tenants can make changes as needed and create an agreement that fits both of their circumstances and needs. 

What is a Lease?

A lease or rental agreement is a binding contract between two people or parties which states the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of each while the lease is in effect as well as some of the consequences for not fulfilling them. Both landlords and prospective tenants should carefully look over all of the outlined terms and make sure they understand everything clearly before signing the document. If there is a disagreement between the landlord and tenant, city or state officials may step in to clarify and delegate parts of the lease agreement to the correct party. 

The Need to Have it in Writing

The Texas Statute of Frauds declares that a rental agreement is only required to be in writing if the contract is intended for longer than a year. In some cases, it is true that an oral agreement is valid in court. However, Fort Worth rental management companies should have a written lease with tenants even if a lease agreement is for shorter than a year. A written lease is a good idea to protect both the landlord and the tenant, and to document rental expectations in order to avoid future misunderstandings. 

What to Include in a Lease

Depending on the state you live in, the specific requirements for properties will change, but there are general requirements that Fort Worth rental management include as well. The lease will include the names of each party involved as well as the property’s description and location. Terms of the lease will be clearly stated, including the amount of rent, its due date, security deposit requirements, and pet rules. This legal contract will also outline the process for requesting maintenance and repairs. After both parties sign the lease, there are few situations that can legally void the agreement and they often call for legal involvement. 

Leases in Texas

In addition to the general rental agreement standards stated above, the state of Texas can be different in the following ways:

  • Disclosures: Fort Worth rental management must include a full disclosure in the agreements explaining who will make repairs and who is authorized to act on behalf of the landlord to make repairs when the landlord is unable to do so.  
  • Security Deposits: The state of Texas doesn’t control the amount landlords charge for their security deposits, but it does require that deposits be returned within 30 days to the tenant, separate from deductions for cleaning and repairs.
  • Small Claims Lawsuits: If tenants want to sue Fort Worth rental management companies for the return of their deposit, they can do so for up to $10,000. 

The Importance of Property Condition

When tenants or property owners don’t take care of a building and don’t perform their other responsibilities, both parties listed in the lease contract need to know their legal rights in regard to breaking their lease agreement. Property condition is a huge factor for both sides, as well as promptly taking care of maintenance issues. Rather than allowing your building to fall into disarray, it’s best to hire a professional Fort Worth rental management company who can take preventative measures to make sure that property condition is never a factor in breaking a lease agreement. 

Disability Lease Requirements

As a property owner, you should be able to know who is protected under the law, especially when it comes to tenants who have a disability in order to avoid legal problems in Fort Worth. A person is considered disabled and therefore legally protected if: 

  • They have a written record of a disability
  • They experience either a mental or physical disability that limits their ability to perform major life activities
  • They are recognized by others as having a disability 

Fair Housing Requirements 

Being aware of the Fair Housing Act and those who are protected by it could save you from making unintentional discriminatory mistakes in conversation, lease agreements, and more as a property owner. People are protected from being denied housing because of race, color, sex, religion, children, or disability by the Fair Housing Act. This means that your application for housing should not ask questions about these specific subjects. Fort Worth rental management can help you create a non-discriminatory application for prospective tenants. 

Reasonable Changes to Property

In special circumstances, especially in the case of a disability, tenants can ask for reasonable changes to the property to accommodate their specific needs. Reasonable changes are usually paid for by the tenant, and the property is required to be put back to its original condition when the tenant leaves. All reasonable changes and agreements must be stated in the lease and understood completely by both landlord and tenant. 

Consider Pet Policies

One mistake to be sure to avoid is not allowing service animals in your rental. Even if you have a no-pet policy, service animals are required by law to be the exception and can cost you a large fine if you don’t allow them or if you charge an additional pet fee for them. Check with your Fort Worth rental management company for a list of the exceptions and regulations with this law so that you are protected legally. 

Lease Termination

According to the state of Texas, Fort Worth rental management companies and tenants are allowed to terminate a lease in 3 ways. A lease naturally terminates after the agreed lease time has ended, landlords can create a new lease agreement, or tenants can move out of the unit. As with everything else surrounding property renting and management, general rules and regulations have the tendency to become complex. Hiring a team of professionals like Specialized Fort Worth property management will prepare you for the unexpected and protect you from making costly mistakes. 

Tenant and Landlord Agree to Terminate Lease

Sometimes leases need to be terminated before their natural ending because of unforeseen events. Texas law states that Fort Worth rental management companies must allow a tenant to terminate a lease early in the case of domestic violence involved an issued protective order and the need to leave for safety reasons. Another reason one might terminate their lease early is for active military duty. A property owner is required to respect a lease cancellation when a tenant gives 30 days notice for this reason. Examples of these early lease cancellation scenarios should be clearly dictated at the time of signing the lease agreement. Other circumstances may be cause for an early lease termination, but the key is to communicate with your tenant or landlord so there are no misunderstandings and everything is agreed upon in an amicable way. 

Landlord or Tenant Break Terms of Agreement

In some cases, amicable lease cancellation just doesn’t happen. If an agreement was signed and then responsibilities not met by either or both parties, the lease document is considered void. Examples of this may be the property not being properly maintained as promised by the property owner or the tenant avoiding payment of rent. In either case, action can be taken to terminate the lease. The best way to handle this situation maturely is to: 

  • Have a good reason why the lease needs to be broken
  • Keep accurate records
  • Give as much notice as possible
  • Be respectful to the other party

Eviction Policies

Fort Worth property owners can legally give a tenant who is not paying their rent an unconditional quit notice which gives them a limited number of days to move out. We recommend hiring Fort Worth rental management companies  to handle an eviction situation because there are eviction policies that need to be carefully followed on both state and local levels. These policies should also be included in the rental agreement. 

