Property Management Fees: What to Expect

Property Management Fees: What to Expect

A man writing a check for property management fees.

Before handing over your property to be managed by a third-party, you probably have one question on your mind, “How much does property management cost?” This is a completely reasonable question and can make or break your decision to hire a property manager. While the question is simple, the answer is a little more complex, but simply put: It depends. Every Salt Lake City property management company sets their own pricing, but most companies tend to fall into one of two categories: flat rate and percentage. There are pros and cons to each option, and it’s important to analyze both before deciding which works best for you. In addition, there are also miscellaneous property management fees that you need to be aware of, as they might surprise you. So, let’s dive into both of these to help you find the right option for your property.

Flat Fee Pricing Structure

As the name suggests, this is a set monthly fee that is paid to your property management for their services. This all-inclusive fee covers all the services provided. This option can be ideal for first-time landlords, but flat fee pricing also has its drawbacks.


The biggest benefit of a flat fee is that it’s the simplest pricing option. The fee is not based on how much income the property is producing. Instead, it is a set amount so, you know exactly what you will be charged every month. You can take comfort knowing that all of the necessary tasks are being handled and that your cost won’t change based on the amount of work being done. With a flat fee, you also don’t have to worry about being charged more based on location. For example, if you rent a property in an affluent area, your property management fees won’t necessarily reflect that. This option provides more control for your investment budget, so you have more financial freedom.


Although it can be nice to have a set fee each month, you are paying the same amount each month regardless of what work is being done. Salt Lake City property management companies know that most of the work takes place when the property is vacant. Once a tenant moves in, your manager is probably doing little more than processing payments and fielding the occasional maintenance call. During these times, you won’t have incoming rent to offset the cost of maintenance. This is motivation to keep the property filled, but vacancies happen and it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing a flat fee pricing structure.

A woman calculating bills for Salt Lake City property management.

Percentage Pricing Structure

The second option of property management fees is a percentage pricing structure. This simply means that a percentage of the monthly rent is paid to the property management company. These fees range anywhere from 8-12% of the monthly rental income, with additional charges for certain maintenance issues. Of course, there are pros and cons to the percentage pricing structure.


With a percentage structure, you only pay for work that is actually being done on your behalf. You don’t need to worry that you overpaid for the services you actually received. If you have a low maintenance property with good tenants, then you will likely benefit from this type of pricing.


While this option can be more affordable at times, it’s important to remember that your monthly fee will fluctuate with a percentage pricing structure. If your property requires a lot of attention or you have problematic tenants, then your management costs could get out of hand. Before agreeing to percentage property management, it’s important to evaluate your property to determine what really will benefit you.

Other Property Management Fees to Consider

In addition to the property management fee, there are other common fees that can be expected. These vary from company to company, but it’s important to be aware of these so you’re not blindsided.


A vacancy fee is common among percentage pricing structures. Since you aren’t being charged the full amount when there is a vacancy, the property management company may collect a smaller amount from you. Essentially, this is a retainer for their services while the property is vacant.


Arguably the most common fee, this is charged when a new tenant applies for your property. This covers drafting a lease agreement, a background check, and any other services to ensure you’re renting to a quality tenant. This fee should typically be lower and is only charged when a new lease is created.


Since evicting a tenant can be complicated, it’s no surprise that this is a typical fee. In addition to charging an extra fee, it’s beneficial to have an experienced property management company on your side to handle this process. The price for this service varies but it is well worth it.

A manager calculating property management cost.

How Much Does Property Management Cost?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a simple and straightforward answer. There are many factors to consider when hiring a property management company and determining what pricing structure is best for you. At Wolfnest, we evaluate your property and find the right pricing option for your property. We can customize our services to fit your rental. We provide a variety of property management services including: 

No matter what type of property you own, we have experience managing it and can help you get the most from your rental and pricing structure. Whether it’s percentage or flat rate, there is a right option for every property. As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of pricing structure. The option that’s best for you will depend on the specifics of your rental property and your unique management needs. If you don’t know what those needs are, contact our experts today and we are happy to help you get started with your customized property management services!

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.

