Friday, January 30, 2009

Community Association Institute

Make sure your management company is involved in Community Association Institute (CAI). CAI teaches the "Best Practices" of the industry and offers classes to managers and homeowners. Managers can gain credentials such as CMCA, AMS and PCAM. At a minimum, managers should hold a CMCA designation or take the M100 course.

Most states have a chapter of CAI, including North and South Carolina. Kuester Management Group is an active member of both States. Bryan Kuester is the 2009 President of the North Carolina Chapter. It is required that each manager at Kuester Management hold at least a CMCA designation with two years experience in the industry. Unfortunately, most companies post the CAI Member logo on their home page yet fail to participate in CAI functions or educational opportunities. However, you can go to the CAI National website to look up management companies and how many managers have designations such as CMCA, AMS or PCAM.

Both North and South Carolina chapters of CAI are currently working to present a "Manager Licensing Bill" to the legistation. Managers will be required to pass the M100 course for a CMCA designation. This Bill will hold management companies and their managers more responsible for their actions. Kuester Management Group supports "Manager Licensing" in both North and South Carolina.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rationale for Pro HOA Management


I was elected President of our Homeowner’s Association two years ago. I’ve enjoyed the role and learned a lot, but I find that the day-to-day management is very time-intensive. I’ve just accepted a new job and will no longer be able to be as active, but I find no one else wants to take over the responsibilities I’ve handled. I have decided to recommend that we hire a professional company to handle the management of our association.

Could you please outline how the advantages of using an association management firm can be balanced against the fees?

Thank you!

Reginald M. – Raleigh, N.C.

Dear Reginald –

You are smart to think of turning the management of your Homeowner’s Association over to a company that specializes in the field. Certainly it will save you time, but more importantly, there are many areas in which a company specializing in this service can save your group money and safeguard the investments of your members.

It is important to share with your members that they are always in control and are the ones to decide what the management firm handles and how it is done. The role of the HOA Management firm is to serve, not to rule.

When you look for a company that handles professional Association Management, be sure that the organization:

--> Has the ability to help identify, assess and prioritize maintenance needs and get quotes from contractors that provide the best service at cost-effective pricing
--> Will act as conciliators and mediators when differences arise among members
--> Stays on top of the laws and regulations that may positively or negatively impact your association
-->Facilitates communication within the group
-->Oversees construction, renovation and improvement projects for the association
--> Provides financial services and asset management for the Association
-->Is large enough to have a support network available at the association’s disposal for any need that may arise

We at Kuester provide all of these services and more, including 24/7 access to your association’s online account information. We would be happy to make an appointment to discuss your Homeowner Association’s needs and tailor our services to meet them.

For more on this topic, see “How to Choose a Property Manager.”

Best regards,
Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Monday, January 26, 2009

Office Rental Hidden Costs

Dear Kuester –

I am thinking of renting an office space and would like your advice on what issues to be aware of beyond price per square foot and additional hidden fees.

Kenny T.

Dear Kenny –

You are wise to be cautious when renting an office. Be sure that, in your calculations, you have figured in the “hidden costs” you mention such as service charges, heating, air conditioning, lighting, furniture, insurance, and so forth. Once you’ve add in all incremental charges, does it still fit comfortably into your budget?

Another issue to consider is whether the space will serve you over the long term. It may look perfect now, but is it able to accommodate your plans for growth? If you add employees a year or two from now, will it still meet your needs or will a move be required?

Do the premises match your business’ “brand?” Is the building and its occupants consistent with the image you’d like your business to portray? Check what type of neighbors you’ll have and whether their businesses may interfere with “quiet enjoyment” of your space.

Talk to neighboring tenants. Is the building well-maintained? How is it managed, and by whom? Do the managing agents or owners respond quickly if there’s a problem? Are there ongoing issues that haven’t been addressed? What sort of regulations (such as hours of service for a freight elevator) might pose a problem for your business?

Balance location convenience against cost. Many business owners select offices that are remotely located to cut on costs, but discover it’s a false savings. It may be harder to get and keep employees and clients. It can add additional transportation costs for banking, mailing and picking up supplies. Are the amenities nearby adequate to serve your business’ needs (restaurants to which you can take clients, hotels in which they can stay).

