What is the cost of property management in Utah?

What is the cost of property management in Utah?

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A professional property manager handles all the tasks associated with managing your property, such as tenant screening, handling maintenance issues, collecting rent, and dealing with tenant complaints. Here in Salt Lake City, property management fees — and the services you receive in exchange for these fees — vary depending on the company. Here is everything you need to know about property management costs in Salt Lake City (and the property management price in Utah, in general).

 

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How Much Do Property Managers Charge in Salt Lake City?

A property management fee covers the costs for the services provided by the property manager — repairs, rent-collecting, maintenance, you name it. Sometimes it’s called a monthly management fee. This is usually 8-10 percent of the tenant’s monthly rent, but it could be a lower or higher percentage. (We’ll explain this in detail later.)

 

Typically, landlords will need to pay a tenant placement fee on top of the property management fee. This covers the cost of the tasks associated with tenant placement, such as credit and employment checks. This can cost anywhere from $400-600 per tenant. 

 

Some property managers charge landlords an hourly rate for repairs, which can range from $40-80 an hour. It really all does depend on the property manager.

 

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The 8-10% Rule

Most property managers in Salt Lake City take a percentage of a tenant’s monthly rent, usually 8-10 percent. Here’s an example:

 

  • Sally pays $2,000 a month to rent an apartment in the Sugar House neighborhood. A property management company takes 10 percent of this amount every month, which equals $200. Sally’s landlord keeps the remainder of the rent, which equals $1,800. 

 

  • John pays $2,000 a month to rent an apartment in the East Bench neighborhood. A property management company takes 8 percent of this amount every month, which equals $160. John’s landlord keeps the remainder of the rent, which equals $1,840.

 

As you can see, there’s a considerable difference between 8 and 10 percent. Sally and John pay the same amount of rent every month, but John’s landlord saves $40 a month — that’s $480 a year — because the property management company charges him a lower percentage. 

 

Some property managers charge less for their services than others, but the price isn’t always an indicator of quality.

 

Here are some things to consider when renting out your property

 

Other Property Management Fee Structures

The example above is the most common type of property management fee structure in Salt Lake City, but there is an alternative. 

Some property managers, for example, charge a lower monthly percentage — 5 percent, for example — as well as several “add-on” fees for various services. These include:

 

  • Leasing fees.
  • Marketing fees. 
  • Project management fees. 
  • New customer fees.
  • Transition fees. 

 

As you can see, landlords in this fee structure receive itemized bills for multiple services not covered under the monthly percentage. 

In some cases, this structure suits landlords better and provides them with cost savings. The first example, however, is far more common.

 

What Happens When a Property is Vacant?

This is one of the most common questions about the cost of property management in Salt Lake City. The answer is: It all depends. Some property managers won’t charge you anything if your property is empty in-between tenancies. Others might charge you for their services. Even if there are no tenants in a property, managers might still need to make repairs during this time. Additionally, if your property is vacant, a property management company such as Wolfnest will search, find, and fill a vacant property so that you don’t lose your investment. Let us increase the ROI for your property today!

 

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How To Maximize Tenant Retention

How To Maximize Tenant Retention

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Getting new clients isn’t very easy and each month your property stays vacant is a month you’ve lost income. Did you know improving your tenant retention rates by approximately 5% increases your profits by between 25%-95%? Crazy, right?

But how does a landlord or property owner make their tenants more inclined to stay in their properties? Here are a few ideas that could help you maximize tenant retention.

 

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Begin at Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is the first step to improving your customer retention rate. Finding great tenants means that you’ll avoid many of the issues that sour the relationship between landlords and tenants. 

 

While screening your tenants, make sure to find out a bit of the following:

  • The nature of their employment 
  • How long they plan to stay
  • If they have a family or live alone
  • Their criminal records
  • Credit score

 

These are important factors that will help you know whether or not they are going to become long-term tenants. For better tenant retention rates, go for tenants who have a great history with their past landlords, and are planning to stay for a longer period.

 

Develop a Good Relationship With the Tenants

From the get-go, it’s very easy for tenants to dislike their landlord. But you can develop a great relationship with your tenants to improve the quality of their stay. Tenants who have a great relationship with their landlords will want to stay for a longer period.

 

One of the easiest ways to develop a great relationship with your tenants is by being understanding. Try talking with them as though they are on the same level as you and even when they are late on their rent payment approach them with an understanding tone. 

 

Conduct Research on Why Tenants Are Leaving

This is one of the best ways to learn why tenants are not staying. Finding out why they are leaving gives you very valuable information on how you can improve your tenant retention rates.

 

You can survey the existing tenants by asking them what would make them want to leave. Additionally, you can have exit interviews with tenants who are already vacating to find out their reasons. If it’s something you can fix, try reasoning with them as this might make them stay. 

Continue To Rent The Property Below Market Value

Many owners and property management companies feel that a rent increase should happen every year in order to maximize cash flow. If you are willing to make a small concession to your excellent tenant, it will make them feel valued and will not give them a reason to find a new place to live.

