Answers to your frequently asked questions
Why do you offer standard & premium management services?We understand that every landlord has different reasons for hiring a property management company. Our goal in offering different service options is to provide each client with a plan that is going to meet his/her specific needs. We truly want your investment to perform as well as possible and that can't happen by making you pay for services that you don't want (or need).
How quickly will you find a tenant?Our marketing program and leasing services are second to none. That being said, leasing is a fluid process with many variables including asking price, local inventory levels, and seasonal factors. In most cases however, we can find a qualified applicant within 30-days.
How much will my property rent for?
Much like the real estate market determines sales prices, the local rental market determines rental rates. There are three factors that contribute to how much your property will receive in rent.
- Availability and rental rates of comparable properties
- The features and benefits of your property
- The marketing exposure for your vacancy
After we receive the details on your property, we will do a market analysis and set a starting price. We then evaluate all of our vacancies weekly and make adjustments in the price or our marketing efforts to get it rented as quickly as possible. Describe the tenant screening process. All prospective tenants are run through an extensive 8-step screening process. First, nationwide background and eviction database screening is completed to make sure tenants do not possess a criminal record, aren’t sex offenders and have never been evicted. Next, we qualify them financially by reviewing a credit report, conducting a verification of employment, and reviewing pay stubs or tax returns. Finally, we verify their rental history by contacting their two previous landlords for references.
How do I get paid?We will disperse funds by convenient ACH transfer on the 10th of every month as well as post your monthly owner statement.
Do I get to approve maintenance and repairs?Yes. All of our owners are notified of all maintenance issues as they arise. However, we will address and resolve all repair requests for our owners that take advantage of our premium management services. We do typically set a maintenance reserve of $200, meaning that if a maintenance issue comes up and is below the reserve amount, we just fix it and let you know. This keeps your property running smoothly and your tenants happy. For larger issues, we typically get multiple bids and will always contact you for approval.
What happens if my tenant stops paying or causes trouble?Our rigorous screening process usually prevents these types of issues; however, if a problem should arise, our premium service clients can rest assured that we always respond aggressively. Rent is due on the 1st and is accepted late up to the 5th. On the 6th the eviction process is started with a 3-day notice to pay or quit. Nuisance issues are handled in a similar way with one warning given before notice is posted. We also keep the law offices of Kirk A. Cullimore on retainer to address eviction and collection issues as well as to dispense legal advice when necessary.
Who will be in charge of my property?Every client is assigned a designated property manager for his/her rental property. This means you’ll have the cell phone number of a point person to call with any questions about your property or it’s care.
How often should a landlord inspect occupied properties?The frequency of inspections for occupied properties can vary depending on state laws and the specific lease agreement. In general, landlords should inspect occupied properties at least once a year, but some states may require more frequent inspections. It is also important for landlords to give proper notice to tenants before conducting an inspection. It is best practice to consult the laws of the state you are operating in for specific guidelines and requirements.
What can a landlord look at during an inspection?
During an inspection, a landlord can check for general maintenance and upkeep of the property, as well as any damages or repairs that may be needed. This can include checking the condition of the walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, appliances, and other fixtures. A landlord may also check for any health and safety hazards, such as mold, pests, or fire hazards. Additionally, the landlord may check for any violations of the lease agreement, such as unauthorized pets or additional occupants.
It is important to note that landlords are typically not allowed to inspect personal property or invade the tenant's privacy during an inspection. The landlord may only inspect the common areas and the condition of the rental unit.
What is a security inspection?
A security inspection is a regular inspection of a rental property that is conducted by the landlord or property manager to ensure that the property is being properly maintained and that the terms of the lease agreement are being followed. Security inspections typically include checking the condition of the property, looking for damages or repairs that need to be made, and identifying any health and safety hazards. They are usually done periodically, for example on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, depending on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant and on state laws.
