Rental Move-In Checklist

by Administrator 28. March 2017 12:03

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Stage And Rent

by Administrator 21. March 2017 14:45

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How To Prep Your Rental Home For The Season?

by Administrator 15. March 2017 21:51

The spring season is one of the best times to rent out your home as a large number of people are looking for well-maintained properties during this time. Therefore, it is crucial for landlords to prepare their rental home well in advance for the season. You can even get in touch with a reputed property management company to organize your home for attracting probable tenants.

Below is a list of some tips that can help you present your home in the best possible manner during the season:

  • Increase the curb appeal: An enhanced curb appeal of your property will fetch you more potential tenants. Therefore, pay attention to the landscape and make an effort to beautify the exteriors. You can get a fresh coat of paint on the exterior walls and clean your garden thoroughly. Remove all the weeds and have beautiful potted plants along the driveway.
  • De-clutter: Cleanliness is the first thing that a potential tenant will look for. Whenever you have a property showing, make sure you clear your home of any unnecessary items such as unused furniture, stacks of books, personal photos etc. The potential tenant should get an idea about the functional space in your property and you need to de-clutter for this purpose.
  • Evaluate your furnishings and appliances: If you are providing a fully-furnished home to your tenants, ensure everything is prim and proper. Also, all the appliances should be clean from inside as well as outside. Provide appliances only if they function well so that you don’t have to spend on frequent repairs and maintenance.
  • Conduct roof inspection: During the spring season, the weather is clear and you can easily inspect the roof, check the flaws and get them repaired. Look out for any cracked areas that are in need of replacement or maintenance. Addressing any repair issues immediately will make your property safe for the future tenants and also save you from any kind of legal hassle.
  • Eliminate bad odors: During the winter season, your home might accumulate all kinds of bad odors. It can emanate from your carpets due to dampness during the winter season. During the spring season, you should open all the windows to let in fresh air and get your home professionally cleaned. Use room fresheners and call a carpet cleaner to make your carpet look fresh and hygienic again.
  • Do not forget minor repairs: Even when you are done with major repairs, it is important to pay attention towards minor restoration work. For instance, there might be an improperly functioning door knob or a leaky faucet etc. Small things can have a big negative impact on your probable tenants. So, you need to be careful about this aspect as well.

We, at Lone Star Realty & Property Management, Inc., can help you to rent out your home in Killeen, TX. For more information, you can call us at (254) 699 – 7003.

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7 Advantages Of Hiring Property Management Company

by Administrator 27. February 2017 19:53

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Improve Curb Appeal To Attract More Tenants To Your Rental Home

by Administrator 18. February 2017 20:36

When renting out your home, you must ensure that it looks extremely eye-catching to the prospective tenants. The appearance of the property, when seen from the streets will serve as its first impression. Most of the tenants may instantly make up their mind to visit a property, depending upon how it looks from the outside. So, it is important that your home looks welcoming to get potential tenants through the door.

There are numerous methods that you can apply to boost the curb appeal of your rental home

Clean up the mess Get rid of the debris in garage, patio or the lawn. The tenants would want to have a complete idea of the outdoor space they are going to get. A heap of magazines or newspapers, broken furniture items, scattered wood logs etc. may not leave a good impression on them. The exterior of your house should look fresh and clean just as the interiors.

Effective landscaping– A beautiful garden adds to the aesthetic beauty of your house. Adding greenery to the property will give a sense of peace to the tenants. Therefore, you must lay major emphasis on landscaping your property. For this you may-

  • Mow the lawns
  • Trim the over grown trees and bushes
  • Plant some flowers
  • Put some potted flowers on the entrance
  • Weed the grass and water it regularly
  • Remove the dead plants and bushes from the yard

Paint the exteriors – Painting the exteriors can revamp your property, try to opt for neutral colors instead of the exotic ones. You may also paint the sidewalks, stair railings and shutters. This will give your home a refreshing look and make it noticeable, even from the streets.

Make minute repairs – No matter how immaculate the interiors of your home are, if the exterior looks worn out, no potential tenant will consider visiting your property. Make sure that you fix all the drooping gutters, broken lighting fixtures, mail box, roof damage or impaired railings. You may also consider installing a new house number plate so that the potential tenants can easily find your home from a distance.