Fort Worth Rental Management

With all the details involved in a lease document, it’s crucial that property owners seek professional help from rental management companies. Specialized Property Management in Fort Worth, TX has over 30 years experience working with lease agreements and tenants. With our 98% customer satisfaction rating, you can rest assured that we care about what we do and are committed to keeping owners and tenants happy with their rental experience. Avoid mistakes and stay ahead of the property management game by putting our proven processes and expert team to work for you. Visit our website today and see the difference we can make with your lease options and tenant retention. 

Fall and Winter Maintenance with Fort Worth Residential Property Management

Every property owner knows that owning a home requires maintenance. Some things you can do yourself, while others are better completed by hired professionals. Whether you are currently living in your property or if you are renting out a unit to tenants, being on top of the different maintenance required during each season and knowing who you can depend on to complete each task is important to protect your investment. 

“Some managers forget to think ahead to the next season early enough, so tenants are comfortable when weather changes start to turn cooler,” says the Operations Director at Specialized. “Getting the furnace ready before it turns cool means your tenants don’t have to wait to be comfortable in their homes when the weather surprises us with change.”

The more organized and proactive you are with maintenance, the more time and money you’ll save avoiding the need for repairs in the future and the happier your tenants will be. If you’re not sure whether you have the time or ability to complete all the maintenance tasks required each season, consider hiring a property management company. Specialized Fort Worth residential property management company has a team of experts that know what to do each season and the most efficient and effective ways to do it. We’ve included tips on getting your property rent ready and compiled a list of items to look out for each Fall and Winter and how to stay ahead of costly mistakes. Whether you want to do it yourself or have our team take care of it, you’ll want to be very familiar with the following maintenance tips.

Getting Your Property Rent Ready

Before worrying about regular maintenance, make sure that your property is rent ready for potential tenants. Without being presentable and up to code, your property won’t have the chance to be maintained until it’s fixed. Have someone come out to do an evaluation and let you know what needs to be done. Fort Worth residential property management can perform an honest and proper evaluation for you and then help fix any problems. Take the time now to remodel, update, and improve the curb appeal and the value of your property will increase. This may allow you to charge higher for rent and attract tenants who are well qualified. Once your home is functional and beautiful, it will be much easier to keep up with regular maintenance each season and even lower maintenance costs. 

Fall

Check HVAC Units and Clean Fireplace

Because of the constantly changing weather in Texas, it’s important to keep both your heater and AC unit in good working conditions. Clean or replace the AC ventilation system filters often and get rid of any fan and airway buildup. Make sure to bleed any air from hot water radiator systems and clean the dust off the fan blades as well. We also suggest you check humidity levels and execute any needed maintenance on humidifiers or dehumidifiers. Fall is a great time to cover outdoor AC units and do a chimney sweep on your fireplace as well. Rather than waiting on you while being cold, thinking ahead during the fall will ensure that your tenants will be comfortable all winter long. 

Property Inspection

About once a season or twice a year, it’s a good idea to hire a licensed inspector to walk around your property and inspect everything (both inside and outside) and ensure that it’s as it should be and that lease compliance is in order. At Specialized Fort Worth residential property management, our trusted experts perform property inspections for you and check for the following things: 

  • Loose or buckling carpet
  • Unstable stair railings
  • Hot electrical outlets
  • Fully charged fire extinguishers
  • Potential fire hazards
  • Smoke detector and Co2 detector with working batteries
  • Working shut off valves for gas and water 

This inspection will alert you of items you may not be watching out for on your own. It’s important to hire someone who is honest and thorough in their inspection and will help you save money, rather than cost you more in the long run. Once you know what needs to be fixed, you can then utilize trustworthy maintenance companies or Specialized Fort Worth’s team of trusted repair companies to quickly and properly perform the correct maintenance. 

Landscaping 

Fall is the best time to landscape your property’s lawn by fertilizing it, trimming trees and bushes, and removing any plants or roots that affect the foundation, siding or brick of your property. Tidying up leaves in the fall and making sure that any clutter is cleaned up off of your lawn before winter hits will keep your property looking beautiful while avoiding potential hazards. Our team can give you tips on how to increase your curb appeal in a way that doesn’t require an excessive amount of maintenance when you call our Specialized Fort Worth residential property management company. 

Fall Cleaning

Spring isn’t the only time you can declutter and clean. With any change of the seasons, it can be a good time to get a fresh start and do a deep clean. Vacuum under appliances while you’re vacuuming out vents, deep clean bathrooms, carpets, and rugs. Clean your garbage disposal by running ice through it one time, and following up with hot water and baking soda. Store summer items like water toys, garden tools and your hose in the garage for the winter months. Clean windows and blinds and take the time to deep clean areas that normally don’t get any attention like baseboards and beneath couch cushions. Anything that needs attention should be cleaned in the fall so that you don’t have to worry about it in the winter, when you’re less motivated to get outside and preoccupied with holiday celebrations and family get-togethers. 

Winter

Indoor Pipes and Outdoor Faucets

Fort Worth doesn’t often get below freezing, but when it does, it can wreak havoc on your indoor pipes. Avoid your pipes freezing by wrapping them in heat cables or flexible tubular pipe insulation. Heat cables use a low electrical current to warm the lines, preventing freezing from taking place. Do this with pipes underneath sinks as well as around your attic. Exposed plastic or copper pipes need to be wrapped as well. If your home has a pier and beam foundation, make sure to insulate short runs of pipe that might be exposed. To protect outdoor water faucets, purchase hard faucet covers to place over the spigots. 

If your property doesn’t have anyone living in it and you’re not in town, call your Fort Worth residential property management company and have them make sure it’s protected for the winter. It’s best to turn the heat on just above freezing to prevent any damage. Try opening cabinets as well to let warm air into areas where pipes are located. Barely turning on the faucets to let a tiny trickle of water flow through the pipes is a great way to avoid them freezing as well. 

Change Furnace Filters Monthly

Another tip for winter is to make sure that the filters in your heating unit are working and your vents are clean. After an entire summer of using the AC to keep cool, your heater may not be able to function properly unless it’s cleaned out. During the winter, with the constant use of the heater, you’ll want to change out your furnace filters monthly. Also keep an eye on sink drains to make sure they are clear of debris and draining properly.

