Monday, December 20, 2010

What is a Property Manager?

We have talked a lot about the duties and responsibilities of a property managers, and what you can expect from a property manager as the property owner. Fact is, that what you can expect from a property manager varies on the manager and the company for whom they work. At Kuester we have high standards and hope that we meet and exceed the expectation of our customer. That said, there are a few things that should be universal, regardless of which property manager you have contracted.

A property manager is the legal representative of the landlord or property owner and is responsible for the day to day operations of a property, which varies depending on the type pf property. All different types of properties can benefit from a property manager, since they can manage the tenants residing there or the businesses doing business on the property.

Property managers are in charge of single unit rental homes, multi-unit and apartment units, and commercial office and retail developments, and is responsible for maintaining the property grounds and the building itself, including the repairs of the common areas and sometimes the tenant space as well.

In addition to the day-to-day upkeep and emergency situations or a particular property, the property manager can also handle the business and financial end of their rental business. Project managers find prospective tenants, collect rent, and take rental applications, and will manage vendors and contractors and through short and long-term projects.

The property manager is the liason between the ownership of the property and those using it - and will run the property and the investment thereof efficient and effectively.

Kuester Property Management manages a variety of properties including multi-unit residential and commercial properties in North and South Carolina. If you would like to learn more, go to

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to Find A Good Investment Property

There are a lot of properties out there right now, and if you have the opportunity to purchase a great investment, now is a wonderful time to buy.

However, if you really want to get the best deal on investment properties, you have to increase your odds of finding the best one--one that will be a money maker! Do you really want that GREAT investment property? Then you are going to have to be vigilant—check your resources and keep your eyes and ears open! Looking through the MLS listings is not enough any more. Here are ten ways you can increase your chances of getting the best deals:

1. Tell people what you are looking for. Let the right people know what you are looking for and let them help you find the properties. There are a lot of owners out there who want to sell, but haven't yet listed their property -- and they may mention it to friends or families. You could catch one of these great deals ahead of time!

2. Go online. Go to a search engine and enter the type of real estate you are looking for, in the appropriate city. Sometimes you can get a good opportunity here -- and other times not, but this is a great place for a first step.

3. FSBO sometimes pays off. Drive around looking for "For Sale By Owner" signs. Owners often don't want to pay to keep the ad in the paper every week, so you won't see all properties there. A FSBO sign might mean a great price for you, and a seller who will be eager to sell.

4. Look for abandoned properties. An abandoned property means that the owner doesn't want to deal with the property, or can't for whatever reason, and may sell cheap.

5. Look at "For Rent" ads. Save newspapers or look at old craigslist ads that are a few weeks old. If the rental unit was not rented, the landlord might be ready to sell.

6. Bankers are great friends! Bankers are in the know and you might get a lead on a foreclosed-on investment property, and get it cheaper if you buy it before it's listed with a real estate agent.

7. Pay for leads. There are people that always seem to hear about the good deals - so offer them a finding fee!

8. Take advantage of eviction notices. Many local papers publish eviction notices,and sometime this information isinformation at the courthouse. A landlord who just went through evicting tenants may be ready to sell.

9. Advertise. Place your own "Looking for investment properties to buy," ad on Craigslist, or on a sign, or the newspaper.

10. Call Kuester! (888.600.5044). We will work with you to find the perfect property for you!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Investment Property Lingo

If you are considering an investment in property, you will need to know the know the lingo!
Familiarize yourself with the industry terms such as:

Gross Income - Total income before taking out taxes and expenses

Vacancy Rate - Percentage of rental units unoccupied

Effective Gross Income (EGI)
- potential Gross Income less a vacancy and collection allowance, plus miscellaneous income.

Operating Expenses - Ongoing cost for running a business.

Net Operating Income (NOI) - Operating income after operating expenses are deducted, but before income taxesand interest are deducted.

Debt Service - The ratio of cash available for debt servicing to interest, principal and lease payments.

Cash Flow - The movement of cash into or out of your business.

Cash-on-Cash Return - The ratio of annual before-tax cash flow to the total amount of cash invested, expressed as a percentage.

Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate) - The ratio between the net operating income produced by an asset and its capital cost or Marketing Value.

With the understanding of investment vocabulary you will be able to make better decisions and turn your dream of investing in commercial property, a reality. Take the time to do the research and consult with the experts before making any major financial investment!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What Do You Need to Know When Investing in Commercial Property?

