3 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease

3 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease

How Salt Lake City Property Managers Screen Tenants - Wolfnest Property Management - Salt Lake City Property Management

 

If you have ever rented a home from a Salt Lake City property manager, you know first hand how stressful the process can be. Not only are you consumed with finding a home, but the contract process can be overwhelming after you’ve finally found the perfect living space. With so much information to digest, it is common to overlook important things to ask before signing a lease with a property management company. Below are three important questions to ask a property management company before you move in:

 

Question #1:

When is rent due and how do I pay?

 

One of the most important questions to ask before signing a lease is how rent can be paid. The majority of property management companies in Salt Lake have the capability to accept online payments. This can make paying rent extremely convenient and help to avoid any late fees, especially if automatic payments can be set up. However, some property managers require a cashiers check and do not accept cash. Don’t get caught unaware your first month, late fees can pile up, especially if you aren’t provided with a grace period.

If you have rented a home in Salt Lake City in the past, you may have been fortunate enough to be provided with a grace period. However, it is becoming more and more common that property management companies are requiring rent to be paid by the first of the month and the late fee can be significant if it is not received on time. That’s why it’s one of the first things to ask before signing a lease.

 

Question #2:

How are maintenance requests submitted and how long does it take to address the issue?

 

The next thing on the list of questions to ask a property management company before leasing has to do with maintenance issues. One of the primary benefits of renting from a property management company in Salt Lake City is that maintenance requests are usually taken extremely seriously. Before signing the lease agreement, it is important to clarify how maintenance requests are to be submitted and what phone number should be used for emergency situations. Most property managers will want the issue to be submitted in writing and have the capability to accept the maintenance request online. It is also very important to ask how long it typically takes to respond to these requests and the timeline to resolve most issues.

If you end up in a situation where you require maintenance to be done quickly, knowing the correct method of reporting issues and requesting repairs can save you valuable time. That’s why asking about maintenance issues ranks number 2 on our list of questions to ask before signing a lease.

 

Question #3

How can the lease agreement be terminated?

 

When entering into the contract, the last thing you are probably thinking about is canceling your lease agreement. However, the fact of the matter is your situation may change and it is important to outline the process for early termination. Most property management companies in Salt Lake City do have policies for that and will offer an early termination option. Whether or not your property management company has an early termination policy is an extremely important thing to ask a before signing a lease. You will want to confirm what steps you would need to take to be able to cancel your lease.

We hope that you never are in a situation where you enter into a lease agreement before receiving all of the important information. It is better to ask a lot of questions and be comfortable with the decision than sign a contract and regret it later. Hopefully, you will keep this list of questions to ask before signing a lease in mind the next time you are looking to move into a new residence.

 

If you are a tenant that is interested in renting a home in Salt Lake City, please consider renting from Wolfnest Real Estate and Property Management. Search our available rental properties by clicking here

 

5 Questions for Your Property Manager

5 Questions for Your Property Manager

Man searching online about property management and questions for property managers.

Finding a good property manager is a difficult task, but it may be one of the most important decisions that you will make after purchasing your rental property. Renting a property can be a significant investment, so you want to hire someone that you can trust completely.

Responsibilities of a Property Manager

Before you begin your journey of finding a good property manager or considering various questions for property managers, you should understand what the responsibilities of a good property manager are.

Rent

First, the property manager oversees rent collected from tenants. With their knowledge of the market where the property is located, they can set the rent at an appropriate level for the property type and location. They will also set the date that rent will be collected and make sure tenants are paying their rent each month. Finding a good property manager will mean that you don’t have to worry about setting or collecting rent from your tenants unless you want to.

Tenants

Property managers are in charge of finding and screening potential tenants. This includes running ads for any vacancies at the property, running credit checks and criminal background checks on potential tenants, setting and handling lease terms, and more. Property managers must have the time and commitment to stay on top of all of these tasks for a successful rental property.

Maintenance and Repairs

Your rental property needs to be kept in safe and habitable conditions and your property manager is the one to determine if this objective is being met. They will see to any maintenance or repairs that need to be handled. However, various property managers operate differently when it comes to maintenance, so pay attention to our questions for property managers below to make sure you and your property manager are on the same page.

Property managers have many other responsibilities, but these are a few of the main ones. Now that you know what your property manager will be handling, the process of finding a good property manager can actually start. Often, finding a good property manager begins by interviewing various property managers and property management companies.

A smiling woman in a business suit representing a property manager.

Interview Questions for a Property Management Company or Manager

So once you begin the process of setting up interviews for potential property managers, what are the most important questions that you should ask in the interviews? Below are five questions to ask property managers before hiring.

1. What do you charge for a management fee?

This may seem like the most obvious question, but it is one of the most important questions for property managers. Property management companies typically charge between 4-10% of the gross monthly rents collected. Some companies charge additional fees, while others only charge the monthly management fee. You will want to discover exactly how much the property management company will be charging you. You don’t want to be hit with unexpected fees after you have entered into a contract with a manager or company. Make sure you are very clear with your property manager on how much you will be paying for their services.

2. What screening is done on potential tenants?

One of the main reasons to hire a property management company is to mitigate the risk associated with entering into a lease with a bad tenant. A good property management company will conduct a thorough background and credit check, as well as verifying all references. This will help ensure that only quality tenants will be living in your property. So, make sure that you ask potential managers how they screen potential tenants. Finding a good property manager means making sure that the tenant screening process is extensive and up to your standards.

3. Does your management agreement include a termination clause?

The last thing that you want to do is enter into a long-term agreement with a property management company only to find out that the property manager is not holding up to their side of the agreement. A quality property management company is confident in their service and will offer a “satisfaction guarantee” that will allow you to cancel the agreement if you are not happy with the service. Without a termination clause, you may be stuck in a contract that you are unhappy with. Don’t let this happen to you- make sure you understand the type of contract you will be entering into before you decide to hire.