Filling Out a Utah Rental Application: What Fees to Expect From Your Property Manager

Filling Out a Utah Rental Application: What Fees to Expect From Your Property Manager

Utah rental application

Renting from a Salt Lake City property management company is much different than renting directly from an owner. While there are benefits to both, the benefits of renting from a property manager far outweigh the drawbacks. Before you fill out a rental application in Utah, it’s important to understand the tenant fees you might encounter. Although each property manager will charge different amounts, there are a few typical fees that are associated with renting a home from a property management company.

How Much is a Rental Application Fee?

The first and most common fee when renting a property is the application fee. This is taken when applying for a rental property. The purpose of this fee is usually to cover the cost of the background and credit report necessary to evaluate potential renters. The actual cost of the application fee varies from property to property but is typically anywhere from $30 to $75 per person. However, it’s important to remember that in the state of Utah there is no limit to how much the fee can be.

Most Common New Tenant Fees

While a Utah rental application typically requires a fee, there are also a number of other common charges that come with a new rental. You may not have run into all of these at once, but these fees could come up for a future rental. It’s important to take fees into account when hunting for a new rental property. You don’t want to be surprised by unexpected charges, so it’s good to be aware of all the possible charges you could encounter. This is also helpful when deciding your budget, and finding the right home or apartment for you.

tenant fees

Lease Origination Fee

This is charged to a tenant when a new lease agreement is created. This fee typically covers the work associated with underwriting a new lease agreement by the Salt Lake City property manager. This fee generally covers what it takes to get a home or apartment leased. The lease origination fee covers the time to show the property, screening all applicants, and assembling the lease paperwork and move-in process. This is the “behind-the-scenes” work that ensures the best applicants are leasing the home or apartment. While this fee may not seem necessary, when you’re living in an apartment building, it’s a nice peace of mind to know that all the other tenants have been screened extensively and that you’re living in a safe place.

Late Fee

While this fee doesn’t happen during the rental process, it’s one to be aware of when signing a lease. As the name says, this is charged to a tenant when rent is not received on time. Late charges vary but are usually 10% of one monthly rental payment. For example, if you’re paying $800 per month, your late fee would be $80. This may not seem like a big expense, but this extra fee can add up quickly and end up costing you big time in the long run. Before signing a lease, especially a long-term agreement, it’s important to read the lease carefully and find out when rent is due, how to pay rent, and what charges you will be responsible for if you don’t pay it on time. Depending on the property, you may have a grace period, but it’s best to get into the habit of paying your rent on the first of every month.

Month-to-Month Fee

While not every property has this fee, it’s an important one to keep in mind when signing a new lease. The month-to-month fee is charged to a tenant that chooses to overstay the term of their current lease agreement. This fee typically provides an incentive for the tenant to enter into a new lease agreement with the overseeing property management company. When reading over a new lease agreement, noting how much the month-to-month fee could be is critical. Month-to-month convenience charges can range anywhere from $25 to $200. It all depends on the property manager. So, take the time to look over your lease and ensure that you intend to stay as long as it says, or that you’ll be ready to sign another lease agreement when yours ends.

Service of Notice Fee

This is charged to a tenant that has not complied with the terms of the lease agreement. This fee is associated with the process of the property manager posting a notice for the tenant to correct the lease violation or risk eviction. In order to avoid this fee, you must adhere to the rules of your lease agreement. This is another instance where reading a lease before signing it is crucial. The most common lease violations are long-term guests, decorating that results in damage, and unauthorized pets. This fee is at the discretion of the property management company, and there is no set amount they have to adhere to. It’s best to follow the lease agreement, and not risk extra tenant fees for breaking any rules you agreed to when you signed the lease.

Know Your Possible Tenant Fees

If you’re ready to lease a home or apartment, familiarizing yourself with all the possible tenant fees that could incur is important. Unexpected fees can change your overall budget and should be factored into what you’re ready to spend. When you’re filling out a Utah rental application, keep these common fees in mind, and do a little digging to find any others that may appear. So, while “How much is a rental application fee?” is a critical question, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tenant fees. Now that you have an idea of the cost of a rental application, you can begin factoring other possible costs into your new budget for your future home.