 

Become More Personal

At the end of the day, your tenants are just human, becoming personal lets them see a different version of you. This helps them realize that you are not that different from them. Letting them learn more about your personal life helps deepen the relationship you have with your tenants. 

 

You can become more personal with your tenants by:

  • Sending out holiday and gift cards 
  • Holding regular personal conversations with them
  • Remembering important details about your tenants like their birthdays
  • Letting them know that they can reach out to you at anytime
  • Hosting annual parties where you invite all the tenants 

 

These steps are very important as they’ll help you become closer to your tenants. They will develop a sense of loyalty towards you, making it very hard for them to leave. 

 

Provide Great Incentives

Providing great incentives will improve your tenant retention rates and also attract new tenants. For instance, handle maintenance issues effectively and regularly. You can also go the extra mile to improving your tenants’ living conditions such as installing better insulation in the houses. 

You can also give your tenants gifts just before it’s time for them to renew their lease. Go for something personal that lets them know you are grateful for all the time they have stayed. This will make them feel appreciated and improve the chance of them staying. 

 

Maximize Tenant Retention With Property Management Services

Providing great incentives will improve your tenant retention rates and also attract new tenants. For instance, handle maintenance issues effectively and regularly. You can also go the extra mile to improving your tenants’ living conditions such as installing better insulation in the houses. 

 

You can also give your tenants gifts just before it’s time for them to renew their lease. Go for something personal that lets them know you are grateful for all the time they have stayed. This will make them feel appreciated and improve the chance of them staying. 

 

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10 Tips for First-Time Landlords Who Want Better Relationships With Tenants

10 Tips for First-Time Landlords Who Want Better Relationships With Tenants

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A sky scraper building managed by a first time landlord.
A positive landlord-tenant relationship can reduce many of the problems associated with property management. Tenants who maintain positive relations with their landlord throughout their tenancy are more likely to renew contracts and pay rent on time. Whether you’re a first-time landlord or a seasoned expert, all landlords need a guide to renting their multifamily housing units or investment properties at some point. Here are 10 landlord tips to help develop a better relationship with future and current tenants so that you can get the best experience when renting out your property.

#1. Screen tenants

Tenant screening is one of the most important things you can do before renting out your property. It lets you check the following information about a prospective tenant:

  • Background
  • Reference history
  • Credit history
    • Excellent credit — 750 and above
    • Good credit — 700 to 749
    • Fair credit — 650 to 699
    • Poor credit — 600 to 649
    • Bad credit — anything below 600
  • Employment information

All of this information lets you determine the perfect tenant for your property and mitigate risk. You will able to better understand a prospective tenant’s financial situation and prevent non-payment of rent and even eviction. Although tenant screening might requite an outlay, it should provide you with a good investment return.

Learn More About Tenant Placement Services

#2. Handle security deposits properly

You don’t need to collect a security deposit by law, but a deposit provides you with a financial safeguard in the event a tenant damages your property or doesn’t pay rent. Here are some security deposit tips:

  • Tell your tenants how you will be collecting, holding, and returning their security deposits. 
  • Inspect and document the condition of your property before the tenant moves in. This will avoid any disputes when the tenant moves out. 
  • Make sure your tenant understands the conditions for obtaining the security deposit at the end of the tenancy. 
  • Keep a tenant’s deposit in a safe place. 
  • Carry out an inspection of your property before you return the deposit. You might want to deduct any cleaning charges or damages from the deposit.

#3. Write a lease or agreement

A written lease or month-to-month agreement provides you and your tenant with peace of mind. You should establish what kind of relationship you have with your tenant, as well as the following information:

  • How you will handle tenant complaints.
  • How you will handle repair problems.
  • When you expect the rent.
  • Late penalties for non-payment of rent.
  • Rules about pets and guests.
  • Fire safety information.
  • Other important information about the tenancy. 

Using a property management service such as Wolfnest will take the stress out of tenant leases and agreements.

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#4. Provide secure premises

There are up to 2.6 million robberies in the United States every year, so you need to protect your property from would-be intruders. Here’s how to do it:

  • Install lighting.
  • Set up security cameras and alarms.
  • Trim landscapes. (This lets criminals know that someone is living in your property).
  • Ask your tenants to take the appropriate steps for safeguarding your property, such as locking doors and closing windows when they leave your home.

#5. Perform Repairs

As a landlord, you need to perform some essential repairs by law. Not making repairs on time can often lead to a breakdown in your relationship with a tenant, so it’s important to stay on top of any maintenance commitments. 

Lawsuits can sometimes arise because of injuries caused by defective conditions in properties. Keep your property in good condition to prevent the chances of this happening. This includes fixing any broken fixtures and fittings at the end of the tenancy. 

A property management service can take care of repairs for you, which will save you time.

#6. Give tenants notice before you enter the property

If tenants are living in your property, you need to provide 48 hours written notice before you enter the unit and 24 hours notice if you are showing the unit to a new tenant or purchaser. Not giving enough notice can lead to a strained relationship with tenants.