Tenant Responsibilities

Though you’re the property owner, your tenants have maintenance responsibilities as well. Knowing what you’re in charge of vs. what they’re in charge of will save you the headache of taking on unnecessary work. Make sure that when they sign their lease, they know what they’re responsible for and then check in every season to see that they’re doing it. Fort Worth residential property management at Specialized Fort Worth can communicate with tenants for you in a clear and professional way so that you don’t have to worry about a strained relationship and unnecessary drama. 

  1. Report and take care of safety hazards like bulky carpets or loose hand railings
  2. Make sure electrical sockets are not warm to the touch 
  3. Keep fire extinguishers properly charged 
  4. Install fresh batteries in any alarms in the home 
  5. Be familiar with household safety and emergency plans, knowing where gas and water shut off valves are located
  6. Clean/replace filters and vents routinely
  7. Ensure all doors and windows function properly
  8. Clean drains and traps for correct drainage
  9. Keep outdoor are clean and tidy

Fort Worth Residential Property Management 

When you invest in any property, taking good care of it pays off in the long run. It will keep your property looking and working great, allowing tenants to have consistently positive experiences and in turn providing you with consistent income. Part of making sure your property is taken care of correctly is hiring the right property management company. Specialized Fort Worth residential property management with its 98% customer satisfaction rating and over 30 years of experience and has seen it all, including the occasional Texas snowfall. We allow you to manage your business while we keep your unit well maintained, retain curbside appeal, and communicate with tenants about their maintenance responsibilities. 

“Property inspections and communication with tenants is always a good idea for being proactive with your property management responsibilities,” advises the Operations Director at Specialized Fort Worth.

Contact us today to learn more about how Specialized Fort Worth property management can take the best care of your property. 

Advantages of Using Fort Worth Real Estate Management

There’s a common real estate misconception that properties are easy to manage among those who have never tried it. Those who have tried it know that the opposite is true. Owning any type of property is a lot of work, but a rental property is all that work and then some. Trying to do it all on your own is unwise, especially if you’re new to the game. Relying on one-man operations and local mom-and-pop property managers may save you money in the beginning, but they most likely don’t offer expertise in every area of management (even if they claim as much) and can end up costing you more money in the long run than a professional team of Fort Worth real estate management like Specialized Property Management offers. 

We understand that renting out a property, and doing it correctly, takes a team of experts in every area from marketing and tenant screening to collecting rent and complying with legal laws. It’s your decision how much your time is worth, but when you think about the amount of money and time you’ll save in the long run by investing upfront with a property management company you can rely on, you’ll realize that trusting Specialized Fort Worth Property Management is the wise choice. We’ve listed all the services offered at Fort Worth Property Management, and how they can help you live the dream of enjoying your ROI without the management headaches.  

Reducing and Avoiding Vacancies

The last thing you should be worrying about when you own a rental property is vacancies. When no one is occupying your unit, you’re losing money, which means you have to stress about how to market your property and find new tenants fast. This can lead to accepting any willing tenant and causing problems later on because of insufficient screening. Our Specialized Fort Worth real estate management company can reduce vacancies and save you money by managing tenants in a professional way, collecting rent consistently and efficiently, and always marketing your property using the best marketing techniques to keep new, reliable tenants on the horizon and ready to move in at a moment’s notice. 

Selecting and Enforcing the Best Rental Rates

Most property owners want to charge enough to cover their expenses plus make a profit, but aren’t sure what’s marketable for the area. Our property management company will assess the area and see what current rental rates are. We’ll also compare with the quality and location of your property and set the best rental rate to ensure your costs are covered, tenants are happy, and you’re not exceeding any rental rate limits for the area. The right price will increase the marketability of your property, help make you more money on a consistent basis, and attract the right tenants. 

Tenant Selection

Specialized Property Management is the rare Fort Worth real estate management company that will make sure to screen each and every tenant so that you don’t have to worry about unreliable income or disrespectful neighbors. We screen potential tenants by performing background checks, calling references, checking their credit and income, and requiring a thorough questionnaire. The best tenants will pay their rent on time, keep your property clean, and renew their contract year after year. We target those people through our marketing techniques and setting the optimal rental rate for the area. 

Dealing with Tenants

The number one reason you should trust our property management company rather than try to do it all yourself? You don’t have the time or energy to deal with tenants or their 1am phone calls. We have an entire team dedicated to handling all your tenants’ needs efficiently and effectively, in a way that makes them happy and doesn’t take up your time or interfere with your schedule. We’ll answer their phone calls and complaints in a timely manner, scheduling high quality maintenance from reliable vendors when needed as soon as possible. 

Marketing

If you want to fill vacancies, you’ve got to be ahead of the game when it comes to advertising. Our team includes marketing experts who will advertise aggressively and generate lots of interested callers. Don’t block your own cash flow and slow down the process by trying to do it all yourself. We’ll meet with potential tenants, perform walk-throughs, and mediate the relationships between tenants and neighbors while you focus on spending your time however you want to. At Specialized Fort Worth real estate management, we now offer the time saving tool of electronic showings. We understand that some people don’t have the time or patience to coordinate a walk-through with one of our team members and we don’t want to lose their business because of a scheduling conflict. That’s why we allow them to view your property on their own time through access to a lockbox after they’ve been screened and had their identity verified for security purposes. This process helps speed up the process, reducing vacancies and establishing trust with your future tenant. 

The Office Work

The paperwork alone of owning a rental property is a headache. Let us take care of administrative office management record keeping, preparing reports, accounting, contracting maintenance, creating budgets, and writing lease agreements. All of this paperwork is time-consuming and easy to make simple mistakes on. Our team of Fort Worth real estate management professionals will stay on top of everything for you, keeping the office part of management organized and mistake-free. Trying to do all these tasks on your own can be time-consuming and lead to the loss of potential tenants or legal issues due to mere disorganization or procrastination. 

