About to Manage 40 Unit Apartment Building, Need Advice

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Within the next couple of weeks, I will begin managing a 40 unit apartment building. I am meeting with the current owner/property manager within the week.

I am wanting to be the most informed possible before beginning the job (I currently manage 15 units, and am wanting to be ready for the jump to 40 more).  The buyer (not me) has already done his due diligence, secured financing, etc.

My job is to manage the property. I am making a list of questions to ask the current owner/property manager. Some of my questions involve lease terms, delinquent and problem tenants, security issues, repairman info/rates, relations with neighboring businesses, etc.

I'd appreciate any advice on good questions to ask the current property manager before he leaves. Does anyone have any good tips/insight on smart questions to ask the current property manager regarding an apartment building of this size?

@Jonathan Guyette  You will want to know the lease that you will be using inside and out.  I would recommend offering a small concession to get all the tenants to convert over from their current, in-place lease to your new form with the same dates and terms from their existing lease.  If they won't convert, you will need to know those leases inside and out as well.  Also learn the process your county has for evictions....cannot stress this one enough.

Next I would visit NAAHQ.org and IREM.org and look into their education manuals and programs.  You will want to have systems in place for everything and these organizations will help you develop those.  Call you local apartment association and take someone to lunch that has site management experience and pick their brain.

If I was showing up tomorrow and taking over a property, here is a list of things I would want to know:

- Current Rent Roll with all lease charges

- Current Delinquency on each account

- Status of any evictions and the dates that go along with the proceedings

- Monthly schedule of lease expirations (which units have expiring leases each month?)

- Open maintenance issues or requested work orders

- Walk and assess any vacant units and develop a maintenance/make ready turn schedule so you can get these units ready to be leased ASAP.

- Where are all the water shutoffs and sewer clean outs?  Alarms?  Key boxes? Sprinklers?

- Previous leasing plan and marketing strategy (how do you advertise units for rent?)

- Any assigned parking?  How is that assigned out?

- Contracts with vendors? Laundry, landscaping, RUBs/Utility Billback, cable/internet marketing agreements, etc.

- Accounts set up with supply companies like Wilmar and HD Supply? Johnstone? Appliance parts supplier, etc.

- Learn the leasing management software if you are not already familiar with it (Yardi, Real Page, Buildium, etc)

These are just some of the things off the top of my head that would be important.  Hopefully the new owner has this info and/or addressed how he wants to handle a lot of these things during their due diligence process.  They should also get a refresh of these items in the days prior to closing the sale.  And hopefully you already have your written agreement signed between the two of you and it outlines how bank accounts and money are to be handled each month, to include your fee.  There is obviously a lot more on this subject, which is why I recommend the Apartment Assoc and IREM.  They will help you refine the process and keep things running smoothly.  40 units might sound like a lot, but it is completely and easily manageable for one person IF you run systems.

how you getting paid?


Thanks a lot for the detailed advice.

Your questions/input looks like the start of an efficient system; they will make a perfect starting point for my conversation with the old property manager. My goal is to make the complex readily scalable so that I can take on more properties to manage.

Thanks again,

Jonathan Guyette

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