The commercial investment property sector in the Carolinas is looking strong in the coming year and we predict it will make a near-to-full recovery throughout the year. Expect positive growth in rent and capital values, which will support your investment, and allow you to recoup some costs from the last few dismal years.

This is great news for many commercial property investors and owners like yourself. For those looking at making a start in commercial property, or who are interested in buying an additional investment property, there are some things you need to remember about making an investment in this economy. The industry is vulnerable to a number of fluctuations and does not always follow the trends of the rest of the market--so it is important to understand how!

Design: Codes and Trends-
Commercial office space and industrial property responds more strongly to changes in building design trends. Compliance and standards can also add to the costs of maintenance of commercial property which can affect your profit margin. Make an effort to keep

Location, Location, Location- if the prime industrial district shifts, or the other commercial properties around yours close, this could drastically change the capital value of your prospect and your potential rental return of your investment.

Buy With the Intent to Sell- commercial property can be harder to sell in tough markets than other investments. In a tight market, where it is a buyer's market, remember that whatever you buy, will at some point need to be sold. So a good deal needs to be a money-maker - each and every time.

Risk- As with any investment, there is risk involved in commercial real estate. Investing means you are taking on all of the risk associated with the ownership of the property, and will be responsible for any maintenance costs and upgrades that need to be made. You need to be willing and able to accept the risks -- take full responsibility and ownership and

The most important thing to remember, is that if you are interested in making a sound commercial property investment. Make smart choices and have a diverse portfolio! Real estate helps to offset shorter term investments and a good balance of residential and commercial are the often the most practical.

If you would like more information on commercial property investment in the Carolinas, give Kuester a call at 888.600.5044.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Holidays from Kuester Property Management

Every week or so we post something on this blog, give you tips on commercial property management, investing, and HOAs. Hopefully, you find the information useful!

In our real lives we are property managers at Kuester in Charlotte. We have locations across the Carolinas, in Boone, Myrtle Beach, Concord, Wilmington, and Fort Mill. We help people find residential and commercial properties to buy, sell, or lease and manage home owners associations. This is a very rewarding job and our company has grown to the point where we now have large team of specialized and very highly trained professionals covering all aspects of property management.

We are quite lucky to be able to say that we are currently celebrating a very successful year. We moved into a new building, we redesigned our website and we have a lot of great relationships with our customers and vendors.

At this time of year, we would like to thank YOU... thank you for reading our blog, thank you for your interest in property management. Thank you for being our partners and our customers. It is because of you that we are able to provide you the high quality of property services that have been our business mission and our family's dream for over 30 years.

Kuester Property Management is here for you. Thank you for being a part of our growth and success and we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Decorations and Home Owner's Associations

'Tis the season right? The season for braving the cold weather and putting up those holiday decorations!

It is great to see families take pride in their holiday lights, and neighbors in friendly competition to out-do each other. But it is important this time of year to follow a couple tips when decorating, for safety, and also for the sake of the community.

First, before you get those strands of light ready, review your HOA policies. Some neighborhoods have rules on how early you can decorate, as well as how long the lights can stay up. Generally, these rules are reasonable and are meant to discourage people from putting up lights on Labor day and leaving them up through Valentine's day. However, it is good to know what the date ranges are, so that you don't incur a notice or a fine.

Some neighborhoods also try to coordinate "like" decorating - for aesthetic reasons, or to compete with other neighborhoods in the area. So before you put up your multi-color twinkly lights and hugh blow-up snow-globe, make sure your neighbors haven't decided that this is the "cool-blue" year.

Lastly, remember safety! There are plenty of new products on the market that make putting up lights safer than in the old days of climbing on the roof with a bunch of nails! Take advantage of the special clips and the extension pole when possible, and always put up lights with a partner. It will do no good to be in a leg cast over the holidays, but if something does happen, you will want someone to be able to help. Also, use special out-door lights, and don't over-load your electrical outlets. House fires are all too common during the holidays, so be careful, be smart, and light up your house... like.... a Christmas tree!

Property Manager - Charlotte - Kuester Property Manager

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Home Owner's Associations

I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day, and started talking to the guy sitting in the seat next to me. He was a nice guy, worked for a local auto repair shop as the manager and through the course of the conversation, we realized that we lived in the same neighborhood.

