Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Investing in Property

When considering an investment in property, location is at the top of the list, however there are several other factor to consider.

Location will be the key to attracting retail clients to your property and customers to their businesses-- so choose carefully.If looking at the a possible commercial property, look for one with convenient access to major transportation, including roads, trains, bus routes and airports. You should also give strong consideration to the building and facilities. Choose a space that is comfortable, functional and an aesthetically pleasing--so that you have an attractive workplace for tenants. Consider space that can be flexible and easily adapted for office space or retail so that you can attract a variety of tenants.

Commercial property is a valuable investment. Choosing the best commercial property can mean the difference between profit and loss--so take your time, do your research, and work with a quality commercial property realty company.

-Property Manager

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Law Affects HOAs

The NC General Assembly passed House Bill 806, October 1, 2009 requires increased Home Owner Association responsibility. What this means to you:

This new law requires that the homeowners associations make reasonable and diligent effort to locate and notify a lot owner prior to filing a claim of lien for assessments, as well as written notice including a statement of the assessment amount due sent by first-class mail to the owner. These must be sent to the owner's address of record with the Association, (and if different), the physical address of the property, the address for the owner shown on the county tax records, the address for the owner shown on the county real property records for the lot or unit, and, if the owner is a corporation, the address of the registered agent listed with the Secretary of State.

The new law also states that the lien paperwork from the attorney's office must be sent by certified mail, and the attorney's office must also provide proof that it made a reasonable effort to contact the homeowner, and an affidavit affirming this fact.

The first page of the lien must also include this verbiage:

This new HOA law means that governing the collections and filing of liens by homeowner associations will become more complicated and labor intensive from now on. HOAs will be required to take additional steps before and during the collection process in order to file claims of lien properly and to collect on them through the foreclosure process.

As a result, homeowner associations should review and update their collection policies and procedures, including routine updating of owner information, to ensure that they can navigate effectively through the new statutory framework.

If you are on the board of an HOA in NC, you should work with your property management company to ensure that these new proceedures are being followed.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tips for Choosing a Property Management Company

Dear Property Manager,

I would like to buy a residential rental property in the Charlotte area. Can you give me some tips for choosing a property manager to take care of these rental units?

Thanks and Happy Holidays,

Francis K. Fort Mill, SC

Dear Francis:

With property prices at all time lows, residential rental properties continue to make for great investment in the Charlotte area. However, as with all investments, it is important to create efficiencies and good management practices to create return on the investment, and this means hiring the right property management company for you and your property.

The following tips will ensure you choose the best property manager for you.

Choose a company that is knowledgeable of the local market
The property management company that you choose needs to know the local rental market and what renters are looking for. A great property management company will make smart decisions and and cost-conscious recommendations to keep the property competitive, increase profit--and make updates to improve the property making it more desirable, increase rental rates, lower turnover and decrease vacancy.

Ask for, and check on your property manager's references
A property manager's current customers will be the best judge of the kind of service you can expect--so request the references, and then make those calls! Request references from property owners with properties and situations most like yours.

Require great customer service.
Choosing a property management company that makes offering great customer service a priority. You should be able to expect good customer service, the ability to reach someone in an emergency and good and consistent communication about the property.

Choose a company that manages the money well
In addition to being able to collect the rent, it is important that the property management company is able to manage the money so that it stays in the bank and earns as much interest as possible each month. This is a careful balancing act, but a good professional company will be able to do this and maximize profits and cash flow in your favor.

Find a property management company that knows how to do the accounting
Accounting for revenues and expenses with investment property can be the thing that makes or breaks the investment. Choose a property management company that is organized and has accounting skills so that at when tax season comes up, all of your income and cash flows should be easily accessible and in the correct order to make your tax paying easy.

Find a property management company that prioritizes relationships
A good property management company will prioritize good relationships with their tenants. Just as you as the owner is a client, the tenants are also customers and should be treated like it. Tenants who feel they have a good relationship with the property management company are more likely to stay longer, and decrease turn-over and all the expenses that come with it!

So you are looking for a property management company who knows the area, is personable, good with money and numbers, has great references and puts you first! Sound impossible? Not at all--that is just the way we do business. Call Kuester at 704.973.9019 to learn more.

--Property Manager

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tips for Commercial Property Landlords

If you are the owner of a commercial property and have chosen to handle the property management duties yourself, there are a few things that you MUST do--And if you have chosen to hire a professional property management company to handle the tenant and property responsibilities, than the list below is important for you when interviewing potential companies!

1. Screen potential tenants.
Before renting to any business, check credit history, references, and the background of the person or company renting the space. This may seem like a tiresome process, but it will save a ton of frustration later by eliminating those least likely to pay, pay on time, and keep the space in the best condition possible.

2. Get it in writing.
Always put the entirety of the rental agreement in writing -- including when and how you will collect rent, handle tenant complaints and how to report repair problem. Make sure to include what kind of notice you must give to enter a tenant's space, and how the agreement can be terminated--on both sides.

3. Manage security deposits properly.
Develop a system for collecting, holding, and returning security deposits. Create an inspection document that states the condition of the rental unit before the tenant moves in--including pictures if possible, to avoid disputes over security deposits when the tenant moves out. Be very specific, and return the deposit when the unit is vacated properly.

4. Make repairs quickly and professionally.
The fastest way to upset your tenants is to be lazy in the maintenance and repair needs of the property. If the property is not kept in good repair, you'll alienate good tenants, and you could potentially be violating the rental agreement.

5. Keep the property safe.
Take the safety and security of the property seriously. Keep landscaping neat and tidy, install and test regularly the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Make sure doors and windows close properly and lock and that the property and building steps and walkways are clear of debris and kept in good condition.

6. Provide notice before entering.
When possible, notify your tenants whenever you plan to enter their rental unit. Respect their privacy and their feeling of security by giving as much notice as possible.

7. Disclose environmental hazards.
If your building or the property has a known environmental hazard such as mold, it is your responsibility to disclose the issue. Landlords are increasingly being held liable for tenant health problems resulting from exposure to environmental toxins in the rental premises--so disclose the issue and take the necessary steps to resolve it.

8. Protect yourself with insurance.
Make sure to obtain enough liability and property insurance. Proper insurance will protect you from lawsuits filed by tenants, or visitors for injuries, losses, and other unforeseen problems.

9. Resolve disputes.
As the property manager, it is your job to resolve disputes with your tenants (or amongst them) quickly and professionally--hopefully without lawyers and lawsuits. If you have a conflict with a tenant over rent, repairs, noise, or some other issue that isn't one that merits immediate eviction, you should meet with the tenant to see if the problem can be resolved informally. Third party mediation is also an option to consider in some locations.
There are many things that a property manager handles daily--and it is never the same twice!
If you are interested in more information on property management in Charlotte, call Kuester Property Management at 704.973.9019.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are you a Property Manager? Here are 10 Tips!

The property management business is an important one for so many people who rely on our services--property owners, tenants and the communities we serve. While we certainly want property owners in our areas of Boone, Myrle Beach, Charlotte, Fort Mill and Concord to work with Kuester, we know that the rest of the country certainly is in need of the best from their property managers as well, so we have put together a few tips to help the new or struggling property manager.

1. Make a good first impression. Dress professionally and make a great first impression. How the you look and behave during the first meeting will set the tone for your relationship with the tenant--and then, of course, continue to treat your tenants with the utmost respect and professionalism, even in times of stress. The effort will go a long way.

2. Consider allowing pets. Many property management companies will no longer allow pets, so being pet-friendly will give you a competetive advantage. But remember to set and enforce a pet-policy, so that any damage is anticipated, paid for by the tenant and repaired in a timely manner.