Light up the drive way - Proper lighting is imperative to boost the curb appeal as well as security. A well-lit drive way will attract the potential tenants who visit the property at night. You can even replace the broken light fixtures with solar lights to drive away the installation cost.

Add some outdoor furniture - You may place seating furniture, space saving tables and storage ottomans in the lawn. All these minute upgrades will help potential tenants to visualize the usable outdoor space.

Update the shutters and doors – It would be wise to replace the old garage shutters that generate annoying noise while opening or closing. You must also consider repairing the broken entrance doors.

Pressure wash the windows – Clean windows not only allow the light to enter into your house but also serve as an important factor in enhancing the curb appeal.  You can hire professionals to pressure wash the windows so that they look shiny and clean.

All the above mentioned measures will help your home to stand out from other properties available for rent. You may also consider hiring a property management company to help you in revamp the exteriors of your home.
 
We at Lone Star Realty & Property Management Company, Inc. provide complete assistance in renting residential properties in Killeen, TX. Our dedicated staff will guide and help you to enhance the curb appeal of your house to attract maximum potential tenants. For more information, you can call at (254) 699 - 7003, or visit us at 1020 W Jasper Dr, Killeen, TX 76542.

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How To Compare Shortlisted Rental Properties

by Administrator 26. January 2017 03:06

Renting a home can be quite a tedious task, particularly the process of choosing the right property among a myriad of options. You may feel overwhelmed to find the perfect home that accommodates all your requirements, in terms of price, type, location, occupancy etc. However, an in-depth research and careful analysis from different aspects can simplify your decision making process.

Given below are some useful tips that will help you to compare the shortlisted rental properties:

Check The Location

First and foremost, it is important to check the exact location of the rental homes. Contact the landlord to know where the property is actually situated. This will help you to perform a comparative analysis between the rent of the shortlisted home and that of other similar properties nearby. Accessibility to the highway and overall living conditions in the area will also help you to draw a better comparison between all the shortlisted properties.

Price Vs. Amenities

The amenities offered in the rental home and the price quoted by the landlord are directly proportionate to each other. Evaluate the amenities you actually require in the home so that you do not overpay for the unwanted ones. For instance, pet friendly homes may be slightly expensive as compared to the rest. If you do not own a pet, there is no point paying extra charges every month. Basically, you should choose a home that provides furniture, microwave, refrigerator, washer, dryer and other important appliances. Check if the rent is reasonable for all these amenities and choose the home that offers most of them at the best price. Also, inquire if the utility bills and maintenance charges are included in the rent amount.

Visit During Day As Well As Night

Apart from the scheduled day time showing, you should also visit the shortlisted properties during night to have an idea about the surroundings. If the home is within a gated community, check if there is any security personnel at night. Make sure the street has proper lighting for the security of the residents. In addition, high volume traffic, harmful factory emissions and other such issues that impact the quality of life can only be detected after frequent visits to each of the shortlisted rental homes.

Proximity To Workplace And School

Another factor to be considered is the distance between the shortlisted properties and your workplace or your kid’s school. You might not want to spend hours on commuting through the busy roads of the city. Calculate the approximate distance and traveling time to your workplace from all the shortlisted properties. In addition, you should also evaluate the rental homes’ proximity to parks, supermarkets, shopping malls, medical centers and other recreational facilities.
Check how long it takes to get to the nearest public transportation or transit stop from the rental homes. A lot of tenants prefer living in properties that are located at a walking distance from the main thoroughfares.

Obtain A Rental History

Ask the landlord about their previous tenants, their date of move-in and the reason for relocation. You can even get in touch with the previous tenants to know about their rapport with the landlord. Ask them if they faced any issues with regard to repairs or maintenance work in the home. You can even talk to the neighbors to get a better idea about the rental history of the properties you are considering.

Other Tips To Find The Most Suitable Rental Home:

Decide a budget and stick to it during the home search process. Make sure you can conveniently afford to pay the rent every month.
Inspect the home carefully to look for any signs of damage or pending repair work. Ask the landlord to get everything fixed before the move-in date.
Read the lease agreement thoroughly and ensure that it mentions all the important clauses. If you do not understand anything, get it clarified from the landlord or property manager.

If you are looking for a rental home in Killeen, TX, contact Lone Star Realty & Property Management, Inc. We can help you to find the most suitable property within your budget and in your preferred location. For more information, you can call us at (254) 699 – 7003 or visit our office at 1020 W Jasper Drive, Killeen, TX 76542.