Depending on your business, there are many considerations to take into account when renting or leasing office space.

We have been involved in renting, leasing and selling real estate for over 30 years and we’d be happy to offer our expertise to make sure your rental office meets your current and future needs. Please give us a call at 803.802.0004 for an appointment.

Best regards,
Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rental Property for Toy Store

Dear Property Manager –

I am launching a specialty toy store and am looking for a rental property in the northeast of York County, S.C.. I’ve done my business plan and know approximately how much I can pay per square foot. The only thing I need to decide now is where, and what type of location. Any advice?

Marge W., Charlotte, NC.

Dear Marge –

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but running a retail operation is all about location, location, location, unless you’re a destination business. As you know, you are fighting the competition of both big box and online toy retailers. That being said, specialty toy shops hold special magic for both parents and children that can lead to dynamic business.

A toy store is a destination during the holidays, but the rest of the year, it must be in a high traffic area, so you’ll want to consider either a busy downtown location with heavy foot traffic, a mall or a shopping plaza. The building also needs adequate restroom facilities, easy access for truck deliveries, ample parking and no obstacles for strollers. For each location you consider, investigate what other nearby businesses draw the type of clientele you’re targeting. Is there a family-friendly restaurant? A children’s clothing or shoe store? A pet store? A candy or book store? A pediatrician or dentist? These types of businesses offer a synergy that would be mutually beneficial

We manage a number of retail sites that provide the amenities you are seeking. One that comes to mind immediately is the Shoppes at Towne Square, located at in the heart of Fort Mill at 200 Doby's Bridge Road. This property has up to 2000 square ft. available for rent, great visibility from three sides, and is located in a high-end residential neighborhood where several of the retailers would fit the “synergy” criteria.

We’d be happy to meet with you to review your specifications and show you this and other properties that meet your needs. Please give us a call at (803) 802-2004.

With best regards,
Property Manager

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kuester: One Sixty West

Dear Property Manager,

I live in Fort Mill, SC and have seen the signs for One Sixty West. Can you tell me a little about this project, what is it for? and when it will be done? I like to see the Fort Mill area growing, but since the economy has slowed down, I am wondering what kind of building this is going to be, and if there is a business that will be moving in right away.

Thank you for your answer,

James, Fort Mill, SC

Dear James,

Thank you for the questions.

We believe, as you do, that commercial progress is a positive for our community, but only when the buildings and construction are necessary. We carefully debate each project, making sure that it adds to the community, and represents our values before we begin.

Read more about the Kuester Values.

The One Sixty West Building is an 18,000 square foot, two story building, on Rt 160 in Fort Mill, and it will be ready for tenants in March 2009. This building will house the Kuester companies in about 6,000 square feet. Then about 9,000 square feet on the first floor will be leased as office space. We are proud to announce that as of today, the building has been completely leased out.

Thanks again for your question, and please let me know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Looking for a Property Manager in Charlotte

Dear Property Manager,

We are opening up a new office in the Charlotte area and have decided to buy the building and lease out the extra space until (and if) we need it as we grow.

We are a legal services firm with other office in Seattle, WA and Madison, WI and we are excited to be expanding into the Charlotte market.

As our headquarters are in the Seattle office, we will need to contract with a company to assist us in renting out the office space, as well as handling the building maintenance and collecting payments from our tenants, and the other financial details.

Is your company set up to handle both commercial leasing and management?

Nathan W.

Dear Nathan,

Congratulations on you expansion to the Charlotte area. Charlotte has much to offer and I believe you will find this to be a welcoming and growing business climate.

The Kuester Companies offer a full suite of real estate services, including commercial leasing & brokerage and property management. Both of these services are available through the Kuester Real Estate Services Group.

We would be happy to assist you in renting out your available space as well as in managing your property after it is leased. Please contact us at 803.802.0004, and we can get started in setting up your tenant space and finding the right occupants, as well as establishing a management agreement so when your Charlotte-based team has their first day, they can focus on getting their jobs done--and not on the details of property management.

