Renovation Strategy: Flooring

Flooring Renovation Strategies in Dallas Areas

A large number of our clients had been investing in older properties which often require flooring to be replaced, here are some feedback we had collected based on our own experience as well as from tenants and clients directly.

Flooring is a great investment for your property

First of all, new flooring does add significant value and appeal to properties, cost to install new laminate floors are not really that expensive in Dallas due to availability of suppliers and contractors available, and competition can drive down the price, you can compare with different contractors and there are often sales happening. Some investors want to save money and do not want to replace their old carpets or floors, this will affect rentability and resale value of their properties.

12mm or 9mm laminate floors

I often use 12mm laminate floors, they are slighly more expensive but much more durable, the cost can be between 15% to 20% more depending on the area. Some of our clients used thinner laminate floors, and there were incidences that they could not sustain the tear & wear within one year. In one example, a tenant was on wheelchair for 6 months and the hallway was damaged after just 6 months and floors need to be replaced, in another case was caused by pets. We now advice our clients to use 12 mm laminate floors as a standard.

Laminate or Carpets?

Laminate is now in much higher demand, carpets are cheaper but they can generally only last for 12 to 24 months, landlords usually need to replace new carpet when tenants move out. Majority of tenants have pets in Texas, and they do cause more damage to carpets than laminate floors.

What about bedrooms?

This is a very common question asked by our clients, and it really comes down to personal preference. My own preference is laminate floors and use rugs, as many kids do want to sit on rugs. Some tenants prefer to have carpets as we do have cold winters in Texas. We asked these questions to our property managers, and majority of them would go for laminate floors due to maintenance, in some cases, we will put laminate floors all the way to the hallway but remain carpets in bedrooms.

Tiles or Floors for Kitchen Area

I see a lot of properties where they install laminate floors in the kitchen areas as they can provide a more modern look, also lower the cost, as tiles can cost 10% to 20% more than laminate floors. We had several incidents that I would like to share with you. One of our clients’ properties in Mesquite has a leaking dishwasher, and water got underneath the timber floor (in this case, it is actually hardwood floor), they replaced the kitchen floor and then water leaked again – she had to replace them within 3 months, she replaced them with tiles this time in case the water issue happens again, it would be easier to replace a few tiles than entire floor.

Water can often leak from either dishwasher, faucets, garbage disposal or fridge waterlines – all these can go underneath timber floor and floors will start to swell, it can also go underneath the walls which often links to dining room or laundry areas.

Water issues are unpredictable issues, I am now advising my clients to use tiles for kitchen areas for this reason.

Don’t forget your wastage area when you do budget

Clients often forget to include closet (wardrobe) areas or closet areas along hallways, generally speaking, we will allow 10% to 12% extra materials for these areas, and this can surprise clients sometimes as these are not shown in the MLS layout or floor plans often, and they will question where are the areas coming from. In many properties in Texas, walk-in closets (wadrobe) are inside master bathrooms – you do not need to put tiles inside these areas, you can use carpet or laminate floors for these walkin closets.

About Thomas Su Group

Thomas Su Group is licensed through Keller Williams Preston Road Dallas office. Thomas Su Group specializes in helping international and interstate investors buying in Dallas areas. Its clients include investors from Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Latin America and India. We have also helped interstate clients from California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Georgia.


Thomas Su – Realtor (English & Chinese)

Thomas Su Group

Keller Williams Realty Preston Road


Phone: (469) 347 1839


Denise Gonzalez-Rubio (English & Spanish)


Keller Williams Realty Preston Road


Dallas Property: 6310 Los Altos Mesquite (Move In Ready)

Property: 6310 Los Altos Mesquite

Type: Move In Ready

Key Points:

This is a Fannie Mae property, it is move-in ready, everything has been updated. Nice neighborhood.