3. Be organized and follow strict procedures. A disorganized or unprofessional project manager appears as if they don't care. Make sure your presentation packets, checklists and paperwork is in order before you meet with tenants.

4. Keep the property well-maintained. Even if it's outdated in areas, a clean property can overcome many objections. Wash the windows, manicure the yard..show some pride of ownership.

5. Be generous for great tenants. Offer special discounts for tenants who sign a multi-year lease, or set up auto-pay through their paychecks or banks.

6. Follow a regular schedule. Let them know that you will be accessing the property every other month for a maintenance checkup. Ask the tenants to put any non-emergency maintenance items on a list on the refrigerator so you can address them on your visit.

7. Remember their birthdays. A birthday card goes a long way! By sending a little card and note on their birthday, you are showing that you care about them as more than just a monthly rent check.

8. Include the washer & dryer. While a washer & dryer--and to a lesser extent a dishwasher may seem like luxeries to many--to some this is the kind of thing that will make-or break the deal. Be the option with the extras - and you will get more interest in your units, (plus you can re-coup the cost by charging a marginally higher rate!)

9. Offer an incentive. Everyone loves an incentive--so offer a free month if they sign this week, or throw in the upgraded cable, but never offer the first month free, give new tenants their birthday month free, or the 13th month, after they pay the first 12 (a "baker's dozen"). This way you wont get tenants just looking for a free place to live before they move on.

10. Be present. Be available. Lack of communication can quickly break down the tenant/landlord relationship. Respond to their questions and concerns promptly.

Kuester Property Management: Concord, Boone, Myrtle Beach, Fort Mill, Charlotte

Monday, November 30, 2009

Multi-Unit Investment Property Buildings, Charlotte

Dear Property Manager:

My wife and I bought a multi-unit commercial investment property in Charlotte several years ago. I have been doing the property management of these properties myself (I am semi-retired), but my wife and I would like to move out of Charlotte and retire to Florida in the next year. The property gives us a good amount of income, so we would like to keep it, but hire a property management company to manage it for us.

Can this be done cost-effectively, so that we still derive a decent income, but we can also move to Florida?

Bill & Margaret – Charlotte

Dear Bill and Margaret,

A professional property management company would definitely be a good choice for you, since the purpose of the company is to save money and handle the day-to-day operations. Depending on what you have been doing, a property management company may be able to help increase the tenant occupancy and help the property generate more income—off setting the expense.

Additionally, a property management company will be able to look at other potential investments that may be a good fit for you in the same area.

You are smart to look at hiring a property manager for your investment property—and with the right choice, you will be able to enjoy your retirement in Florida, while generating a nice monthly income to support yourself and your wife.

Thanks for writing into us! If you would like to interview Kuester Property Management in Charlotte, please give us a call at 704.973.9019.

Property Manager

Friday, November 20, 2009

Property Management with an Eye on the Bottom Line

Property managers across the country are feeling the pressure to demonstrate additional value for their commercial property clients. For property managers like Kuester, that means paying close attention to efficiencies, consistent delivery of value and showing return on investment.

In a challenging economy, property owners need to look at what property management companies can offer to help them keep an eye on the bottom line. Here are reasons to go with a professional property management company.

Cost Cutting
Providing operating efficiencies, and generating return on investment has always been the primary property management responsibility. Yet, in this economic climate, being able to produce cost savings is even more of a priority. Good property managers are focusing on each property and finding creative ways to save the property owners some money such as web-based pay and maintenance -request systems.

Thinking Green
Green building and energy efficient practices are growing in popularity and the need for environmental responsibility. Property managers are taking this time to consider building materials, energy-efficient appliances, water heaters, solar and wind power, and other green ideas to save money AND help the environment.

Administration Cost
Property managers are sensitive to the fact that there is a cost for their services—but perhaps a higher one for not using them! Property management companies such as Kuester are looking at the cost of administration and making sure the office runs efficiently as well as implementing cost and time-saving changes so that we can provide an even more productive service for property owners.

Kuester Property Management is located in Charlotte, NC, with offices in Fort Mill, SC, Boone, NC, Concord, NC, and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Investing in Your Business in a Down Economy

Now is the time to invest! If you currently own a business and would like to move that business into a bigger space, or expand the space you have now is the time!

Property management companies and building owners are hungry to have their multi-unit commercial properties filled and you can get an amazing deal on space now if you qualify. So many people are on the fence about whether of not to take that leap given the economic conditions, yet we are here to tell you NOW is the time... and here is why:

1) If you can keep a business going in a down economy, you will thrive when the clouds lift.

2) You can spend this time perfecting your business process, so that when you are busy, you have all the "kinks" worked out.

3) All signs, and most experts agree that we are starting what will be a slow, but steady upswing--now is the time to invest!

4) You will get a great deal! Investors with good credit will be able to qualify for some of the best rates ever! Property owners and managers are eager to get their properties filled with great businesses - so if you are able to make the move, you will be rewarded with great deals, great rates and accommodating vendors.

So, for all of you who have wished for the extra space, thought about the move to another building or wished to start their own business and not had the motivation to do it... NOW is the time.

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management
Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

CC&R’s: Covenants, Codes and Restrictions.

You shop around, look at several properties (old and new) and you finally decide on a brand new home in Charlotte. You decide to buy a home in a great new subdivision, and you discover that you to do so, you are now part of a homeowners' association. Homeowner’s associations (HOA) have great pluses, and some small drawbacks. One of the drawbacks, is that homeowners' associations exercise a lot of control over how you use your property, (which is also a positive for HOAs!) The transfer deeds to houses in new developments almost always include limitations on how the property can be used. Usually these limitations -- called covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) – place a majority of the power in the HOA.

With every homeowner's association, you have a different method of operations. Some HOAs will prove to be more iron-fisted others will be more relaxed. Much depends on the officers, (and so if you have issues with any of the CCRs, your best course of action is to participate in the HOA). There is a big range, and you will find one that works for you. Regardless of how strict the association is, you will find that most HOAs are operating only to increase and protect the home values of their members.

Before you buy that home – check out those CC&Rs. Read the CC&Rs very, very VERY carefully before plunking down any cash. If you have questions or concerns, ask questions and get legal advice. It might sound a bit scary, but you are protecting yourself. And remember, you should be confident that the CC&Rs enhance and not neuter your lifestyle. CC&Rs traditionally can (but not limited too) restrict :

1) Color you paint your house.

2) The color of the curtains or blinds visible from the street

3) Front yard landscaping

4) Where you can hang laundry, or if you can hang it.

5) Prohibit certain vehicles being parked in the driveway or street

6) Garages facing the street need to be kept neat

While to some, that may sound controlling, generally HOAs work hard to keep their membership happy.

If during your residence you discover that you need to make a change in your property, - and it is one that is restricted by the HOA – you do have a final recourse.Waivers to HOA rules are tough to obtain, but they are not impossible. The process is different from association to association, so do some checking before you buy your property. If you want to make a structural change, like building a fence or swimming pool, or adding an addition, you'll probably need formal permission from the association. But, here is a general and speculative idea of what you might have to do:

1) Submit an application for a variance. A written application.

2) Get your neighbors' permission – both/ all your neighbors. The more people on your street behind you, the better.

3) Be prepared for a formal hearing. You may also need to go up in front of you zoning board too.

We have written at length before about HOAs. WE cannot stress enough how important they are to some communities. They are not designed to be bad guys, they are there to be of assistance to home owners. Find one that you fit into, and it might be one of the best relationships of your life!