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Tips For First Time Landlords

by Administrator 19. January 2017 00:42

Being a landlord can be a personally and financially rewarding investment. However, there are a lot of things to prepare for before you take up this new job. A well-planned strategy and complete dedication is the key to a successful renting business. In the absence of any prior experience, there are higher chances of making certain mistakes that can cost you in the long run. It is better to hire a property management company to ensure a better handling of the different aspects related to home renting.

Given below are some tips that can help first time landlords rent out their homes efficiently:

Know Your Responsibilities

Before you even plan to rent your home, you must understand and be willing to bear the responsibilities that come along. Right from advertizing your property to the potential tenants to ensuring that they stay comfortably throughout the lease duration, you need to take care of multiple aspects. You should also stay updated with the landlord-tenant laws and Fair Housing Act that prohibits you from reject any tenant on the basis of religion, race, color, nationality, disability or gender. All the laws should be followed to avoid any legal complications later on.

Buy Insurance

Another important step is to buy a home insurance policy that covers your rental property. It will help you to protect yourself against any financial liabilities in case the home gets damaged due to fire, water pipe leak, vandalism, hailstorm etc. The cost of insurance may depend upon the property’s location, type and coverage included. You can also require your tenants to buy renters insurance before moving in.

Price It Right

Setting the right price for your rental home will help to increase its demand in the market. Potential tenants may browse through the online MLS listings and compare a number of available properties to shortlist the suitable ones. If you ask for a too high or low rent, it may be perceived as a red flag and draw away the tenants. To avoid this, you should conduct an in-depth analysis of the market trends and rent of similar properties. This will help you to determine the right price for your home.

Decide The Amenities You Want To Include

Prepare a list of all the amenities that you will be providing to the tenants. These may include furniture, electrical appliances, HVAC system etc. Also decide if the monthly rent includes the maintenance and utility charges or they have to be borne by the tenants. Amenities such as Wi-Fi, cable, security alarms, well-maintained lawn etc. can help to increase the rentability of your property.

Stage Your Home

Improve the visual appearance of your rental home before inviting the potential tenants for a visit. Thoroughly clean the driveways, mow the lawn, replace rusty door knobs and steam clean the carpets. Inspect the home to see if anything needs to be repaired, such as a leaky faucets or faulty electrical fittings. Remove unnecessary furniture and include only those appliances that you intend to provide in the rental home.

Screen Tenants Properly

Renting your home to the right people is important to ensure a consistent income and keep your property well-maintained. Therefore, you should conduct proper tenant screening to evaluate of the applicant is suitable for your search criterion. Check his income, employment history, criminal background, past rental record etc. You can also get in touch with the tenant’s previous landlord to know about his general conduct and punctuality in rent payments.

Pay Attention To The Lease Agreement

The lease agreement should clearly mention all the terms and conditions to be followed by the tenant. Important details such as rent amount, security deposit, tenancy duration, pet policy, occupancy limits, maintenance liabilities etc. should be included in the contract. Also mention the due date for rent and the circumstances in which eviction procedures can be initiated. Make sure that the lease agreement is understood and duly signed by both the parties.

We, at Lone Star Realty & Property Management, Inc., can help to rent your home in Killeen, TX. For more information, you can call us at (254) 699 – 7003 or visit our office at 1020 W Jasper Drive, Killeen, TX 76542.

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Questions You Must Ask Your Potential New Tenants

by Administrator 27. December 2016 16:06

Tenant screening is necessary if you want to be careful about who is going to live in your property. It helps you to get a background check of your prospective tenant so you can rule out the people who do not match your expectation. A number of questions can be asked to interview the interested renters either on phone or in person before you take them to visit your property. Listed below is a set of questions you must ask from your potential tenants:

Q: Why Are You Moving?
It is important to look for legitimate reasons like the tenant wishes to stay closer to work or he likes the neighborhood. If he complaints about disputes with the former landlord, you might want to know the reason behind it.

Q: Where Did You Previously Live?
If the tenant is moving within the same locality, expect a positive answer like the landlord is making repairs or the lease has ended. If that is not the case, he may be moving in because of a job transfer or he has shifted from his parent’s house. If he was evicted due to a dispute, look for another tenant.

Q: Where Do You Work?
Knowing where your prospective tenant works can give you a fair idea about his ability to pay. A tenant working in a reputed firm may be financially more secure compared to those having an unstable job.

