starting out as a apartment manager

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Comments (16)

jaesiwel9

90 months ago

what are the first five things you do when you start out as a apartment manager

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t

90 months ago

Hmm. Is this a test?
First thing we did was introduce outselves to the tenants. I wrote out a newsletter sort of thing explaining where we came from and that we were happy to be where we are now and that our hopes for the future were to have a nice, maintainted place to live.
Next was to figure out the office, where things were and what I was supposed to do.
Your tattletale tenants will give you all the gossip on who the trouble makers are... that's your first "heads up", however you can't always believe what tenants say.
You also cannot live your tenants lives, that's one of the most important elements to managing well. Their problems are not yours so don't get too involved.

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spolley in sarasota, Florida

84 months ago

Introducing yourself is important. Some of the other things you may consider are: Make a list of all employee phone numbers to keep with you at all times. Likewise, you will need an up-to-date vendor list and contact numbers. It is a good idea to have a staff meeting immediately to find out if there are any immediate issues needing to be addressed. Ask you maintenance staff to show you where all utility shut offs are (water, gas, electric, FACP etc.). Also, make sure that all members of your staff have your cell number. There are many other things of course. However, these are some of the most important.

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charliewade in Bay Area, California

79 months ago

1. Introduce yourself in person to each tenant. Tenants aren't going to care about your qualifications or history; so skip that. Just make sure they know how to contact you if/when needed. An info sheet with this given to them at the time of the introduction is a good idea.
2. Make sure you have current contact information for each tenant. Can be done at the same time as your in-person introduction.
3. Find out what regular and daily tasks are expected to be done and continue doing them. If you don't, tenants will complain about that immediately.
4. Go through all the documentation the last manager has left for you. Applications, leases/rental agreements, and other docs need to be kept somewhere, either with you or with the landlord. Some of them, the law dictates someone keep for a fixed number of years. Make sure you know where all such docs are and if they are missing, get replacements ASAP.
5. Make sure you know how to get ahold of someone above you who can help you figure out who to call in an emergency, which vendor to call when needed, etc. Until you know who to call when something needs to be fixed or a vendor contracted, it's nice to have someone to ask.

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Servantleader in Cincinnati, Ohio

79 months ago

I am considering a position as an apartment manager for a 15 unit building. The compensation for the position is a 2 BR apartment with garage + heat, the equivalent of $750 market rent. I am responsible for cleaning of the common areas, lawncare, apartment turn over, small maintenance (which I cannot do, but my brother is willing to do for me for a small fee). This seems like a lot for the compensation. I was attracted by the possibility of free rent and the potential to save money, but now I am a little concerned that I may be getting the short end of the stick. Can anyone with experience enlighten me?

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charliewade in Bay Area, California

79 months ago

Does the LL know you can't do your own maintenance tasks?

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charliewade in Bay Area, California

79 months ago

I ask because whether the offer is fair or not, you're pretty lucky to get hired managing a small complex like that if you can't do your own regular/minor repairs or maintenance.

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Servantleader in Cincinnati, Ohio

79 months ago

Charlie Wade in Bay Area, California said: I ask because whether the offer is fair or not, you're pretty lucky to get hired managing a small complex like that if you can't do your own regular/minor repairs or maintenance.

Thanks for responding so quickly! Yes Charlie, he does, but because my brother who is a contractor will be helping me, I think he should find the combination very attractive. I will be compensating him myself however. But I am trying to get a general sense of what is right - and if I should be doing this at all. I don't want to overwhelm my brother with work either; he has his own business. So is this scenario for the compensation versus the work invovled good?

Also, I have provided him with personal and professional references, and if offered the position I will require tenant references and a feel for the condition of the building in addition to a written, detailed list of duties that will be signed off on by both parties - including a clear cut definition of what is considered to be "small repairs".

Please advise.

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charliewade in Bay Area, California

79 months ago

Servantleader in Cincinnati, Ohio said: Also, I have provided him with personal and professional references, and if offered the position...

You haven't been offered the position yet? You're putting the cart before the horse. Wait for an offer then see what it says. Until then, you're just playing what-if and you're likely to end up getting an offer that isn't exactly what you think it'll be anyway.

Be that as it may, I don't see that being an attractive arrangement for anyone. If I were the LL, I'd turn it down cold for one big reason: workman's comp. That's an arrangement that makes responsibility for workplace safety and responsibility for workplace injuries muddled at best. Also, what if your brother is not available to make a repair in a timely manner? Or if he gets hurt elsewhere and now can't help you? You are compensating one person but have to depend on two people to do repairs. Not a great situation.