How To Guarantee The Best Property Management Company

How To Guarantee The Best Property Management Company

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Not every property management company is created equally and finding a good manager can be tricky. Here are three simple interview questions on which you can ask a qualified Salt Lake City property manager that most people wouldn’t think to ask. You can always add more as you continue your screening process but asking these questions will help you learn a lot about the person you are hiring so that you can make the best choice possible.

rental properties in utah

1. Does your Salt Lake City property management agent own rentals themselves?:

If the answer to this question is no, then be cautious. Effective rental property management is about blending knowledge with experience, and if someone isn’t committed enough to “own their own product” so to speak – then that should be a giant red flag.

2. What technology does your Salt Lake City property management agent use?:

Like many industries, the management industry has been revolutionized by new technology that improves efficiency and reduces costs. Managers who use services like management software, advertising syndication, and automated showing systems are providing their clients with a level of service that old school managers simply can’t match. This will help you save money and time.

3. Is your Salt Lake City property management agent lenient with tenants?:

If so, I promise their leniency will soon become a problem for you. Tenants will start to pay at their convenience, violate the rules, and generally do what they please if there are not strict consequences for bad behavior. For example, it’s common for a manager to waive a late fee, in order to “be nice”. The problem is that by doing so, they are really only encouraging additional late payments because the tenant has faced no consequences. Stop the problem before it even begins by enforcing rules.

These are only a few of the questions you can ask your potential property manager but these ones are arguably the most important. It is essential to have an understanding of who your property management company is before signing any contracts. Your home is one of the most important aspects of your life and it is advisable to hire the most trusted property management company. If you’d like to learn more about how to qualify a Salt Lake City property management company, then contact us today.

Salt Lake City Property Management Costs

Salt Lake City Property Management Costs

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How much should you pay your Salt Lake City property management company?


This is a common question, and if you talk to 10 different managers you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Pricing structures will vary and the answer usually lies in what services they are providing. Let’s review a few common services provided by Salt Lake City property management companies.

Basic Services – Basic Salt Lake City property management services include advertising, conducting showings, screening applicants, providing legal forms, negotiating the lease with your tenant, collecting rent, providing statements and coordinating maintenance. These services are usually categorized as “management fees” and you can expect to pay 7-10% of collected rents. Make sure you ask exactly what services you’ll be receiving and get everything in writing.

Fees – Most Salt Lake City property management companies will have additional fees above whatever their management fee percentage may be. These fees are typically charged for signing up or setting up your account, placing or renewing tenants, marketing, performing inspections or annual charges. Fees may range from $30 to $500 or more for some leasing charges. Make sure you know exactly what fees your property manager charges and how much they cost you.

Other Charges – There are a lot of different scenarios that can occur during a lease term and most Salt Lake City property management companies will include language in their agreements to cover them if work is required that goes beyond the scope of their management agreement. These include evictions, court appearances, cases of abandonment, and other reasons. Be sure to read the entire agreement before you sign so these types of charges don’t catch you by surprise.

At the end of the day, management costs will vary between companies and the key is to hire whichever manager makes you the most comfortable. A few extra dollars per month is a small price to pay for quality management. If you want to discuss our pricing structure, please contact us today.

What will demand look like for Salt Lake City Rental Property Owners in 2015?

What will demand look like for Salt Lake City Rental Property Owners in 2015?

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Salt Lake City rental property demand projections for 2015.

While predicting the future can be a humbling experience, the experts at real estate investment firm Marcus and Millichap are always willing to give it a shot. They recently released their 2015 outlook for the Salt Lake City multi-family rental market and have good news for Salt Lake City rental property owners. Here are their forecasts for several key metrics:

Rental Rates: According to their analysts, “Following a 3.0 percent rise last year owners will lift rents an additional 2.8 percent in 2015 to $892 per month.” This is music to the ears of Salt Lake City rental property owners. 2014 was a great year to own rental property, and if their projections hold true, 2015 should be similar and owners can expect even more rent increases.