4. How many properties does your company manage?

Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong answer to this question for a property manager or company. If the property management company manages several hundred properties, you will know they are successful and have been in business for some time. If the company is smaller, you can expect superior customer service and a more personal relationship with your property manager. You will need to decide which is most important for you as an owner, but the most important thing is that the company has adequate staff to handle their inventory. If the company has a large number of properties you will want to make sure that their firm has the time and resources to handle your property. You never want a property manager who isn’t fully committed to your rental.

5. Will the property management company authorize maintenance requests without consulting the owner?

A good property management company will authorize maintenance requests under a certain dollar amount, without consulting the owner. This allows the management company to maintain the property without having to bother the owner every time there is an issue. Obviously, the company will obtain permission from the owner anytime there is an issue that is going to cost the owner a significant amount of money. When interviewing potential property managers, make sure you understand when they will handle a maintenance request without consulting you. If you have a specific dollar amount in mind, know that they will abide by that number. This will ensure that your property is kept safe and habitable without you having to worry about too much of the maintenance.

Finding a Good Property Manager

These questions will help you find a good property manager that is clear and transparent in his or her services. It is important to find a property manager who you will work well with and that you trust. Your rental property was a large investment, so make sure that it is being cared for in the exact way that you want. Here at Wolfnest, we pride ourselves on giving rental property owners what they want. We let you customize your management plant by picking and choosing only the services you need. This separates us from other Utah property managers, so contact us today to learn more about how we can help manage your rental property.

Beware of Salt Lake City rental property scams

Beware of Salt Lake City rental property scams

How to Protect Yourself from Rental Fraud in Salt Lake City

 

If you have ever been in the unfortunate position of being scammed while searching for a Salt Lake City rental property, you know how heartbreaking it can be. If you haven’t experienced this, you might be wondering – how does someone get scammed during a search for rental property? Typically, a scammer will use a method of fraudulence called phishing. Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to gather sensitive information by posing as an authoritative source. The scammer often does this by advertising a property for rent posing as an individual owner or property manager of the rental. When a renter reaches out about the property, they will receive an automated response with generic information about the property. The scammer will then request a security deposit in order to secure the rental. Once the deposit has been transferred, the scammer will discontinue all forms of communication completing the rental scam. According to a consumer alert about phony online rental ads from the FBI, millions of dollars have been lost annually through this type of fraudulent phishing. Here are a few things to look out for when looking at a potential rental property:

 

Limited or Lack of Communication

 

 1.)  One warning sign that you’re experiencing a rental scam is limited, suspicious communication. If a rental property listing does not provide a phone number, it may be a scammer located overseas. Most phishing scammers will use email as their main form of communication. This email correspondence may include broken English and unusual use of descriptors (i.e. referring to the property as a flat instead of a house or apartment). Look through the listing for red flags like a large number of spelling errors or suspicious use of capital letters.

2.) Because many scammers are sourced in a different country, check the times in which the emails were sent. If the emails were sent during strange hours, it may be an indicator that they’re sourced in a different time zone.

3.) Additionally, you should always be able to speak with the landlord or a property manager in person or over the phone before signing, providing secure information, or sending a security deposit. If you suspect that the person you are speaking with is not who they say they are or seem too eager about receiving a deposit before a property viewing, it is always better to walk away from a situation than be scammed out of thousands of dollars.

 

Suspiciously Low Pricing

 

You may have heard the old saying, “If it is too good to be true, it probably is.” In order to generate a significant amount of interest, scammers will typically list the rental rate much lower than market value. Check other listings in the area to see if there is a substantial difference in price. You can also check your areas median price range to see how it compares. If the advertised price is much lower than properties listed by other landlords or property managers, this should be considered a big red flag of rental fraud.

 

Lack of Address or Pictures

 

If you are viewing a rental listing and it has a lack of address or pictures, it is likely that the listing is a scam. Always be sure to have a complete understanding of what the property looks like and where it is before committing to any agreements or deposits. If there is an image of the outside of the property, be sure to confirm that it is correct through a quick google street view search. A lack of images doesn’t always indicate a fraudulent listing, but if you are unable to view the property in person or receive images upon request, there is a good chance you are looking at a rental scam.

 

Suspicious Security Deposit Requests

 

Many landlords or property managers in Salt Lake City will require the security deposit upfront before entering into a lease agreement, however, you should always have the opportunity to view the rental property before providing this. Additionally, if you are being asked to wire money before speaking to the property manager or are not asked to enter into a deposit agreement, you should consider this a major red flag. It is always important to have a conversation about the specifics of your rental deposit and have a clear understanding of where the money is going and who it is going to. Consider doing some research on the property owner before committing to any agreement or deposit. A quick google search will often yield plenty of information about other properties they may own or experiences others have had. According to a government report on housing scams, “do a search on the owner, real estate management company, and listing. If you find the same ad listed under a different name, that’s a clue it may be a scam.”

 

Hopefully, you never have to be in a situation in which you are targeted by a rental property scam. But if you are, it is important to remember these red flags. If the correspondence seems suspicious or makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to question the individual. As the property owner or manager, they should be more than happy to answer any specific question you might have. If you still aren’t sure, it is always better to walk away from a situation rather than risk the chance of rental fraud. If you suspect you are the target of a scam or have already experienced a scam, be sure to report your experience to your state consumer protection or attorney general’s office, and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to help stop the problem.

 

If you are searching for a rental property in Salt Lake City consider Wolfnest Real Estate & Property Management. We strive to provide excellent customer service through integrity and honesty.