This shouldn’t stop you from wanting to enter your property, however. It is important you inspect your unit on a regular basis for damages and to make sure your tenants have all the services they require.

#7. Manage property managers

A property manager can take care of many of the tasks associated with the maintenance of your property, including tenant placement, listings management, and inspections. However, not all property managers are the same.

It’s essential that you carry out a full background check on any potential property manager as they will have full access to your unit at all times. In addition, you may be held financially responsible if a property manager is incompetent, negligent, or carries out a criminal offense.

#8. Disclose environmental hazards

You should tell tenants immediately about any environmental hazards on your property, such as mold or lead-based paint. You could be held responsible for a tenant’s health if a problem arises because of exposure to toxic environments. 

Maintaining your property will reduce any environmental hazards, and a property management service can do all the hard work for you.

#9. Resolve disputes

A home managed by a first time landlord.
There are many disputes that can arise over the course of a tenancy, and you should always try to resolve any problems as quickly as you can. Here are some quick tips:

  • Try to work out disputes without involving a lawyer, if you can. 
  • Talk to your tenant about disputes over rent, repairs, deposits, noise, building access, or issues that don’t require immediate eviction. 
  • Try to solve these problems by meeting your tenant face-to-face without hiring a third party.

#10. Obtain insurance

Insurance provides you with a financial safeguard in case a tenant tries to take you to court for alleged discrimination or injuries. You can also take out insurance to cover any costs associated with burglary, vandalism, fire, or storms. 

There are various insurers that will provide you with the financial protection you need, but shop around for the best cover. Comparing insurers online will help you get the best deals on property and liability insurance. 

These are a few tips for new landlords and a refresher for industry experts. Nonetheless, working with a property management company can help you develop deeper relationships with your tenants. Learn more about Wolfnest’s services or call 801-523-4230.

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Things to Consider When Renting Out Your Property

Things to Consider When Renting Out Your Property

A person's handing over keys to rent out their property.

There are many things to consider when renting out your property. It may seem exciting to get some extra cash flow by turning your home into a rental opportunity, but you need to know what to expect. Have you done this before? Are you familiar with the pros and cons? Do you know what you want in the lease?  Before you decide to go for it and turn your house into a rental property, make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

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Finding Good Tenants

Becoming a landlord is a big deal. Finding good tenants can be a long, difficult waiting game. You don’t just want any tenant, you want a good one. You need someone who will not only take care of your house, but will pay their rent on time. To market your rental and find the best tenant, you will most likely use some kind of out source services that will make your listing easily accessible to potential tenants. There is sure to be a monthly fee until your house gets rented. However long you decided to continue listing, you will continue to pay.

Although a person can be well mannered, seem normal, and have a steady job, for many unassuming landlords they just may become your worst nightmare. It is best to do some further investigation on whether or not you want that person to occupy your house. 

Some basic procedures that you can do to avoid nightmare tenants are:

  • Credit Check – Make sure their credit is up to par and they are able to pay their rent. If their credit is low, they may not be responsible enough for you to take a chance on.
  • Interview – Have questions lined up to interview your tenant. Meet them face to face and see if this is someone that you would like to be your tenant. Ask them what they would do in different rental problem scenarios.
  • Referrals – Request referrals from past landlords, bosses, and/or past neighbors. They can give you a great insight to who this potential tenant really is.
  • Google them – These are the times we live in! Google them, check out their social media. Get a feel for who they are. Performing a background check isn’t a bad idea either.
  • Use a Rental Agent – The benefits of using a rental agent are plentiful. They take care of the leg work, and you get a great tenant.

Benefits of A Rental Agent

Although you may think you are ready to tackle this new idea of having a rental property, it’s really not for everyone. Getting the best tenants can be hard. Maintaining and managing the property can be hard. If it’s something that you would really like to do – but could go without the headache that can come along with it, use a rental agent to list your rental and check out Wolfnest for your property management needs.

A rental agent can take care of marketing your rental, determining the best price, and help you decide what should go in the lease to best protect you. You don’t have to go at this alone. Use professionals for the best experience.

What to Include in a Rental Lease

Tenancy agreements can vary, but do follow a general template. Keep in mind that it is still your house and you are entitled to adjust your terms and conditions accordingly. Besides rent price and payment dates, there are many other things to consider before renting out your property.  Will you allow pets? Does the tenant have use of the yard? Do they have access to the basement and garage? Will you allow them to paint? Is this lease for 1 year, month to month, or minimum of 2 years? You can customize your property requests, but try to stick to the basics. Otherwise, it will be hard to find a tenant willing to jump through all your hoops.

You may see the benefits of a rental agent if you need some help with this part. They will know what’s standard in your area and what a reasonable price is compared to others nearby. A rental agent will also be able to get your listing seen by many, and rented out quickly.