During a security inspection, the landlord or property manager may also check for any violations of the lease agreement, such as unauthorized pets or additional occupants, and may also take note of any changes that have been made to the property without prior approval. The inspection is typically scheduled in advance and tenants are given notice before it takes place.
What does a property management company do?
A property management company is responsible for overseeing and maintaining rental properties on behalf of the property owner. The specific duties of a property management company can vary, but generally they include the following:
- Marketing and leasing: Property management companies are responsible for advertising and showing properties to prospective tenants, processing applications, and handling lease agreements.
- Rent collection: Property management companies collect rent from tenants and handle late payments and evictions if necessary.
- Maintenance and repairs: Property management companies are responsible for coordinating and overseeing maintenance and repairs of the property, including scheduling regular inspections and handling emergency repairs.
- Financial management: Property management companies handle the financial aspects of property ownership, such as creating budgets, collecting rent, and paying bills, and providing regular financial reports to the property owner.
- Legal compliance: Property management companies ensure that the property and the landlord are in compliance with all relevant state and federal laws and regulations.
- Tenant relations: Property management companies handle tenant complaints and concerns, mediating disputes and enforcing lease agreements.
Overall, property management companies help property owners by taking care of the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities associated with owning and renting out property, allowing the property owner to focus on other areas of their life or business.
What makes a property manager great?
A great property manager possesses a combination of various qualities and skills that allow them to effectively manage and maintain rental properties on behalf of the property owner. Some of the key qualities that make a property manager great include:
- Strong communication skills: A great property manager is able to effectively communicate with tenants, landlords, and other stakeholders, such as contractors and vendors.
- Strong organizational skills: A great property manager is able to keep track of multiple tasks and deadlines, and effectively prioritize and manage their workload.
- Attention to detail: A great property manager pays attention to details and is able to spot potential issues before they become major problems.
- Problem-solving skills: A great property manager is able to think creatively and come up with solutions to problems that arise.
- Financial acumen: A great property manager has a good understanding of financial management and is able to create budgets, collect rent, and pay bills in a timely manner.
- Knowledge of laws and regulations: A great property manager has a good understanding of the state and federal laws and regulations that govern rental properties and ensures that the property and the landlord are in compliance with them.
- Responsiveness: A great property manager is responsive to tenant complaints and concerns and makes sure that issues are resolved in a timely manner.
- Good customer service: A great property manager treats tenants with respect and provides good customer service to ensure tenant satisfaction.
- Good market knowledge: A great property manager has a good knowledge of the local real estate market and uses it to make informed decisions.
A great property manager can ultimately help increase the property's value, reduce vacancy rates and make the renting experience a positive one for tenants, which in turn can help attract and retain good tenants.
What is the contract between a property manager and an owner called?
The contract between a property manager and an owner is commonly called a property management agreement or a property management contract. This is a legal document that outlines the responsibilities and duties of the property manager, as well as the terms and conditions of the agreement, including the compensation and any penalties for non-performance.
The property management agreement typically specifies the length of the agreement, the services that the property manager will provide, the terms of payment, and any other important details related to the management of the property. It also includes details on how the property manager will be compensated for their services, which can include a flat fee, a percentage of the rent, or a combination of both.
It is important for the owner to thoroughly review and understand the terms of the property management agreement before signing it, and to seek legal advice if needed. It also should be noted that the property management agreement can be renegotiated or modified at a later time by mutual agreement.
Can a lease be canceled if a property is sold?
The ability to cancel a lease if a property is sold can depend on the laws of the state and the specific terms of the lease agreement. In general, a lease is a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant, and the sale of the property does not automatically cancel the lease. However, there are some circumstances where a lease may be terminated or modified due to the sale of the property:
- If the lease agreement includes a clause that allows for termination or modification in the event of a sale of the property, the lease can be terminated or modified in accordance with that clause.
- Some states have laws that allow for termination of a lease if the property is sold to a new owner who intends to occupy the property as their primary residence.
