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 (, 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 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