Cost For Maintenance Work

Normal wear and tear is bound to happen, regardless of the tenant. There will be some kind of upkeep or maintenance that you will be required to do. This should also be clear in the lease terms. Are you going to take care of the lawn maintenance, or is the tenant expected to? Are they required to keep paint colors neutral or repaint before they leave? If these are not clear from the beginning, you could end up taking on a lot of extra work.

Think about if the washer and dryer or refrigerator breaks, that’s on you as the owner. You are expected to repair or replace, and quickly. Same with plumbing and heating. Renters want a place that is low maintenance. Tenants don’t want to be responsible for fixing something that isn’t theirs. That’s part of the joy of renting. 

Having an investment opportunity is a great way to earn extra money, but there are so many things to consider before renting out your property. It can become time consuming and expensive if you get bad tenants or don’t prepare yourself ahead of time. Becoming a landlord doesn’t have to be stressful. Let Wolfnest handle the details of renting out your property. Whether it’s single family or multi family rental properties, our fully trained experts are ready to help you find the best tenants, with minimal vacancies, and increase your ROI for your new rental property. Let Wolfnest help you get started today.

Landlord Insurance Tips That Can Save You Money On Your Rental Property

Landlord Insurance Tips That Can Save You Money On Your Rental Property

A person using landlord insurance tips to save money.

As real estate investors ourselves, learning how to save money on a rental property is crucial to the game. But, sometimes it’s not all about saving money. It’s protecting yourself from any accidents that might happen to your tenants on any of your properties. The good news, with the proper insurance policy, you are covered if anything should go wrong. However, as you might already know, landlord insurance policies can be pretty pricey. Therefore, learning the right landlord insurance tips can save money as a landlord and protect your tail from any future liability issues. This can allow you to reap even more benefits as an investor. Especially when you have the right property management team to help you along the way.

First: What is the difference between Homeowners and Landlord Insurance?

If you believe your homeowner’s insurance will cover your rental property, you are mistaken. Landlords who turn their homes into rental property may be confused with the difference between homeowners and landlord insurance.  Rental agreement length and rental frequency are an important thing to consider when determining if homeowner’s insurance is a better option than landlord insurance. For example, if you have a home that you are temporarily moving out of for a short period of time, then your current homeowner’s policy may cover the tenants living there. The policy could cover certain damages such as a fire or break-in. Depending on the type of policy, some insurers won’t grant a valid homeowner’s insurance policy if you are not living in the home. A local agent or a real estate expert will be able to help you understand the type of outcomes that may or may not be covered by the insurance policy if you were renting your home to tenants. If you plan on renting the property to long-term individuals, then landlord insurance will be needed. Landlord insurance will typically cover the whole property from damages such as fire, water, wind, and/or hail. Homeowners insurance and landlord insurance are very similar but with some key differences including: 

  1. Coverage of personal property. Homeowners insurance may cover personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, and other household items like a computer. Landlord insurance will typically cover items used to service the property. These may include landscape tools to maintain the property or certain appliances. 
  2. Liability coverage on the property. Typically, landlord insurance will cover your liability related to the rented property. If a landlord is found legally responsible for an injury that happened to the tenants in the home, their insurance may help pay for the legal fees or medical expenses. 

Policies will differ depending on the insurance company. Depending on what you are looking for as the landlord, you may choose to just have a standard policy that covers basic building damages (fire, flooding, burst pipes, wind, etc.), additional structures like a shed and/or garage, and landlord liability insurance. More extensive policies are available as well with coverages for additional damages and hazards. 

Saving Money on Landlord Insurance

If you’re a new landlord in the arena or have been one for some time, you know that landlord insurance isn’t cheap. When comparing the price for landlord insurance to homeowners’ insurance, you can expect to pay up to 15% to 25% more! Luckily, there are some ways you can save money on a landlord insurance policy. 

  1. Shop, shop, shop like its black Friday. Getting the best deal on landlord insurance can mean spending a lot of time shopping around. It’s no surprise that policies vary from insurer to insurer. If you are currently with an insurance provider, see if getting a quote from another company lowers your current expense. If not, it may be time to find a new provider. 
  2. Look for discounts like you’re a coupon clipper. As you’re shopping around ask different providers about the discounts that may apply to you. These different discounts may include new customer discounts, multi-policy discounts, loyalty discounts, renovation discounts, referral discounts, and group discounts. Additionally, ask your current insurance provider if you may be eligible for any of these discounts and they may requote you a better deal. 
  3. Add property safety features as if you’re a mall cop. Improving the property’s safety and security may get you a better deal on landlord insurance. This is because you’ve become less of a liability in the insurer’s eyes. Updating the property’s smoke alarm and burglar alarms, adding/updating security cameras, adding motion light sensors, and installing deadbolts or sprinklers can lower your risk as a landlord and ultimately get you a better deal on insurance. 

Remember to not only ask about professional group discounts but also ask if you qualify for a discount membership.