Vacancy: Their experts said, “Supply will edge out demand this year, pushing up vacancy 40 basis points to 4.4 percent. In 2014 vacancy fell 70 basis points.” Salt Lake City rental property owners enjoyed near record low vacancy rates in 2014 as strong job growth brought many new residents to Salt Lake. However they estimate that while rates will remain low, owners can expect an uptick in vacancy due to excess supply. Approximately 2,700 new rentals came online in 2014 and they project another 2,500 in 2015.

Employment: Their report predicts, “Payrolls will expand by 30,000 positions this year, a 2.7 percent increase. Last year, 28,000 jobs were created.” This might be the best news yet for Salt Lake City rental property owners as a strong job market is one of the best economic indicators for a stable rental market. Even more importantly, they project “The population of 20- to 34-year-olds, the primary renting cohort, is anticipated to increase 1.6 percent by year end, four times the national average.”

In conclusion, their report indicates that 2015 will likely be another great year to own rental properties in Salt Lake City. In fact, Salt Lake ranked 21 nationally on the NAI index for 2014, and will remain one spot outside of the top-20 in 2015. This means that their experts predict there are only a handful of “better” markets in which to own rental property than Salt Lake City.

If you’d like to learn more about the Salt Lake City rental market, then contact us today.

Tenant Screening to Protect Your Property

Tenant Screening to Protect Your Property

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Tenant Screening to Protect Your Property

As a Salt Lake City property management company, you should have already formulated a tenant screening process to help prevent any unwanted tenants from slipping through the cracks. Having a proper tenant screening process is helpful for property management companies in order to avoid any mistreatment to their properties, find renters who will pay their rent, and protect current renters. As a Salt Lake City property management company, you should have a proper application just for screening tenants. Here are some must-have questions on your application:

1. Name, address, driver’s license, and phone number

2. Current and past landlords with contact information

3. Social security number and date of birth

4. Current and past employers and contact information

5. Release of information signature

6. Have they ever been evicted or broken a lease

Other questions to also consider in your tenant screening process/application:

  •      Total household income
  •      Requested move in date
  •      Any felonies
  •      Any reasons why they would be unable to pay rent
  •      Credit Score
  •      How did you hear about the listings
  •      How many people will be living here
  •      Number and types of pets

As a Salt Lake City property management company, having a proper tenant screening application will help you find the perfect tenant to fill your rental properties.For questions or more information, contact us.

How Utah Property Management Services Actually Save you Money

How Utah Property Management Services Actually Save you Money

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As any good real estate book will tell you, the formula for real estate investing success is some variation of the following: Maximize revenue + Minimize expenses = Maximum Profit. For example, a rent increase would obviously be a move to maximize revenue while price shopping maintenance vendors would be a cost cutting one. How about paying for professional property management? A cost increase, right? Wrong! In many cases, hiring a Utah property management company to manage your rental property will actually increase your revenue beyond what you pay in management fees! Here’s how:


Reduced Vacancy

Many owners new to rental property investing are surprised to hear that their single largest expense of ownership beyond the mortgage isn’t maintenance or repairs; it’s vacancy. Every day your unit sits vacant you lose potential rental income. So if your Salt Lake City rental property receives $1,000 per month in rent, and it takes you thirty days or more to find a tenant, you just paid for professional property management. Aggressive marketing strategies, professional leasing agents and resident retention programs are just a few of the vacancy reducing benefits offered by professional property management.


Placing Qualified Tenants

Statistics show that once a tenant falls two weeks behind on rent, 50% will never catch up leaving you little choice but to evict. Utah evictions can be costly, plus you have the added expense of turnover, which averages $2,500 to $3,500 in Utah! For this reason, it is vital that you conduct criminal background checks and pull credit reports in addition to qualifying tenants financially. Hiring a qualified Utah property manager will ensure that your tenants undergo rigorous screening before being allowed to occupy your rental.


Property Management Pays for Itself

As with other areas of life, hiring a professional is usually worth the added expense. For example, you most likely wouldn’t risk representing yourself in court without a law degree or attempt to fix your own car if you aren’t a mechanic. So, with so much as risk, why try to manage your own property without the necessary skills or training? Especially when it’s clear just how much more money you’ll make when your property is managed efficiently.


Want to learn more about how our property management services save you money? Download our free owner information packet that includes details on our pricing.