The School Work 

If your unit is in a HomeOwners’ Association community, you may be required to attend classes or meetings for your property. These classes help you stay up to date on rental laws, tax information, and the latest approaches to property management. Your representation will be desired and possibly mandated at community meetings, local board meetings, and property investment meetings. Save yourself the time and hassle by hiring our team of experts at Specialized Fort Worth real estate management. We are experts on the topics you’ll learn about in those classes and if need be, we can represent your property for you at meetings. 

Collecting and Depositing Rent 

“My check is still in the mail” sound familiar? Every day that you sit around waiting for a check to arrive or for rent to come through, you’re losing money. We’ve created systems like online payment options and a 24/7 online tenant portal to make sure that rent is collected quickly and in turn, deposited to you right away. Our effective tenant screening system combined with our smooth rent collection process makes payday something you can finally rely on from your property.

Cost-effective Maintenance and Vendors

One of the hardest parts about trying to manage your own company is finding maintenance specialists, contractors, cleaning services, landscapers, and other vendors on whom you can rely. These kinds of businesses are known for being hard to find and even harder to form a long-term relationship with. Most Fort Worth real estate management companies won’t take the time to find quality vendors, costing you more money when one doesn’t show up to a job or perform a task correctly and efficiently. Because we are a reliable source of income for these types of companies, we’ve collected a list of vendors that we know we can trust to not only perform high-quality work, but to show up, be on time, and charge fair rates. 

Meeting and Addressing Legal Issues

There are so many codes and laws on both the local, state, and federal levels and keeping track of them plus the constant changes is exhausting. That’s why you should trust our experts who know exactly what the laws are and will update you as they change. We can protect you from making any mistakes that you may unknowingly commit which could lead to costly fines. Work with us and we’ll make sure that you’re in compliance with fair housing rules, discrimination laws, and property laws on every level. We also offer legal services as needed.  

Fort Worth Real Estate Management 

Being wise about your property investment means setting realistic expectations. Owning a property itself is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Renting it out to tenants is even more so. Turn over all the stress and hassle of the management duties to our team of experienced professionals at Specialized Fort Worth real estate management company to avoid common mistakes made by Fort Worth property managers, and enjoy your free time while the rent payments roll in each month. 

When you actually crunch the numbers, you’ll see that the time and money you save by delegating each of these tasks to our team of professionals who work together to manage every sector for you is undeniable. With over 30 years in the business, the knowledge and expertise we have at Specialized Property Management is worth the investment. We are one of the industry leaders in Fort Worth real estate management because of our proven systems. Trust us with your property for complete peace of mind. Give us a call today to find out more about how we can help with your properties and increase your return on investment.

Fort Worth Property Management Companies’ Investment Advice

If you’re ready to invest in a home and rent it out to make a profit, now is a great time to do it. The market is great and home values are going up. According to Norada Real Estate Investments, “If you are a homebuyer or real estate investor, Fort Worth definitely has a track record of being one of the best long term real estate investments in the country through the last ten years.” There are also more renters now than ever before as millennials begin to settle down while still wanting the freedom that comes from renting. Single family homes are becoming increasingly popular, and your decision to invest should be an easy one. Let Fort Worth property management companies be your guide as you do your research. Specialized Property Management has over 30 years of experience and an in-depth knowledge of the rental industry and how to make the wisest home purchases. There’s more to being a property owner than buying a home and recruiting tenants, and we’ll explain what. 

Location

“Location, location, location” is a famous saying for a reason. Location in real estate is so important because it affects the type of tenants you attract, how much you should charge for rent, and the local regulations you’ll need to adhere to. When you’re looking at locations, notice what is within 20 miles of your property, such as access to a main road or freeway, good schools, parks, local amenities, shopping malls, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and public transportation. Every aspect of where your property is located will affect your return on investment. Check with current landlords in the area and get information on their situation. Do they have lower vacancies? How much do they charge for rent? Are homes appreciating in value so you can raise the price of rent year after year? Fort Worth property management companies like Specialized Fort Worth may have access to information about certain areas of Fort Worth that you don’t. Let us advise you on the best places to invest and why to help your bottom line even more. Once you’ve decided to purchase a home based on Specialized’s expert advice, we’ll help you market it, set the proper price for rent, and make the most out of the location you’ve chosen.

Family Lifestyle

Millennials are growing up and wanting to start a family, but prefer to rent than buy. They love the idea of a single family home they can rent because it means all the pros of having a home with less of a commitment than buying their own home. They may want to stay long term, meaning they’ll take good care of your property and you’ll have fewer vacancies to worry about. Use this knowledge to your advantage and make sure your property is family friendly. Those who are responsible enough to plan a family usually make great tenants. Look for qualities in properties such as a fenced yard, at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, around 2,000 square feet, adequate storage space, and laundry hook-ups. Fort Worth property management companies will tell you to avoid homes with no master bathroom, located on a busy street, with unusual layouts, and built more than 25 years ago. Good schools are a great selling point as well. Try to look for schools that rank high on test scores and have a positive reputation. 

Local Regulations

Every city has their own set of rules and regulations to follow when it comes to housing. In some areas, you can be fined for not following certain ordinances. There are ordinances and construction codes surrounding everything from noise ordinances to electrical wire codes. One simple mistake could cost you a large sum of money if you aren’t paying attention, and rules are subject to change. Fort Worth property management companies like Specialized Property Management has a team of experts who already know the ins and outs of each city’s municipal regulations. Trust them to protect your investment by informing you of regulations to follow and then helping you continue to follow them year after year. When regulations change, we know about it and make sure that you’re following everything correctly. What you pay our property management team won’t compare to the money you’ll save by not paying fees issued to you from the local government. 