Encourage Your Tenants to Purchase Rental Insurance

Remember, landlord insurance will not cover the tenant’s personal items and belongings. Renters insurance is a cheap and easy solution to protect your tenants from any risk of losing any personal property in an accident such as a collapsed tree or a fire. When you sign a new tenant, you should add renters insurance as a condition in the lease agreement. This may protect you from future liability issues that may happen in an accident. Not to mention your tenant’s assets as well. Encouraging your tenants to purchase a renters policy to cover their items can benefit and protect both parties in case of an emergency.

Don’t Over File Claims

There is a limit for how many claims you may file before your landlord insurance company starts charging you more or cancels your policies altogether. So, one of the best ways to save on landlord insurance is not to file unless you really have to. Filing claims can add up quickly, especially if you own a lot of properties that you rent to tenants! There are cases when filing a claim is more important to do than in other cases. For example, if a person alleges they were injured on the property then this would be a scenario where you would want to file a claim as a landlord. But, other cases like water-damage that is under $10,000 would be a claim you wouldn’t want to file. The reason being, when a property is damaged by water, uncertainties about mold developing in the future will cause some insurers to cancel your policy.  We understand that it can be tough dealing with all of the nuances as a landlord. Finding the best landlord insurance policy can be a time consuming and lengthy process. This time takes you away from investing and building up your portfolio in other properties costing you even more money! Wolfnest is a property management company that takes away the headache of dealing with all the baggage that comes with renting out your real estate investments. And get this, we save you more money than the other guys. Being real estate investors ourselves, we can help you with expert advice and great property management services. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you!

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7 Security Deposit Tips for Landlords From Utah Property Managers

7 Security Deposit Tips for Landlords From Utah Property Managers

Cash that is used to pay a security deposit to a Utah property manager.

Almost every rental property requires a security deposit of some kind. A security deposit is a one-time fee that is due at lease signing and acts as a “damage deposit” for a new renter. Typically, the renter will get this money back when they move out if there is no damage to the home or unit they rented. This all sounds pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, obtaining a security deposit from renters can be more difficult than it seems. As experienced Utah property managers, we know all the ins and outs of successfully renting and managing properties. This includes understanding everything from tenant screening to rental application fees to, yes, security deposits. There are some simple things property managers can do in order to avoid any complications when it comes to security deposits for renting a house or property. Luckily, Wolfnest Property Management in Utah is here to help and take care of it for you. So, here are the top tips for landlords to consider. However, if you’re not interested in navigating this yourself, Wolfnest is happy to step in as your rental property management.

Our Tips for Effectively Obtaining a Security Deposit for a Rental Property

1. Know Your State Laws

As a Utah property manager, you need to how much your state law allows you to collect, how quickly it needs to be deposited into a bank, required reports, if there is any interest it will accrue, how should it be paid, and so on. For example, in Utah, there is no limit set for how much a landlord can ask for a deposit and nonrefundable deposits are allowed. According to Utah law, the main purpose of the security deposit is to protect the landlord or property manager from any damage the tenant may cause or any failed rent payments. Potential damage to the property this deposit covers includes:

  • Stained carpets beyond normal wear and tear
  • Broken hardware and cracked tiles
  • Dirt, grime, and dust
  • Walls that need to be painted
  • Damage from animals

2. Charge the Right Amount

Don’t be tempted to charge less for a security deposit, which you are entitled to. It might seem easier to have a lower deposit amount in order to attract more tenants, but you might run into risks and problems down the road. You should always consider what your house or property is worth and consider who your tenants might be. Setting the right amount of security deposit will not only help pay for any damages that may occur to the property, but it can also weed out the financially unstable tenants. This way you will get a tenant that you will want to let live in the rental property. The right amount can also help prevent a tenant from moving out unannounced.

3. Remember a Deposit Isn’t Extra Rent

Security deposits are not extra rent and you shouldn’t treat them as such. Those deposits have to be returned to the departing tenant assuming there is no damage to the unit. This is an important aspect of security deposits for a rental property. Some managers forget this and run into trouble when it’s time for a tenant to move out. If you charge a deposit, you are responsible for returning it to the renter if they earned it back.

4. Establish Trust Accounts

Make sure you establish a trust or escrow account for the security deposit. It is important that your bank knows the deposit account is for security deposits only. This is to help prevent any forfeiture of those funds being accidentally spent on your behalf.

5. Don’t Mix the Account

Make sure you keep the security deposit trust account separate from your own, even though some state laws allow you to mix it with rental payments or turn it over to the rental owners. Try not to mix up the account because it is far too easy to accidentally spend the security funds. As mentioned above, this money isn’t extra rent. It’s also important to remember that the security deposit doesn’t cover any maintenance that may occur during the term of the lease. This is meant for any repairs that may occur once the tenant moves out.

6. Properly Handling Escrow Money

Even if you have been a Utah property manager for many years and have a broker’s license to legally handle escrow money like a security deposit, it doesn’t mean that you should. Get trained or hire a professional who is an expert with escrow fundings, such as Wolfnest.