Property Manager


The Kuester Companies, a leader in all forms of HOA management in North Carolina and South Carolina was established to be involved in the management of Homeowner’s Association properties, to include mixed-use developments, town homes, and residential communities. This branch of the company fills a unique niche in the Real Estate market because we have established a proud history of providing management services in Charlotte and surrounding markets. Those throughout the North Carolina homeowners association management community know and recognize Kuester as a leader in the Charlotte HOA, Columbia HOA and Charleston HOA management arenas.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Property Management: Being a Good Tenant

If you are a commercial renter, and you deal with a property management agency or property manager – you have a unique relationship that needs to be nurtured and respected. A good relationship with your property manager will ensure you have a wonderful stay at this property. A bad relationship, will leave you both unhappy and unproductive.

When moving into the property, be sure to politely reach out to your property manager with a friendly “Hello!” and provide the best contact information for your business. You want to make sure the lines of communication are open. If your property manager can contact you easily, it might mean they take your calls quicker later down the road. You don’t need to be your property manager’s best friend. But, you should immediately demonstrate your ability to work with them. Let them know about any special circumstances concerns you may have. Will children be in the space? Do you have employees with special needs? An odd work schedule? Let them know.

When a problem or situation arises in your commercial rental unit, contact the property manager immediately. Depending on your rental agreement, you might be able to handle the crisis yourself. Still, you want to make the property manager aware of it ASAP. Once they are aware of the situation, give them a professional amount of time to handle the problem. Don’t keep calling, avoid pestering or annoying your property manager or agency. Some property managers have several properties, or this is a side-job or part-time situation for them. Contact them with issues that they are obligated to address in the lease agreement. Be polite, professional, and businesslike when you do contact them.

You should understand this is a business relationship and you need to maintain some boundaries. If your property manager is not responding to your needs, you should discuss it with him/her before going to the landlord or outside assistance. If you are supposed to have your sidewalks shoveled within 12 hours of snow-fall, then that is what should be done. Don’t bend too often, or you might find yourself bending always.

A property manager, like landlord, is there to ensure your commercial space arrangement is exactly what you are paying for…with your help! If the two of you work in tandem, you will ensure a safe, secure, and stress-free business relationship.

If you are looking for commercial, retail or office space in the Charlotte, Fort Mill, Boone, Myrtle Beach, or Concord area, please give Kuester a call!

Kuester Companies
Corporate Office
1300 Altura Road
Fort Mill, SC 29708
tel: 704.973.9019
toll free: 888.600.5044
fax: 803.802.0005

Kuester Companies
Coastal Office
1200 48th Avenue North; Suite 102
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578
tel: 843.839.9704
toll free: 888.600.5044
fax: 843.839.9706

Kuester Companies
South Park Office
6600 Central Pacific Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28210
tel: 704.973.9016
toll free: 888.600.5044
fax: 704.552.1008

Kuester Companies
Boone, NC Office
178 Highway #105 Extension Suite 201
Boone, NC 28607
tel: 803.578.7725
toll free: 888.600.5044

Kuester Companies
Concord Office
9505 Moss Plantation Avenue
Concord, NC 28027
tel: 704.973.9017
toll free: 888.600.5044

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hiring a Property Manager or Management Company

So you’re tired of doing it all yourself, and you’ve decide to hire a property management company to help you run your new rental empire! Finding the perfect person to fit into this important position is a momentous task. To help you find the right person for this key role, we have come up with a few simple tips for you to remember while interviewing prospective property managers.

1) Get recommendations and references! Look over qualifications! Do background checks and make sure that this person/company is honest and reliable.

2) Check over the professional directories, like the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) at www.irem.org and the National Association of Residential Property Managers' (NARPM) at www.narpm.org. You will find plenty of information there to help your decision.

3) Interview the candidates yourself. They will be your proxy, so you better trust them. You will want to make sure you have a clear ability to communicate with your possible property manager-- and you need to know they will be able to communicate with your tenants.

4) Are they a local? Someone with experience, connections, and some time spent in your community is always preferred. A property manager who knows the streets of your city, the contractors, the rules and regulations, will ease every one of your headaches.

5) Make sure they your candidate is a professional who can serve in your stead. You want a person who can calmly handle any problems thrown at them.

6) Talk to your attorney, any partners, and your current tenants. Listen and observe, take advice, be open to suggestions. A good referral from a trusted source goes a long way.

Make sure to talk to as many candidates as possible. This is an important job, and you don’t want to hire the wrong man or woman (or company) for the job.

Property Manager
Kuester Companies

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get Your Commercial Retail Space ready for the Holidays

Holiday decorating in the 21st Century can be a tricky task. You want to stay seasonal and festive, but you don’t want to offend or seem biased to any cultural or religious groups. We have some tips and ideas for you, but remember to filter them through the specific needs of your business, your neighborhood, and the wants of your customers.

A) Music
We are kind of biased, our favorite holiday tunes are most definitely The Charlie Brown Christmas Special soundtrack. But, that might not work for you and your business. If you are going to play holiday music in your facility, you have two options: keeping it holiday neutral (no Christmas mentions, etc.) or letting it run the gamut of holidays. We prefer the later. You can find on iTunes, or through other online services, a plethora of songs about Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukkah. Add in some non-secular songs, some modern interpretations, a little bit of this and that, and you can create a play list that will not offend anyone, but delight everyone. Just do us one favor, don’t start playing it till after Thanksgiving! PLEASE!

B) Lights! Lights! Lights!
Lights always help to create a mood! AND they are "friendly" to all backgrounds and affiliations - especially the classic white light. A simple string of lights (and it is totally your choice whether to go with a small white classy strand or the more gauche big colored bulbs) can transform your simple store into a winter wonderland! If possible, unveil some special candles or tea lights (fire codes permitting). Remember, orange and red lights for the spooky and scary Halloween season can be slightly modified to give off a friendly glow near Thanksgiving. Respond to your customers needs, make sure to keep your business properly lit, but have some fun! Whatever you do, try to keep things appropriate for your clientele.

C) Decorations
Almost as tricky as the music you will play, any decorations you display have to be carefully thought out. Again, think of your business and customers. Go with simple, all inclusive colors, ornaments, or signage. If you think witches, ghosts and goblins might be too much for your place, go with fall colors, some autumnal colors, leaves, branches, hay bails and other signs of the harvest. In December, anything with silver and gold will probably please everyone, and snow elements and winter themes like snowmen always are popular. On the flipside, you can embrace all cultures and give them display. It can be a hardy task, unless you have the room and creative talent to showcase all of the holiday season’s many special dates. Most of all, remember the holidays are a time of peace, thanks-giving, generosity and kindness. This is what should be reflected.

D) Specials and Promotions
If you are a restaurant, consider featuring new seasonal menu items that highlight the season. If you’re a retail store, bring in some special merchandise, run a few holiday promotions, and make sure your inventory reflects the mood of your shoppers. Dentist can run post-Halloween specials for kid’s teeth, and gyms can suggest increased work-outs after gobbling down a lot of food over the holidays. Make your advertisements and marketing efforts reflect the season – and the general public will respond. You don’t have to make huge changes to your routine, but adding Pumpkin Pie or selling Holiday Cards certainly takes you from “Bah Humbug” to “Happy Holidays!”

Now all decorating advice is subjective. While the common trend a few years ago was to remain rigidly politically correct, society has loosened up a bit and people seem to welcome the celebration of our holidays. Dressing on Halloween doesn’t mean you’re a Satanist, having a stuffed turkey cut-out by your register doesn’t mean you are anti-Native American, (or anti-vegetarian) and a Christmas tree sometimes is just a beautiful tree--and a symbol of sustained life. As long as you and your staff are friendly, welcoming, and polite – your decorations will only accent your business.

Best of luck and have a wonderful holiday season!

Property Manager
Kuester Companies

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When Should You Hire a Property Management Company?

One of the major decisions as a property owner is whether you should hire a property management company. Many landlords manage properties all by themselves, occasionally with the help of an employee or associate. Depending on the type of property, and how demanding your tenants are, some landlords might need outside assistance.

