How to Save Money on Landlord Insurance

How to Save Money on Landlord Insurance

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Tips for Saving Money on Landlord Insurance

If you have a tenant who pays you rent, then you need a landlord insurance in place to protect your property. With the proper insurance policy you are covered if anything should go wrong. If you are a landlord you can be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur on your rental properties. Landlord insurance will limit your chances of having to deal with any sort of mishap. Here are some tips that can help Landlords save some money on their insurance:

What the difference between Homeowner’s and Landlord Insurance

 If you believe your homeowner’s insurance will cover your rental property, you are mistaken. Most landlords who turn their homes into rental property are confused with the difference between homeowner’s and landlord insurance. Homeowner insurance usually covers owners who are currently occupying their home. When your home no longer meets those requirements then its considered as a rental property. Which requires you to get a landlord insurance.

Components of a Landlord Insurance Policy

What makes up a landlord insurance, there are several components which make up a landlords insurance policy:

  • Residence are covered for fire, lighting, flooding, burst pipes, and wind
  • Additional structures coverage for garages and outer building
  • Landlord liability insurance

Depending on your policy you may have more extensive coverage than the one listed above.

Saving Money on Landlord Insurance

Landlord insurance isn’t cheap, you can expect to pay 15% to 20% more for a landlord policy than a homeowners insurance. So how can you possibly save some money for landlord insurance policy? First research what companies offer landlord insurance after that ask whether you can receive discounts, on a fire prevention gadgets, multiple properties, or a burglar alarms. This may end up saving you a bit of money.

As a landlord you may qualify for several discounts that includes:

  • New customer discounts for creating a new policy
  • Multi-policy discounts for properties
  • New renovations discounts or upgraded properties

Don’t be shy to ask your insurance agent how you can lower the costs of your policies. Ask about discounts for safety measures, your insurance company may offer a discount for lowering the risk on your property. Some things that you can do to lower your insurance policy:

  • Install an inside sprinkler system
  • Install motion-detector lights and a security system or cameras
  • Install a burglar alarm that is linked to emergency services
  • Installing smoke detectors in the hallway, kitchen, and bedroom for each unit

Not only ask about professional group discounts, also ask if you qualify for a discount membership.

Encourage Tenants to Purchase Rental Insurance

Landlord insurance protects you from losses due to wind and hail, water damage, falling trees, lighting, fire, and injures to your tenants and their guest. However this doesn’t cover the tenant’s household goods, it would be wise to encourage your tenant to purchase a renters policy to cover their items, and make sure that they understand the policy.

Don’t Over File Claims

There is a limit for how many claims you may file before your insurance company starts charging you more. So make your claims count there are certain situations where you would want to file a claim, for example when a person alleges they were injured on your property, water damages or mold damages to the properties. These are some of the cases that you would want to file for a claim.

 

 

Security Deposit Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

Security Deposit Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

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Security Deposit Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

 

There are some things that property managers can do in order to avoid any complications when it comes to security deposit. Here are some simple tips that can help you avoid any complications when it comes to security deposit.

 

1. Know your state laws

 

As a property manager or landlord, you need to how much your state law allows you to collect, how quickly does it need to be deposited into a bank, are there required reports, if there will be interest – how should it be paid and so on. These are important things to understand when becoming a property manager. It is also important to understand that the security deposits for residential property falls under a statute and calls for a nondiscriminatory and equal treatment. This prohibits any kind of discriminatory practices.

 

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 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 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. That 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. Security deposit

 

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.

 

4.  Establish trust accounts

 

Make sure you establish a trust or escrow account for the security deposit. Make sure your bank knows that the deposits 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 security deposit trust account separate from your own, even though some state laws allow you to mix it with rents 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.

 

6. Handling escrow money

 

Even though you have a broker’s license for many years and you can legally handle escrow money like security deposit, doesn’t mean that you should. Get trained or hire a professional who is an expert with escrow funding’s.

 

7. Let your property owners know

 

Make sure to keep the property manager in the loop with what you expect out of them. Take proper steps to ensure that your property manager understand the procedures and policies on handling security deposits. Along with that, make sure that the property manager understands what his or her are task and that they are to be completed. Don’t let his or her negligence cost you a tenant or lawsuit.

