Dallas – Fort Worth Real Estate: The Top Choice for Investors

There’s a reason why investors both local and foreign are flocking to the area. With its strong growth in employment, population, and the economy making up lost ground from the recession in 2008, real estate investment in Dallas – Fort Worth area might just be the safest, lucrative investments you could make for 2014.

Dallas-Fort Worth has one of the strongest job growths in the country today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is up 104,900 jobs in April year over year which is twice the national average. This job boom, add to that the rapid population growth in the area, makes a very strong rental market. With its low taxes and interest rates, investors are finding positive returns of 8-10%.

How long will this trend continue? If the country continues to see low interest rates, then we will continue to see this rise in real estate investment.

With the current statistics, you’ll earn enough that you can plan your retirement in about 7-10 years’ time just on your renters’ income. You don’t have to be a genius to do the math: with a $100K property on a 15-20 year note, the cash flow from renters will be $200-$300 every month. If you have 4-5 good deals in a 2-3 year period, you can fast track those retirement plans.

The numbers may seem overwhelming, but don’t just nosedive into something you haven’t fully thought out. Making a bad investment can rob you of your life savings overnight. “It’s critically important to have a sharp realtor and property management company overseeing your investment” say Joel Westrom of Westrom Home and Service. “Owners and Investors too many times get too involved with rental challenges and give in to unnecessary concessions that cost them deeply. It’s a business and needs to be treated as one” explains Westrom.

Property managers are necessary and cost-efficient in the long run. They charge anywhere from 7-10% of the rents offering turnkey services. The pros are management companies get slightly higher rents; they also have a thorough tenant screening process which yields to less turnover. These two attributes alone pays for the project manager fee 2-3 times over.

There will always be cautionary areas in the real estate investment scene, what with the regulatory and political uncertainty. In spite of this, Dallas-Fort Worth remains to be one of the strongest markets in the country.

Planning to make a safe and smart investment? Take advantage of its strong market and check out Dallas-Fort Worth now.

Baby Boomers are Taking Charge of Their Retirements

As the baby boomers are starting to flood the retirement era, they are taking control over their retirements and 401K’s. The stock market has proven to many what seemed like a steady portfolio can turn upside down on you. Most everyone went thru several cycles over the last ten years where their portfolio values lost over 50%. Although, many portfolios recovered or stabilized over time, the fear at that moment was so real that many Boomers are looking for control and stability over their retirement.

Many Baby Boomers are now converting their 401K into property investments with no penalties and fees. Middle class investment properties are yielding 8-10% returns annually.

The typical scenario is a Baby Boomer with about $200,000 in a 401K. The goal is to buy 5 investment properties. $30K down on each home and keeping $40-50K in 401K for reserves. They are financed on 15-20 year notes. After taxes, management and maintenance are paid they net about $300/month on each property. Some elect to use that profit to make additional equity payments. On that plan at about 7-10 years, their $200K is has yielded about $400-500K in equity. So their net worth is about $750K.

The strength of this investment strategy is the the value of the homes themselves that keep the investment solid. They have to invest in areas that are stable and have at least a 30 year average. One of those areas would be North Texas. Their economy and job market for the middle class continues to grow.

If you would like to learn more about how your 401K can work for you, call today.

Does your Investment Property make you nervous

Investment properties can be exciting, provide sense of ownership and provide a long-term retirement plan for many. However, the details of the day to day management and maintenance of the properties makes many nervous. The fact is that you don’t really have the expertise, knowledge and skills sets to solve every situation that arises out of owning a rental property. Whether you are trying to advertise a rental, screen tenants, sign leases, collect past due rents, evictions or solve/coordinate maintenance issues, these all can be very daunting task for some.

Most people elect to hire a property manager to solve all these problems so they can enjoy their investment and not be awaken in the middle of night with some emergency. Management companies are skilled in the day to day business of keeping your investment occupied, rents paid on time, good tenants and preventative maintenance.

Management companies are typically licensed Real-estate agents and/or Brokers. Their knowledge and expertise can typically get you higher rental rates, have top notch tenant screening abilities and access to cost-effective maintenance. Their rates can vary but typically are 7-10% of the gross rents collected.

The bonus of working with management companies is, if you are interested in more investment properties, your property managers will likely have access and ability to locate them for you. They know home values and rental markets very well. A good Agent/Manager should get you 8% returns.

If you own an investment property and/or were thinking about getting into one. Don’t loose any sleep or be nervous about it. Meet with a Property Manager and discuss how they might be able to help you.

3 Things All Property Owners Need to Know

As a property investment owner, its important that you are keeping an eye on your rentals. After all, you purchased these to eventually retire on right? Many owners spend very little time checking on or having someone routinely check their properties for upkeep and preventative maintenance. Over time, a neglected home can cost you thousands in repairs. Here are 3 things owners should always have on their list.

Check your foundations. The dirt around your house is usually made up of sand, clay, or a sandy loam. Depending on what combination you have, these materials will expand and contract with temperature and dryness conditions. When the soils expand and contract so does your foundation. The number one neglect a tenant can do to your home is let the vegetation or grass along the side your house die. Vegetation works like an insulation barrier keeping the soils constant. Once a foundation has shifted, its permanent and typical repairs start at $5000 and go to $30,000. Check your vegetation perimeter and install soaker hoses if necessary.

Water Leaks. Tenants rarely report small leaks around kitchens, baths or outside. Leaks under cabinets in a very short amount of time will destroy your vanities, kitchen cabinets and anything in immediate vicinity. Tub or shower leaks, destroy tile and backer boards, rust out tubs or pans from the inside out. Unreported leaks also cause mold and can lead to illness if not taken care of immediately. Kitchen and Baths are the most expensive items to remodel and repair in any home. Routinely inspecting your property and educating your tenants to report leaks is a must.