He announced he was planning on leaving the neighborhood as soon as he could sell his home - told me he was so frustrated with the neighborhood association that it made him want to move into an area without an HOA.

Now, I did not tell him what I did - that I work for a property management company that handles HOAs.... (although ironically, not the one in our neighborhood). But I did ask him a few questions, because I was curious. Personally, I have never felt the HOA was particularly heavy-handed or unfair, and professionally I know that all HOAs are made up of the residents of a neighborhood, and all rules, policies, meetings and events that an HOA oversees can be changed with a vote--a vote of the neighbors!

So I asked him if he had ever been to an HOA meeting... NO. I asked him if he ever volunteered for a committee...NO. I asked him what specifically he did not like, and he told me it was the policy on what you could and could not build on the property. Specifically, he wanted to put a 2-story out-building/second garage on his back yard.

And I smiled. I live in his neighborhood and I would not want someone to build a second garage in their yard! Our properties average a quarter acre at best, and the amount of space that would take up would be huge. It would, in fact be an eye-sore, may even bring the property values around that house down.

We might all love extra space for our tools and our cars. We might all love to have a "guest bedroom" built. But in this particular case, it was not appropriate for the neighborhood and the covenants for our HOA were actually protecting us from everyone building over-sized sheds, or extra buildings on a small property.

This gentlemen and I won't agree, and he also won't join the architectural review committee either and volunteer his time to make a change he is interested in, or take the initiative to find out why his dream of a second garage is something that just doesn't fit into the neighborhood standards.

I am sure that he would not like it if his next-door neighbor painted their home barbie-pink and decided to put a moat in either!

HOAs are a good thing. But they are not for everyone. If you are a free spirit who likes to have full control over your property, and doesn't feel that you should be concerned with the "bigger picture" of how that affects the neighbors around you, there are plenty of homes and properties available. If you want the security and camaraderie, amenities and continuity that a neighborhood offers, than an HOA may be for you.

And remember... if you can and if you care, get involved! HOAs do not run on their own.

Kuester Property Manager
Charlotte, NC

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What does a Property Management Company Do?

Property Management companies have the responsibility of dealing with prospective and current tenants. If you have a rental property, you will need to market it, screen the new tenants, collect rent handle maintenance and repairs, respond to compliants and take care of evictions. A good property management company can do all of this and save you time, money and all of the frustration that comes along with managing tenant relations.

Hiring a property manager has many benefits, but it can also be expensive, and that is why so many people choose not to do it. However, in many cases, working with a property manager or property management company should be considered more of an investment than an expense!

If you don’t live near the property, management can be invaluable, if not necessary, for many issues that will arise. Also Property Managers often have the experience to find the "best" tenants, the resources to market your property in ways that you cannot, the ability to collect rent in an effective manner, and the local contacts with maintenance and repair contractors that can actually end up saving you money!

And if that doesn't sell you...remember that one wants to receive late night calls about stopped up plumbing, or manage the crisis situation of an unexpected ice storm!

Fee structures vary, however, generally, Property Managers receive 5%-10% of the collected monthly rent for the management of the property. There is also a charge of equal to 1/2 of the monthly rental amount for procurring a new lease as a "bonus", which is sometimes paid at the end of the year depending on the type of property and the property management company.

In the end, a Property Manager should save you time and plenty of work--if not money too!

Charlotte Property Manager

Kuester Property Management

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Congratulations Kuester Managers of Distinction

The 2010 North Carolina Chapter CAI Event recognizes Kuester Managers for there hard work and dedication to the industry.

Holly Biddle, CMCA, onsite manager for Moss Creek Village Homeowners Association and Townhomes receives "Rookie Manager of the Year". Holly has accomplished several major projects for Moss Creek, one of which was deeding over a mile of common areas to the Concord Greenway Project.

Nickki Couick, CMCA, AMS, receives a Gold Star for chairing the 2010 Fall Resource Guide Committee. Nickki was responsible for assembling the 2010 Fall Conference Resource Guide which consisted of presentations from speakers, listing of volunteers and sponsors of the event.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is It Still a Good Time to Invest? YES

If you are like many Americans, you have been watching the markets with concern, but if you are among the lucky few who have been riding this storm, who have been hanging on, and maybe have a little bit of investment capital left, now might be a great opportunity to jump into the investment real estate business.