7. Keep the Property Owners in the Know

When managing a property for someone else, it’s crucial to keep them informed of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. At Wolfnest, our experienced property managers are professional and knowledgeable when it comes to managing rentals. Through every step of the process, we keep the property owners in the loop so they know exactly what is happening at their rental.

The Importance of a Utah Property Manager

It may initially seem complicated to obtain a security deposit for renting a house or property, but with a Utah property manager, this process is easy. As property managers, we know what to do and how to do it when it comes to obtaining security deposits effectively. As the prime provider of property management in Utah, we have managed many different types of rental properties. Our managers are experienced in handling: 

  • Single-Family Property Management – Our services include comprehensive tenant screening to ensure top-notch renters, move-in/move out inspections, and vacancy marketing to keep your property filled.
  • Multi-Family Property Management – No matter how many units you have, we provide full management services, detailed performance metrics, and extensive staff management. 
  • Portfolio Management for Properties – We’ll help you with strategic portfolio planning, assign you a personal portfolio manager, and include discounted management fees.

Our seven security deposit tips are a great start to understanding and establishing a solid foundation for your property. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many elements that go into effective property management and our Utah property managers are here to do the job right. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!

What to Do If Your Property is Being Used in a Rental Scam

What to Do If Your Property is Being Used in a Rental Scam

A home for rent that could be part of a rental scam.

Owning, maintaining, and managing an apartment can be an overwhelming task, especially when it isn’t your full-time job. In addition to property upkeep, collecting rent, and finding the right tenants, there’s an additional factor you need to keep in mind: rental scams. If you’ve managed your property for years, you may be wondering, “What is a rental scam and what does that have to do with me?” Unfortunately, if you’ve listed your property online at any point, it could possibly be used for a rental property scam. This could lead people to believe they’ve rented an apartment in your building or lose their money on what they think is your property. So, how do you avoid this and where do you even start? Fortunately, Wolfnest is here to guide you. With many successful years of property management in Utah, our team has seen it all. As your property managers, we can help you navigate this difficult area of managing a rental and help you avoid being part of a rental scam, which gives you one less thing to worry about.

Signs of Rental Scams

First things first, it’s important to understand and recognize the signs of rental scams. Even though you’re not the one looking to rent, it’s crucial to understand what renters are dealing with. There are a lot of scammers that take and use a real listing from an actual rental home and claim it as their own. They will take already written listings and make a few modifications usually by changing the email address or other contact information to include their own information. The listing might even use the same name as the original poster and only change the picture and contact information just to confuse a potential renter. When you’re the one renting out a home, it’s important to recognize that this could happen to your listing and result in you appearing fraudulent later on. Here are the top three telltale signs of a fake rental ad that renters should look out for.

A listing that shows little information and could be signs of rental scams.

1. The Listing Doesn’t Offer Information

Writing an effective rental description is half the battle of listing your available property, especially when you don’t utilize property management services who will write an enticing description for you. Despite that, real rental descriptions usually contain all the information a prospective tenant needs to know, even if it doesn’t come across as sales-focused. When a rental listing contains little to no details, mentioning an attraction that isn’t nearby or omits details on utilities, it’s probably fake. 

 2. Asking to Wire Money

A major sign that a listing is a scam is if the “landlord” requests the potential tenant to wire money. There is no need to send money, no matter what the reason may be. While some justifications for this could include paying a security deposit or application fee, that should be paid when you see the property. This is a huge red flag because once the money is wired, there is no way to get that back.

3. It Sounds Too Good to Be True

A good rule of thumb in finding a home to rent is if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most scammers will take all of the real information for a home rental listing, but list the price below the average rental rate in the market. This is an easy sign to tell whether or not the listing could be a possible scam. It’s important to look at other rentals in the area and see what they’re being listed to determine if an ad is fraudulent.

So, how do you ensure that this doesn’t happen to your property? Luckily, our experts at Wolfnest are here to help.

A man providing property manager services.v

Utilizing Property Manager Services to Combat Rental Scams

It doesn’t matter if you own a single-family or multi-family property, our extensive and helpful property management services have you covered. Part of these services includes listing and marketing your property. Since we are actively posting and monitoring your property on a variety of platforms, we are able to keep an eye out for any possible rental scams that are using your house or building for their fraudulent posting. With an active online presence, we are able to catch and shut down these postings before any renters are taken by surprise. Our property management services include keeping an eye on your property both online and in real life. In addition to marketing your rental, utilizing property manager services gives you access to benefits such as detailed performance metrics, day-to-day management services, and a leasing coordinator to fill your rental with high-quality tenants. So, avoid being inadvertently part of a rental listing scam and hire our experienced team to manage your property in every aspect. Enjoy peace of mind and free time with Wolfnest. To learn more, contact us today and we’ll find the right property management services for your rental!

The Eviction Process in Utah: 6 Costs to Consider

The Eviction Process in Utah: 6 Costs to Consider

An eviction notice that is part of the eviction process in Utah.