Homeowners’ Association

You may get excited if you discover a property for sale that has a Homeowners’ Association, and you should be. HOAs are excellent for keeping the neighborhood clean, creating a safe and friendly environment for families, and creating less maintenance work for you. However, if you aren’t familiar with the rules and codes for your HOA, you could lose time and money by violating the rules unknowingly. This article from MorrisInvest goes into detail about if you should buy a rental property with an HOA. When you hire experienced Fort Worth property management companies, they can help you decide if it’s worth it to pay the HOA fee in addition to property taxes and mortgage payments, and how much you should charge for rent in order to still make a profit. They’ll also be aware of the HOA’s policies and help your property stay in line. 

Age of the Property

It can be tempting to invest in an older home because the price is lower, but think about the long term costs. When you invest in a home that is less than 15 years old, you’ll automatically be paying less for renovation costs and maintenance costs in the future. You’ll also be able to charge more for rent just because it’s a newer home. Additionally, you’ll attract more potential tenants which means high quality tenants and fewer vacancies. Chances are newer homes are in good, safe, neighborhoods as well. If you find a newer home that could still use a little updating, ask the advice of Fort Worth property management companies. Specialized Property Management’s team of experts can advise you on how to update your home in quick and inexpensive ways to make the most impact and attract the best tenants. 

Single Home vs. Group of Homes

If you’re looking to invest in more than one home, it’s a good idea to purchase your homes in a group. When they’re all in the same neighborhood and you know that that neighborhood is family friendly, clean, safe, and close to attractive amenities, you’ll be able to make twice the money by investing in twice the properties. When you need to stop by and check on one home, you can use the same trip to check on others without driving all over town. You’ll also be familiar with the market in that area and have an influence on the going rate for rent. Fort Worth property management companies will also tell you to be efficient with your time. Not only should you invest in properties that are close to each other, but that are close to you. Buying properties on your way home from work, church, or anywhere else you frequently go to will save you time and money. 

Stay in Your State

Fort Worth is an excellent place to invest in a rental property but you may be thinking about looking outside of Texas to invest as well. Some reasons why people invest in property out-of-state is because they want to diversify their investment portfolio or properties are more affordable somewhere else. This can be a risky decision because it will be harder to check on your home and stay up to date on changing regulations for that city vs. Fort Worth. Consider these issues if you are thinking about investing in out-of-state property. It may be worth it, but the risks are high. If you do decide to invest out of state, seriously consider hiring a property management company that you trust to take proper care of your home and send you frequent reports. 

Fort Worth Property Management Companies

Investing in single family rental homes is a great way to make money and diversify your residential management property portfolio. Deciding what and where to buy is really important to your overall success and can be overwhelming. Take advantage of Specialized Fort Worth’s property management company services that include inspections, marketing, showing, setting the rent rate, collecting rent, maintenance, monthly reporting, and tenant screening and selection. Our team of professionals will help you find the best properties in the best areas and then manage them for you for as long as you need us to. In addition to taking great care of your property, we’ll also interact with tenants and address any tenant concerns during their stay at your property. Our goal is to reduce your risk while minimizing costs and maximizing cash flow on your rental property. With over 30 years of experience and a 98% customer satisfaction rate, you can be sure that your investment is safe with us. Contact us today to learn more about rental investments and our property management services. 

How Fort Worth Property Managers Deal with Untidy Tenants

Dealing with even the most ideal tenants in the world can be time consuming and stressful. Part of owning a rental property is making sure that your tenants are happy and your investment is protected. However, it’s not possible to babysit your tenants every minute of the day to make sure everything is staying clean (even a Fort Worth residential property management company wouldn’t do that), and you can’t expect a professional cleaning level from people with busy lives and families. That’s why we’ve compiled some ideas for you on how to best deal with untidy tenants and improve the landlord-tenant relationship. At Specialized Fort Worth, we have over 30 years of experience and have encountered every kind of situation. We’ll help you look at your property as a business investment and focus on making the most money while helping your property stay clean and your tenants happy.

Set Clear and Realistic Expectations

Most lease agreements are simple-a property owner provides the home and a tenant agrees to pay rent for that home. Added in are the rules and regulations governing that basic agreement. Enlist the help of a Fort Worth property manager to make sure you’ve covered everything you need to for legal protection. Included in those rules should be a clear list of expectations regarding the behavior of the tenant and cleanliness of the property. Some agreements may need to be altered to fit a specific situation or tenant, but with clear communication and respect, property owners and tenants should be able to reach an understood consensus. If either party wishes to terminate a lease agreement for one reason or another, this can be achieved in three basic ways:

  • A Lease Agreement Expires
  • Tenant and Landlord Agree to Terminate the Lease
  • Landlord or Tenant Break Terms of Agreement

Untidy Tenants

Difficult tenants are one thing, but dirty tenants can actually hurt your profits because leasing out dirty or damaged properties is extremely difficult. By using a Fort Worth property manager like Specialized Fort Worth to properly screen your tenants, you have a better chance at avoiding dirty situations all together. However, some tenants that seem responsible and tidy at first, may slack off and leave your property in disarray over time. Property owners aren’t allowed to claim that a tenant is untidy unless they have reason to believe they are violating health or fire codes, or causing damage to the property, other people, or themselves. Some examples of dirty tenant situations that would qualify are: 

  • Hoarders
  • Mold growth
  • Animal feces outside of a litter box
  • Garbage that is over one week old
  • Signs of rodents or roaches
  • Unsafe chemicals in or around the property 
  • Rotten food or dirty dishes that are never cleaned
  • Junk blocking the furnace intake and preventing air circulation

If your property has encountered any of the above, action needs to be taken immediately. This is something that Fort Worth residential property management can take care of for you if you don’t have the time or energy. If you’ve stated cleanliness terms in your lease, you can mandate those terms to your tenant. An example would be having your lease state that the tenant must hire a monthly maid service. If it’s not included in your lease, you can tell tenants to leave at the end of their lease. If they fail to clean when it’s time to leave, hire a cleaning company and deduct the money spent from their security deposit. This should be stated in your lease agreement. 