Kuester has many available properties in the Carolinas for you to choose from. Now is a great time to buy - it is a strong buyers market with many commercial properties currently selling below their appraised value.

If you are a serious investor willing to do what it takes to find the right property, and work with the right people, please give Kuester Property Management a call at 888.600.5044

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why Join an HOA?

More and more home buyers in the Carolinas are choosing to live in HOA communities. Why? Well, first of all, more new homes are being built in neighborhoods -- and neighborhoods generally have a builder who sets up the HOA as the homes are being completed. It makes sense that houses and families in close proximity would need to have a set of rules to follow for the overall happiness and continuity.

..And that is generally the point. People who live in the close proximity of neighborhoods like to have a set of rules that they know that their neighbors are following. Not everyone would be keen on their neighbors building a shed in there front yard. Not everyone would appreciate the artistic flair of painting a home in giant polka-dots. HOAs set the ground rules and policies that the everyone has to follow.

HOAs provide the structure through the CC&Rs -- and when you are looking to buy a home, it is your responsibility to know what the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions are --and if they are something that you wish to live within.

For so many the answer has been "yes" because this kind of "rule of law" helps us all be good neighbors, and give us recourse when someone is not.

Charlotte Property Manager.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shopping for a New HOA Property Manager?

Are you shopping for a new HOA Property Management Company? Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a Property Management Company not to meet the needs of the board and residents it serves. Sometimes the neighborhood is just too big, sometimes it is because the company over-promised--but we get a lot of new business from established neighborhoods that are just plain unhappy with the company with which they had contracted.

One of the best things that you can do if you are in the market for a new HOA Management Company is to create a complete list of "needs and wants." The Board of Directors for the HOA may do this, or a subcommittee may be created, but it is important to know what it is you are looking for and be able to articulate this to the prospective companies that present their proposals.

A lot of HOAs are cost-sensitive. And if this is the case, you should consider what you "need" the management company to do vs. what you would like them to do. It would be better to have better quality service from a reputable, experienced company which did not do everything... than a company which did everything poorly!

When interviewing the Property Management Companies, ask them how they would have handled the situations for which brought you to the decision to look for a new company! This will give you an idea of the creativity and ability of the companies AND give you an idea of how reasonable your expectations are. Your requests may be easily met--or there may be a challenge for which you had not considered. Finding the right HOA Management company is really about a partnership, and they are just as responsible for telling you what is not possible as you are for asking for what is.

Like with much else, communication is the key. Ask for what you want, listen to what can be done, and set the expectations so that everyone is on board and your next HOA Management company can be the permanent management company.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What is a Property Manager?

A Property Manager is a person -- or a company, that handles many tasks for a property on a daily basis, but one of the main roles of a project manager is to act as a liaison between the landlord and the tenants. It is essentially the Project Manager's responsibility to handle anything the tenants may need, and everything the landlord needs!

This is a tall order and sometimes the needs of the landlord outweigh the needs of the tenant. For example, if the tenant chooses to add a new puppy to the family, and the rental property does not allow pets, it is the Property Manager's duty to find a resolution. This may mean that the tenant will have to move, perhaps pay a fee, etc. The Property Manager must enforce the rules--and the contract the tenant signed.

The Property Manager may have to put the tenants needs ahead of the needs of the landlord too! For example if the roof is damaged in a storm, the Property Manager would be responsible for getting the roof repaired to code, for making sure the tenants are safe their belongings are not damaged. This may mean that the landlords need (or wish) to stay on budget for the year wont be met. The Property Manager must provide the tenants a suitable residence per the signed contract.

The Property Manager responds on the landlord's behalf to maintenance issues, and provides a buffer for those landlords desiring to distance themselves from their tenants. It brings order a professionalism to the relationship!

The Property Manager may take on the role of rent collection, marketing the property, screening the tenants, and resolving any issues amongst tenants, and the landlord.

A Property Manager's job is complex and the responsibilities vary from day to day as different issues arise. However big or small the job, our clients all agree they would not want to take it on themselves! And that is why we are here. We have the expertise, experience, and resources to be able to provide our clients with the best in property management, be it for a residential unit, or in a commercial space.

If you have invested in property in Charlotte, Boone, Myrtle Beach, Concord, or Charleston and would like to learn more about Property Management - please give Kuester a contact us.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Multi-Unit Rental Property

Multi-unit residences in North and South Carolina are traditionally a good investment, because they are considered recession-proof. Everyone needs a home and multi-unit homes offer amenities at an affordable price.

