Utah Renter’s Guide: Tips for a First-Time Renter

Utah Renter’s Guide: Tips for a First-Time Renter

Wolfnest's Renter's Guide

Starting the process of renting can be intimidating and overwhelming for anyone. Especially if you are a first-time renter, you probably are feeling nervous and are not sure what to expect. As experienced Utah property managers, our job is to understand renting and everything that comes with it. That’s why we put together this renter’s guide. When renting a property from any Utah homeowner, there are several important things to remember. This simple rental checklist will help you find your ideal rental and ensure things run smoothly during the duration of your lease.

 Rental Checklist Step 1: Determining Your Wants and Needs

After you have decided on renting, the next step is to browse different available properties to find the best fit for you. As a first time renter though, there are probably some questions you need to ask yourself before beginning this search.

1. What Type of Property Do I Want to Rent?

There are many different types of rentals available and it’s important to know what you are looking for. Do you want to rent a home or an apartment? How many bedrooms are you looking for? All of these things will affect what types of rentals you begin your search with.

 2. What is Your Budget?

Budgeting is part of a renter's checklist

Another essential step in our renter’s guide is determining a budget. Determine what you are willing to pay for rent and then remember you will have to pay a security deposit, utilities, and possibly renter’s insurance, too. There are many different “formulas” to determine what you can afford for rent, but sometimes these don’t take into consideration your individual circumstances. So, it’s a good idea to look at your income and expenses specifically to determine your budget.

3. Are There Specific Areas You Want to Live In?

You may not be sure of any specific locations you want to live in, especially if you are moving to a new city. In this case, you can look at rentals in many different areas and decide which ones you like. But you also may have specific areas in which you are looking. Determine what these areas are and what you like about them.

 It’s still important to be open to other locations. You may end up loving a location that you never would have considered! By having a list of areas written down, you can make sure you look at various apartments in these locations to see if one of them is the right fit for you.

Rental Checklist Step 2: Touring Rentals

Once you have answered the questions above, the next step in our renter’s guide is touring various rental properties. While touring, make notes about what you like and what you don’t to help you make any difficult decisions. Try to keep an open mind since you never know if you will end up loving a property or location that you didn’t expect. 

Rental Checklist Step 3: Signing the Lease

Once you have found your rental, there are a few more steps in our renter’s guide you should follow to ensure a smooth rental process.

1. Read and understand all of the terms of your lease agreement before signing 

The lease is the most important document between you and the Utah homeowner. It outlines the terms of your tenancy and the responsibilities of both parties. One of the most important steps in this renter’s guide is that you read and understand all of the terms of this agreement because it will be the document used by the courts in any dispute. If you have any questions or don’t understand anything, you should consult a Utah attorney.

Lease agreement as a first time renter

2. Promptly switch the utilities into your name

Your Utah rental agreement will outline which utilities you are responsible for. After signing the lease, you should call the various utility companies and have these switched into your name immediately. 

3. Always document the condition of your property

Taking pictures is a great way to record the condition of your property before you move in and an essential step in the renter’s guide. Typically, your Utah property manager will do this for you, but it is essential that the pictures are date stamped and show any unclean or damaged areas in the home. If this is not done for you, take date stamped photos yourself and keep them in your records.

4. Determine how to pay your rent

If the owner is working with a Utah property management company, they should have the option to pay rent online using ACH transfers. This is very convenient for you as the rent is simply withdrawn from your checking account, saving you the trouble of needing to send a check. If ACH is not an option, you should determine the most efficient way to deliver your check each month to avoid late fees.

5. Learn how to properly submit maintenance requests

If your home is being managed by a Utah Property Management company, they will outline how maintenance requests are to be submitted. Usually, for non-emergency items, a simple maintenance request can be completed online.

6. Never stop paying rent

Even if you feel like your landlord is not fulfilling his/her end of the agreement, you must continue to pay rent and address your concerns through the proper channels. Your Utah property manager can even help you with the proper paperwork. Remember though, that by failing to pay the rent, you open yourself up to possible eviction.

Find Your Dream Rental with this Renter’s Guide

So, now you have all of the information you need to know to find the perfect rental. If you are currently in your search, check out our available rentals here. You can find a variety of properties to fit your specific needs. With our experienced Utah property managers, you get amazing benefits such as automatic bill payment, a 24/7 maintenance hotline, professional service, and more. Contact Wolfnest today and find your dream home! 