Category: Residential Type: RES-Single Family Orig LP: $133,000
Area: 5/3 Also for Lease: N Lst $ / SqFt: $74.13
Subdv: Los Altos 02 Lease MLS#:
County: Dallas Lake Name:
Parcel ID: 381193100G0250000 Plan Dvlpmnt:
Lot: 25 Block: G
Legal: LOS ALTOS 2 BLK G LT 25 VOL200
Multi Prcl: No MUD Dst:No Unexempt Taxes: $2,464
Bedrooms: 3 Tot Baths: 2.0 Liv Areas: 1 Stories: 2
Fireplaces: 2 Full Baths: 2 Dining Areas: 2 Pool: No
Sec Sys: No Half Baths: 0
SqFt: 1,585 / Tax Appraiser Name: Hdcp Am: No
# Gar Spaces: 2 Cvrd Park: 2
# Carprt Spcs: 0 Garage Size: Yr Built: 1987 / Preowned
Acres: 0.106 Lot Dimen: Will Subdiv: No
HOA: None HOA Dues:





我們自己買的舊房也不少,最舊的是1920年代,大部分是1950到1970年代的房。我們的美國INSPECTOR常說這句話:Older homes were built to last forever,很多美國買家反而都喜歡買舊房來作整修而不是買新房,這點和很多亞洲投資者不同。






4)電路版:ELECTRIC BOX。很多整修經常忘了這塊,然後裝了新的電器才發現問題。還有,德州有家公司叫FEDERAL PACIFIC,它的ELECTRIC BOX出了很多問題還著火,現在保險公司不保有裝這牌的房屋。


6)窗戶:我經常和我的投資客說窗戶的重要,新的窗戶可以降低大概20%到30%的能源。租客往往會因為可以住到可以省電費的租房然後願意支付更高的租金。我們大部分換成裡面有ARGON GAS的窗戶。






Thomas Su


Keller Williams Realty

18383 Preston Rd. Ste 150

Dallas, TX 75252, USA


(469) 347 1839



Ohio Property: 1648 Wellington Avenue Youngstown (Tenanted)

Property: 1648 Wellington Avenue Youngstown

3 beds, 1 bath, 1,200 sqft

Listing Price: $27,000

This is a charming 2 story , 3 bedroom , 1 bathroom house with a basement, was just recently painted inside. Has a tenant.

  • Lot: 5,619 sqft
  • Single Family
  • Built in 1922
  • 37 days on Zillow
  • Cooling: None
  • Heating: Forced air

Click Here For SpotCrime Map

Nearby Schools – Below Average

photo 1 photo 21648 Wellington 1photo 3photo 4photo 6 (1)photo 6 (2)photo 6 (3)photo 6 (4)photo 6 (5)




GARLAND和MESQUITE兩地的租金都成長不錯,學校來看,GARLAND可以自己選學校,而且有不少間ACADEMY OF EXCELLENCE,這些學校的理科特別好,所以有不少印度和中東家庭特別喜歡。我們最近認識3戶家庭從PLANO搬到GARLAND,讓他們小孩去學習這些學校,這些學校的教法較活。

2)WYLIE,ROWLETT:這2個地區還有SACHSE也是被注意的地點,不過算是小區,所以市場上有的房屋並不多。WYLIE那有不少土地,投資者正在注意中,還有一些MOBILE HOME PARK以後可能會被買掉來作開發。

3)西邊:ARLINGTON和GRAPEVINE 這些區被投資機構買的很凶,特別是DUPLEX,4-PLEX這些。西邊來說,FARMERS BRANCH還沒有被注意到很多,還有不少不錯的機會。但和東邊相比下,西邊的房子沒那麼多。

4)達拉斯南邊:SOUTH DALLAS。以前是較沒有人碰的地帶,現在不少新的項目在開發中,讓整個地區完全活躍起來。投資機構喜歡買舊的APARTMENT(20年代,30年代),然後重新整修,整修後把租金上漲,把壞的租客換掉。




FORT WORTH是完全不同的市場,我們過幾天再多作分析。希望你們對這分析覺得有用。



Thomas Su


Keller Williams Realty

18383 Preston Rd. Ste 150

Dallas, TX 75252, USA


(469) 347 1839









1. 土地(LAND LOT)