 

 

 

 

6 Things to Look For in a Property Manager

6 Things to Look For in a Property Manager

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1. Hire a licensed property management company

Sounds like a simple thing but a lot of people don’t check to see if the person they want to hire have a license or not. The first thing that they look for is whether or not the property manager is affordable and their personality. Sometimes it is a good thing to pay a little extra in order to have a licensed property manager, because they will know how to take care of all the paperwork as well as any unforeseen complications.

2. Look at the managers portfolio

Take a look at some of their current managed properties, ask for the addresses of a few locations, which are currently being managed by them. After reviewing the conditions of the property, which they are managing you can start to eliminate some of those candidates.

3. Is the fee reasonable?

There is no such thing as a standard management fee, it all depends on your market area, however you can expect to see fee ranging from 8-10% of the monthly rent amount as the management fee.

4. Will your property be inspected?

 Make sure that your investment is being taken care of properly by being check inside and out. If you have a long-term tenant it is still important to check on the condition of the home, that way you can head off any major problems that the tenant hasn’t reported or noticed.

5. Interview your candidate

You should review all of your candidates and ask questions like how many times have you evicted someone on their current property. A high rate eviction can tell you that they aren’t screening the rental applications well enough.  Renters should be expected to pass the basic credit check and have a satisfactory reference from the previous landlord.

6. Review the contract

Have a well written agreement that includes a termination clause. If you are unhappy with the property manager you should a pre-defined method for ending that relationship. Perhaps consider providing a 30 day written notice with the company or person about your concerns and dissatisfaction.

The most important thing to remember is that you are satisfied with your property manager and that they are easily accessible.

Things to Consider Before Renting Out Your Property

Things to Consider Before Renting Out Your Property

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Things to Consider Before Renting Out Your Property

So you have considered renting out your house, in order to obtain an extra steady amount of monthly cash flow, but have you thought about the other factors that it may come with? So before you decided whether or not to turn your house into a rental property here are some things to consider.

Good Tenants Don’t Come Easily

Finding a good tenant could be a long waiting game, because you don’t just want any tenant you want a good one: who will not only take care of your house, is easily manageable, and will pay rent on time. To create these kinds of exposure, you will most likely use some kind of out source services that will put your listing on the front page, but there will be a monthly fee until your house has become occupied or for however long you decided to continue listing.

Difficult Tenants

A person can be well mannered, looks normal, and has a steady job, but for many unassuming landlord they might become your worst nightmare. It is best to do some further investigation on whether or not you want that person to occupy your house. There are some basic procedures that you can do to avoid any future losses. Request for a referee or perhaps a former landlord’s testimonial, you could also Google the person of interest to get some background information.

What to Include in your Lease

Tenancy agreements are quite standard and follow a general template but keep in mind that it is still your house and your are entitled to adjust your terms and condition accordingly. Besides the guidelines for paying rent, you may want to consider some of the following; general conducts, alterations to the property, proper use of plumbing fixtures, parking ethics, pets, guest, maintenance, and expected conditions upon moving out.

Cost for Maintenance Work

Normal wear and tears are bound to happen no matter what kind of tenant you may have, regardless of the tenant. There will be some kind of upkeep or maintenance that you will be required to do, but your tenant might not share the same thoughts and would like to go a different route on how to fix then. If their case and demands are reasonable then you must meet their request, which might cost you more than what you originally wanted to spend.

These are just a few things that you should think about before considering renting out your property, but why not save yourself from all the headache and hassle that come from managing a property? Why not talk to a real estate agent or property manager about your situation, and let them take care of all these things.

How to Avoid Home Rental Scammers

How to Avoid Home Rental Scammers

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Avoid Home Rental Scammers

Moving to a new city can be a life changing moment for most people. It is important to know how to avoid scams when looking for a new apartment, in an area that you are unfamiliar with. Here are something’s to be aware of in order to help you avoid those scams.

There are a lot of scammers that take and use a real listing from, a real home rental or real estates and claim it as their own, they will take these already written listings and make a few modification, by changing the email address or other contact information to include their own information. They might even use the same name as the original poster and only change the picture and contact information, just to confuse you.

The best sign that the listing is a scam is if they request you to wire money over. There is no reason for you to wire money over, not matter what the reason may be. Some reasons could be paying a security deposit, vacation rental, or application fee, there is never a good enough reason to wire money, because once the money is wired there is no way for you to get that back. So beware if a listing for a rental home is asking you to wire some money for a security deposit, or application fee it is most likely a scam.

Another thing to always remember is, if the deal is too good to be true then 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, that is an easy sign tell whether or not the listing could be a possible scam.