If you are looking at potential investments, multi-units may be a good fit, but you should first consider if the units can provide you with an adequate potential cash flow--will the income from the properties cover your monthly costs, and the taxes, emergencies, and repairs.

You also need to think about the care and maintenance, marketing and management of the property and residences, and who will take care of these responsibilities.

Property Managers are a good option for owners of multi-unit properties. Not only can they take care of collecting the rent and handling minor disputes, they also are charged with keeping the buildings and property in good working order. A property manager will market the units and screen potential tenants.

Ultimately your ownership of a multi-unit property will be a good investment if you are able to manage the property properly.. and that is something that a professional property management company can assist you with and make your investment one with a positive cash flow.

Charlotte Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Green Ideas Your HOA Will Love

Your HOA may not like it if you put a compost pile in your front yard, or let your lawn go "au natural," but there are some things that you can do to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly that won't get you a fine from the HOA!

You can:

Buy Energy Star appliances - these are not the end-all and be-all of the environmental movement, but they are a good start.

Plant HOA approved trees and plants - Planting trees will help replace oxygen and remove CO2. The more you can plant, the better your gift back to the environment.

Use Low Volitile Organic Compound Paints (VOC) - VOC paints are non-toxic and will not pollute your indoor air.

Use LEED-Certified Building Materials - LEED Certifications come in different levels, but it all comes down to how environmentally responsible the materials are. If you are building a home, or addition, think about using a LEED certified builder and LEED certified materials.

Use Mult-Zone HVACs - Buy an HVAC system that is designed to distribute air to different parts of your home and pre-programmed times to keep the parts of the homes at different temperatures depending on usage. The initial cost will be more, but the savings can more than make up for it... and it is better for the environment!

Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs - The bulbs are becoming the norm, but you can still buy the old kind... When given the choice, take the greener compact or LED route.

Make sure that recycling bins are put in common areas with the garbage - By simply giving neighbors the option to recycle, most will!

Start a Green Committee - Join forces with your neighbors to help educate each other on green-options, innovative ways to be environmentally conscious and provide assistance to the HOA in making better decisions.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Before You Join an HOA Community

A Homeowner Association (HOA) is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. Generally these"common areas" consist of things like pools, clubhouses, landscaping, parks, streets and roads, but a HOA also governs the CC&Rs, the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions, or set of rules that are typically set up by the developer and updated/changed by the Board of Directors. The CC&Rs are what determines if it is ok for you to leave your garbage can out for more than a day or if you are allowed to leave a car up on blocks in your front yard, or if your neighbors will have recourse if you choose to paint your shutters purple when theirs (and the rest of the neighborhood's) are black.

The HOA will enforce these CC&Rs in the way that is approved by the Board of Directors, often with the assistance of a property management company. These polices are developed to protect the neighborhood, the value of the homes and the quality of life for the residents. However, these policies can be changed if the majority of the voting neighbors would like them to be. So before you buy a home in an HOA, here are some things to consider:

1) You should thoroughly read and examine the CC&Rs that govern the community and make sure you can live with and abide by them. If the regulations state that you cannot have goats on your property, and you are a goat owner... this may be a sticky point! But if you think that 24 hours is plenty of time to leave out your recycling bin and you feel that is a fine policy and want your neighbors to abide by the HOA may be perfect for you.

2) You are perfectly reasonable to ask for a copy of the financial statements of the HOA and have a person such as a lawyer or accountant examine them to make sure there is nothing irregular. Checking to see if the HOA runs its business in a responsible manner will help you determine if the neighborhood will have enough cash on hand to make upgrades and repairs to roads or other common areas such as the pool.

3) Find out what the monthly dues are and make sure you can afford them. Dues can be reasonable... or not depending on where you live, what the HOA does and your tolerance for the price-tag. But not paying them could put you in some serious hot water and potentially get you sued.

4) Find out if the HOA has a strategy for replacing of major items such as heating, cooling, roads, buildings and roofs and how the reserve requirements are funded. (i.e. has money been saved, or would the neighbors each be required to pay an additional amount should the basketball court need to be re-surfaced.)

5) Find out if there is any litigation pending against the HOA. This could be a red flag in a couple of different ways, and certainly something you should know before you sign your contract.