- If the new owner plans to make significant changes to the property, such as major renovations, the lease may be terminated with proper notice to the tenant, depending on the laws of the state.
In general, it is important for both the seller and the buyer to review the lease agreements before the sale of the property and ensure that any potential termination or modification issues are addressed. If the new owner intends to keep the tenants, they will become the new landlord and will be bound by the existing lease agreements.
What can a property manager do if a renter does not pay rent on-time?
If a renter does not pay rent on time, a property manager can take several steps to address the issue, which typically include the following:
- Send a reminder notice: The property manager can send a reminder notice to the tenant reminding them of their rent payment due date and the late fee that will be applied if rent is not paid on time.
- Apply late fee: If the rent is not paid on time, the property manager can apply a late fee as outlined in the lease agreement.
- Contact the tenant: The property manager can contact the tenant to inquire about the unpaid rent and discuss payment options.
- Give a written notice of nonpayment: If the rent remains unpaid, the property manager can give the tenant a written notice of nonpayment, which typically gives the tenant a certain number of days to pay the rent or vacate the property.
- Initiate legal action: If the tenant still does not pay the rent or vacate the property, the property manager may initiate legal action such as filing for eviction to remove the tenant from the property.
At Wolfnest, our rigorous screening process usually prevents these types of issues; however, if a problem should arise, our clients can rest assured that we always respond aggressively. Rent is due on the 1st and is accepted late up to the 5th. On the 6th the eviction process is started with a 3-day notice to pay or quit. We also keep the law offices of Kirk A. Cullimore on retainer to collection issues as well as to dispense legal advice when necessary.
What are the major objectives of professional property management?
The major objectives of professional property management include:
- Maximizing rental income: One of the main objectives of professional property management is to maximize rental income for the property owner by keeping the property occupied with paying tenants and ensuring that rents are set at a competitive market rate.
- Maintaining the property: Property management companies are responsible for ensuring that the property is well-maintained, both inside and out, to maintain its value and appeal to potential tenants.
- Minimizing vacancies: Property management companies aim to minimize vacancies by effectively marketing the property, screening potential tenants and maintaining good relationships with current tenants.
- Complying with laws and regulations: Property management companies must ensure compliance with all relevant state and federal laws and regulations that govern rental properties, including fair housing laws, health and safety codes, and zoning regulations.
- Maintaining accurate financial records: Property management companies are responsible for keeping accurate financial records for the property, including income and expenses, and providing regular financial reports to the property owner.
- Providing good customer service: Property management companies aim to provide good customer service to tenants in order to attract and retain good tenants, and to resolve any issues that may arise promptly and effectively.
- Minimizing risk: Property management companies help minimize risk for the property owner by handling the day-to-day management of the property, which can include handling legal disputes and evictions, and ensuring that the property is properly maintained.
- Advising the owner: Property management companies help the owner make informed decisions by providing information and analysis of the local real estate market and trends, as well as providing advice on how to improve the property to attract tenants and increase revenue.
Can a tenant refuse to vacate a property?A tenant can refuse to leave a rental property if they have not violated the terms of the lease agreement and have not been given proper notice to vacate the property. In such cases, the landlord or property management company may need to go through the legal eviction process in order to remove the tenant. Additionally, some jurisdictions have laws that prohibit landlords from evicting tenants without a valid reason, such as failure to pay rent or repeated lease violations.
How do you transition to a property management company?
Transitioning from self-management to a property management company can involve the following steps:
- Research property management companies in your area: Look for companies that have experience managing properties similar to yours and have a good reputation.
- Schedule consultations: Contact the companies you are interested in and schedule consultations with them to discuss your property and management needs.
- Review proposals and compare fees: After the consultations, compare the proposals and fees offered by the different companies.
- Select a property management company: Choose the company that you feel is the best fit for your property and management needs.
