How to Take Over Managing Your New Apartment Building

Back in residency, we would take care of twenty patients in the hospital every day. The unfortunate residents who were on-call last night got admissions all night and they are worn out and wanting to go home and though they are dead tired you kind of envy them a little because they are going home but you are just coming on for your 36-hour shift. It’s 6 AM and time for them to turn over their patients to you, and you wonder how the day will go.

It’s time for RTL: Run Through the List.

“…James P. in room 205 came in last night with a COPD exacerbation and he is on BIPAP and doing OK this morning on q6 steroids.”

“He’s doing better this morning?”

“Yeah, just keep on with the steroids and he’ll be home tomorrow.”

And you run through the rest of the list, preparing to round on the patients this morning. Over the years, physicians have developed a shorthand, I suspect so tired residents could get out ASAP and their priority is to communicate as quickly as possible and check out. This is a big time for errors and if we aren’t careful, disaster can happen.

Unfortunately, sometimes you go into James’s room and he is struggling to breathe, even on the machine, and as you are considering putting him on a ventilator you wish you would have asked more questions about how he was doing during RTL.

It’s similar when you take over a new apartment building. But, for some reason, we barely talk to the seller. Why don’t we take the time to do it correctly?

The Handoff

Here are a few tips for getting the handoff to happen smoothly when you take over your next apartment building.

  1. Get the keys – There is usually a big jangly ring of keys to get (if you are lucky). Otherwise it is a box of keys that aren’t labeled. Before taking over, go through every key with the previous property manager and check every lock. You don’t want to find out later there is water coming from a locked door and you can’t find the key.
  2. Communication – Decide how tenants will communicate to your property manager.
  3. Establish how to get rent – The seller’s tenants were paying the seller, but now they need to pay you. Establish how you want to receive rent.
  4. Write letters – Have letters prepared (but don’t send until closing) that state who the new owner and property manager are. Tell them how to pay rent and how to contact your manager. Have your new manager hand deliver them door to door, knocking on and introducing themselves.
  5. Walk through – On the day of closing, walk through the property one more time with your property manager and the previous property manager. Look for any defects that need to be addressed.
  6. Utilities – Contact all utilities and vendors in advance and notify them of the date of closing, so you can seamlessly transition the utilities into your name.
  7. Repair / Rehab – Arrange in advance with your contractors to get them into units as fast as possible right after closing, rather than calling upon closing and waiting for them to have time in their schedule.

These are a few important things to get ready for transfer of ownership. Go through them like a checklist and your transition will be much more likely to go smoothly. If you can think of more for this list, post a comment.

Dr. Equity