What do you do when your company decides to enter a new market?  Depending on the market, you may start by panicking.  Once you regain your composure, it’s time to get to work.  Gathering data on local billing regulations is a must.  If you are buying existing assets, you can’t assume the previous owner was billing correctly.  If you are developing a new property in a new market, you have no frame of reference.  Talking to your billing company’s regulator experts is a good place to start.  They should have a handle on the major items.  Talking to local regulatory attorney is a must.  They work inside of the local regs every day, so they will have very valuable information.  Local apartment associations can help this process as well.  Once you figure out what you can do, it’s time to talk to your Operations/Asset Management team about their underwriting.  Their model may make some revenue assumptions that are contradictory to the regulatory data you just gathered.  Getting on the same page early will ensure there are fewer surprises later.

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