Introduction to Portland Homes & Commercial Properties

Welcome to Portland Homes & Commercial Properties—and the inaugural blog posting.

For those who know me, most will agree that I tend not to be at a loss for words. And when it comes to the things I’m passionate about…well, I can go on. But as I was sitting here contemplating what should go into this first posting, I was a bit stumped. At first, I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to start this conversation.

Then it became obvious: Start from the beginning—the “who, what, and why.”

We’re a property management company serving Oregon’s Portland metro area and beyond.

Our focus is on managing residential properties (single family homes, plexes, and small apartment complexes) and small commercial buildings (50,000 square feet and less). Our service region extends from North Portland, down south to Wilsonville, as far east as Sandy, and west to Beaverton/Hillsboro. Our team is composed of professionals with more than 60 years of combined experience in all aspects of property management.

What do we do? To say we do property management is an oversimplification. The “what” is driven by how we view property management—how we view your property. We don’t treat your rental property simply as an investment, a static thing that we’re just keeping an eye on for you. We do not simply collect rent.

From our perspective, your rental property is a business. Whether you own one single family home, two plexes, or 20 units, they’re not just homes; they’re not like a stock in IBM that you buy and forget about for 15 years. Your rental property—no matter how small or how few units—IS A BUSINESS.

Yeah, you thought of that cute single-family home you picked up for a steal as a static investment, but in reality, you’ve invested in a business—the business of property rental. Your rental property is a product. Your customer is the tenant. And this business, more than anything, is about customer service.

You have to know the laws. You have to be willing to take calls at all times of the day. Sometimes, you have to be a mediator. And sometimes, you will be faced with doing unpleasant things—like evicting people. This is a business that succeeds or fails based on the quality of communication.

No business is without its challenges, risks, and liabilities—and ownership of a rental property certainly has them. But the rewards can be very much worth the effort.

By hiring us as your property management company, you’re not just having us collect rent; you’re assigning us to be the operations end of your business. We free you from the daily task of property management, so you can focus on things that are more important: acquiring more properties, generating more capital for investment, doing your day job, spending time with your family, and so on.

Not every owner of a rental property needs a property manager. In fact, when I am interviewing a prospective owner, part of my goal is to determine whether they truly need us. If it makes sense, and if I’m hearing their situation is appropriate, I’m the first to tell an owner that they don’t need me. Owners who successfully manage their properties on their own need a clear understanding of what it takes to run this business as well as the time, knowledge, and skills.

But for those owners who truly do need a property manager, Portland Homes & Commercial Properties is here as a trusted, locally owned and operated choice, not only to collect rent but also to be the operational arm of your business. Advertising, showing, screening, adhering to rental laws, maintenance, accounting, problem-solving, tenant management…these are the things that a property management company does for you. Whether you own one property or 10, to be successful, maximize the financial performance of your business, and minimize your exposure, you must execute on each and every aspect.

In the end, your property manager is (or should be) hired to help drive the success of your rental property business. And that means ensuring your customer is successful. And guess who your customer is? The tenant.

All too often, the tenants are seen by owners as an inconvenience or a necessary evil. If that’s the way you view tenants, I sincerely suggest that you sell your property, because property management will be very, very painful with that mindset. If your rental property is a business and the home or commercial space you’re offering is the product, then your customer—the tenant—is an integral and essential part of the equation, as are their success and satisfaction.

Bottom line: Our mission as your property management company is to ensure we have a successful tenant and run the operation of your business such that we’re maximizing your returns, while minimizing your exposure to any downsides.

Why Portland Homes & Commercial Properties?

There’s a secret about property management that, if you’ve done any research, you’ve probably already discovered. Shhh…don’t tell anyone else: We all do essentially the same thing. An analogy I often use is that property management is like banking. All banks do one primary thing: They sell money. So, why do you go to one bank vs. another, or one branch vs. another? For me, it’s about the customer service. It’s about the communication. It’s knowing the people taking care of me understand what I need and will work with me to achieve it. I don’t dread going to the branch; I look forward to speaking with the team there.

On a fundamental level, property management is no different. The questions are: Does our philosophy of property management mesh with yours? Does our approach appear to be in sync with the way that you want to run your business?

If you have been to any number of property management websites, you’ll have quickly noted they all say the same things: “We’ll maximize your returns.” “We have the secret formula to investing in residential properties.” “We have the best technology.” This last one really kills me, because we all use the same technology! Really.

When you’re interviewing property management companies, you need to ask a few essential questions: What is your philosophy? What is your approach to property management? How are you, the property manager, going to team with me?

Suffice it to say, you will hear some very interesting answers.

Perhaps you’re happy with your current property manager. If that’s the case, call us and let us play devil’s advocate to your current way of thinking. Worst case: You validate that you have the best property manager for your needs. But you might also discover there’s another approach.

Perhaps you are new to the business of rental properties. Whether you know you want a property manager or are on the fence as to whether you should do it yourself, pick up the phone and talk to as many as you can.

Find out how they approach the business—and why they are even in the business.

Possibly most important, get a feel for whether their style fits with yours.

Just remember: This is your business. Decide how you want to run it and what’s important to you. You’re interviewing the property managers; don’t let them sell to you.

Rental property is a great business with great potential rewards. You just need to take control. You need to run the business; don’t let it run you.

So, that’s the who, what, and why of our company.

Moving forward, the goal of this blog is to share, educate, and, hopefully, be the cause of a laugh or two (at least for my horrible humor). I hope the information shared here will help you in your efforts as they relate to the management of rental properties.

Andrew Gilburne
Managing Partner
Portland Homes & Commercial Properties

Leave a comment