I am writing this update on a beautiful fall morning in Portland. This in and of itself is a monumental occasion because I am not rushing to go show an apartment, fix a leaking toilet, or reconciling our trust accounts. For the first time ever, I have the ability to sit down and communicate with you about our company: how we got started, where we are at now, and where we are going in the near future.
Why Property Management?
We got into property management because my wife Alissa and I were buying small multi-family properties in our neighborhood on Portland’s east side. At the time we had a handful of tenants and knew that we wanted to be a different kind of landlord. We wanted to know our properties were being taken care of and that our tenants were being treated with respect and care. After all, we were accumulating hundreds of thousands worth of debt and knew it was the tenants that ultimately make the investments profitable from their monthly rental payments. Dismayed by the fact that other property management companies have competing interests with their Owner clients, we decided to start a company and do it ourselves.
Growing up I was immersed in real estate and property management because my grandmother had her own brokerage and my father had several dozen rental houses. I also managed two large apartment complexes in college and figured I knew enough of the basics to get us going. I’m glad that our own properties were our training ground, because I grossly underestimated how challenging good property management actually is. At that time I was running around wearing all the hats: handyman, leasing agent, bookkeeper, receptionist, general contractor, etc. I knew every single tenant and had all their numbers saved in my cell phone.
It didn’t take long for others to take notice. We started to get landlords, investors, and agents coming to us for management and brokerage services. Apparently, a property manager that is honest and ethical that treats all properties the same as their own is a rare find. Although extremely busy and often times stressed, everything was going great and we were blessed to work with a great group of owners and tenants.
Family and Business
Then Alissa and I had a baby. Alissa at that time had to slow down her real estate brokerage business and I had to figure out how to get more help on the management side. I simply couldn’t be everywhere I needed to be. I got an assistant who really helped relieve some of my duties, but the business kept growing. We then hired Kim, our full-time property manager and yet the business kept growing more.
The Next Level
We then had two real estate investors and entrepreneurs come to us with a large portfolio of properties that wanted to change management companies. They were dissatisfied with what was then their second management company in two years and were looking for a change. Taking on their portfolio more than doubled the size of our business, but to us it was an incredible opportunity because of the kind of portfolio they were bringing to us.
Their properties not only were concentrated exactly in our geographic area, but they were also the same kind of buildings that we are used to buying and managing. To top it off, this was a special portfolio because the owners were very intentional about upgrading the properties according to sustainable practices and brought a level of ethos into their renovations and management of the properties.
In July, we on-boarded this large portfolio. It is a lot of work to on-board one property, much less 25 at one time. To make matters more challenging the previous management really had blundered their job and we had considerable leg work to untangle the mess. It didn’t take long for us to realize we needed to hire another full time property manager.
Today at 45 Main
That brings us to this moment. I have a great team of competent professionals that I am excited and humbled to work with on a day-to-day basis. We are blessed to have a company that has grown almost purely upon referrals and recommendations from others. What excites me even more is that we have an incredible opportunity to expand into an area where no other management companies in Portland have gone: sustainable property management.
We now have an opportunity to make an impact in our local community with our portfolio. We are working on developing systems and standards around green property management practices. We want each and every property that we manage to be more efficient, safe, healthy, and habitable for our tenants. The great part is that this makes fantastic sense from an investment perspective. These features not only help increase the value of the buildings, but it also makes them more desirable for tenants. Not only can we demonstrate to tenants how they will pay less in utilities, but also how our management practices contribute towards healthier living environments. This in turn leads to a premium in rents and longer-term tenancies.
I am excited to announce that there are great upcoming changes for our company. We are using this opportunity to vision and create a company that surpasses our wildest dreams from when we initially began this endeavor. As a valued stakeholder in our company, we could not do this without you and your continued support. Thank you for trusting us with your properties, and we look forward to providing even better services for you and the rest of the Portland community.