Do you know how much the eviction process in Utah can cost? On average, the cost of eviction can be upwards of $3,500 and takes anywhere from three to four weeks to complete. Basically, an eviction does not come cheap. Most people believe that an eviction is a fairly simple and affordable process, but the reality is it might actually end up costing the owner more money to evict someone rather than try to meet their demands or compromise. There are certain factors when it comes to eviction, which most people don’t know about. This is where a property manager can step in. When you put your rental in the hands of an experienced property management company, they can help you avoid the eviction process from the very beginning, but we’ll get to that later. To start, let’s breakdown the top six costs to consider when deciding to evict a tenant because unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap.

1. Legal Fees

If there are any disputes between you and your tenant, you may find yourself in need of a lawyer, which means money out of your pocket. More than likely, you’ll need an experienced lawyer to assist you with the process and make it as smooth as possible. The cost of a lawyer depends on whether or not they charge a flat fee or by the hour. On average, the cost of an eviction case could range anywhere from $200 to $750.

2. Court Costs

Paying for a lawyer is just one part of the legal fees you’ll be paying. The cost of going to court and filing paperwork may range from $100 to $300. All evictions must be filed in court since evicting a tenant without a court order is against the law. Bringing the eviction to court can cause a messy situation that is a headache of its own. In addition to the costs of the actual court, you must take into account what it will cost to attend the court proceedings such as missing work and travel.

3. Downtime

If you make it through the process of an eviction successfully, you have to consider what happens afterward. Be prepared to have a loss of fixed revenue for a period of time. It can vary depending on how well your property manager can promote your home(if you have a property manager), but at the very least you can expect to not have a tenant for at least a month minimum.

4. Loss of Rent

Typically, you will lose two to three months’ worth of rent during the eviction process, sometimes more. This is directly correlated to any downtime you experience when you successfully evict a tenant. Until you can find a new, responsible tenant, your property will surely lose money, which means that your income will be stalled and you’ll be paying out of pocket.

 5. Marketing

If you don’t have a property management company, you will have to start advertising your property or hire someone to do it. The cost of advertising will come out of your own pocket, and so will the cost of hiring someone if you choose to do so. If you want your property filled fast to avoid the aforementioned downtime and loss of rent, marketing the available unit is a must.

6. Set Up

Before a new tenant can move in, you’ll need to repair any damage the evicted tenant may have caused. Ideally, they didn’t cause any damage, but that certainly is not always the case. You may need to spend anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to get the place ready for the next renter. 

While any kind of tenant turnover comes with extra costs, eviction can be pricier than when an average tenant moves out due to their lease ending. So, before you evict a tenant, it’s important to keep these costs in mind. On the other hand, an experienced property management company could help you avoid all of this altogether.

A for rent sign outside of a home that is part of the cost of property management.

The Cost of Property Management Could be Less Than an Eviction

As we said, a property manager could save you money in the long run as they tend to cost less than an eviction. Property managers are experienced at tenant screening, which means they choose the very best candidates right from the start so you don’t have to worry about losing any rental income. They also take care of all the marketing, tenant placement, and day-to-day operations of the rental property. This gives you peace of mind knowing your rental is taken care of, while also helping the property run smoothly. At Wolfnest Property Management, we are experienced in handling all types of properties. We can help you find the best tenants so you don’t have to go through the eviction process in Utah. To learn more, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you get started with our property management services!

 

Why Every Landlord Should Charge Rental Application Fees

Why Every Landlord Should Charge Rental Application Fees

Why Every Landlord Should Charge Rental Application Fees

Once thought to be a tool to price-gouge future residents, rental application fees have actually proven their worth. In 2006, Utah’s Rent Control Prohibition Act was amended to add a list of fees that are set by the market and cannot be regulated or prohibited by the local government. To renters and non-landlords, this change could be seen as a potential money grab by landlords and property management companies. However, in the years following the amended act, rental fees have proven to be well worth it. There a variety of reasons landlords should be charging rental application fees. Overall, it is only beneficial for you as a landlord to begin requiring this fee and we have a few simple reasons as to why.

Why Do Apartments Have Application Fees?

The most common reasoning for this type of fee is generally to cover the expense of conducting a thorough background check. This typically includes:

Pulling a credit report

Reviewing any criminal history

Checking the sex offender registry

Conducting financial qualification

Reviewing any rental history

Background checks may not seem that important, but they are actually extremely helpful to landlords and beneficial to renters. When proper and thorough background checks are conducted the result is lower crime rates. Landlords are more likely to conduct these background checks if they charge fees that cover the cost. If renters are hesitant to pay this fee, it’s good business practice to inform them what this payment is going towards and that if they are rejected, it is refundable. The purpose of rental application fees is not to provide additional income to the landlord, but to screen applicants to ensure responsible tenants.

What is the average application fee for an apartment?

How Much is the Average Application Fee for an Apartment?