These are some of the basic things that you must look out for when looking for to a home rental, the best way to avoid these kinds of mishap is to hire a real estate agent, and discuss your concerns with them. If you choose to continue the search by your self always be aware that if they ask you to wire money, that is a safe assumption that the listing is a scam, and remember that if they deal is too good to be true, then it probably is.

Ten Tips for Landlords

Ten Tips for Landlords

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Ten Tips for Landlords

Here are a few tips that landlords or property managers need to be aware of before renting out their property to a tenant.

1. Screen tenants

One of the most important things you can do before renting out your property is to screen the applicant. Don’t rent to anyone before checking for reference, credit history, and background don’t be afraid to get in-depth with the questions, remember this is your property that you are renting out and you want to make sure it’s in good hands.

2.Handle security deposits properly

Right off the start establish a fair system with your tenants on how you will be collecting, holding, and returning the security deposits. Make sure to inspect and documents the condition of the rental unit before the tenant moves in, to avoid any dispute of the security deposits when the tenant moves out. Always make sure that the tenant understands all the conditions in order to obtain the security deposit.

3.Get it in writing

Make sure you use a written lease or month-to-month agreement in writing no matter what kind of relationship you have with that person. Some of the things you should include in your written documents are when and how you handle tenant complaints and repair problems, when the rent will due and if there will be late penalties.

4. Provide secure premises

Don’t let your property or tenant become an easy target for a criminal offense. Keep your property’s security up to date and take responsible steps in protecting it. Most often the best practices to keep your tenant and property safe are fairly simple, just have some proper lighting and trim the landscape, which are not that expensive and can greatly increase your security from criminals.

5. Make repairs

One of the main issues that some tenant and landlords has is staying on top of maintenance and repair when needed or when requested. Make sure you don’t let this happen to you always stay on top of maintenance and repair, if the property is not keep up to date or in good condition the tenant may gain the right to withhold rent. There are other issues that may occur due to lack of maintenance for example a lawsuit due to injuries caused by defective conditions.

6. Provide notice before entering

An important thing to keep in mind, is respect your tenants right. You should notify your tenant before entering the rental unit, and provide as much notice as possible, preferable at least 24 hours.

7. Oversee managers

If you have chosen to hire a manager to oversee your rental unit make sure you have done a full background check on the individual. Make sure to supervise your property manger, because if they were to commit a criminal offense or are incompetent, you may be held financially responsible and not the property manager, do an in-depth background check and list out all the manager’s specific duties to help prevent any kind of problem.

8. Disclose environmental hazards

If there are any kind of hazards such as mold or lead on the property, tell your tenants immediately. More landlords are being held responsible for the tenant’s health due to these toxic environmental exposures. To avoid these kinds of action make sure to upkeep your property, but if this case does occur make sure you inform your tenants right away.

9. Resolve disputes

Always try to work out any kind of disputes with the tenant without involving a lawyer if possible. If you have a dispute with the tenant over deposits, rent, repairs, your access to the building, noise complaints, or any other issue that doesn’t constitute for an immediately warrant eviction, try meeting with your tenant to see if you may resolve the problem together rather than hiring a third party.

10. Obtain insurance

Be sure to purchase enough liability and property insurance, in case any unforeseen accidents were to occur. A well design insurance plan can protect you from lawsuits by tenants for discrimination or injuries as well as losses for your rental property such as fire and storms to burglary and vandalism. With the proper insurance plan you can protect yourself from all these kinds of mishap.

 

How to Maximize Tenant Retention

How to Maximize Tenant Retention

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Property Management 

 

How to Maximize Tenant Retention

Finding quality tenant(s) can be a long, tedious process. Most owners would give anything to be guaranteed that the tenant would pay rent on time and take excellent care of their property.  Once you are able to find a great tenant, what can be done to make sure that this tenant never wants to move out of your home? Below are some to tips to maximize tenant retention:

 

  • Respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner – If the furnace goes out in the property in the middle of winter, it is important that it is communicated to the tenant that this will be resolved as soon as possible. Even if the request seems unreasonable, it is important to contact the tenant back in a timely manner to explain your reasoning for not processing the request. It is always best to do what you say that you’re going to do and following up with your tenants shows that you do value them and want them to continue renting your property.
  • 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.
  • Stay in touch with your tenant throughout the year – Many owners will place the tenant in the property and will not talk to them again until it is time to sign a new lease the next year. Contacting the tenant to make sure that they are happy with the property and that everything is working correctly shows the tenant that you truly care about their happiness and that you do not want them to leave. Conducting a semi-annual inspection is a great way to accomplish this.
  • Give your new tenant a welcome packet – It can really go a long way to establishing a good relationship tenant by providing a helpful guide to the property they are renting. This can provide information on how to switch the utilities into their name or how to pay the rent each month.