- Sign a management agreement: Once you have selected a property management company, sign a management agreement that outlines the terms of the relationship, including the management fee and responsibilities of both parties.
- Transitioning the property: Work with the property management company to transition the property, this could include transferring the lease agreements, keys, and other important documents to the new manager.
- Provide the new manager with all necessary information: Provide the new manager with all the necessary information about the property, the tenants, and the current state of the property.
- Notify tenants of the change: Notify the tenants of the change in management, and provide them with contact information for the new manager.
It is also important to have a clear and comprehensive contract with the property management company to avoid future issues.
How often is a property management fee charged?
A property management fee is typically charged on a monthly or quarterly basis, but the frequency can vary depending on the agreement between the property owner and the management company.
At Wolfnest, we charge property management fees monthly based on the amount of rental income we receive.
What is a typical property management fee?
A reasonable property management fee can vary depending on the location, the type of property, and the services provided. Typically, property management fees range from 5-12% of the monthly rent for residential properties. Some management companies may charge a flat fee, while others may charge a percentage of the rent. It's important to keep in mind that a lower management fee may not necessarily be the best value, as the services and level of expertise provided can vary greatly among companies. It's recommended to compare different management companies and the services they offer, and to ask for references before making a decision.
At Wolfnest, we charge a monthly management fee of 7.99% of rent collected for our premium service and 9.99% of rent collected for our elite package.
Does a property manager need to be licensed in Utah?In Utah, property managers are not required to have a specific license to operate, however, they need to be licensed as a Real Estate Agent if they are engaging in activities such as leasing, renting, or managing property for others.
What is the difference between a landlord and property manager?
A landlord is the owner of a property that is being rented out to tenants. They are responsible for the the actual costs of overall management and maintenance of the property.
A property manager, on the other hand, is a professional hired by the landlord to manage the day-to-day operations of the rental property. They are responsible for tasks such as advertising the property, screening tenants, collecting rent, handling maintenance and repair issues, and enforcing the terms of the lease.
In short, a landlord is the owner of the property and a property manager is a professional who manages the property on behalf of the landlord. A property manager may be responsible for a portfolio of properties, and their services are usually retained by the landlord for a fee. The landlord remains ultimately responsible for their property but the property manager acts on the landlord's behalf and take care of the property management activities.
How long does it take to evict a tenant?
The length of time it takes to evict a tenant can vary depending on the circumstances and the state or jurisdiction in which the property is located.
In general, the eviction process begins with the landlord giving the tenant a notice to vacate the property, which typically gives the tenant a certain number of days to remedy the issue or vacate the property. If the tenant does not vacate the property or remedy the issue, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
Once the eviction lawsuit is filed, it can take several weeks or even months for the court to hear the case and make a decision. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant will be ordered to vacate the property within a certain time frame. However, if the tenant appeals the decision, it can take even longer for the eviction to be carried out.
It's important to note that eviction laws and procedures can vary by state and jurisdiction. Some states have expedited eviction processes for certain types of cases, such as non-payment of rent, while others have more strict eviction procedures.
Does an owner have to allow pets?
Whether or not owners are required to allow pets in their rental properties can vary depending on the state or jurisdiction in which the property is located, as well as the type of property.
In Utah, there are laws that protect the rights of tenants with disabilities to have assistance animals, even if the landlord has a "no pets" policy.
Additionally, the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on disabilities, which includes the right to have assistance animals.
In general, landlords have the right to set their own policies regarding pets in their rental properties. They can choose to allow pets with certain restrictions, such as size or breed, or they can choose to have a "no pets" policy.
Some landlords may charge a pet deposit or an additional pet rent to allow pets in their rental properties.
Are rental property owners responsible for pest control?
Whether or not a rental property owner is responsible for pest control is typically determined by the specific terms of the lease agreement.
In general, owners are responsible for maintaining the rental property in a livable condition, which includes addressing any pest infestations that may occur. This means that landlords are typically responsible for the cost of extermination and pest control services if the infestation is caused by something within the landlord's control, such as a lack of proper maintenance or a structural issue in the building.
