Thursday, April 30, 2009

Virginia Graeme Baker Act Governing Public Pools


As pools across the United States open for the summer, we want to put out a reminder to all North and South Carolina Homeowners Associations that all public pools and hot tubs are now required to install anti-entrapment drain covers meeting the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 standard. If there is only a single main drain, a second anti-entrapment system must also be installed.

While the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was actually established in 2007 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it went into effect on December 19, 2008.

The act was named after a 7 year-old girl named Virginia Graeme Baker, who accidentally drowned in a hot tub, due to the suction from a drain that pulled the child under and trapped her there.

Although enforcement of this law is left up to each state and may not have active enforcement until 2010, we are advising all North and South Carolina Homeowners Associations to replace their current drain covers with anti-entrapment drain covers, since very few drain covers installed before 2009 meet the standards.

For more on this Act, visit the US Consumer and Product Safety Commission on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

This way, everyone can be sure of a SAFE and happy summer!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Kuester Homeowner Association Web Portal

About Kuester's Web Portal Services

We have found that our web portal is a service many of our clients love! If you become a Kuester client where we manage and operate your North or South Carolina Homeowners Association, you will have access to your own unique community website. Each of your homeowners will be able to check their account balance 24/7, they’ll receive the latest community updates and announcements, and they can download documentation about your community. They’ll also have the ability to pay their assessments online through the same secure web portal.

Many of our clients have shared with us that this ability to access the information on their community gives them a sense of security and added sense of reassurance that their Association is in good hands (which, of course, it is!)

We would be happy to meet with you to discuss in more detail our portfolio of services to assess how we might be your company of choice for property management in Charlotte and throughout the rest of the Carolinas.

With best regards,

Charlotte Property Manager

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Investing in Commercial Real Estate

With the current economic crisis, some may see invesment opportunity in the commercial real estate.  As a caveat, because the economy is down, it is important to be sure you have the wherewithal to hang in until the market corrects.

If you decide to pursue this avenue, we have a commercial property management team that works closely with our Charlotte property management office and would be happy to assist you in your search to find real estate financing.

Many people turn to a bank first and when they’re unable to get financing there, they give up. In fact, there are a number of options available to help find financing for commercial property and, assuming your business plan is sound, you may have multiple viable choices. Some of the options available to finance commercial property include:

· Loans for purchasing commercial real estate.
· Long-term permanent fixed rate financing.
· Business acquisition loans.
· Conventional loans.
· Government guaranteed loans.
· Up to 80% LTV, 30 year amortization, based on US Treasury plus spread.

In most cases, there is at least one, and often multiple, solutions to fit each investor’s specific set of circumstances.

Please let us know if we may be of assistance - Check out the Kuester website for contact information for your area.

- Charlotte property Manager

Monday, April 20, 2009

NEWS: Update on Kuester Move

Update on Kuester Move

You’ve probably heard the news that Kuester's Charlotte NC property management office is moving! We’re very excited that our company has grown so that we’ll be relocating our corporate headquarters to a brand new office building that we’re constructing on Highway 160, near the location of our old headquarters.

Although work is progressing and the office space will be stunning, there have been some delays, and our new offices will not be completed until the end of 2009.

But no need to worry! We’ll continue maintaining our consistently high level of property management and HOA management for our clients from an interim space until the new offices are completed.

Beginning April 27, our interim offices will be located at 1300 Altura Road on the second floor of the InterNET building.

The one important change that you need to be aware of is that all appointments must now be scheduled in advance, since we’ll be in a secured access building, requiring that all visitors sign in and be announced before being escorted to our offices.

Our new mailing address will be changing from 108 Stone Village Drive to:
Kuester Companies
PO Box 3340
Fort Mill SC 29708

All payments will continue to be sent to Community Association Banc as normal.
(Your Community Name)
C/o Kuester Companies
PO Box 64893
Phoenix, AZ 85082-4893

Thank you for your understanding.

Our space may be changing, but our commitment and service to you remains as constant as ever!


The Kuester Companies Team

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So You Want to Be a Property Manager

Dear Property Manager:

I am considering a second career in Property Management. I have been an account manager and assistant sales person for 10 years, but my degree is in business. I would like to transition out of my current position and take on a new challenge and I think that property management might be a good fit.

Can you tell me a little about property management as a career, and what your company looks for in property managers?

Best personal regards,

Carrie G - Charlotte, NC

Dear Carrie:

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a property manager, now is a good time to move in that direction. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a great field to be in!

The top attributes you’ll need are that you love people and have excellent communication skills. People who manage properties are in contact with all types of people from various walks of life, and you must be able to relate to all of them. Often, you’ll also be in a position where you must negotiate between parties or guide decisions, so it’s important to feel comfortable in a leadership role.

Other important attributes you’ll need are exceptional organizational, time management and customer relations skills. The day-to-day operations of multiple properties requires the juggling of many priorities and if you’re not organized and don’t manage time well, the job can feel overwhelming.

For example, here at Kuester, all of our property managers, in addition to being knowledgeable about building maintenance, have experience with budget preparation as it relates to the operating and capital expenditures, to operating expenses and to managing projects. Their financial experience typically includes financial reporting, costs, budgets, executing contracts, service contracts and arrears.