6) Ask about when the last time dues were raised, and how often this happens. For obvious reasons you want to know how much you may be expected to fork over!

An HOA community may be a great fit for you and your family and more an more Carolinians are making this choice. But be educated before entering into any contract, especially one concerning where you live and what you can do with your property.

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Going Green and Your HOA

Many people throughout the Carolinas are making an effort to incorporate "Green" ideas into their daily living. Yet, for those of us who live in neighborhoods with Home Owner's Associations, being "green" can sometimes cause problems!

Energy-saving ideas such as using clotheslines, solar panels, and replacing our grass lawns with rocks and drought resistant plants are generally frowned upon in most of the covenants used by local HOAs.

So what is an environmentally-conscientious homeowner to do? The short answer is to be familiar with all of the rules and regulations that your HOA has. Know that many of these rules are standard and handed down by the builder when the neighborhood was built. Many of these are very old ways of thinking and your Home Owner's Association has the power to change these with community support.

If there is a neighborhood policy that you think is worthy of change, you are probably not the only one. The Association is made up of your neighbors and could include YOU. So get involved, rally the other "green" folks and think about what you can do to be good homeowners and environmentalists.

Ultimately, HOAs exist to protect the rights and property values of the members of the neighborhood. If you can present an argument that is accepted by the majority of the voting neighbors, you can get a covenant changed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Benefits of Hiring a Property Management Organization

If a property owner chooses a property management company they can expect several key benefits. While it may initially seem costly, a well run property management company can actually provide peace-of-mind and increase profits for owners. Here are just a few of the benefits:

• Increased income. A property management company has experience in advertising and marketing and can reach potential tenants through their contact base. A property management company also has the advantage of understanding the local rental prices, and assuring you have the right price on your property.

• Time. If the property management company is handling the marketing, sales, administration and maintenance of a property, that means that the property owner has just one point of contact. That combined with the time that it would take an owner to deal with all the aspects of commercial property ownership if done alone, means that the owner gains free time to focus on other businesses, hobbies, and family.

• Lowered expenses. A property management organization is be able to perform preventative upkeep, which will reducing the immediate costs to the property owner, and they have a better understanding of local laws (helping shield the owner from costly legal cases), as well as having relationships with contractors and maintenance companies that may give a better rate and do a better job on property work!

Overall -- a property management company can essentially pay for itself - both in the tangibles and in-tangibles. If you would like to learn more about how Kuester can provide you with the best property management in the Carolinas, please check out our website at

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Multi-Family Rental Units

Before you consider purchasing a multi-family rental unit, it is important to consider the cash flow potential of the building. There are many complex models with which to make the calculation, but the best one is a straight forward look at the historical data on the building and comparing similar properties.

A great place to start is to pick up a free copy of a "Renter Guide" or other apartment search magazine. Check out the available rentals for comparable sized units (sq footage), and number of bedrooms within the same vicinity as yours. If there are apartments located within the same neighborhood as your units, find out how much they are renting for. Your prospective renters will be comparing prices, so you should know your competition. Consider options, updates and other features. What makes your unit better? What are some selling points that your units offer?

Once you have researched the comparables, you should request the Schedule E from the current owner. This document is the income or income loss statement for the unit and shows the rental income and expenses and the net income or loss generated for the year. Remember that a net loss is not necessarily a bad thing, as most owners will try to report a loss for tax purposes. You will need to look beyond the bottom line to examine the rents charged. What are the rental prices of the units (are they at or below market value?) What is being charged for utilities? (And what is the actual cost of utilities?) Are there units that spend a long time vacant? How long does a unit sit vacant on average? If a unit sits empty it could mean that it is not a good investment—or it could mean that the landlord did not market the unit properly. Ask the seller—there may be a good reason. You should also check to see what major expenses that the units had – such as electric work or a new roof. This could be the reason for a loss being shown, but are really positives for you. This says that the owner maintained the property, and those are things you won’t need to take care of in the first year of owning a new investment property.

Your next step is to do some simple math. You can expect that for every dollar you make in rent – you really make $0.95. This will roughly take into account the amount of vacancy time you might have. Take that amount and subtract your monthly expenses such as utilities, insurance, lawn care, etc. and your monthly mortgage payment. Then deduct 10% for incidentals for repairs. If the number ends up a positive… then multi unit investment property may be for you!

