Setting Up a New Property After Closing
When you buy a home as an investment property, to maximize your investment, you want to minimize the time between closing and getting it listed on a nightly rental platform. There are several key steps that need to happen to ensure you home is ready for guests and compliant with local regulations. At the time this blog is written, this guidance is specifically for nightly rentals in Washington, UT. Other cities and counties may have different service providers, processes and requirements to operate in their jurisdiction. Please not that none of this is legal advice and that you should always do your own research and, when necessary, consult with an attorney.
Set-up Utilities: The City of Washington provides electricity, water, sewage, and weekly garbage collection. The city requires a deposit (~$300) for utilities regardless of your credit score. In order for them to waive the deposit, you need a letter of credit from your existing utility company that states your account is in good standing. This is a standard process in Utah and your local city will know what you are requesting and be able to provide it for you.
Set-up Gas: Dominion Energy is the local provider. If you currently have a Dominion account, it is easy to set-up a second home on the existing account.
Set-up Internet: Century Link and TDS are the local providers with fiber speed. Reliable internet is expected by guests in a nightly rental. A few things to think about when selecting a plan are the speed, data limits, and number of devices that may be connected. The longer you can lock in a rate the better. I find it super annoying to remember to make my annual call to the ISP to beg them to keep my previous contract rate or threaten to go else where when they raise the rate after the first 12 months.
Set-up Cable: TDS, satellite providers, or streaming services such as YouTubeTV are all great options. My preference is streaming because that's the direction the industry is going. I like to show my guests that I provide the latest technology options. YouTubeTV is not the only service it's just the one I'm most familiar with. You can always throw in a Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or Peacock subscriptions. A consideration with satellite is potential HOA approval for the installation of a satellite dish.
Order Garbage and Recycling Bins: The city of Washington allows each home to have 2 garage bins and 1 BLU can for recycling. I recommend ordering 2 garbage bins from the start. Curb side recycling is picked-up every other week.
Set-up Address with the Post Office: This is an optional step but may be helpful for your guests. You have to physically go to the Post Office located on Telegraph St. to do this. When you set up your address with the US postal system, it becomes a verified address. Some merchants will only ship to a verified address. Additionally, you may have guests who stay for a couple weeks and would like to receive mail at the property.
Business License: Apply for your business license with Washington City. Once this is approved, it will trigger an inspection with the fire department. This can be a 2-3 week process so I recommend submitting the application as soon as you close. Budget around $160 for this annually.
Purchase a Regulation Size Fire Extinguisher: Purchase a 10 pound fire extinguisher from Alliance Fire and Safety. You will need this in the home to pass the annual fire inspection with the city. If you plan to keep it in the pantry or behind a closed cabinet, a regulation size sticker that says, "Fire Extinguisher Inside" is required. I recommend buying it from Alliance Fire and Safety because they are the local company who will inspect it each year and provide you with a certificate to present at your annual fire inspection. Budget the fire extinguisher around $110 and the fire inspection around $100.