Teach Them How to Clean

Some tenants are untidy simply because they’ve never been taught how to clean. Picking up could be their definition of cleanliness while yours is deep cleaning the baseboards and the bathtub. Make sure tenants know what you expect by laying it out clearly in the lease agreement and by physically showing them. A Fort Worth property manager has your property’s best interest at heart and will take the time to show tenants what’s expected of them to keep the property looking its best. If you take the opportunity to teach them how to clean in a patient, non-condescending way, you may protect your property and help someone learn a skill they’ll use for the rest of their life. 

Hoarders

If it’s more than just a cleanliness issue and there is stuff piled up throughout the property, your tenant may have a hoarding disorder. Fort Worth residential property management understands that hoarding disorders are real mental disorders that can dangerous conditions. Those affected by this disorder struggle with “extreme anxiety or depression that prevents them from getting rid of anything they have collected in their home.  As a result, they develop an extreme emotional attachment to their belongings and allow them to build up to a dangerous level.  Because hoarding disorder is officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, it is considered a disability. This means that hoarders are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act and landlords must try to reasonably help and accommodate the affected individuals before they can resort to eviction.”

 How to handle a hoarder tenant is a difficult and sensitive question that many property owners face. The first step is to make sure that your lease agreement carefully outlines your expectations for your property and clearly states that clutter cannot build up for health and safety reasons. If you’re not sure how to set expectations while complying with the Fair Housing Act, ask an experienced Fort Worth property manager, like Specialized Fort Worth. 

Helping a Hoarder Tenant

If your tenant needs professional help to clean and restore the home, as well as help from a social worker or psychologist to heal mentally and emotionally, you may be responsible as the property owner. 

  • Talk to them: Discuss with them what they can do to help themselves first. Explain the risks to their safety and health and start with simple tasks like clearing walkways and throwing away garbage. Be patient with them and show compassion. 
  • Make a written plan: Writing out a specific cleaning process can help the tenant. Start with simple tasks and gradually introduce larger ones to clear out clutter. 
  • Involve professionals: Most hoarders don’t think that they have a problem. Hire counseling professionals to help the hoarder face their disorder and receive treatment. Professionals can also provide hoarding clean up services to thoroughly clean and restore the home. Keep track of what you do and the expenses involved. 

If a tenant refuses to comply with the above actions, you may need to turn to eviction. Consult with a lawyer or our legal team at Specialized Fort Worth, Fort Worth’s residential property management company, to make sure that you aren’t breaking your lease contract or legal regulations.

How to Have a Positive Relationship with Tenants 

Fort Worth residential property management companies understand that when tenants and neighbors have a respectful relationship, the whole community benefits. Studies show that neighbors with good relationships make communities safer. Sadly, neighbors disagree sometimes, and so do tenants and property owners. When this happens between you and a tenant or one of your tenants and a neighbor, it can create tension or even disrupt the peace. Fort Worth property managers can reduce tension with tenants and between tenants and their neighbors with the right skills and experience.

  1. Clear Communication— It’s obvious that landlords and tenants need to have good communication. Don’t forget to include the neighbors in the loop, especially if something about your property directly impacts them.
  2. Thorough Tenant Screening Process— Placing quality tenants in your rental is the best way to avoid problems down the road. The best way to find those quality tenants is to screen tenant applications carefully.
  3. Noise Caused by Tenants— Fort Worth residential property management companies will tell you that noise from rentals is the fastest way to create tension with neighbors. Noise policies are explained before a tenant moves in and need to be strictly enforced.
  4. Property Upkeep and Care— Keeping a property looking nice always helps with neighborhood relations. Regular inspections should be conducted by your property management company. Fort Worth HOA communities may also have maintenance policies that need to be followed.
  5. Attentive Management— When Fort Worth residential property management companies proactively take care of tenants and property, neighbors will feel more comfortable about having a rental unit in the neighborhood.

With all the details involved in a landlord-tenant relationship and dealing with untidy or unruly tenants, it’s crucial that property owners seek professional help from Fort Worth property managers. Specialized Property Management in Fort Worth, TX has over 30 years experience working with lease agreements and tenants. With our 98% customer satisfaction rating, you can rest assured that we care about what we do and are committed to keeping owners and tenants happy with their rental experience. Visit our website today and see the difference we can make with your lease options and high quality tenant retention. Avoid mistakes and stay ahead of the property management game by putting our proven processes and expert team to work for you. 

Rental Property Safety with Fort Worth Property Management

Everyone knows that investing in rental property is a smart move. But what happens after you’re invested? The smartest thing you can do to ensure that you get a good return on investment is to keep your property safe. Following the general safety tips below during the winter months and into the rest of the year will keep your property looking and working great, keep your tenants safe, and save you money in repairs and maintenance. You’ll also learn how taking advantage of the services provided by Specialized Fort Worth property management can make your job as a property owner much easier. 

Smoke Detector

Make sure that you are checking your smoke detectors often. If you can’t remember the last time you checked them, and even if your property is brand new, test your smoke detectors today to make sure they’re still in good condition and then make a note to check them again around the same time each month. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing your smoke alarm batteries as needed and changing the alarm out about every ten years to keep them in peak condition. The best place to install your smoke detectors is outside of bedrooms to prevent fires. Specialized property management Fort Worth can help educate your tenants on how old your smoke detectors are and encourage them to test the alarms and change out the batteries as needed. 

Kitchen Fire Safety

Amidst the hustle and bustle of cooking for the holidays, it can be extremely easy for fires to start in the kitchen during the months of November and December. In fact, cooking is “the number one cause of home fires and fire injuries”. The following statistics are according to the NFPA website from 2010-2014:

  • Cooking equipment was the number one cause of home fires and fire injuries, causing 46% of home fires that resulted in 19% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but clothing ignitions led to 18% of home cooking equipment fire deaths.
  • Ranges or cooktops accounted for the majority (62%) of home cooking fire incidents.
  • Unattended equipment was a factor in one-third (33%) of reported home cooking fires and half (49%) of the associated deaths.
  • Frying dominates the cooking fire problem.