Q: Can I Get A Reference?
A reference from the tenant’s current or previous landlord and his employer can be helpful. While the former landlord can describe his rent paying habits and the way he keeps the property, a reference from the employer can give you an idea about his job security.

Q: When Will You Move In?
If the tenant plans to move in after 2 or 3 months, you will be incurring a loss of rent for those months. There is no point in keeping your property vacant when you can find other tenants. If he is in a hurry to move in, make sure he has some positive reasons to explain his urgency like a new job or a sudden transfer.

Q: Are You Bringing Your Family?
According to your state laws and insurance policy, there may be a ‘two people per bedroom rule’. If the tenant wishes to bring his family along, ask about the total number of people. You can ask for a higher security deposit for bigger families to cover up for the wear and tear.

Q: Will You Be Able To Pay The Security Deposit And First Month’s Rent?
The tenant should be able to pay the security deposit and a month’s rent in advance. If your tenant gives a positive answer, you will know that he is financially stable. In case he hesitates, you can expect a delayed rent every month.

Q: Do You Smoke?
If you have a no smoking policy and your prospective tenant smokes, you can either ask him to do it off property or find another tenant.

Q: Will You Be Bringing Pets?
Landlords who allow pets can ask for a higher security deposit to manage damages caused by them. If you have a ‘no pet’ policy, look for a tenant who does not have one.

Q: How Long Do You Plan To Stay In This Property?
The tenant may be planning to rent your property for a month or a year. Since most landlords prefer to sign a 12 months contract, a tenant looking for a shorter stay may not be suitable. There is no point in renting the property for a few months as you will have to start the entire process all over.

Q: Do You Like The Property?
The prospective tenant should be able to let you know if he is happy with the property or if he wants to make a few changes. Make sure you ask this question before signing the lease. In case he demands for new appliances or a fresh coat of paint while you have no plans of doing it in the near future, you can search for a new tenant. It is important to make these things clear to your tenant in advance to avoid any confusion in future.

The landlord should ask the same set of questions to every tenant no matter if they appear to be on their best behavior. It will not only save time but also protect you from making bad decisions.

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Tips To Winterize Your Killeen Rental Home

by Administrator 19. December 2016 12:56

A well insulated home is the bare minimum requirement for tenants looking for a rental property during winters. As a landlord, you can take certain useful steps to keep your property warm in order to attract more tenants. For this purpose, a complete inspection of the house should be done to identify areas that allow cold air to enter. The roof, walls and floor may need to be examined as well as insulated. Making certain changes can help to keep the house toasty and more comfortable.

Listed below are a number of ways to keep the rental home warm during winters:

Install Thick Curtains

Heavy-weight curtains help to keep cold air from entering the house. You can use densely woven curtains made up of velvet, suede or any other thick material. To add a designer element to your rental property, you can install layered, patterned and color block curtains. Open the curtains on sunny days to let the sunlight enter the house and close them in the evening to prevent the warmth from escaping.

Check For Draughts

Draughts allow cold air to enter and heat to escape the house. This lowers the temperature indoors, increases the pressure on the heating system and causes the electricity bill to rise. Thus, to keep your rental home snug and warm during winters, you must draught-proof the house. Seal the gaps in windows, below the doors, around the switches on the walls as well as in floors. For this purpose, you can use weather stripping, door sweeps and foam.

Insulate The Walls

Install thick insulation on the walls, inside and out. It helps to prevent the cold and moisture from entering into the house, thus keeping it warmer during winters. If already insulated, check if it is thick and snug. Apart from the walls, you may also need to insulate the attic, crawlspace, ducts and garage.

Change The Furniture Placement

If your rental home has a fireplace, move the furniture closer to it. Avoid placing the beds and chairs too close to the windows as well as walls. Cover the furniture with thick blankets and cushions to keep warm and comfortable.

Cover The Floors

The flooring also tends to get quite cold during winters. You may insulate the floors by installing good quality carpets and rugs throughout the house. Thick carpets are great at trapping heat and create a significant difference during winters.

Light Up The Furnace

To keep your rental home warm as well as reduce the electricity bill, you can light up the fireplace and lower down the heating. It can keep the house toasty and snug throughout the day. Use a glass front to prevent the heat from escaping through the chimney. When not in use, cover the flue. An open fireplace may allow significant amount of cold air to enter the house. You may also need to schedule a tune-up to clean or replace the fireplace filters to improve efficiency.