有些投資者專門投資土地來開發,有的是買單房的土地,有的是作多房的開發,還有作MULTI─FAMILY APARTMENT的開發。



(DUPLEX TO 4-PLEX)。 還有一個投資者專門找小的土地來開發高檔的房屋。




SINGLE FAMILY HOMES。這是最多投資者目前在投資的資產,HOUSE的好處是土地的價值較高,增漲的空間較高,還有空間也較大(雖然說也不一定)。壞處是大家都知道的,維修的成本也較高,土地稅也較高。


3. CONDOS (個別的單位)




4. 2單位到4單位(2-PLEX TO 4-PLEX)


我把這分開來寫,因為德州的合同上,2-4 PLEX和4個單位以上的APARTMENT不同。很多投資者從海外來,根本沒想過可以投資整棟樓,這在美國是絕對可以考慮的一個方案。這看地點而定,我們剛把一個客戶找到一個在FORT WORTH的4─PLEX,一個4個單位,每個單位租金550塊一個月,然後要價是14萬。還有我們正在看一個NORTH GARLAND的4-PLEX,23萬,全租出去了。




5. MULTIFAMILY(4個單位以上)


很多投資者對這很有興趣,在海外,只有投資機構才有能力投資,在美國就不同,因為投資金額比海外低很多,不少個人投資者有能力來買10個,20個甚至100個單位以上的大型項目。MF最大好處是,大部分銀行會願意提供貸款,可以高到85%或更高,這對投資者來說可以省下很多現金。回報一般來說也不錯,但最大的缺點也是它的優點 – 管理上,租戶的挑選非常重要,因為租金較低,有時會遇到不好的租客。一個不好的租客會導致整個APARTMENT的問題,這很奇怪,但其它租客往往不會和你說哪個租客不好,而是選擇自己搬走。我們目前手上有幾個類似這樣的項目可以給你們考慮,資金的需求大概是40萬到100萬之間。


6. RETAIL (零售地產)


我們對零售地產方面的看法較不同,雖然達拉斯的人口不斷的增加,很多新的公司也來這設新店面。但整體來看,很多店面還是都空的,這是因為過去10年太多新的開發,加上很多新的店面並不想租店面而是自己獨立開發自己的店面(買土地再開發),德州地還是很多,所以不如自己開發一個商場,還可以從土地的上漲來獲利。所以如果要投資零售地產是可以考慮, 但價錢上的商談空間可能會較高,再來就是要注意到是否有合適的商家。


7. OFFICE (辦公大樓)


這也是一樣問題,DOWNTOWN還有很多空的辦公大樓。達拉斯和其它城市發展類似,美國的都市化過程變成不需要去DOWNTOWN上班,加上科技發展,所以辦公室的需求其實沒有以前的高。因此,我們發現很多達拉斯的A GRADE辦公室反而都被一些小公司租走。所以投資辦公大樓是不錯,但要小心空置率。

Thomas Su
Keller Williams Realty
18383 Preston Rd. Ste 150 
Dallas, TX 75252, USA
(469) 347 1839

Financing for Non-Resident Investors in Texas

Many foreign investors are looking for financing solution but very few banks in the U.S. provide such program for non-resident investors.

We had discussed with Cathay Bank, a Nasdaq listed bank from California who has 2 programs for non-resident investors – and they provide such program in several states.

Texas is one of the best performing markets in the U.S. now with very strong economy and fast growing in population especially Dallas – Dallas is also rated a better investment market than other Texan cities because of its diverse economy – it is not just relying on energy industry as in Houston.

Cathay Bank is able to provide financing for you if you are looking to invest in Texan properties.

They have 2 programs:

1) Non-Resident Loans – This is for investors to purchase under individual names, and loans can be up to 70% of the value (appraisal value, not the market value / purchase price).

They will use your foreign income / salary or assets as part of analysis.

2) Commercial Loan – This is a flexible program where you can apply for commercial loan under a LLC structure, and they will lend to you against the portfolio value, this is typically up to 50% of the portfolio value.

The interest rates are competitive and the terms are very flexible compared to other lenders in the U.S.

If you are interested in more information about these programs, please contact us for more information and we will make introduction for you to the loan officers over there.

Thomas Su


Keller Williams Realty


Phone: (469) 347 1839

Achieving 20% rental yield – is it real?