Finally you should ask the current owner what the length of each current tenants lease is. If the property is currently renting for under market value, you will need to know when you will have the opportunity to raise the rent to the market price.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Rental Property Manager

One of the biggest concerns for multi-unit residential landlords is not being able to keep an eye on what is going on at the property. It is difficult to keep track of one property, let alone several! So, if you are not able to monitor your property(ies) you may want to to consider hiring a property management company--to protect yourself, your tenants and your property.

A property manager can oversee all of the day to day issues involved in managing the property, but before you get started, here are a few questions to ask:

1. What is Their Experience? Is your potential property manager experienced in managing multi-unit rental properties? Have they worked in your area, with the types of tenants you hope to attract?

2. Are They Professional? Do the people at the property management company have professional appearances and do they handle themselves in a professional manner? If you hire a company--you want them to represent you!

3. How many other properties do they manage? If your property management company is large - you will want to know who specifically will manage your property, and what other properties they manage --if you have an individual, you will want to know what their work-load is as well.

4. What is their availability? You may need someone who is available 24/7 to handle issues that may arise at the property. Does your potential property manager have full availability, or work with a company that can take calls at 2 in the morning if necessary?

5. What are their memberships and certifications? There are several organizations that provide certification for property managers - membership means they have completed courses, and or meet certain standards.

6. Are they likable? Having a likable property manager goes a long way, especially since this person will be in change of finding tenants and dealing with complaints!

7. Is there a contract?Make sure you get everything in writing! All good property management companies will have a contract already written up. Review this with your attorney. If you are dealing with an individual, make sure to have each aspect of the relationship written down. You can not be too cautious when dealing with properties and your investments.

8. What will be outsourced? Make sure you have a clear understanding of what will be outsourced by the property management company. It would be unreasonable to think that the same company that paves the driveway will be re-stocking the toilet-paper in the common area bathroom, but this is something you need to be aware of.

9. How will they handle rent payments and disputes? Know ahead of time how the property manager will handle collecting rent, late payments and other disputes.

10. What are their references? Always check references before you sign the contract. Make sure they are references from like-properties if possible.

If you are interested in learning more about Carolina Property Management - check out our website at

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Advantages of Hiring a Property Manager

Have you ever wondered what the advantages are of hiring a professional property manager?

When a property manager is hired, the property owner or landlord can rest easy, knowing that they have a property management company working for them. The owner does not have to be concerned about marketing for and screening tenants, and they do not have to worry about daily maintenance issues. This frees up the owner to deal with their own business or hobbies and provides a buffer between them an their tenants.

Another advantage of working with a property management company is that the property manager takes on the responsibility of monitoring & maintaining occupancy levels and choosing the right tenants. Also, the property manager can handle the administrative functions of the property and make sure that the occupancy is high.

A good property manager will be a salesperson--able to persuade potential residents/tenants and buyers and have strong marketing skills to find the right people and/or businesses. A property manager will also make themselves available to handle building inspections, property insurance matters, maintenance requests, and showings.

A primary function of the property manager is to handle the finances and make sure residents pay and submit their rent payments on time. They are also involved with managing the finances and budget of that specific property. All insurance paperwork, taxes, billing, and scheduling of property bills can be the responsibility of a property management company, as can the ordering and maintaining supplies and equipment and collecting payments from the tenants.

Property managers can also supervise maintenance and cleaning crews, coordinate marketing and advertising efforts and know exactly the right time to bring in new tenants. In short, a property manager can take care of everything that you would need as a property owner, and do so effectively and efficiently.

Let us know if you are interested in learning more about property management or how Kuester would be able to help you market and manage your Carolina property.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Looking to Lease?

Are you looking to lease a commercial space for your business? There are several factors to condisider when trying to find the right place... that is, afterall, why they say: Location. Location. Location!

The first thing to do is to find the right part of town to locate your business. Is Uptown Charlotte your best bet, or is suburb Fort Mill, SC more your speed? Do you need a stand-alone office, or a high-traffic retail spot. Identifying who your clientele is, and where they are will help you choose the right types of locations.