Property management companies often are the landlords first line of defense. They take the late night phone calls, they collect the rent, they haggle with demanding tenants. Nightmare tenant? The property manager will even handle the eviction. A qualified management agency will also bring their contacts and experience to your property, sometimes having more solid networks and resources then an individual.

If you have lot of properties or units that you rent to the public, the more you're likely to benefit from a management company. Especially if your full-time job isn’t going to be a landlord. Living out of the region from the property in question is also incredibly tough. You can’t react quickly or easily to any property issue if you are several time zones or states away. Hiring a property management service is critical in dealing with issues that you will not be able to handle from across the continent.

Many landlords and property owners are looking at additional properties as investments. They shirk away from any type of hands-on management, as it is either not their forte, or simply they have different priorities. If you have never had to find a tenant or renter for a property, you will discover that it can a rewarding, interesting, frustrating, stressful, and exhausting process. Spending your weekends interviewing possible renters may not be your cup of tea. If you view rental property ownership strictly as an investment and want little or nothing to do with the day-to-day management of your properties, consider hiring help to manage your property.

If you happen to participate in an affordable housing program, things are going to get super complicated. In these programs, the landlord receives financial assistance, in the form of a grant, low-interest loan, or tax credits, in return for agreeing to rent at least part of the property to tenants earning below a certain income level. In order to receive the financial assistance, the landlord must comply with a STRINGENT set of rules. There is a ton of paperwork, as there always is with anything that the government hovers around. Again, if you are not planning on being a landlord FULLTIME, then you should hire a property management company that has past success with these particular housing programs.

Now if all this sounds interesting or intriguing to you, then perhaps you need to start talking to some possible property managers. How do you find a property manager? Well….That is a completely different article! Tune in again in a few weeks to find out our advice on how to FIND a qualified property manager.

Property Manager
Kuester Companies
Charlotte Concord Boone Myrtle Beach Fort Mill

Monday, October 5, 2009

How HOAs Can Increase Property Value

We have talked about this before... but we get questions all the time about Homeowner Associations. While well-run associations will increase the value of homes in the neighborhood, hey are not for everyone. If you are the kind of person who cannot commit to participate in some way, or needs to be able to keep your pet goat in your back-yard, an HOA neighborhood may not be a good fit. As with and homeowner decision, HOAs decisions should be a strongly weighed and carefully considered.

Becoming a homeowner can be almost as stressful and taxing as becoming a parent. On a daily weekly, and monthly basis you are confronted with a series of questions and problems that have to be overcome. All this, while struggling to keep your neighbors happy and your property value up. Many homeowners find some comfort in working with other homeowners to make decision and effect changes. Homeowners Associations (HOAs) can not only offer you a spirit of solidarity, but they also have been proven to help increase your property values.

HOAs exist to "protect and enhance" a person’s property value. A HOA serves as a way to keep everyone in your little kingdom on the same page. You won’t have to worry about any adjoining homes becoming run down or uncared for... Members of the HOA keep the paint from fading, will ensure the grass is constantly cut, and that your streets are free of garbage and trash. All the rules in the HOA are spelled out for you when you purchase, so if you don’t like the regulations – you don’t have to buy. But once you join, you are expected to carry your weight! In today's market, HOA's may be of greater importance because they, if well managed, can enforce maintenance standards. With more and more homes going to rental, this can be important as one can often tell a rental by the lack of upkeep--and this affects all homes in the neighborhood! 

HOAs can also create conformity in your neighborhood. This is especially important if you live any type of subdivision. Typically, subdivisions are called planned unit developments, or PUDs and are built with a limited amount of architectural plans from which to choose. This creates a uniform look for the development – and it’s a tradition in modern American communities. An HOA can make sure that this uniformity is preserved after the developers and real estate agents have left town. We all applaud individuality, and every homeowner should have the right to express themselves in their property. A HOA will serve as a moderating force within a community, making sure no tension is built do to an extremely creative family getting a bit unleashed with their home’s exterior look.

Now before you dive into an HOA, consider that there are minuses as well. Check out the HOA’s covenant (their rules and regulations), talk to the neighbors, and give yourself some time to decide if it is a good fit for you.

Property Manager

Kuester Companies

Thursday, October 1, 2009

When You Are Looking For Retail Space…

Are you searching for a location for a new retail project in the Charlotte area? Finding the right commercial space has a lot to do with the specific project, but there are some principals that you should keep in mind no matter what you are going to be selling (or buying)…

A) Location, Location, Location:
Okay, its been said time and time again…The location of your new or transplanted business can be a key in future success. Does your new spot get a lot of passing foot traffic? How much competition is next to, or near it? What type of complimentary businesses are your neighbors? Is it easily accessible or a destination spot? Make sure the location is the perfect place for your business. (If you need assistance finding that right location, contact us at Kuester at 888.600.5044)

B) Outer Space? Inner Space? What kind of space?:
Does your potential space work for you? Don’t just concentrate on the square footage of your new spot, does the actual shape, height, width, and flow of the property work for your endeavor? Make sure your new commercial site isn’t too narrow, or to dark. Do you have enough windows, how many entrances and exits are there? What side of the street is the space on? Envision yourself in there everyday for a long time, and think hard on whether or not it will work for you.
C) Crime
Being in a neighborhood that has some crime issues is a problem. While it is a positive to be the business that is trailblazing into a gentrifying neighborhood, there are definite negatives to it too. Bars, restaurants, and office spaces might have no problems, but retail stores will suffer terribly. Not only do you need to look at crime as a threat to your property and inventory, but to your customers, clientele and employees.

D) Parking

It might be a part of your location question, but for some businesses it is an important enough issue to site by itself. Do your customers need parking or will most of them be walking to your location? If you think they will be driving, then make sure you have ample street parking or are close to a parking lot. Check the meter situation on your street. If you have lots or garages nearby, approach their owners/management about creating a special deal for your customers. Customers who know you are looking out for them and their wheels will be happy customers.

E) The Rules!
Every neighborhood, township, town, hamlet, city, and street has different rules, laws, and regulations. Research all the ordinances in your neighborhood before you sign a lease or make a land grab. Some locations will not work for all businesses. Signage issues, historic preservation, liquor laws, curfews, noise ordinances – make sure that your business won’t be upsetting any apple carts. Make sure to check with your future neighbors and ask them how they got through the system if the regulations limit what you are hoping to do.

--Property Manager
Kuester Companies

Monday, September 28, 2009

Commercial Property Inspections

Before purchasing a commercial property, you will need to have it inspected, just like you would a new home.

A proper inspection of a commercial property should include a walk-through survey, document review, and interviews with owners/occupants to determine the property’s condition. You should have this done by a professional commercial property inspector located in you area, who is familiar with the type of property you are looking to purchase, as well as common challenges with similar buildings in similar locations.

The commercial property inspection report should include the inspectors findings, good and bad, and the often the probable cost for suggested repairs. The report will tell you what needs to be fixed before a sale takes place to be compliant with any local or federal regulations. The inspection will also give the owner and buyer the opportunity to discuss changes that may not be necessary, but are requested by the buyer before a sale can be completed as well as help the buyer better understand the maintenance costs associated with a particular property.

The scope of the inspection needed and the specific areas to be inspected are based on the age of the property, occupancy, and the type of construction. Inspections can range from just a visual examination of the property, to a comprehensive inspection of all the building’s technical aspects. As a buyer, you can request that the inspection include the baseline items, plus the more comprehensive components, but remember, the cost of the inspection, is probably yours. That said, we wouldn't recommend making a commercial property purchase without one! The inspection will be a investment worth making.