Thank you for contacting Kuester.

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Managing an HOA Better

Dear Property Manager,

I was recently elected president of my HOA and I am finding that it is a ton of work. I have lived in this neighborhood for 6 years, and been involved in committees and such, but this is my first "leadership" role.

The neighborhood is struggling with things like pool maintenance and rule enforcement and just general communication. And I am struggling with being "the bad guy" and trying to get stuff done. It seems that no matter what decision is made, someone is upset at me...

I really enjoy living here, and I am dedicated to making it a better community, but I need some guidance. Can you help?

Bill M.

Dear Bill,

Being president of an HOA is a big job, even in established neighborhoods with a long history of great ladership and positive participation from the residents. Unfortunately, issues do arise, neighbors do have disagreements, and covenants do need to be enforced.

We offer 2 services that may be of assistance to you. The first is our HOA property management service which many local HOA's have chosen. This removes the residents from the conflict resolution and enforcement aspects of the neighborhood. We find that these are the least-enjoyed responsibilities for the HOA, and it sometimes creates enormous conflict.

Financial services, CC&R development, common area maintenance, etc. can also put a strain on the HOA, and are offered through our Management Group. I recommend you give us a call at 803.802.0004 to see if we can fill the roles that you find difficult, or that we could offer personalized advice on.

We also have a newsletter you can sign up to receive which will give you tips, legal information and resources for better management of your HOA. You can sign up through out Kuester website HOA Newsletter page.

Congratulations on your new role and your willingness to serve you community. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management
Charlotte, NC

Monday, January 5, 2009

How to request Maintenance from Kuester

Dear Property Manager,

I am a new resident of a Kuester property in the Charlotte area, and I am trying to figure out how to contact, Kuester, (or whom) if I have a maintenance request.

Thank you for your assistance!

Vincent K. Charlotte

Dear Vincent,

Maintenance requests for our many neighborhoods are generally done through the specific neighborhood website. We have set up access for you through the website on the Resident Access page.

If you do not see your neighborhood, or if you are in a rental property, you can contact is through our Maintenance Request page.

At Kuester, we are committed to making your maintenance experience a positive one and we appreciate your feedback on the ease of making a request, as well as the service you receive. Please contact us with any comments at 803.802.0004.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Thursday, January 1, 2009

NEWS RELEASE: Kuester Now Offers Home Maintenance Services

January 1, 2009: Charlotte, NC

Kuester is proud to announce our new service:
Professional Home Maintenance.

Our skilled team of home service professionals now provides a unique in-home maintenance program offering a comprehensive preventive maintenance, and general services program to preserve and improve the value, life, and beauty of your home. Kuester has a long history of success in commercial and residential real estate services. Our success is due to our dedication to quality and service. We have taken this devotion and expanded our offering to provide you with not only the best service, but a trusted partner who will maintain and service your home.
Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality home maintenance services. We want you to have the comfort and peace of mind in knowing that your home is being well cared for by professionals dedicated to making your property the best it can be.

Recommended Service Schedule:
HVAC: Quarterly Inspections
Gutter Cleaning: Seasonal Inspections
Roof: Annual Inspections
Electrical: Quarterly Inspections

Kuester Maintenance Services is here to provide you with a great resource for many projects that you either don’t want to do, or may not have the time to get done yourself. We also know importance of preventative maintenance, and will work with you to set up a schedule so that these critical home maintenance items are never forgotten.

Kuester Maintenance Services:
(*Prices subject to change, please call us at 803.802.0004 for up-to-date prices or to schedule your quote)

· HVAC: $75/hr
· Gutter Cleaning: $50/hr
· Roofing: $105/hr
· Electrical: $79/hr
· General Home Maintenance: $45/hr
· Plumbing: (priced per job)
· Painting/Drywall: $45/hr
· Light Carpentry: $60/hr
· Appliances: (priced per job)
· Pressure Washing: $50/hr
· Locksmith: $62/hr
· 24 Hour On Call Emergency Maintenance Service

If you are interested in any of the listed general or preventative services, please contact Kuester Maintenance Services at 803.802.0004. We look forward to working with you soon.