We look for employees who are self-motivated, know how to control maintenance costs and follow the direction of our clients. Naturally, we always seek to ensure the highest level of accuracy, confidentiality and professionalism.

Does this sound like you? If so, then property management may be the field for you! Best of luck!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

HOA & Property Management in the Carolinas

Kuester offers a portfolio of comprehensive services from which you can choose. We recognize that one shoe does not fit all associations, so your organization selects the services that would most benefit your association. All of our managers are professionals with a minimum CMCA certification. We also offer 24-hour emergency on-call service, a professional team of experts supporting your Association Manager, web portal services and so much more!

Here is a snapshot of some the specific HOA services you can select:

Administrative – We’ll organize meetings for and assist the Board of Directors, help to develop policies and procedures, keep all records of the affairs for the Association, maintain registers of the owners, Officers and Directors, etc.

Financial Services – We’ll maintain bank accounts, send notifications to owners of delinquencies and handle subsequent collection actions as necessary, furnish monthly and year-end reports, etc.

Physical Property Services – We’ll negotiate contracts for service, coordinate property maintenance, etc.

Architectural Review Services – We’ll do regular inspections of the property and maintain records on deed restriction violations, and we’ll establish, coordinate and provide the administrative and secretarial functions of the Architectural Review Committee, etc.

We also offer a host of additional support services that many of our clients find invaluable. We would be happy to meet with you and your board to assess what services would be most beneficial, and tailor a plan to meet your association’s need. Please call us at 704.973.9016.
Check out our website for more informationa and contact info for your area.

We are your choice for the following:



**We also offer North and South Carolina HOA Management

Friday, April 10, 2009

Homeowners Association (HOA) Management

Dear Property Manager:

I have been involved in my homeowner's association in Charlotte for the last 5 years and I have enjoyed working with Kuester (our HOA management company) on many of the issues that have arisen over that time.

I have been impressed with how the Kuester team has interfaced with the residents, and gotten things done along the way--so much so that I am interested in learning more about HOA management and perhaps making this my next career move. 

Can you recommend any books or resources that may be a good place to start as I look at HOA management? Any ideas you have would be very beneficial.

Heidi K - Charlotte

Dear Heidi:

If you’re involved in any facet of Homeowner AssociationManagement, a great resource for you to know about is theCommunity Associations Institute Bookstore . Community Associations Press publishes the largest collection of books and guides on community associations available covering a wide range of topics not found in traditional bookstores.

Some of their top sellers include:

· Community Association Leadership: A Guide for Volunteers

· Reserve Funds: How & Why Community Associations Invest Assets,

· Be Reasonable! How Community Associations Can Enforce Rules Without Antagonizing Residents, Going to Court or Starting World War III

· The A-B-C's of Parliamentary Procedure.

· Conducting Meetings: A Guide to Running Productive Community Association Board Meetings

Topics covered in their selections are Disaster Management, Environmental Issues, Finance, Legal Resources, Maintenance, Professional Development, Research & Statistics, Resources for Board Members, and many more subjects critical to managing Homeowner Associations. 

Those planning to take the CMCA exam can also order a study kit with the six books of essential readings suggested to pass the exam.

Most items on the website are available for purchase to both Community Associations Institute Members and Non-members, but if you choose to become a CAI member, you’ll be eligible for significant Member discounts on books as well as all of the benefits and resources available to CAI Members.

Best of luck and enjoy the reading,

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Importance of Property Maintenance

Recently, we have been seeing an increase in the number of property owners looking to sell or rent their properties. In a down economy, as more companies go out of business, more commercial space becomes available. Although in this type of market there is often an increase in the number of entrepreneurial businesses, they are often smaller in scale and have no need for the larger spaces that have been vacated. Although the Charlotte, NC market has not been hit as hard as many, there is no question that the commercial real estate market here has been impacted.

As we talk to those seeking renters or buyers for their commercial property, it always amazes us to see that the maintenance of many of these properties has been severely neglected, often over the long term. Sometimes, the neglect stems from financial difficulties, sometimes from a philosophy of frugality, but just as often, it stems from ignorance about how to maintain a property so that it will retain its value and attract prospective buyers or renters.

With so many choices on the market now here, regular professional property maintenance in Charlotte is one of the key ingredients in having a competitive property. If prospects see one building that has been well-maintained and one that has been neglected – which is easily noticed on a tour of the property – even if the pricing on the first is a little higher, guess which will win the prospect’s business.

Another reason to focus on property maintenance is, if a prospect visits a neglected property, the assumption is that the condition of disrepair will continue or even worsen. This can be a red flag.

Regular property maintenance also lowers costs in the long term. In most cases, its more expensive to fix something that is broken than to maintain it in working condition.

At Kuester, we offer professional property maintenance services by skilled experts. Because we handle this across many properties, the property owner benefits not only from our expertise and knowledgeable contractors, but also from economies of scale.

If you would like to have a professional on your team to assist you with property maintenance, call Kuester -  the Carolina property management experts - today for an estimate at 704.973.9016.