Investing a large amount of money into multifamily properties can be risky for the unprepared. Answer the following questions and check your answers at the end to determine if you're ready to start shopping for properties.

1. Which of the following functions are the responsibility of an apartment manager?

 a)   Lawn and landscaping services

 b)   Pest control

 c)   Tenant relations and dispute mediation

 d)   Emergency repairs (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.)

 e)   All of the above


2. What are the two methods of communication a majority of all apartment residents prefer?

 a)   Mail

 b)   e-Mail

 c)   Doorknob hangers

 d)   Telephone calls

 e)   Texting

3. What is the largest expense for an apartment renter?

 a)   Groceries

 b)   Car payment

 c)   Day care

 d)   Utilities

 e)   Rent

4. What are the biggest risk factors for a multifamily housing investment?

 a)   Contractors

 b)   Maintenance

 c)   Customer Service

 d)   All of the above


  1. Answer: g) All of the above. And then some. As soon as a property owner signs those closing papers, he or she becomes “the management.” Apartment management involves all facilities maintenance, customer relations and emergencies, just as a sample.
  2. Answer: b) e-Mail, and e) Texting. A recent survey by SatisFacts and TurnSocial revealed that 87.2 percent of renters today have smartphones, and they want apartment management to communicate through them.
  3. Answer: e) Rent. Tenants pay a majority of their income to live in a property, and they expect the property manager to address issues quickly and efficiently.
  4. Answer: d) All of the above. Dealing with tenant issues, hiring contractors and performing timely maintenance are all jobs fraught with potential peril.

No one except a property manager is ever truly ready to start managing a property from day one. Plan smart, buy smart and enlist the help of a property manager before you ever put in a bid on a multifamily investment. Property managers deal with every single facet of apartment management, and it should be their goal to safeguard the best interests of the property owner.

Cathy Fontana is the Principal for Class A Management, a full-service property management firm based in the Dallas, Fort Worth Metroplex.

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