P.O. Box 840997, Houston, TX 77284 Phone: (713) 205-2652 Fax: (713) 589-9199


FAQ

Looking for a property manager and a property management company in Houston Texas? This FAQ section is designed to help you decide if our property management company is right for you. After all, you need a property manager who takes good care of your interests but different property managers have different property management styles. We believe that there should be a good fit between you, your property manager and your property management company. After all, every property manager is not right for you and you are not right for every property manager!

Provided below are answers to some common questions about our Property Management services in Houston, TX. Click on any line to see the answer for that question or just scroll down the page. Our goal on this page is to provide a clear picture of what you can expect if you hire us as your property management company.

  • Why should I hire you as my Property Management company?

    You should hire us only if you think we are the best match for your property management needs. Frankly, we are not a perfect fit for every property owner and it would be arrogant and wrong for us to simply proclaim “we are the best, hire us!”. We may be the best property manager for some owners and properties but not for others. That is why this FAQ page exists so that you can learn about us and and the guiding principles we will employ in the management of your property. Allow us to keep your investment in the black. By spending a little you will keep your asset an asset and avoid it becoming a liability. Turning over your rental property to the care of an unknown property manager can be an emotional and frightening experience. You want to be able to trust your property manager so that you won’t be worrying about your home. The more research and information you gather, the better you will feel about your final decision. Of course, we’d love the chance to earn your trust and manage your property, so please read on.
  • How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my home while renting?

    There are several ways your property manager has to know this. Above all, careful tenant selection from the onset protects your property from being rented to irresponsible people. During the lease term, we may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance reasons and will use that opportunity to have a look. If we are fortunate enough not to have any repairs or maintenance at your property over an extended period of time, your property manager will schedule a preventative maintenance walk-through to make sure the air filter is being changed, that the smoke alarms have batteries and that there are no unreported problems at the property.
  • What do you do if they are not taking care of my property as they should, or you discover unauthorized pets?

    Your property manager gives the tenant an opportunity to correct the situation and usually they will. If a problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation.
  • What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent?

    About the 4th of each month, we send late notices to all tenants with unpaid rent. We will post an eviction notice about the 12th day of the month (or earlier if this has been an ongoing problem or owner requests different) if payment is not received by then. Whether or not we eventually have to proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is always financially better for all involved if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which is causing them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, it is better for you and the tenant if we give them a chance to catch up – if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises about payments and/or evasiveness, we know from experience that eviction is the best course of action. Each case is unique and the property manager will make a decision based what is best for you and your home in the long run. That said, we always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Eviction for non-payment of rent in Texas is a slam dunk and there is no way a tenant can prevail in court if they have not paid rent and the landlord has properly executed the notices and filing process. Full evictions, when necessary, can often be completed by the fourth or fifth week after the process starts. However it may take longer depending on the court or the appeals process.
  • How informed will I be about what happens with my property?

    Absent any special considerations unique to you or your property, our rule of thumb is this: If something may cause a potential interruption in your ordinary cash flow (loss of tenant or non-emergency repair in excess of $300), we will let you know about it right away. Other than that, the saying “no news is good news” is most appropriate. Non emergency items will be communicated along with your monthly statements and, of course, we encourage you to contact the property manager anytime you have a question or wish to discuss something. We try our best to make sure you are an part of the property management program if you so desire. We can customize the program to best fit your needs. JUST ASK! Part of that process is this Question and Answer page so you can obtain a sense of how we think and how the manager will manage your investment property.
  • How do you handle maintenance requests?

    Tenants may fax, email, or call in their requests to us, but most fill out an online form on our website. After we receive a repair request, we may contact the tenant and ask them questions which will help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We also make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (example: reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker) before your money is spent on a service call. After determining that it is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor to make the repair. We tell our tenants that we are able to handle most repair requests within 1 to 2 working days, and in fact are usually able to do so. Comfort items such as Air conditioning, no hot water or heat, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day. We do enforce a $100 deductible on the tenants to offset your repair cost when at all possible.
  • Do you use the cheapest maintenance people you can find?

    No. Our people are middle of the road in price and are competent and reliable. We also have two dedicated all-around maintenance sub-contractors who are capable in a wide range of home repairs including air-conditioning, light plumbing and electrical. We try to have our main guys handle most of the multi-trade and make-ready tasks and use other vendors when we are backed up. This saves our owners a lot of money on multi-trade repairs by cutting down on the number of service calls to the property by different vendors. It also means that if we are called out on a dishwasher repair, we are going to be checking the a/c filter, sink drains, smoke alarms and general condition of the property – something that a single trade vendor will not do for you. We think we have developed a very sensible approach to handling maintenance and repairs and that you will realize cost savings that other property managers simply can’t or won’t deliver.
  • Do you hold some of my money for repairs? How much?