While this fee varies from state to state, renters can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $60. As stated earlier, this pricing is determined by the market and is not dictated by the local government. That means this price can and should fluctuate as necessary. However, it’s in a landlord’s best interest to make it well-known to future renters that this fee is typically per renter over the age of 18, and is not a flat fee for everyone who will be living in the home. Being upfront about all upcoming and existing fees is best practice for successfully managing a property.

Why Are Rental Application Fees a Good Idea?

While there are many benefits for charging application fees, we have three top reasons for this extra charge.

Reduce Risk

This is a broad reason that encompasses many things, but it is important. By placing qualified tenants, you reduce the risk of damage to your property and the property of your other tenants. A successful background screening will bring up reasons why you wouldn’t want an individual renting from you. If they have a poor renting history, you can find this out before it’s too late and your property ends up being ruined. With a criminal background check, you can also reduce the risk of anything happening to your other tenants. A simple fee can save you thousands in damages later on down the road and gives you peace of mind from the first day a new tenant starts renting from you.

Reduce Costs

Unfortunately, thorough background checks aren’t free. Requiring one for every prospective tenant can add up very quickly and you’ll be the one footing the bill. Unexpected fees happen in property management, but this is a cost you can prevent. Requiring future renters to pay for their own screening makes running your business more cost-effective and will save you money in the long run.

Deter Unqualified Renters

Sometimes the rental application fee can serve as a qualifying process by itself. This ultimately saves you time by weeding out potential tenants who don’t think they will qualify before they even fill out the application. Not only do you save money, but this also makes you renter screening process more efficient. When you’re upfront with all prospective renters about the fees that will be required, you gain the trust of those who will qualify and give unqualified renters a chance to find another home.

Why do apartments have application fees

Rental Application Fees Are Important and Necessary

So, by now you should see why application fees are critical to successfully managing any property. At Wolfnest, we take care of the screening, fees, and everything else in between for you. This gives you less time to worry about your rental property and more free time to spend with family, take vacations, and pursue other hobbies. We require an application fee for all future renters and look into a variety of other types of criteria such as employment, income, and credit history. Our goal is to keep your rental property or apartment in prime condition with tenants who feel the same way. We want you to get the most from your investment and we’re here to help achieve that goal. At Wolfnest, we take care of all the small details you may not have time to look into and ensure that your property will be well taken care of. So, a great place to start is requiring a rental application fee and finding the perfect renters for your building or home. Learn more about other property management services we provide and contact us today!

Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 2

Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 2

Single Property Management - Wolfnest Property Management Logo - Salt Lake City Property Management

Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 2

 

As we mentioned in part one of this article, being a new landlord for your rental property can be intimidating. There are several things that you need to learn. Below are several tips that will help you get a better understanding of the property management world:

 

  • Respond Promptly to Maintenance Requests – Tenants will contact you as a landlord for requests that may seem ridiculous, such as a light bulb that has burned out and needs to be replaced. However, it is always a good idea to address the tenant sooner rather than later and explain why you will or will not be fixing the issue. In the event of valid emergency requests, it is good practice to have these fixed as soon as possible. If it is the middle of winter and the furnace goes out, you need to have this addressed ASAP. As a landlord, you will need to determine what is considered an emergency request and what is not, and then prioritize accordingly.
  • Conduct Regular Inspections of the Property – The best way to find out if there are potential maintenance issues with your rental home is to regularly inspect it. This will also let you know how well the tenant is taking care of your property. It is best practice to conduct a walk through inspection once a quarter and a drive by inspection every 1-2 months. You may be thinking that you do not have the time to inspect the property this often, but it could prevent a major maintenance issue and be more than worth it in the long run.
  • Learn the Rules and Regulations – Knowing all of the landlord/tenant laws for Utah can not only be tricky, but also very overwhelming. There are so many different practices that landlords must follow and the last thing that you want is to be sued by your tenant for violating these. You might be thinking, “How can I ever learn all of the landlord/tenant laws for Utah?” The state does have this information available, and while it may take some time to research this, it will more than worth it if it keeps you out of civil court.
  • Insure your Rental Property – It is always a good idea to carry sufficient insurance on your property, just in case there is ever an issue. There are many different kinds of insurance, including hazard and liability, which will cover you for different situations. Having your property covered under good insurance can save you from a lot of future troubles.
  • Employ an Eviction Attorney – If your tenant has not paid his/her rent, do you know who to call to begin eviction proceedings? It is very important to have a good eviction lawyer in place, so in the unfortunate event that you do need to evict, you can get the old tenant out of your property and a new tenant in as soon as possible. There are many laws that must be followed when evicting a tenant and it is always best to leave this to the professionals to comply with. A good eviction attorney will also provide you with your best chance in recovering the rent owed to you by your tenant.

 

Being a rental property owner can very rewarding, but also very stressful. If you would like to discuss the best way to manage your rental or if you are considering hiring a property management company, please contact us at FRE Property Management. We are the premier property management company in Utah and will provide you with the peace of mind knowing that your investment is being taken care of. Contact us today at 801-673-5692.