I had been wanting to publish this article for a while but I would want to wait until I have enough own experience involving in different types of real estate before recommending to my investors / clients.

I had been investing in Youngstown OH market since October, and I gave myself 6 to 8 months to watch the market and to see how realistic to achieve 20% rental yield which is very rare for investors to hear from other markets.

Since then, I had personally invested in 14 properties in that market and had helped clients to purchase at least 20 more – and we had all achieved somewhere between 16% to 32% gross rental yield.

How can this be possible, and what are the risks?

I had been following and visiting Youngstown regularly and I am amazed by the transformation in this city – the economy is more stabilized now and more importantly, crime rate is low and rental demand has been rising strongly.

Like any other city – there are always good and bad areas – and I leared these myself – and now focus on average to upper end markets / sub-markets in the Youngstown OH market.

Our strategy is to stay away High Crime areas (like any investor), we don’t mind older homes as long as they are in good areas, and focus on Foreclosure/HUD homes in average to prestigeous areas.

Our areas include Westside, Southside, Struthers, Poland, Boardman, Canfield, Austintown and Warren.

The older homes – while more risky, can achieve better rental yield – renovation is often required, and with new updates such as electrical, furnace, plumbing – older homes can be just like newer homes  – and they can be rented out at same rent as newer homes.

If you are interested to receive regular e-mails from us on the new opportunities, please contact us and we will send you property alerts regularly.

Thomas Su

(469) 347 1839


Google Maps Tactics to find U.S. properties

Google Map is a very useful way for international or interstate investors – the Google Map is a great tool to look for information and check out the nearby properties.

As I have many foreign investors following my blog – I would like to show some tactics and things to watch out for.

1) Listing Agents will always show you the “Best Images”- so you need to do more search – ask your buyer’s agent to take photos for you, that’s always a good point.

2) Neighbors – Look at surrounding neighbors and “virtual walk down” the streets – pay attention to the following:

i) Fences – many areas in U.S. don’t build fences around their houses, this is a sign of the crime rate – high crime areas will see fences everywhere.

ii) Iron bars on windows – another sign for high crime areas

iii) Types of cars – you can see types of cars on the street, this is a good way to estimate types of people living here.

iv) Go to search for image on local schools to see if you see fences or lots of security cameras around the school – another sign of crime rate.

v) Do you see kids playing on the street on in the yards – good sign to see this is a family oriented area.

3) Search for nearby shops – and find out what kind of shops are nearby.

I use the following words:

A) Nightclubs near…

B) Bars near…

C) Pawn Shops near..

D) Tattoo Shops near..

E) Junkyards near..

All the places where you don’t to be your neighbors. Once, I bought a cheap home (my very first investment), everything looked good on photos and later I found it is next to a junkyard. All these could be avoided these days by using Google Map (Google Map was only just introduced back then).

4) Look at Roof Condition and Nearby Houses

Check out on the roof condition by enlarging the Google Map – sometimes you can see them very clearly. I did a Google Map search on some North Dallas areas recently and saw at least 10 blue plastic covering, then I knew that area was hit by hailstorms regularly and needed to replace roof almost every few years.

5) Check on your neighbors – it’s important to look at neighbours – even if it is investment property. Pay attention to the following:

A) Garbage in the front or backyard?

B) Lawns being cut or falling trees?

C) Anything lousy or dirty at the neighbor’s house?

D) Cracks on driveways or the house?

One of my client is interested in buying a property in Ohio – and I checked out the neighbor and saw them hoarding lots of garbages in the front porch – and trees at back are overgrown – that shows this kind of neighbor is a lousy neighbour and do not look after their properties well.

6) Lots of people wondering around?

This is a bit hard to find out – but my partner has a good point. If you see lots of young people hanging out on street in the middle of the day, these guys are probably all out of jobs and have nothing else to do. Then this is not a good area ti raise family.

Once, we went to a Multi-Family Apartment, it has 50 units, we went there at 11am in the morning, more than half of the units have someone sitting out there in the balcony smoking, reading newspapers, chatting – basically killing the time and had nothing else to do. We later found this apartment has issues in collecting the rent as most of the renters are on benefits or have no jobs.