    We will hold back $300 per unit in your account so that we always have funds to pay our vendors quickly.
  • How do I know your property manager won’t spend my money on large repairs without my approval?

    This is a legitimate fear. We promise in writing not to do that. For ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $300, we take care of it without notifying you. You will find out when you receive your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $300, we will call you and let you know what is happening, what we think should be done, and what the estimated cost might be. Sometimes expenses such as a replacing a bad water heater, a roof leak that needs patching or repair, or emergency A/C and furnace repairs are unavoidable. In those cases where 1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue, or 2) in instances where there is only one option to consider or 3) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, the property manager will initiate the repair work, even if it is higher that the $300 limit, and then let you know of the situation and what we are doing about it. Mainly, we don’t think important repairs should be delayed while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.
  • What if I want you to use my plumber, A/C company, etc.?

    No problem just remember you selected them and DUAL cannot be held responsible for their performance. Our professional reputation as property managers, both with tenants and owners, is largely, if not almost entirely, determined by the effectiveness with which we handle maintenance. We follow a practice that is most likely to insure the best possible response and resolution to maintenance and repair problems for your property. Simply stated we suggest letting us handle what we do best and work with those who know how we work.
  • When do you mail the owner’s checks and statements?

    Owners checks are mailed out on or after the 7th of each month. Most months, you will have your check and statement in hand by the 12th. – FREE DIRECT DEPOSIT IS HERE. We are now forwarding rental payments fastest in our industry provided the tenant has paid in a timely manner.
  • Does your property management agreement give you exclusive right to sell my property?

    No. We can sell your property if you would like us to, but we don’t bind you to that in the management agreement. This is another trick that discount property managers use. They manage your home at little or no profit knowing they have you locked into an eventual sales listing. We think, at the time you decide to eventually sell, you should be free to decide who the best listing agent will be for your property given its location and characteristics. Most of our owners choose a full time sales agent to sell their home and we encourage them to do so in most instances. – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT –
  • Who holds the tenant’s security deposit?

    All security deposits must be held in our deposit account.
  • How much security deposit do you charge the tenant?

    As a general rule of thumb we usually get around 70% to 100% of one month’s rent for deposit, rounded up to the nearest hundred. This is what will be asked for by most property owners and property managers in Houston.
  • How soon can you start managing my home?

    We can start the process immediately. We will start by obtaining some information about you and your property and helping you decide if we are a good fit for your needs. Contact us online or call Tom Niehaus at 713-205-2652 extension 810.
  • How much will my house rent for?

    We are asked this question more than any other by new owner prospects. Of course it depends on a lot of factors, but in general, most homes in and around Houston are currently renting for about 0.5% to 0.8% of the home’s market sales value. The more expensive your home, the lower the ratio of sales to rent value. For example, a $120,000 three bedroom home may rent for $800 to $1100 per month in Houston depending on the neighborhood, the competition and the condition, while a $240,000 home may only rent for $1600 to $2000. This is a very generalized range but will in fact hold true in most instances. Sales values raced past rent values in the mid to late 90’s in Houston. Many owners who have purchased in the past 6 years, and made a small down payment, cannot lease the home for an amount that will cover the carrying costs – especially in newer neighborhoods that are not yet built out. You also might not have enough equity to sell without bringing money to the closing table. If you are in this situation, you are not alone. Some of our new clients are “involuntary landlords”, forced into leasing their home by market conditions. The good news is, if you can ride out the market, you are likely to be much better off in a few years than if you sell your home now at a deeply discounted price. This in fact is why many out of state investors have been buying investment homes in Houston for the past three years, expecting the long term gain to offset the short term cash flow loss. The most important thing to know is that the rental market is indifferent to your mortgage payment amount. The rental market does not care that you might have a negative cash flow, and will punish with extended vacancy owners who overprice their rental homes. When you hire us as your property manager, we will look at the rental market in your particular area, survey the competing homes, and make sure your home is priced so that it will be viewed favorably against the competition.
  • Do you have a minimum contract term?

    NO. If you need out of the contract or would like to move on to another company we understand. We will end the agreement and assist you in whatever way you need.