A commercial property inspection includes:
Site Characteristics (driveway and parking lot, landscaping, and utilities)
Structural Frame and Building Envelope
Mechanical and Electrical Systems
Plumbing Systems
Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation Systems
Vertical Transportation (elevators, escalators)
Life Safety/Fire Protection/ CO2 detectors
Interior Elements
Document Review (maintenance records, purchases)

--and probably costs associates with repairs, and recommendations, or notations on required maintenance

Additional services:
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Assessments
Elevator Inspections
Fenestration Inspections (windows, doors, skylights, etc.)
Fire Safety Inspections
Lead-Based Paint Inspections
Termite Inspections
Sewage Systems Inspections
Asbestos Inspections
Indoor Air Quality Assessments
Radon Inspections

Depending on the type of property, and your specific needs, you may want to include many of these additional services. Buying a commercial property is an investment worth protecting, and knowing exactly what a property has to offer, AND what kinds of maintenance will need to get done (general and emergency), can make a huge effect on whether you are making a good term decision!

Property Manager
Kuester Properties, North and South Carolina

Friday, September 25, 2009

Are HOA Neighborhoods Worth It?

Dear Property Manager:

IT Seems like suburbs in many parts of the country, including the Charlotte suburbs are full of developments with HOAs. What are the benefits and pitfalls of living in HOA development communities vs. just buying a house in a "regular" neighborhood?

Is it getting harder to find "regular" non HOA neighborhoods to live in in the suburbs of Charlotte? What is the appeal?

Ken - Fort Mill

Dear Ken:

It is possible to find houses not in a regulated HOA community in and around Charlotte, and you may find that they are less expensive than similar HOA homes, however there are pitfalls.

When a person moves into an HOA neighborhood they agree to the covenants of the neighborhood. They agree not to have more than say 5 animals in the home, or not to have a horse in the back-yard, or not to paint their front door purple. The rules of each neighborhood differ but they are designed to protect the homeowner, the value of the property and the neighborhood.

As a homeowner in an HOA neighborhood, you are given the opportunity to vote for changes in the rules and regulations, as well as participate on the committees that determine how much of the budget goes to things like common area maintenance or special projects, and what the covenants are. But majority rules, and you have to live with what the majority votes for--that is what you agree to when you move into the neighborhood.

The benefit to an HOA is that things are kept at a known norm. If the neighbor puts up a 12 foot fence all around his property, he will be fined and made to remove it. If he parks 3 rusted out Buicks in the back-yard he will be asked to move them, fined if he doesn't and potentially sued by the HOA if there is further non-compliance.

The down-side for you is if you are the kind of person who doesn't think they need any one's permission before digging a moat around their home, you will be the one who suffers the consequences with the Property Management company and the HOA. But for the most part, an HOA is a good thing, for most people they make sense, and that is why they are worth it, and that is why HOA neighborhoods are so popular!

I hope this answers your question!

Property Manager
Kuester Companies
HOA Property Management Company

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Choosing an Office Space

Charlotte and the surrounding area offers an amazing variety of office space. Big, small, Uptown, or up by the lake... your choices are nearly limitless. Yet, as you think about your business, and how you want to work, you can begin to narrow down the possibilities.

You certainly need to have a good, clean environment for your office. But beyond that, you should ask yourself the following questions:

1.) If there is only "office work" being done, (and no manufacturing or retail)?
2.) Do you need a "reception" area where clients would enter and wait for you?
3.) How much space will you need? (Remember, you may want to grow before the lease term is up).
4.) Will you need bathrooms, or can you share bathrooms with other offices in the same building?
5.) How much parking will you need?
6.) How far will you need/do you want to travel? (And how about your employees?)
7.) Do you need a room for computer servers, a conference room, kitchen, or other space?
8.) Do you want an open floor-plan, cubicles, or offices with doors?
9.) Will you frequently have clients in the space?
10.) What technology needs do you have, (i.e. Internet connections, phone service)
11.) What if any build-out will the property owner/management company do to make the space work for you.
12.) How far is the space from main roads, town, the airport, restaurants and other points of interest?
13.) What are the terms of the lease?
14.) Who are the other tenants? (Are they competitors, or partner-businesses?)
15.) How is the common area, landscaping, and parking lot managed?

Choosing the best space for your new office is important for your ability to do your work and succeed as a business. If you would like assistance finding the best office space in Charlotte, Boone, Concord, Myrtle Beach, or Fort Mill, SC, please contact Kuester Companies at 704.973.9019.

Property Manager
Kuester Companies, North and South Carolina

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leasing Commercial Property

The Charlotte area has some amazing options for businesses seeking to lease commercial property. Yet, there are plenty of challenges to navigate as you look for the perfect location for your business.

A commercial property real estate agent will guide you through the process of finding and securing your new location, however you will be working as a partner with the agent, so you will need to work equally hard, if not harder to make the process move smoothly. Determining what you want from your property is important, but where your property is may be the most critical factor for the success of your business.

Location (Location, Location!)
If your business is a retail one, then location should be a strong factor in your decision-making process. Your time and effort should be focused on determining the best part of town and the types of customers you wish to draw. You want your building and store-front to be attractive to passers-by. Even if you are not a retail store, you should consider things like the size of and access to the parking lot, the proximity to other businesses, main roads, the airport or housing--things that your customers may appreciate, or may make it easier for them to find you, or make your business a favorite. Also, consider what else is happening in the neighborhood: Are the roads under construction? Do the surrounding buildings look like they have been kept up? Is the building itself in need of significant repairs. These are things that can have a serious affect on your business!

Put together a list of the things that are important to you as you set out to find the best property. Then, as you see more possible locations with your agent, be sure to add to the "wants" and "don't wants" list. The more you see, the more you realize there are very specific requirements for your property to make it work best for you and if you are able to communicate this to your agent, they will better be able to assist you in narrowing down the search and getting you into your new business location soon!

Property Manager
Charlotte, NC

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Property Management for Condo Building Owners

If you have taken advantage of the buyer's market and the great prices on property by buying a condo building, you are probably trying to figure out what your next step is!

You have made a huge investment, and in order to get the most of that investment, you need to maintain, (and where possible improve) the condominium's condition. Managing an investment property and dealing with the maintenance aspects of buildings can be a daunting task--one that often requires the assistance of a full-time property manager or firm. The management company will charge a fee that you may feel is a substantial amount, but when you look at the services offered, you will see that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Collecting Rent
Collecting rent can a very difficult and time consuming task--unfortunately, you sometimes have to chase tenants down, or handle situations when they are behind on their payments. For a non-professional, this can be very frustrating, (alas, even for the professional, it is frustrating!) but property management companies have developed processes and other mechanisms to be able to make this as pain-free and efficient as possible. They will make sure that rent is paid on time--and that you get your money!

A professional property management company will also be able to assist you in determining the fair market value of the condos and how much you should expect based on your competition, location and building. This will help you keep maximum occupancy!

Tenant Screening
You don't want just anyone occupying your condo. After all, you have an investment to protect!Tenant screening is one of the most difficult duties of any rental property owner. Luckily, the company responsible for the management of your properties will do for you. They will have each prospective tenant fill out an application, and they will call references, employment, credit and other factors before making the decision to allow them to become a resident.

Property management companies have the experience marketing property in your area. They know what works, and what doesn't. By utilizing an established property management firm, you are protecting yourself from the expense of trial-and-error marketing--and getting the most of your investment.

An experienced condo property management company will have knowledge of the legal issues and regulation associated with your condominiums. Staying in compliance with your federal, state, and local rules and regulations will be important and a good property management company can advise you on these matters and connect you with a real estate attorney when appropriate.

If you need anymore information on condo property management, or if you have a property in the Charlotte area, Fort Mill, SC, Boone, Myrtle Beach, or Concord and would like to know more about our property management services please contact Kuester at 1-704-321-8199.

