Investing in Utah’s Rental Market - What You Need to Know
The rental market is competitive and can be financially rewarding. Protecting one’s investment, keeping your rental full and providing an exceptional living experience for tenants, comes much easier with a firm understanding of the rental market.
1) Average rent for a 2 bedroom is nearly $900/month and is trickling up– Research the average rent price in the area of your rental. Compare your property to others. You can charge extra if your property is updated or well maintained, or offers proximity to shopping areas or green spaces.
2) Neighborhoods dominated by renters have higher crime rates than owner dominated neighborhoods – Statistically good schools walk hand-in-hand with low crime rates. Additionally, properties in good school districts hold value better long term and in the rental market. Moreover, it never hurts to run a background check on potential renters, if you have multiple units, this could also be used as a selling point.
3) Nearly 11 percent of Utah’s residents are in the 20-24 age bracket, and 93 percent of them are employed – Take advantage of this ready market by embracing ease and technology. Buy a property with multiple bedrooms, rethink lawns or lawn care, make getting things fixed quick and stress-free and make it easy for tenants to pay their rent online. However experts do warn: Stay away from college towns, where vacancies will ebb and flow with the semesters.
4) Rental Vacancy Rates are at historic lows in Utah – Don’t be the exception. Keep your tenants longer by maintaining the property and being grateful for good long-time renters by thinking twice about raising their rent, which may drive them away. If your property does become vacant, act fast by advertising immediately and offering incentives such as a discount on the first month’s rent to get it filled quick.
5) Salt Lake is consistently ranked among the top U.S. cities for its promise of good returns on rental investments – Avoid losing money to repairs by having a clear list of what the tenant is responsible for and maintaining your side of the deal. The best way to lose money on your rental is by letting it fall into disrepair. Maintain it: re-caulk bathroom tiles, fix leaks, clean gutters, get temperature systems checked, repaint inside and out and don’t dodge making reasonable updates.
6) Landlords are eligible for more tax breaks than almost any other group – If you can, get a professional for the job. If that’s not an option, reduce your amount of taxable rental income by keeping a meticulous list of rental expenses. Local and long distance travel, depreciation, interest on your mortgage and loans used to improve the rental property, repairs, utilities, insurance premiums, legal services and theft are all expenses that can be subtracted from your income – ultimately saving you loads of money come tax time.