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Dear Patty - Getting Organized

Monday, August 18, 2014  
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Dear Patty,

I was just hired by a property management company and they gave me a portfolio of 80 properties. Where do I start?


Dear Lost,

When you have the details of that many properties to learn at one time you are going to have to hit the ground running. And, just because you got all of these properties at the same time does not necessarily mean that your company did. The terms of management agreements and leases can change over time. I would recommend starting a spreadsheet to organize the pertinent facts regarding your properties. It is important to be able to know at a glance the details of your properties. Hopefully this will help you avoid a costly or embarrassing mistake.

With regard to the management agreements, the most likely items that can vary would be:

-Approved rental range
-Pre-approved spending limit
-Owner’s reserve amount
-Owner specified vendors
-Presence of a home warranty service contract
-HOA payment responsibility
-Pet policy
-Commission terms
-Cancellation notice period
-Location of the owner (local, out of state, or out of country)

With regard to the leases, the most likely items that can vary would be:

-Lease expiration
-Terms for lawn vare
-Terms for pool care
-Terms for the presence of a pet
-Stipulations in addition to your standard sease
-Rental payment terms
-Late payment policy
-Utilities provided

With regard to the properties, the most likely items that vary can be:

-Property style
-Year built
-Presence of a pool
-Maximum number of occupants
-Square footage
-Number of bedrooms
-Number of bath rooms
-Presence of a master key in the office
-Presence of sewer or septic
-Type of utilities available
-Date last inspected
-Appliances provided

I know it sounds like a lot to do at first, but a detailed spreadsheet will pay off. In the next few weeks you will be speaking with your owners and your tenants for the first time. Imagine how impressed they will be when you know the details of the property so well it would seem like you’ve managed them for years.


"Patty the Property Manager” appears courtesy of the ORRA Property Management Subcommittee. Readers are invited to submit property management related questions to Patty by sending an e-mail to

The ORRA Property Management Subcommittee provides this property-management advice column as a service to ORRA members. The column is intended to provide a general understanding, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation. The column should not be relied upon in specific situations without consulting a real estate attorney.

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