Property Manager

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Finding an Affordable Property Management Firm

Dear Property Manager:

I own a commercial plaza area in South Charlotte and I currently do/manage all the property management duties myself, from my office at the complex, however, I would like to find an affordable property management company to take over--I just don't have the time any more!

Is there a list, or place that I can go to compare prices and services? How do I find a good firm and know I am getting my money's worth?

Charlotte, NC

Dear Mike:

In the Charlotte area, you have plenty of property management companies to choose from. However, I will preface my answer to your question with "you get what you pay for..." Now, that is not to say that your can't find an affordable property manager in Charlotte... because you certainly can, but you should not be making your decision solely on price!

The first thing you can do to find an affordable property management firm is to attend a Charlotte area landlord association meeting and discuss property managers with other landlords. Attending a Charlotte real estate investor association REIA meeting may also be a good idea -- just to get feedback and advice from other investors.

My best suggestion is always to to go by referrals. Get a couple referrals from other property owners and then interview each of the property management firms. When you meet, bring a list of the services that you think you will need, and a list of questions that have for the property management firm.

The thing to remember, is that property management services are designed to make and save you time and money. So, the cost should be measured against return on investment--"affordability" is a factor that is relative!

Best of luck,
Property Manager

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Property Management Services for the Builder or Developer

Dear Property Manager:

I am a custom home builder with a development just outside Charlotte, NC. We had to stall our building process because of the recession, but things seem to picking up and we have several houses currently under contract.

In this whole process, we have decided to change vendors and are looking for strong Charlotte-based firms with whom to partner. Can you tell me a little about the services that you specifically offer for builder or developer.

Thank you,

Curtis - Charlotte, NC

Dear Curtis,

We have see a significent turn-around in just the last couple month and I am glad that you are experiencing an upturn in your business as well.

For the developer or builder, the Kuester Companies does offer specific services, and most importantly, we provide consulting that can benefit the neighborhood Association long before it comes into existence!

Pre-contractual management services include:

-->Preliminary and build-out budget preparation
-->Annual assessment, capital contribution and builder dues recommendations
-->CC&R modifications and recommendations
-->Legal consultation through a third party specialist
-->Obtaining quotes for insurance and other contractual expenses
-->Master Planned Community and Sub-Association set-up and planning

And then Kuester can take over the homeowners association management responsibilities, assuring a smooth transition.

For more information about our builder and developer services, go to the association page of our website.

Property Manager
Kuester Companies

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Investment Property Manager

Dear Property Manager:

My friend has mentioned needing an investment property manager for a property he is buying in Boone. Is an investment property manager different than any other time of property manager? What are the responsibilities of an investment property manager?

Jeremy, Charlotte, NC

Dear Jeremy,

While there are variations on the types of property management, and what in included in a property management contract, it is important to remember that most commercial properties are "investments" and the reason you hire a property management company is to protect your investment.

Investment property management companies manage properties that serve as sources of income for the owner. An Investment property management company may be hired to provide a comprehensive and professional service, such as tenant vetting, collecting rent, handling complaints and evictions, and maintenance.

The primary task of an investment property management company is to find tenants which involves marketing the property. A good property manager will understanding where and how to advertise the property--knowledge gained from experience.

When renting an unoccupied or vacant space, the investment property manager also involves meeting with and giving a tour to prospective tenants, going over all terms and conditions, providing information on deposits and application fees, and explain the differentiating features of the unit or surrounding land.

Once a unit/building is rented, the investment property manager will often handle all financial issues, including collecting the security deposit, fees and the monthly rent. If the tenant is late in the payment, it is the responsibility of the property manager, to manage the situation which may include beginning the process of eviction--an unpleasant situation that may end up involving the owner and/or an attorney.

The investment property manager is also tasked with handling maintenance issues, including routine landscaping and handling repairs. The property manager may utilize the maintenance staff, or contract with an outside company depending on the company and the complexity of the repair.

I hope this answers your questions and if you or your friend need any more information about investment property management - feel free to give us a call at our Boone office at 803.578.7725.

Property Manager
Kuester: Boone.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Introducing Moss Creek in Concord, NC

Kuester Management manages the beautiful Moss Creek Village, a meticulously planned community in Concord, North Carolina.

Moss Creek is an easy commute to downtown Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas. North Carolina's biggest tourist attraction: Concord Mills Mall is just a short 10-minute drive from this quiet, secluded community.

For families with young children, Moss Creek is an ideal location. Cabarrus County public schools are among the best in the state, and Moss Creek is home to two brand new locations, Odell Elementary and Harris Road Middle Schools.

The Moss Creek nature trail is a hidden treasure, running along the East branch of the Rocky River, giving residents a beautiful outdoors experience, for the casual walker to the nature enthusiast. Trails are accessible from a number of different locations within the community, and are bicycle and stroller friendly.

The Monarch Club, Moss Creek's community center, offers tennis and basketball courts, a playground, and a world-class swimming pool complex. The pool area includes something to for everyone: an Olympic-sized pool, baby wading pool, kids' feature pool, and an adults-only lap pool. in fact Olympic athletes from Mecklenburg Aquatic Club trained at Moss Creek's amazing pool facility, and four of them brought home medals from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing!

Are you interested in learning more about Moss Creek? Contact us at Kuester!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Investing in Commercial Property

Commercial property is a worthy investment, but one that needs to be researched, studied, and managed to make a profitable return. Here is what you need to know about commercial property investing"

The Legal Stuff
Before getting too far in your property investment research, you should look into all the applicable local laws, and hire a business attorney who can help navigate the often abstract and confusing laws. Make sure to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the local laws in the place where you plan to invest in property, since the laws sometimes differ from one state to another.

Having a good attorney who can explain and handle the laws, as well as the contract is vital to a successful investment. This is one area where you need to spend a lot of time and resources!

Show Me the Money
You can base your projected income on current trends and future projections, however you need to be sure that the value of the property will appreciate. When and if you decide to sell, you will want to get more than you paid for it.

You need to look at the different ways the property can be an income generator. Look at how the property is zoned, the location, other rules and regulations regarding the specific purpose that the land can be used for. Remember, when buying commercial land for your business, ensure that you will legally be able to use the land for the intended purpose.

If you are like most people, you don't have all the capital necessary to invest in commercial property, and will probably need a commercial property loan. You will need a lot of documentation to apply for this loan so put together all information on your business operations, your financial status and estimated earning potential and the property title deed. The lender wants to make sure they are making a good investment too!

When calculating cost for any particular property, don't forget fees payable to any professionals you may have hired as consultants to close the deal, any registration or other legal expenses to be paid. These expenses tend to amount to quite a bit, and therefore should be budgeted when calculating the feasibility of a property.

Location, Location
Don't be afraid to shop around before choosing a piece of property. The first may not be the best and it is better to do the extra legwork now, then be wrong later!

In order to protect your investment once it has been made, contract with a reputable local property management company. This company can handle the day to day operations, the tenant negotiations, maintenance, etc. Not only increasing your possible ongoing incoming income, but the property value itself.

Investing in commercial property is a proven way to grow your money, but not everyone can successful. Be sure to take the necessary steps before, during and after in order to ensure a long term positive investment.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What does an HOA cost?

Dear Property Manager:

I was recently elected to our HOA board and we are considering changing property management companies. Can you tell us what the average cost per resident is for HOAs? And besides the basic services, what can an property management company do? Can we include these in our request for proposal?

Kim T. HOA President

Dear Kim

I cannot give you an "average" cost per resident since the cost of HOA management service is directly related to the scope of the work the management company does...and this can vary. You and your board need to develop a scope of work and request proposals from at least three qualified management companies in the Charlotte area. Make sure that your prospects specialize in HOA management, and will offer references. But make sure to provide them each with the same list of "wants and needs." Some companies, (such as Kuester) now offer online applications for the residents to track their HOA dues status and other neighborhood information. This is a great option and should be something your candidates offer.