7) Nearby Schools and Grocery Stores

This is very easy to do – type in schools and supermarkets or grocery – then you can see a list and where they are located – this is a good strategy to find homes suitable for families.

I hope you find this article useful – please contact us if you need more information.

Thomas Su


(469) 347 1839



10 Reasons why you should consider investing in Dallas now

Dallas is a super-hot market now and is likely to continue for many years even decades to come, this is why even though it is a seller’s market in Dallas now, investors continue to look for opportunities here – in this article, I will list 10 top reasons why you should consider an investment opportunity in Dallas.

1. Population Growth: There are hundreds of people moving to Dallas each day, the city (Dallas-Fort Worth) had been expanding non-stop for over a decade now, it is now ranked as either the 4th or 5th biggest city in the U.S., and soon, it will become the 3rd largest city in the U.S.

2. Jobs: There are jobs everywhere – Dallas has attracted more headquarters than any other cities in North America, the recent new HQ relocations include Toyota, FedEx, State Farm, Raytheon, Fujitsu, Hitachi and many unreported companies that have either relocated or expanding their new operations in Dallas as the new HQ for South / South East.

3. Housing Price: Despite of the rising in property price, Dallas remains affordable compared to other cities. $200,000 can get you a nice, decent home in good areas, $300,000 to $350,000, then you will have a ice 4 to 5 bedroom house with a swimming pool. There are also many areas where you can still buy properties under $150,000.

4. Education: Dallas in general has pretty good school systems – most areas have very good school districts especially North, North East, Western areas and some Eastern areas. South Dallas is known to be less affluent and has less attracrive school districts, but that’s also changing due to population growth and new funding has been allocated to to these areas.

Put it simply, you can be in a good school district where home price is around $200,000, this is impossible for most other cities in North America or anywhere in the world.

5. Low Crime Rate: For a metropolis that is approaching 7 million (or maybe over already) people, the crime rate in Dallas is considered as very low. Most of crime activities are concentrated in certain pockets and not spread out into other areas.

It is also safe to walk in most areas at night, and Dallas is rated as one of the best cities to raise family because of the low crime rate as well.

6. Diversity in Economy: Unlike other cities in Texas where energy is the main industry (Houston & San Antonio as examples), Dallas is not reliant on one particular industry. The industry diversification makes it unique as it attracts professionals from all different industries, the main growth industries in Dallas Fort Worth areas include heathcare, education, finance, real estate, telecommunications, semiconductors, aerospace, retail and transportation just to name a few.

7. Cultural Diversity: As DFW continues to grow, it is also becoming more cultural diverse. For someone like me who grew up in a multicultural cities (Sydney & Toronto), it’s important for me to see different cultures. I love the diversity here, Americans, Mexicans, South Americans, Asians and Europeans are all in one place and children are growing up exposing to different cultures. This is also a reason why many immigrants are moving to Dallas.

8. Mild Winter: While summer is not a best time to visit Dallas (very hot), winter is consisdered as very mile in North American standard. Many have moved to Dallas from colder climates such as mid-west, Chicago, Michigan and as far as Canada. Many Canadians have relocated to Dallas recently as they could not cope with the severe winter conditions in Canada.

9. Optimism: I think this is an important note to make. I had lived in more 10 cities in North America and across 6 cities in Australia. Dallasites (those live in Dallas) are very optimistic about their future and they believe the best time is ahead of them, and Texas will continue to grow and become the pivotal economy of North America.

10. Business Opportunities: There are many like myself who decided to move to Texas to start my own business. You can see lots of such entreprenuers in Dallas, many had relocated from California and start their own franchise here in Dallas, or those like me who had moved from another country to chase the Texan & American Dream in Dallas. Entreprenuers create job opportunities and wealth, which is why this is also an important element that will create demand in properties.

These are the 10 factors why you should consider either moving to Dallas or investing in Dallas properties. Not only Dallas is increasing population, it is increasing population of professional workers and entreprenuers – the 2 types of people any city wants to attract.

If you are interested in knowing more about Dallas properties, please contatc me for more details.

Thomas Su


Keller Williams Realty