This article was posted on Thursday, Aug 01, 2013

Joyce was the on-site manager at the Green Pineapple Apartments inOregon City,Oregon. Her mission was to turn the units from move-out to new move- in, in less than seven days.  To manage that quick turn, she had to be extremely well-organized.

The Week Before

A week before the tenant moved out, she inspected the unit with her maintenance supervisor to gauge the repairs they needed to address for move out.  Joyce and her maintenance supervisor checked each room, turning on the heaters and appliances to make sure they were in working order.  She inspected the bathrooms and kitchen to make sure the spigots did not leak and that the tubs, sinks and toilets drained properly.

She confirmed her assessment with the maintenance supervisor after they evaluated everything from carpeting to windows and sheet rock to mold. Joyce was ready, so as soon as the tenant moved they could start the maintenance and cleaning process.

Using the information from this inspection, they gave a heads-up to the painting and cleaning crews as well as informing the tenants about the turning process, including the costs involved in the process. In other words, if there was a significant amount of damage that the tenant would be responsible for, or if the cost of turning were limited to standard wear and tear, the tenant would know before move out and could mitigate the damages.

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She usually had the name of a carpet cleaning company, a handyman and a moving company at hand to share with the tenant.  Additionally, she handed a checklist to the tenants who included the names of companies that would pick up slightly damaged furniture as well as unwanted clothing (Local Goodwill donation stations, U-Haul locations and places to get used moving boxes were also on the list).

Finally, she used the opportunity to get the tenant’s forwarding address, so the security deposit could be mailed to them as quickly as possible.  She made it a point to give the standard “vacating procedures” work sheet to the tenants as soon as she received their 30 day notice.

Move Out Day

Joyce was a pro, so dealing with tenant move-outs was straightforward. On move-out day, she met the tenant and completed the final walk through.  This tenant had been in the unit for five years so the carpeting needed to be replaced.  As soon as the tenants had moved out, she scheduled the blind removal and maintenance work. Luckily, there were no fleas and hence no need for a flea bomb (which takes an extra day), even though they had a dog.  After the tenant moved out, the turn schedule looked something like this:

  • Days 1-3: General maintenance
  • Day 4: Cleaning and Painting
  • Day 5: Carpet replacement/cleaning and lock changes.

Joyce replaced the light bulbs and globes, the range drip pans, broken switch and outlet plates and tested the smoke detectors. She understood the importance of making a new tenant feel at home, so she installed a new welcome mat and hired painters to paint the front door and its trim. To give the unit a “new home” feel, Joyce installed a new bathroom sink and new baseboard heater.

Finding the New Tenant

Ten days before the tenant moved out, Joyce began searching for a new tenant. She placed advertising on Craigslist, called prospects on her waiting list and made sure the website had the correct information. She had already coordinated with her district manager regarding the rental rate and completed her quarterly rental surveys. The two agreed the market allowed a $50 a month increase from the previous rent.   The phone was ringing for showings even before the unit was vacant. Furthermore, the past tenant had allowed some tours and walk-throughs before they moved out.  This enabled Joyce to screen a few applications during the turning process.

Day Six

As day six dawned, Joyce was ready, and so was the newly approved tenant.  He arrived at 9 a.m. to fill out the rental agreement, move in and collect keys to the newly re-keyed apartment. They walked through the unit and completed a move-in inspection.  She took pictures of the unit with her cell phone to include in the unit file with the inspection notes. They then executed the rental agreement and the new tenant moved in, right on schedule.

Everyone was happy; the process was well orchestrated and executed, and resulted in an improved unit with increased rent. She had hit her turn goal and only lost six days of rent.  The landlord thought she was a superhero… and she was.

Clifford A. Hockley is President of Bluestone & Hockley Real Estate Services, greater Portland’s full service real estate brokerage and property management company.  He is a Certified Property Manager and has achieved his Certified Commercial Investment Member designation (CCIM).  Bluestone & Hockley Real Estate Services is an Accredited Management Organization (AMO) by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).  


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