 

If you would like assistance in keeping the best possible tenant(s) in your property, please consider hiring 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 will be taken care of.

Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 2

Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 2

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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.

 

Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 1

Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 1

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Tips for New Rental Property Owners – Part 1

 

Becoming a landlord for the first time can be a very stressful situation. Finding a qualified tenant is probably the first thing on your mind, but it is also very important that you are complying with all the important rules and regulations that go along with rental properties.

 

So what are the most important aspects of being a landlord? Below are some tips that will give you a basic understanding of owning a rental property and what you should focus on to be the best landlord possible:

 

  • Screen Potential Tenants – In order to find the best tenant for your rental, you will have to do a little bit of research. Anytime a potential tenant fills out an application, you should run background and credit checks. It is also very important to contact all references you are provided with. This will give you a great idea of how likely the tenant will be to pay you on time each month.
  • Have a Contact List of Maintenance Partners Ready – It is always a good idea to be proactive and create the relationships with your maintenance partners before any issues arise. This way, if it is 2am and you receive a phone call that your property is flooding due to a broken pipe, you know exactly who to call. This can help to limit the damage you experience before it is too late.
  • Know the Market Rate For Your Property Although you may think that your property is near flawless, you have to look at the situation from a potential tenant(s) perspective. What are the weaknesses of the property? Does it have a good layout? Is the home located in a good location? It is always a good idea to look at other similar homes for rent that are currently on the market. This will help to give you an idea of what your property will actually rent for.
  • Customize Leases – It is very easy to find a generic lease online that you can have your tenants sign. While this will cover you on many of the basics like rent, security deposits, and tenant rights, it may not cover the more in depth issues that you would like to outline (like your pet policy, how you handle late fees, and what maintenance the tenant will be responsible for). If you are not currently
    customizing your leases, you may want to consider starting this practice.
  • Create a Property Inspection Report – By getting a property condition report signed by the tenant at move-in, you can decrease the chances of a dispute when the tenant moves-out. This will help to eliminate the excuse of “that problem was already there when I moved in” from your tenant, as it will show all of the issues the property had before the tenant moved in.

 

Being a rental property owner can be 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.

 

Tips for Marketing Your Vacancies on the Web

Tips for Marketing Your Vacancies on the Web

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Tips for Marketing Your Vacancies on the Web

 

Remember when finding a new tenant meant throwing up a sign in the yard and placing an ad in the weekend paper? Times were simpler then. With sites like KSL and Craigslist attracting tons of local traffic and allowing free classified ads, the web has become your go to spot for finding quality tenants for your Utah rental property. But how can you make your rental stand out in the crowd? Following these simple steps will give your property a strong web presence and help find your next tenant faster.

 

Create visibility – Telling you to publish your vacancy to as many websites as possible may sound obvious, but do you know why? The more links available to your rental, the more likely it is to show up on your prospective tenants search results and ultimately on their radar.

 

Let your photos do the talking  – Almost anyone can write a glowing description that will make even a toolshed sound luxurious, but searchers want to see it. In fact, you should add as many pictures as the site will let you. Make sure they highlight your property’s best features and watch your lighting, because dark photos can make your top floor condo look like a basement apartment.

 

Add video – Sometimes photos just don’t tell the whole story. A virtual tour can really help people visualize the space and picture themselves living in it. Another huge advantage to using video is it will limit your showings to only truly interest parties since everyone will have already had a chance to “walk through” your property.

 

Update your information regularly – One of the biggest advantages web marketing has over print is that it’s editable. If you change your price or forget to mention a particular benefit, you can easily make the change at no additional cost.

 

Make it convenient for tenants to contact you – Not everyone does their searching during daylight hours when it’s appropriate to call, so always make sure your prospective tenants can contact you by email to ask questions. In fact, if you hire a property management company, they typically offer software that will allow tenants to schedule showings or send an application right from their computer.

 

If you aren’t already marketing your vacancies on the web, I suggest you start now. Your competitors are already showing their properties off online. The web can be very competitive, but following these simple tips will help you build a web presence and decrease your vacancy rates.