For you, depending on someone else to make sure your job is completed in an acceptable and timely manner isn't wise. And it's an expense out of your pocket that your pay/housing situation isn't designed to meet (paying someone else to do your duties). What if a repair gets strung out and costs you more than you thought or can comfortably pay? And ultimately, what if your brother is unavailable to make a necessary repair in a timely manner, either because he's busy or injured or whatever? Some repairs simply have to be made, are you prepared to pay a pro to do the job? Can you afford that?

Sorry, I just don't see that being a good arrangement regardless of the compensation. I respectfully suggest you think about your plan... after you are offered the position.

Good luck.

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Servantleader in Cincinnati, Ohio

79 months ago

Thanks for the reply. That is what I needed to hear. If offered the position, I will decline it. Actually I had considered all of those things that you mentioned. Although the repairs that I would have been responsible for are minimal, like a leaky faucet or a ceiling fan replacement (so he said).

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charliewade in Bay Area, California

79 months ago

Well..... you should at least listen to the LL's offer and see what he/she says. Your maintenance arrangement is not really ideal, but you also need to look at the whole offer/situation. Is a free 2bd apt in exchange for managing a complex a good deal? Maybe, maybe not, it all depends on what EXACTLY your duties will be.

With any apt managing offer, it's really important you and the LL are in agreement about exactly what your duties are, what costs you may be expected to cover and then seek reimbursement, how many hours and exactly when you are expected to be on-site and available, etc. Maybe you don't need to get all of that in writing, but you and the LL should have a very frank and open discussion about all that.

The last thing you want is to move in, but only then find out that the LL has much, much greater expectations about what you are to be doing and/or your hours of work than you do.

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charliewade in Bay Area, California

79 months ago

The expense and reimbursement thing is REALLY important. My last apt mananging gig, I was expected to cover ALL incidential expenses and then seek reimbursement. Because I have money in the bank and good credit, it wasn't a really an issue. But it also was something that I didn't expect to have to cover. And because his bookkeeper is a moron, actual reimbursement took forever and often involved sending back incorrectly written checks before getting the right one sent to me.

It's nice to work for a complex where all the vendors used accept work on account and/or the LL who provides a credit card. But most small landlords do not have that; so asking about how incidential expenses will be paid is a legit question and issue.

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Servantleader in Cincinnati, Ohio

79 months ago

Agreed - and thanks again. I just wanted to get a feel for what is fair and equitable should an offer be presented because I really don't know. I also did not want to place stipulations that would put me out of a good deal, if it was one.

Ideally, since he claims the small maintenance issues are minimal, I would suggest that either his maintenance guy handle them, or my brother handles them for a small fee.

I have always wanted to try my hand at apartment managing, since I have managed buildings for lenders as a realtor, and the possibility of "free rent" is certaining inviting, but I need it to work for everyone, and especially me.

What about that? Again, once an offer is made.

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charliewade in Bay Area, California

79 months ago

I hear ya. Free rent is very nice. But even if it isn't, in CA the maximum rent you can charge your live-in manager/person is $451/mo, which is still pretty cool.

I think the big point of contention when it comes to it all is often the amount of time you're expected to be on-site. Like all employers, most LLs seem to be hung up on knowing exactly how much time you put in.... as opposed to whether you simply get the job and its tasks done, regardless of how little time it takes.

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Property Management Professional in Dallas, Texas

79 months ago

jaesiwel9 said: what are the first five things you do when you start out as a apartment manager

1) Always smoke cigarettes and come to work hung over
2) Gossip constantly about your staff and residents behind their back
3) Act fake and pretend you know what you are doing, and then repeat number 2
4) Act like you are the manager and have power over one, but don't actually work
5) Get fired or quit and bad mouth everyone on the way out, then go to the next property and repeat steps 1-5 over and over.

Just kidding :) don't fall victim to this list, but many do unfortuately.

That pretty much sums it up

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T

79 months ago

Whether you do those things or not the tenants will always find fault in you. You can't please the tenants so please your property owner, that is your real job and the main objective. You can do all those things if you manage to keep the property in good shape and collect all the rent every month, it's not that difficult.
There are no good tenants and you CANT live THEIR lives. That is the best philosophy.

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