In order to convince the sellers to take on such a risk, they were often obligated to pay above market prices for the properties. To maintain cash flow in those early days, they took out cash advances on their credit cards. At one point, they had over 40 credit cards in use. Realizing they were stretched, and operating under much leveraged conditions, they were adamant about not assuming any personal liabilities, or co-mingling financial liability among properties.
They used the phraseology from the Hospitality field to refer to the Maintenance Operations as the “Back of the House” and Rental and Collection activities as the “Front of the House,” with Steve initially focusing his efforts on the “Back of the House”, and Jim on the “Front of the House.” Ilene Berger, Steve’s wife helped with some administrative and bookkeeping responsibilities in the early years as well.