Vegetation or tree limbs touching your house or roof need to be cut back.
Overgrown limbs (even very small ones) touching your roof or side of house can cause thousands in damages. Limbs move in the wind and like a grinder they wear holes in your shingles, soffit, facia and gables. Eventually you’ll have leaks in roof, protective paint coatings removed from walls, and holes varmints can enter. Limbs touching your home is also the number one bridge or gateway for pest and or insects to enter you property. Roof replacements average $4000-$6000 and pest control cost $75-150 per treatments. Check your property and have your tenants report limbs or overgrown vegetations touching the house. Spending a $30-60 to clean up will save you thousands in damages.

These are just 3 simple steps you can do to keep you property safe, sound and protect your investment. If you would like to learn more about how to keep your investment working for you, call Westrom Home and Service to see how we can help you.

How much is a fair service call

How much do you pay for a service call and what do you get out of it? Most trade companies (HVAC, Electricians, Plumbers etc…) typically have an upfront service fee for just simply showing up at your property. Rates vary but typically run about $80 and sometimes do not include any service. On average, an owner will spend between $125-250 on a specialized skilled trade service call.

Westrom Home and Service is the home of the $42.00 service call. We come with skilled technicians that have answers for the simple of repairs or more in complex. Your service call also includes the first 1/2 hour of service. So on average, our owners spend about $42-65 for the same service that you might have paid 3-4 times more for.

If you are a property manager or property owner, call us today to get on board with our cost effective maintenance.

Reduce your electric bills in 3 simple steps

Electric cost are rising every year and family budgets are getting tighter and tighter. Take 3 simple steps to keep you electric bill down.

1.Change every light bulb in your house to CFL bulbs (Compact Florescent Light). Buy them in the contractor packs of 12 and save. Average is about $1.25/bulb. Your average light bulb is 60-75 watts. The new CFL bulbs are 14 watts or less. That is a 75% savings.

2. Change your air filter at least every 3 months and wash down your outside AC unit at least once a year during the summer. Plugged filters and dirty outside unit can raise you electric bill by 30-40%

3. Have an old fridge? Newer fridges (last 3-5 years) are so energy efficient that they only use a fraction of the electricity compared to old ones. A new fridge for about $450-650 can pay for itself in 12-16 months in electrical savings.

Taking these simple 3 simple steps can add more money to your pocket book each month.

Is your property safe

At Westrom Home and Service your safety is our number one concern. As an owner you need to make sure you home is safe and sound for your tenants. There are 3 things you should always be proactive in checking every year on your properties.

Smoke detectors. Every bedroom should have an operational smoke detector in it and one just outside the rooms. Batteries should be changed every year. Some local city codes require that the smoke detectors be interconnected. That is if one smoke detector activates, all the smoke detectors activate.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Carbon Monoxide is a silent killers and cause more and more incidents and deaths each year. If you have gas appliances or gas heaters in your rental property, you must provide at least one Carbon Monoxide detector just outside bedroom areas. They are battery operated and like the smoke detectors tested and batteries changed at least once a year.
Are you outlets near water sources GFI (Ground Fault Protected). GFI protected outlets will instantly cut the power to that outlet in the event of a short or shock. The are required around any water source (ie sinks, tubs, faucets). GFI protected outlets were not required on older homes and sometimes bypassed or disconnected by tenants for one reason or another. Its your responsibility as owners to insure that all you outlets are protected.

Tenants are generally unaware of the basic safety devices required in a home to keep it safe and sound. As an investment owner, you should do your part to keep your property safe and your tenants informed.

Westrom Home and Service is here to help you keep your investment and tenants safe. We offer an annual service to check devices and educate tenants. For $42 we’ll inspect each device and educate the occupants of the devices function and importance.

Call today to schedule your property.

Property Management Maintenance.

The number one issues on most investment failures is the maintenance cost. Most owners are capable of handling payments, rents, mortgages and taxes but when it comes to maintenance they are usually at the mercy or a service tech. As much an owner tries to understand and guide maintenance cost, their are just too many variables that make it an impossible target.

The solution is to turn your services over to a trusted company with experience and knowledge of investment properties maintenance. Westrom Home and Service has been servicing the Dallas/Fort Worth area now for over 5 years. Our specialty is single and multi-family homes. Our staff is skilled and has the interest of the owner and their investment as our first priority.

We offer a free property assessment and financing for your toughest projects.

If your maintenance cost are high or interested in learning more about our services, please call today!

Small to Medium Property Management Companies; Outsource your maintenance

If you are a small to medium size property management company then you really need to evaluate if outsourcing your maintenance is right for you. Todays homes are more and more complicated and local code enforcement is getting more and more active in rental properties. Its almost impossible for one person to be jack of all trades. If they are, then you’re paying a fortune for it.

On average a skilled tech will seek minimum $15-$22/hour for you to keep them on full time. If your are paying taxes, benefits, office space, storage, this could be costing you $33-45K a year in expenses. This is just your labor, who by the way might be spending the first hour or two at a desk or in front of coffee pot and the last hour of there day who knows where? Combined with the 3 trips to Home Depot everyday, parts you bought they didn’t use and the new tools they needed, you might average a few billable hours for them that day.

Its nice to have a full-time maintenance person on hand for the immediate calls. But if its costing you $140-175 a day, then you should consider outsourcing.

Westrom Home and Service is a solid group of maintenance techs in the Tarrant county area who offer the same benefits of quick, prompt maintenance at a fraction of the cost. Service calls start at $42 with same day service.