Property Management Blog

Becoming a DIY Utah Landlord

For new Utah DIY landlords, how complicated is the process surrounding permits or licenses?

One upside to being a Utah DIY landlord is that there are far less barriers to entry than other fields. For instance, if you own the property, such as a single family home, and rent it out yourself, you do not need to be a licensed Utah real estate broker or fill out any permits to be a Utah property manager.

Utah DIY landlords with 5 or more residential properties should check if a license is required. For example, some cities may require a rental license or permit in this case.

Usually, a larger hurdle for Utah DIY landlords is having the capital and credit to buy a Utah rental property, and choosing the right one.

What type of general maintenance should a landlord be prepared to do themselves?

To maintain a profit, Utah DIY landlords should be ready to paint, clean, caulk, and take care of routine maintenance work like fixing a loose bannister or changing the guts in a toilet tank. These small issues come up so often that if you have to call a plumber or contractor every time it may erase all profits.

Fortunately DIY landlords do not need to be highly skilled in any maintenance tasks. Small-scale Utah DIY landlords should be on par with the average homeowner in terms of their maintenance skills and home care habits.

Do you have any advice for Utah DIY landlords hiring contractors for more serious work?

Affordable contractors will always be part of a landlord’s toolkit, the trick is how and when to best utilize their team.

It is 9 times out of 10 more efficient to hire out more complex jobs that require specialized skills. Choosing qualified contractors with great references and necessary licenses is rule #1.

After that, make sure you have a written contract of work for the same reason you have a lease for your tenants.

Lastly, be sure you understand the basics of how these jobs are billed, and the difference between a cost-plus estimate and a fixed-price bid.

If you select a qualified contractor and make sure both the outline of work and payment are as clear as day, you will increase your chances of getting the job done the right way with fewer issues.

What are the biggest mistakes that new DIY Utah landlords can make?

Being a Utah DIY landlord is largely about managing the property and the people, here are a few early mistakes in both categories to try and avoid. 

Property selection is super important. Even the best landlord in Utah cannot singhandledly increase the value of a bad neighborhood or defective building. 

Tenant selection is also in the top 3 of concerns. Out of control tenants can make their problem yours overnight, not paying rent, vandalizing the property and more. Putting in the effort to screen up front can reduce stress and save money.

Another common mistake that new Utah DIY landlords make is over remodeling their rentals. Pride of owning a property is fantastic, but remember that your rental is not being showcased on HGTV. Aim for great rental conditions, not necessarily high end. Luxury finishes do not usually bring in more rent and may even be less sustainable.

The time you put into preparing to become a Utah DIY Landlord will make your experience as an owner less stressful and more enjoyable. For more help or information about being the best landlord you can be, contact Wolfnest and let us help you get started in the property management business.

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