As for the "what" and HOA can offer, here is a link to the HOA services that Kuester provides. This should give you a good idea of what you can expect and what you can request when you fill out your RFP.

Best of luck and please contact me if you have any additional questions about HOAs!

Property Manager

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What do HOA Fees Cover?

Dear Property Manager:

My wife and are about to buy a home in Fort Mill, SC. We are choosing between 2 we really like and the both have homeowner's associations. We are first-time homebuyers and we aren't really sure what the HOA fees generally cover. The two neighborhoods are similar, but the HOA fees are different. What do HOA fees cover and why could they be so different in the same town?

Mark K.
Fort Mill, SC

Dear Mark:

Congratulations on your upcoming home purchase! HOA fees generally pay for the common area routine yard maintenance, irrigation, ponds, security, street lighting, and the amenities maintenance (club houses, pools, tennis courts, walking trails, etc.), and neighborhood events.

Homeowners Associations are tasked with making sure HOA fees are being used properly for both routine and non-routine upkeep of the neighborhood. Routine maintenance may include lawn mowing and basic landscaping in the summer, and salting roads on icy winter days. And the non-routine things like if large trees need to be trimmed, the pool needs a repair, the HOA fees may be used to hire contractors.

If you are comparing two similar neighborhoods in the same town, but they have different HOA fees, then perhaps there is a 1 time up-front fee when you buy your home, larger fines, or maybe the amenities are different (i.e. one may have a small outside pool, and the other may have both an indoor and outdoor pool.).

The best thing to do is to get both HOA agreements are read them side by side and if you are still having trouble understanding the cost discrepancy, check with your Realtor and/or real estate attorney. They are both expert in home-buying and will be able to see if the costs make sense.

Property Manager

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Buy Commercial Property

Commercial real estate can diversify your portfolio, create tax benefits and build long-term wealth. However, making that investment into commercial real estate can be a risk, especially to those without previous experience or industry knowledge. So always work with professionals and do your research before making any final decisions.

Put Together a Great Team
No matter where you are on the investment property learning curve, it's a good idea to get advice and support of industry experts such as commercial real estate agents, property attorneys and property management firms to assist you in making the right decisions.

Do Your Research
Research similar properties, including incomes, the demographics of the residents in the area, the traffic, the vacancy rate, current trends and industry information for the businesses you may have as tenants. Also, if you are buying an occupied property, know how long the leases are for the current tenants and at what price. Are the at fair market price? Will these tenants stay to renew under new management? Are the tenants you would like to keep?

As with any investment, commercial real estate requires due diligence and a keen business sense. Consider carefully before investing and always seek the advice of professionals to garner the best results.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Is the Property Manager doing his job?

Dear Property Manager:

I own a small block of commercial properties just outside Charlotte and I have now gotten two "complaints" about how the property manager has handled certain situations in the last 6 months. I do not have time to deal with the unhappy tenants (that is why I hired the property management company in the first place!), but I feel like I need to step in.

What should my first step be? How to I address this with the property manager without making it seem like I am micro-managing their ability to handle the tenants? I have had no problems up to this point (3 years now).

Ralph H. Charlotte, NC

Dear Ralph,

It can be difficult to know if your property manager is doing his job well, especially since the whole point of hiring a property manager is for you to NOT be involved in the day-to-day operations of your property. I understand that you do not want to micro-manage, but at the same time you need to have content tenants or you will be out of business. Since you have had 2 complaints in a short amount of time, I think that you need to take them seriously.

Your first step should be to ask the tenants if they have tried to go through the property manager regarding the conflict. If they haven't, you can direct them to the property manager and hope that it was just a miscommunication. You need to give the property manager the chance to resolve the issue themselves.

If they have already gone to the property manager, you will need to get the details of the issue and how the tenant felt it was mishandled. Then you should sit down with the property manager and work through how they can resolve the situation directly with the tenant. You need to give the property manager the opportunity to make this a positive situation.

And then, if the complaint still isn't resolved, you will need to intervene directly yourself, and either re-train the property manager to handle this kind of thing better, or look for another company to better represent you.

Best of luck,
Kuester Property Manager

Monday, July 20, 2009

Good and Bad Property Managers

If you have decided to work with a property manager, you will find that the benefits are many. Not only will your time be freed up to manage other investments, or on your main career -- but also, a property manager can (and should) increase the value of your property earning potential.

But hiring a bad property manager can be costly! Don't work with a property manager that cannot provide you with the background or information that you are looking for. Research prospective property management companies and take the time necessary to make a wise decision. You will be grateful later for the vetting you do today!

Here are some signs of a "bad" property manager:

Unwilling to Provide References. If the property manager cannot, or is unwilling to provide names and contact information, you should remove them from your list of prospects.

Not Enough Industry Knowledge. Being a property manager (or management company_ required industry knowledge on proven methods of securing rental payments, legal changes, performing routine maintenance, marketing trends, or complying with regulations. You may find someone who has been in the business just a short time who is excellent in this area, or a company that has been doing business for a decade and still cannot handle the critical aspects of renting your specific property.

No People Skills. If the property manager(s) are anything less than accommodating, polite, respectful, kind and professional when you meet with them, they will be the same when they work with your tenants. Choose a company with people skills who can get the job done... with a smile!

Excessive Extra Costs. Professional property managers should be able to give you a breakdown of your costs, including anticipated marketing. There will always be a additional cost of doing business, but an experienced property management company will be upfront with you about what you can expect.

Can't Handle Conflict. Being a property manager sometimes involves dealing with uncomfortable situations. You need to choose a property management company that has had conflict resolution experience and training to diffuse difficult situations and people in the best way possible.

Unwilling or Unable to be Flexible. Property management can sometimes be a 24/7 kind of job. If you hire a property manager who can only work 9-5, you will be covering the middle-of-the-night calls! This is where going with a reputable company with a call service is very helpful!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Charlotte HOA Dog Stations

Dear Property Manager:

I was recently visiting a friend of mine south of Charlotte and I noticed that they have strategically placed "dog stations" throughout their neighborhood's common areas.

I am the president of our HOA and we have been considering a change in maintenance companies. It may seem like a minor thing, but having these is a nice touch for the residents with AND without dogs. I see this as just one of the things that shows an HOA cares and is paying attemtion, and I want our HOA property managemeny company to not only think of these kinds of things and bring them to us to make a decision on, but also to have readily available.

Can you tell me if you offer these "dog stations" and what other "value-added services" you might have for HOAs that you maintain.

Frank - Charlotte.

Dear Frank:

In addition to offering the best in propery management and HOA management services, Kuester does offer a variety of "value-added' professional services including:

-->Coordinating and supervising vendors on large projects
-->Providing clients with a reliable resource for all maintenance needs
-->Performing property inspections to gather preventative maintenance items
-->Tailoring a routine maintenance checklist to fit each community
-->Twenty four hour emergency service
-->Supervising capital reserve projects
-->Ensuring all maintenance repairs are completed with 100% client satisfaction

Kuester Maintenance services, LLC specializes in the following services but not limited to:

-->Siding / Fencing
-->Gutter service
-->Roofing / Flashing
-->Tree removal
-->Pressure washing
-->Sign installation
-->Drywall repair
-->Fido stations
-->Windows / Doors

So as you can see we not only offer those "Dog Stations," we also have a long list of other services. Please give us a call ( 704.973.9019) if you are seriously considering and HOA management company move, we would be happy to talk to you.

Kuester: HOA / Property Management
Kuester is the recognized leader in Charlotte HOA management, Charlotte property management and greater North Carolina Property Management.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Exchange - Boone, NC

Dear Kuester:

I will be a senior this Fall at Appalachian State and I am looking for a nice, affordable place to rent. Can you recommend a good place close to campus or on the transit route?