If you’re worried about your kitchen, ask someone from our team at Specialized property management Fort Worth to take an inventory of your kitchen and make it as safe and fire-proof as possible. Make sure you have an easily accessible fire extinguisher on every level of your home, and especially in your kitchen. Keep your kitchen and home safe by always keeping a close eye on what your cooking in the kitchen, even if it means asking someone else to watch the oven while you take a break. Never leave the stove top unattended or leave your home while the oven is on.

Holiday Candles

The 2nd most common cause of fires are sweet smelling holiday candles. It’s ok to have them, just make sure that you are aware of which candles are lit and where they are in your home. Don’t leave the house or go to bed without blowing the candles out. If you are worried about forgetting, Fort Worth property management companies suggest getting a candle warmer or a scented plug-in that doesn’t involve any flames. 

Escape Route

Preventing fires is the smartest plan of action, but knowing what to do if a fire does happen is the next best thing. Take the time to sit down and create an escape route for your rental property and then have it displayed somewhere easy for tenants to see inside the property. If you don’t have time or aren’t sure how to educate your tenants on the details of an escape route, let Specialized Fort Worth property management do it for you. If you own a multi-level home, we’ll make sure that your tenants have a plan in place to efficiently move to the lower level because fire rises as it spreads. Everyone should be aware of basic fire safety rules when experiencing a fire, such as calling 911, leaving valuables behind, covering your nose, staying low to the ground, enacting “stop, drop, and roll” if fire catches on your clothing, and having a predetermined meeting place for everyone to go to once they get safely out of the house. 

Fireplace Safety

Another very common cause of destructive house fires during the winter months are caused by heating sources of fireplaces. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of all home fires occur in the months of December-February and common problems that can lead to fireplace fires are creosote buildup, lack of airflow, damage to the structure of the fireplace, flying sparks, or home decor near the fire. In order to keep your property as safe as possible and protect it from fireplace hazards, follow the following tips and enlist help from Specialized Fort Worth property management if needed:

  • Have the chimney inspected on an annual basis to ensure there is no creosote buildup. If the fireplace is a gas unit, don’t skip the inspection.
  • Change all smoke alarm batteries and ensure carbon monoxide detectors are in proper working order.
  • Have a fire extinguisher located at the property, and make sure that tenants know where it is located and how to use it.
  • Install safety features near the wall switch of gas fireplaces so that children can not accidentally turn it on.

Outside Safety 

Take an inventory every month of the outside of your rental unit to check for safety issues. Overgrown bushes can be considered a safety issue because unwanted animals and burglars can easily hide there. Keep your property safe by pruning overgrown shrubs and making the landscape look clean. At Specialized property management Fort Worth, we can install outdoor lighting for you. Not only will they keep your property safe, but they will also help light the path for tenants when they come home late at night, protecting them from trips and falls. If you notice any outdoor stairways that need repairs, try to get that fixed as soon as possible. Rain gutters and drains should be cleared so that they can function properly and exposed electrical wires should be hidden. 

Inside Safety

Keeping the inside of your home safe is equally as important as protecting the outside. When tenants move out, make sure to get new locks and keys before the new tenants move in. Keep the batteries up to date inside the home for smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors. Security systems can be installed by a Fort Worth property management company, and those can be linked directly to local police and fire departments. It can help keep your tenants and property even safer by having a list of all local emergency agencies or neighborhood watch groups somewhere visible in the home. 

Safety Inspections

Regularly checking on your home and performing preventative safety inspections and routine maintenance does cost money, but is always easier and more affordable than large repairs because of neglect. Keeping your property and tenants safe is not just about getting a great return on investment, it’s also about fulfilling your legal responsibilities as a property owner. Protect yourself, your property, and your tenants by doing the following and asking Specialized property management Fort Worth for assistance where needed: 

  • Getting Good Insurance – It’s pertinent that you have good insurance policies that cover your rental properties; otherwise you may find yourself losing money with these properties in the event of an accident.
  • Requiring Renters Insurance – If you’re really serious about lowering your risks, then you should require that the tenants of your homes for rent purchase renter’s insurance. Renters insurance is very inexpensive and it provides more coverage for the tenant in the event of an incident. Since tenants can make claims on their renters insurance if something happens to their rental and/or possessions, then you won’t have to worry as much about being held liable for the damage.
  • Taking Care of All Hazards – The majority of cases filed against rental property owners, generally have to do with negligence either by the owner himself or his property manager. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, make sure that regular inspections are done with each property you own and that all hazards are taken care of immediately.

Keeping your property safe and our customers happy are our top priorities at Specialized Fort Worth property management. We can help save you time and money each month when it’s time to perform safety inspections and test smoke detectors by doing it for you. We’ll even help educate your tenants on basic fire safety precautions and how to create an effective escape route. With our services, you have access to greater peace of mind knowing that your property is in good hands and your tenants are safe, meaning your investment is safe as well. Contact us today to learn more about how Specialized Fort Worth property management can take the best care of your property. 

The Advantages of Fort Worth Rental Property Management

Property owners think about the homes they own as a business investment. So focused on the possible profit and benefits of owning a home and renting it out, they often lose sight of the potential risks involved. Every investment that promises reward comes with its own risk. That’s why it’s important to beware of the potential for things to get scary. This Halloween, don’t let spooky mishaps and haunting management mistakes get in the way of your fun. Take advantage of your local Fort Worth rental property management. At Specialized Fort Worth, we handle every issue for you so you don’t have to worry and your investment stays protected. 

Scary Landlord Stories are Everywhere

As soon as you decided to invest in real estate, you probably heard all the ghoulish tales. “My tenant completely destroyed my home” or “I didn’t know about the local regulations and was unexpectedly fined!” Or perhaps you’ve fallen prey to your own scary stories with your experiences as a tenant, facing awkward encounters with your landlord and not getting the maintenance your home needed right away. These stories are well known in the real estate industry and one of the big reasons why many hesitate to invest. Some, though they’ve heard the stories time and again, are sure that these nightmares won’t happen to them and don’t take advantage of necessary Fort Worth property management services. Be prepared this Halloween by becoming informed on all the reasons why property management companies, especially Specialized Fort Worth, can protect you. Very first on the list of things not to do when you get started as a property owner is to assume that you’ve got it all figured out. 