What You Need to Know About the Rental Application Process

What You Need to Know About the Rental Application Process

Rental application process

Renting a home from a Salt Lake City property management company can be a very complicated process. While it may seem as simple as submitting a rental application and moving into the home, that is not the case. There is actually a specific process before receiving approval. Each company may vary with their application criteria, but most property management companies follow a similar rental application process. Before you apply for a new rental, it’s important to know what that process is going to look like and what to expect. This helps you plan your move accordingly, while also keeping your expectations reasonable. So, what should you prepare for? Our step-by-step guide is here to help you through the process of applying for a rental property.

Filling Out the Rental Property Application

Before the landlord or property manager can even look at your application, you need to fill one out. This is a standard procedure across the board and should be expected with every rental you apply for. Information needed for this can include, but is not limited to:

  • Your name
  • Current address
  • Employment and income information
  • Contact information (phone number, email address)
  • Photo ID
  • Pets (if applicable)
  • Personal or professional references
  • Previous landlord information
  • Background information

It is also not uncommon for applications to require a fee, so be prepared for this additional charge. This ensures that your application will be processed properly for a background check. Once you’ve filled out and submitted your application, you’ll be playing the waiting game. However, there is a lot going on behind the scenes to look at your application.

The Application Review Process

Rental property application

Once you’ve turned in your application, it’s out of your hands. Sometimes it takes a little while to get an answer, and that’s just because the property manager is ensuring the best tenant gets the property. So, what’s happening while you’re waiting for an answer? Here are the steps property managers take to thoroughly evaluate an application for a rental property.

Step 1: Review All Information Within An Application

This may seem like an obvious step, but the property manager will review all of the information received in the application to ensure that nothing will immediately disqualify the candidate. The factors that may be most closely looked at during this step in the process include:

  • Gross income
  • Past rental history
  • Criminal history

This is the first round of screenings and helps eliminate any less than ideal candidates from the very beginning. When filling out an application, it’s important to be completely honest since you may make it through the first round, but when the manager reviewing the application begins to dive deeper, other information may come up.

Step 2: Generate a Credit and Background Report

Once the initial inspection is done, management will then have a credit and background report generated for each applicant that will be occupying the home. While some property managers will require a minimum credit score, the focus will be on the repayment history over the past two years. This also includes any amounts that are currently past due or in collections. With regards to the background report, the property management company will be looking for any items that may be deemed a threat to the community. This could include drugs or violence but is not limited to that.

Step 3: Verify Employment and Rental History

Once steps one and two are complete and the property manager has reviewed all of the information in the application and credit/background reports, they will then call the candidate’s employer and past landlords to verify monthly income and rental history to ensure that the information provided is accurate. As part of the employment verification, you may be asked to provide a W-2 form, bank statements, or copies of client contracts to provide further proof of employment. If the manager asks for any of these items, it is simply to expedite the process and to verify your employment quicker.

Step 4: The Waiting Game

Once the property manager or management company has completed all these steps the last item on the list is to wait. Credit and employment checks typically take the longest, sometimes as long as 72 hours. While you’re waiting, the property manager is probably also waiting. However, you have every right at the beginning of the process to ask for a time frame regarding the rental application process. An experienced company will usually have a good idea of how long these applications take to get through, so asking upfront could prevent you some anxiety while you’re patiently waiting.

What Happens at the End of the Rental Application Process?

Application for rental

The very last step is approval or denial. Whether you get the rental or not, the property management company will notify you, and hopefully, you’ll end with having a new place to live. While the process may seem long, it’s important for keeping and attracting optimal renters. This makes your prospective rental community an ideal place to live with people you know have been screened and evaluated, so you can enjoy peace of mind. If you’ve been approved, it’s time to sign the lease, but remember to read over this document very carefully. Remember to ask the important questions before signing the dotted line. It’s important to keep in mind that this process is similar from property to property, so find the perfect place for you before beginning these steps all over again. However, you can help streamline this process by promptly filling out any and all parts of the application and providing the required documents as needed.

So, if you’re ready to find a new rental, keep the rental application process in mind so you know what to expect. As we all know with rental hunting, the perfect property is worth the wait.