Bill H - ASU

Dear Bill:
There is a great apartment less than a mile to the Appalachian State campus, called the Exchange. It is a easy walk, bike or ride to campus but the Appalcart transit system is also available.
Rent is just $550 per bedroom per month and there are four bedroom / four bath suites available. Each unit is approximately 1,450 square feet and bedrooms are approximately 150 sqaure feet.
This beautiful place includes washer and dryer, and internet, cable, water and sewer are included in the rental price. Power is metered per apartment.
This place is perfect for you! Request Information

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Role of a Property Manager

Dear Property Manager:

I has been suggested that we contract with a property manager, or property management firm to handle an uptown Charlotte building that we have renovated for commercial use. Can you tell me: what is the role of a property manager, and how are they paid?

Heather and Mike W.

Dear Heather and Mike:

Great question. Essentially a property manager handles the day-to-day needs of your property, minimizing vacancies and maximizing your bottom line -- in fact the property manager does this by filling many roles, the most important of which is that of liaison between the landlord, and the tenant.

Other duties of the property manager include collecting rent, handling maintenance issues, advertising and marketing the property, and screening prospective tenants. The property manager gives the tenants an accessible person to work with, while providing a buffer for those landlords who wish to distance themselves from the day-to-day dealings with, and management of the tenants.

Property managers have the experience and expertise to help the customer optimize their investment.

Property management companies charge landlords a percentage of the gross rent collected each month. Contracts vary from company to company, but can be negotiated to provide both the tenant and landlord the best fit.

Please let us know if you have any other questions, or would like more information about how Kuester may be able to assist you.

Kuester Property Manager

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How an HOA Increases Home Values

Dear Property Manager:

I have always steered clear of neighborhoods that had homeowner's associations. I wanted to maintain my yard when and how I wanted and if I liked purple shutters, I felt it was my right to have purple shutters! But today my lovely wife said something that finally made me stop and think... she said "Did you know that HOAs increase a home's value?"

Now this is talking my language... and I finally am open to the idea of an HOA neighborhood. Could you tell me if my wife is correct in her statement? I guess in a lot of ways it makes sense and I feel a little silly for dragging my feet all these years! (But don't tell her I am willing to admit that!)

Morgan J.
Charlotte, NC

Dear Morgan.

According to the Community Associations Institute (CAI.org), 57 million Americans live in HOA communities. And, 78% of them believe that their HOA "protect and enhance" their property value. (Only 1 in 100 believed their association hurt property value, so the other 21 are either apathetic or undecided!)

Here are three key ways Homeowners Associations (HOAs) do increase property value:

1. Neighborhood Appearance: It is important to many that all homes and homeowners in a neighborhood follow a certain set of rules regarding how the houses look. Grass cut regularly, fences only in the back yards...no strange paint colors, etc.. Have you ever seen a neighborhood where cars are parked on the lawn all the time, and the garage is falling over--an HOA protects against this.

2. Neighborhood Uniformity: Most homes in a subdivision with an HOA look similar.This creates a uniform look for the development. Uniformity--and personalized variations on continuity make the homes more attractive to potential buyers.

3. Protect Resale Value: Because homeowner's associations force homeowners to maintain their property - such as repair broken fences, keep up lawns, etc., when it's time to sell, the house will likely be in better shape and need less repairs.

The reason HOAs exist is to protect the property value for all residents--that is their purpose--not to be a nuisance or "big brother". There may be some inconveniences along the way, but ultimately they are a benefit to all residents living in a neighborhood.

Property Manager

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Benefits of an Active Property Management Company

An active property management company is vital to the success of your investment rental property. Here are just a few benefits to choosing a property management firm that will stay involved throughout the term of your contract:

-->A satisfied and stable tenant base--because they know that concerns will be taken care of by a consistant and available contact

-->An increased demand for rental space--because of the attention tenents recieve, the condition of the property and the other happy tenants

-->Lower maintenance and repair costs--because of the preventative maintenance that the property management company provides.

-->Increased property values--A better maintained property will garnish a higher rental price..

-->Better safety for tenants, managers and the neighborhood--An active and/or onsite property manager will deter crime and vandalism.

-->Happy neighbors--Surrounding property owner and managers will appreciate your clean, maintained, filled units and your satisfied tenants.

--> The time to spend on what you do best - and the peace of mind in not worrying about collecting rent, maintenance and keeping your tenants happy.

Property Manager

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Property Management: What Services to Expect

A property management company will offer services that can vary depending on the company, the type of property and your specific needs. When deciding which company with which to work, ask the property management company what services it will provide you. Once you make your decision, you should confirm that you have the an agreement on the terms in the lease. The lease agreement should be comprehensive and outline the services and what the services will cost.

Here are some of the services commercial property management firms will typically provide:

Finances & Bookkeeping. Financial record keeping and reporting are integral services provided by your property management firm.

Strategy. A commercial management company can develop a marketing strategy and analyze the current business conditions in your area, and for your property.

Budgeting & Forecasting. The property management firm develops and monitors the property's budget, including the maintenance, marketing, personnel to operations.

Maintenance. Commercial property management companies provide monthly maintenance, and preventative maintenance programs.

Marketing Programs. Firms can develop and implement marketing programs including such marketing materials as brochures, advertisements, events, property newsletters, and signs.

Market Rent Analysis. Management firms will provide an analysis of market rents and those of the competition, changes in area demographics, and anticipated absorption levels.

Rent Collection. The property management company will handle the collection of rent.

Lease Negotiation. The commercial property management company will negotiate tenant leases and renewals.

Tenant Liaison. The professional property management firm acts as a liaison to the tenants, responding to tenants' needs and addressing concerns immediately.

Upgrade and Build-Outs. Commercial property managers handle and supervise all contracted work (such as tenant build-outs).

Compliance. Commercial management companies maintain documented procedures to ensure compliance with all federal, state, county, and local governmental regulations, ordinances, and fire, health, and safety codes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boone Point: Space Available in Boone, NC

Kuester is building our further presence in the Boone, NC area with the new Boone Point development.

Boone is located in the NW corner of NC, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.

As the newest Western North Carolina landmark in our already beautiful town, BOONE POINT will be the Gateway for travelers from the East. Mixing 10 beautiful luxury condos with almost 20,000 square feet of retail, medical and professional services, this new development is appealing to our growing residential and commercial populations.

This new project is less than a mile away from the campus for Appalachian State University and between the Convocation Center, Kidd Brewer Stadium (also known as "The Rock") t he Home of the 3 Time Reigning National Champion Mountaineers and Downtown Boone - at Boone Point you have easy access to all of the great things Boone NC offers.

This property has available space for a limited time! Request Information

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Property Manager: Marketing Your Property

Dear Property Manager:

What should a property management company do in order to market my property? Should I trust them to determin the price and how the marketing budget is spent, or should I be involved in this decision?

Kyle W. Charlotte, NC

Dear Kyle:

The property management company should be familiar with the local market and be able to price the units correctly so that it rents relatively quickly and at the right price. You should be able to trust the property management company to do this correctly. It is important to advertise well, and price well. It is never a good idea to price too high, as this generally only leads to vacancies--although pricing too low will deprive you of income that you could have had.

You should always ask a prospective property management company how much leasing experience they have, what they have done in your area, and how long their average property, similar to yours, is on the market. They should be able to explain how to they come to their pricing strategies and how they intend to market your property--as well as what additional costs will be involved.

Bottom line, if you are not comfortable with the property management company you are working with, you should look for ways to make the relationship better - perhaps a strategy meeting or brainstorming session, or find a way to end your contractual agreement.

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management