Make Sure The Vents Are not Blocked

If you place your furniture in front of the radiator or vent, it may absorb most of the heat. This causes the house to heat up slowly and inefficiently. Keep some distance between the furniture and vent or change the interior setting temporarily to avoid blocking the vents.

For your radiator to work efficiently, you may place a reflective foil or simply a tin foil behind it. It will reflect back the heat into the room instead of escaping up into the air. You can also place a rack or shelf above the radiator to allow the heat to spread throughout the room. Make sure the radiator is not touching the foil or shelf.

Install A Programmable Thermostat

Compared to a manual thermostat, a programmable one helps to keep the house warm consistently. It requires less time to adjust and allows the heating system to work efficiently. You can teach your tenants to program the thermostat. The heating can be set at a lower grade during the day and at a higher level during early morning and late night hours.

Follow the above mentioned tricks to make your tenants enjoy the coziness of winters in their comfortable rental home.

For more tips on winterizing your rental home in Killeen, contact Lone Star Realty & Property Management, Inc. You can visit our office at 1020 W Jasper Drive, Killeen, TX 76542 or call us at (254) 699 – 7003.

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Staging Your Rental Home In Killeen, TX

by Administrator 24. November 2016 17:06

Staging your rental home requires a proper strategy to attract potential tenants. The idea is to highlight the best features of the house. Homeowner must remember that nothing skips a tenant’s eye and he may have visited a number of rental properties before yours. Thus, in order to quickly rent out the home, your aim should be to popularize it through efficient maintenance and staging.

Staging a rental home includes two pre-requisites: De-clutter and Clean.

Firstly, you need to detach yourself from it. Keeping a tenant’s point of view in mind can prove to be of great help while staging. The key is to de-clutter the house of anything that is not required.

  • Having unnecessary furniture can make the house look smaller. Remove extra chairs and sofas to create more space.
  • Remove any personal items such as family photos, dirty laundry and food before the potential tenants arrive.
  • Vacuum pet hair, de-odorize the house and box up all its belongings.
  • If you have kids, pack up their toys and other stuff.
  • Clear the closets of extra linens and towels

Once you have removed the clutter, you will have a clearer idea

of all the areas that need cleaning. In order to set your property apart, staging it in an absolutely spick ‘n’ span condition will definitely work in your favor. There are certain areas that may easily get skipped during the cleaning process, hence make a list of the critical spots before you start:

  • Scrape off grime from the bathroom tiles and flooring
  • Clean the grease from kitchen hood and sink
  • Vacuum the carpet and blinds to remove the dust
  • Clean the lamp shades and other decorative items
  • Mow and level the lawn
  • Wipe and check the functioning of electrical appliances
  • Remove weeds and dead plants from the lawn

Add decor to your home

Add a finishing touch to your rental home by making a few changes.

  • Plant fresh and blossoming flowers to make the home look inviting.
  • Use bright colored cushions and vases to add a visual appeal
  • Use a particular type of furniture in every room. For example, keeping minimal furniture in a room such as a table, chair and study lamp can be apt to let the tenant know you have a mini-office in the house.
  • Placing a round center table can make moving around the house easier. Avoid setting up the furniture against the walls. Leaving sufficient space can lend a spacious look to the house.
  • Install drapes and curtains that match your walls. This gives a wholesome effect to the walls and makes the space appear bigger.

Make the necessary repairs

While it is specifically important to stage a clean and clutter-free apartment, having a few things out of order can be off-putting. It is thus necessary to make sure everything works.

  • Check the taps and shower head for leakages/water flow.
  • Make sure all the appliances are in a working condition.
  • Repair the cracked windows and creaking doors
  • Check the washer, dryer, AC and heating system.
  • Repair the hardwood flooring, fill in cracks and repaint if needed. You can also use vinyl tiles to enhance the look of your house.

Staging the house for rent requires a good marketing technique. Remember to keep the place neutral and minimal so that the tenant can make changes according to his or her needs. Go through the factors above to stage your rental home successfully.

For more home staging or property management tips for your rental home in Killeen, TX, contact Lone Star Realty & Property Management, Inc. You can visit our office at 1020 W Jasper Drive, Killeen, TX 76542 or call us at (254) 699 – 7003.

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