The Advantages of a Fort Worth Rental Property Management Company

Property owners who think they know the ins and outs of real estate, even if they have done their research, are most likely still missing a few things. It takes years and years of experience managing properties and being on top of the constantly changing local and federal housing laws and regulations to really understand the Fort Worth rental property management cycle and the complexities that go along with the business. Certificates and qualifications are required of property managers in some states and small mishaps can lead to costly fines. At Specialized Fort Worth, our extremely experienced team of experts have all of these qualifications, with references and raving reviews to back us up (not to mention a diverse clientele all across the nation). Trusting us with your property can protect you from the horrors of realizing that you don’t have the experience, qualifications, know-how, or time to self-manage your property. 

Save Time and Money 

Making money is one of the greatest benefits to owning a rental property and can easily become the focus of your endeavors. Wanting to make money can lead to the mistake of not spending it where you should. Many people think of Fort Worth rental property management as a luxury that they don’t need, when in fact, taking advantage of Specialized Fort Worth’s property management services will save you money in the long run. Trying to self manage your property will cost you a lot more time than you think. Taking time away from another job to handle emergency maintenance calls, tenant complaints, or keeping up with all the codes and laws costs money. Every minute of your time is worth something, and if you could be spending that time focusing on what’s most important while letting your trusted property management company handle the little details, you could be saving money. Consider how much time you spend self managing your property and compare it with how much hiring a Fort Worth rental property management company would cost and you’ll quickly discover that it’s worth it.  

What the Wrong Tenant Could Cost You 

Tenants paying their rent on time vs. those who don’t can be the difference in how successful you are as a property owner. Those who consistently pay their rent provide you with steady income, meaning that finding tenants who are responsible and financially able is crucial to your future financial success. It’s easy to hope and assume that every tenant will be reliable and your rapid success will quickly ensue, but it’s just not the case. The reality is that many landlords don’t take their time finding a tenant they can trust because they’re in a hurry to get their property occupied and start making money. Tenants are also more able than ever before to falsify documents or appear more creditworthy than they are, just by using widely available technology. Specialized Fort Worth’s property management services include a thorough screening process that identifies these issues and saves you from the terror of not getting paid consistently and potentially dealing with dreadful eviction issues. When a tenant fails to pay, you quickly lose profits. For example:

  • Tenant failing to pay rent for one month: $1,500
  • Tenant staying throughout the eviction process: $750
  • Repairing damage to your home: $1750
  • Solving eviction through court: $1,000
  • Re-marketing your home and finding a new tenant: $2,250

As you can see, the out of pocket costs for you can total over $7000 just because your tenant wasn’t screened properly or falsified information without you detecting it. When compared to the monthly fee for Fort Worth rental property management, homeowners save money by hiring Specialized Fort Worth to perform the tenant screening process and find the tenants who are most likely to pay their rent on time and consistently as well as continue their contract, decreasing your overall vacancies. 

What’s Your Price for Peace of Mind? 

Property owner responsibilities can mess with your head and personal life, taking up your physical time as well as your mental energy. Only you can determine the price of your personal peace of mind, but consider how much of yourself you really want to devote to your property. Hiring Specialized Fort Worth’s property management services can give you back your peace of mind by taking on the daily hassles and stresses that become mental burdens. Your personal comfort and convenience are free when you consider what Specialized Fort Worth can save you in vacancy costs, property maintenance, tenant duties, legal fees, and more. Some examples of common renter complaints we can handle for you are: 

  •      “I want my security deposit. Now!”
  •      “Fix this. Now!”
  •      “It’s still broken.”
  •      “My neighbors are so _____!”
  •      “The internet is slow!”
  •      “I’ve already called you 20 times!”
  •      “You expect me to pay the utilities?”

With Specialized Fort Worth rental property management, you no longer have to occupy your time answering complaints and questions. We take care of everything for you and do it right the first time to help you avoid costly fees from little mistakes. If you’re not sure where your responsibilities as a property owner end and ours as a property management company begin, we’ll let you know. We believe in being transparent and communicating openly and often to make sure that we are on the same page and managing your property in the most effective way possible. 

Prepare for the Worst

Though we all go into any investment with certain expectations and hopes for a high reward, it’s safer to expect the worst and be right or pleasantly surprised. With over 30 years of experience in the property management industry, Specialized Fort Worth rental property management knows that the worst will happen, and we won’t be surprised when it does. Our proven systems and expertise will prevent most of the negative experiences and help solve any unexpected ones. When you partner with us, you protect your investment and don’t have to worry about any scary surprised. Specialized Fort Worth property management services include: 

  • Finding and screening reliable tenants
  • Showing and leasing your property
  • Performing maintenance and regular inspections
  • Corresponding with tenants and collecting rent 
  • Ensuring curb appeal and managing marketing
  • Staying up to date on rental and leasing laws and regulations
  • Communicating weekly updates during the leasing process 
  • Providing detailed monthly reports and year-end tax statements 

Specialized Fort Worth Property Management Services

With our list of services, the advantages are obvious. Spending money on a property management company now will be worth it in the end. You’ll start seeing the peace of mind benefits right away and soon after, realize how much money you are starting to save, just by trusting the experts with your property. Rather than try to do it all on your own, let Specialized Fort Worth rental property management take care of the details and get it right the first time. We believe that truly professional management should actually shield owners from the common stresses of rental property ownership, and that you should never have to settle for less. That’s why we back our service with THE SEVEN SPECIALIZED GUARANTEES—seven serious commitments we stand by so our clients enjoy greater peace of mind that no one else can offer.  No other company can offer what we do at such an affordable price. Trust us with your property for complete peace of mind. Give us a call today to find out more about how we can help with your properties and increase your return on investment.

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!