However, if the infestation is caused by the tenant's actions, such as leaving food out or not properly disposing of garbage, the tenant may be responsible for the cost of extermination and pest control services.
It's also important to remember that regardless of the cause of the infestation, it is important to act quickly to address the problem in order to protect the health and safety of the tenants.
What expenses can a rental property owner claim?
As a rental property owner, you may be able to claim a variety of expenses as deductions on your taxes. Some common examples include:
- Mortgage interest: Interest paid on a mortgage for the rental property can be claimed as a deduction.
- Property Taxes: Property taxes paid on the rental property can be claimed as a deduction.
- Insurance: Insurance premiums for the rental property can be claimed as a deduction.
- Repairs and Maintenance: Costs incurred for repairs and maintenance of the rental property, such as painting, replacing broken windows, or fixing a leaky roof, can be claimed as deductions.
- Advertising: Costs for advertising the property for rent, such as placing ads in newspapers or online, can be claimed as deductions.
- Legal and Professional Fees: Costs for legal or professional services related to the rental property, such as fees for a property management company or a lawyer, can be claimed as deductions.
- Travel: Travel expenses related to the rental property, such as the cost of traveling to the property to collect rent or make repairs, can be claimed as deductions.
It's important to note that these are just a few examples of expenses that can be claimed as deductions and the rules and regulations can vary by country, state and jurisdiction. It's recommended to consult with a tax professional or check the laws of your country or state to understand the specific deductions that are available to landlords.
It's also important to keep accurate records of all expenses in order to be able to claim them as deductions and to avoid any issues when filing taxes.
What are a landlord’s obligations to a tenant?
Landlords are generally considered to be responsible for providing tenants with a safe and habitable living space. This includes making sure that the property is in good condition and that any necessary repairs are made in a timely manner. Landlords are also typically responsible for ensuring that the property complies with all applicable building and housing codes.
Additionally, landlords have a legal obligation to not discriminate against tenants on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as race, national origin, or disability, and to provide reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities.
However, landlords are not typically considered to be responsible for the actions or well-being of their tenants. Tenants are responsible for their own behavior and for taking care of the rental property.
Is the property owner responsible for repairs?
Property owners are typically responsible for making repairs to the rental property in order to keep it in a safe and habitable condition for tenants. This includes fixing any issues that affect the structural integrity of the property, such as a leaky roof or a broken heating system. Landlords are also typically responsible for making sure that the property complies with all applicable building and housing codes.
Landlords are also responsible for providing appliances, fixtures, and other equipment that are included in the rental agreement, such as a refrigerator or stove, and ensuring they are in good working condition.
However, it is important to note that tenants also have a responsibility to take care of the rental property, such as reporting any repairs that need to be made in a timely manner, and not causing damage to the property through their own actions or neglect.
It is also important to note that the specific terms of the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant may also dictate who is responsible for what repairs.
Why do property management companies offer multiple packages?
Property management companies offer standard and premium services to cater to the different needs and preferences of property owners.
At Wolfnest, our premium service package includes the vital tasks associated with managing a rental property, such as finding and screening tenants, collecting rent, coordinating repairs and maintenance, and providing financial reports. These services are designed to meet the basic needs of property owners who want to outsource the day-to-day management of their rental property.
Our elite service package, on the other hand, include additional features and services that go beyond the standard package. These services include things like:
- Enhanced marketing and advertising: This includes utilizing virtual tours and MLS listings to help attract high-quality tenants.
- Routine Inspections: This includes semi-annual property inspections and reporting that provides the owner with more detailed information.
- Eviction Protection: This includes covering the legal fees associated with evicting a tenant from the property (up to $1,000)
By offering both standard and premium services, Wolfnest can provide property owners with a range of options to choose from, based on their budget and the specific needs of their rental property. This allows property owners to choose the level of service that best suits their needs and preferences.
How quickly does it take for a property manager to lease a property?
The amount of time it takes a property management company to lease a home can vary depending on several factors such as:
- Location: Homes in prime locations with high demand tend to lease faster than homes in less desirable areas.
- Condition of the property: Homes that are in good condition and are move-in ready will lease faster than homes that require significant repairs or renovations.
- Rental market conditions: Homes that are leased during April-September tend to rent faster than homes leased during October-March
Management companies also have access to various marketing resources and tenant databases that can help find a tenant quickly. The first step is typically to conduct a thorough analysis of the rental market and the property, and then use that information to create an effective marketing and advertising plan.
Once the property is ready to be leased, the property will be advertised the on various platforms, such as online listing services, social media, and local publications.
It is hard to estimate an exact time frame as it can vary widely, but generally, Wolfnest can lease a home within 30 days if the property is in good condition, and in a desirable location. However, in a slow rental market it might take longer.
How do I get paid from my rental property?
A property manager will typically pay an owner through direct deposit or check payments. The payment schedule can vary depending on the agreement between the owner and the property manager. Some property managers pay their owners on a monthly basis, while others may pay on a quarterly basis.
The payment process usually goes like this:
- The property manager collects rent from the tenants on behalf of the owner
- The property manager deducts their management fee, as well as any other expenses such as repairs, maintenance, advertising and legal fees from the collected rent.
- The remaining balance is transferred to the owner via direct deposit or check.
It's important to review the management agreement carefully to understand the specific terms of payment and fees, and to make sure that the payment schedule is agreed upon and put in writing.
At Wolfnest, we disperse your rental funds by convenient ACH transfer on the 10th of every month as well as every Thursday thereafter (if the tenant has not paid by the due date). We also post a monthly owner statement on the 1st of every month, which allows our owners to have a clear and transparent view of their income and expenses, and to check the performance of the property.
Does an owner get to approve repairs with a property manager?
Typically, a property manager will have the authority to make repairs and perform maintenance on a rental property without the owner's approval. This is because the property manager is responsible for maintaining the property in a safe and habitable condition, and they need to be able to take action quickly if an issue arises.
However, the property manager should always keep the owner informed about any repairs or maintenance that are being performed, and the cost of those repairs. They should also provide the owner with an estimate or invoice for any repairs that exceed a certain amount of money or are of significant nature. This way, the owner can approve or disapprove the repairs, and also have a clear understanding of the costs and the status of the property.
Additionally, the property management agreement should specify the procedures and the cost limit of the repairs and maintenance, and the method of communication between the property manager and the owner.
At Wolfnest, all of our owners are notified of all maintenance issues as they arise and we will address and resolve all repair requests. We do typically set a maintenance reserve of $200, meaning that if a maintenance issue comes up and is below the reserve amount, we just fix it and let you know. This keeps your property running smoothly and your tenants happy. For larger issues, we typically get multiple bids and will always contact you for approval.
What is the process if a tenant is causing trouble?
If a tenant is causing trouble, it is important to document the issues and address them as soon as possible. Some steps you can take include:
- Talk to the tenant: Try to address the problem with the tenant directly. Explain the issue and ask them to stop the behavior.
- Issue a warning: If the problem persists, issue a written warning to the tenant outlining the specific issues and the consequences if the behavior is not corrected.
- Consider mediation: If the tenant is causing issues with other tenants, consider mediation as a way to resolve the conflict.
- Follow local laws: Be sure to follow all relevant state and local laws when addressing tenant issues.
- Eviction notice: If the tenant does not respond to your attempts to address the issue, you may have to consider issuing an eviction notice.
At Wolfnest, nuisance issues are handled with one warning given before a comply or vacate notice is posted. We also keep the law offices of Kirk A. Cullimore on retainer to address eviction issues as well as to dispense legal advice when necessary.
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