Once you have narrowed it down to a genre of locales, you can start looking at specifics and what is available. Check out thet Kuester site for available properties in your area. Here are some other factors to consider:

1) Are there other businesses in the immediate area that would compete with you?
2) Are there businesses in the immediate area that complement your business? (i.e. a restaurant and an ice cream shop).
3) Is there enough parking for your customers/clients?
4) Does the area have foot traffic?
5) Is the location near a major roadway?
6) What is the rent price?
7) Is there area growing or established?
8) What kind of upfits will you need to have done?
9) When will the space be available
10) What are the contract terms?

If you are interested in learning more about the available properties that Kuester has to offer, just check out our website at

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What you should know - Investing in property

To many, being an investment property owner is the best way to financial freedom. Owning real estate can certainly create and build wealth. However, owning investment property is not something that comes without work. Finding the best property, negotiating the contract, and then finding tenants and managing the property are all obvious tasks, but the most important things... are Time and Money. Managing these are the hardest jobs in investment property!

Before you get started – there are a two things you should know:

Time is of the Essence:
Do you plan to own the property for a long time, or turn it around quickly? These are important questions when trying to figure out what upgrades and improvements should be done. Also, you can expect that if you do own the property for 5-10 years, or longer, that there will be a new roof that needs to be put on, or a furnace that needs to be replaced. Your investment will need continual investing to keep it in top condition—but if you are only planning on hanging on to it for a year or two, you won’t want to sink money into unneeded expenses that you won’t be able to recoup.

Time is also important as you time the purchase and sale of the property, and balancing that against your needs, situation and the property you are looking for. Timing your sale or purchase is tricky, and that is where having a commercial real estate company on your site can make or break the investment. You don’t want to pay too much when you buy, nor do you want to wait too long when you are ready to sell. Timing can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Money. Money. Money.
Having money on hand and a great credit situation is imperative for investment property owners. Besides having the cash to buy the property, having the monies available to make repairs and manage emergencies is important.

Work with you financial advisor to determine the property amount of cash vs. loans that you will need to get the right mix for your expenses as well as what you will need to make your payments and still have what you need “just in case.”

You also should make sure you can save enough for retirement and other long-term goals before making the investment. Property ownership is not a sure bet, so it is important to not put all your eggs in one basket!

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management
Charlotte, North Carolina

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finding a Good Property Management Company

Finding a good property management company the most important decision when it comes to your commercial real estate. The right management company will make your operations run smoothly--and a bad one will make your life miserable at the very least, and potentially cause significent financial hardship! Property Management should not be a decision based on cost, but rather one based on customer service and experience. We have outlined a process below for finding the best property management company for you:

1) Outline your goals.

What is it that you want? Would you like a full service property management company, or one that just focuses on finding tenants?

The full service companies such as Kuester will advertise your property, help to place tenants, maintain the property, including major repairs, collect the rent, and send reports and a check each month.

A company that finds tenants will just advertise your property and place tenants. Depending on what your level of involvement is, you may choose one or the other options.

2) Set realistic goals.

Depending on what you bought your property for, and what your mortgage is AND what the average rental cost is AND how many tenants you are able to get, AND a near endless series of other factors - you may or may not make a profit on your property! Run through all the factors with your accountant and be conservative. Consider asking other property owners what surprise expenses they have had and make these part of your calculations.

3) Do your research.

Reputable property manangement companies will have a website outlining their services, philosophies and available properties. After narrowing it down, ask for referrals. Also, look for signs from the company posted around town and take notice of their advertising. Do you like what you see?

4) Always get references.

Ask for at least 2 references from current or recent clients. Most property management companies will give this information with zero hesitation, and if they refuse do you really want them managing your investments?

5) Never sign before you read.

Property Management contracts are legally binding contracts and can be negotiated. But sometimes they include details that were not previously discussed! Not only should you read before you sign, but you should also have your attorney review the contract as well. There may be language in the contract about additional costs that you will have to pay (i.e. major repairs), and reasons that either you or the property management company could cancel the agreement. So know before you make anything permanent.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Commercial Property as a Retirement Investment

What is your long term plan for income after retirement? Many people, especially those who have been in business the majority of their adult lives, have chosen commercial property as a way to provide themselves with long-term monthly income through their retirement.

A good choice in commercial real estate can not only earn you the money to live off of, but be a significant asset in your estate, even after your death.

Investing in commercial real estate, as much as it has great potential, is not a decision that should be entered into lightly. As with any investment, there is risk involved, but there are several things that you can do to reduce that risk:

1) Do Your Research: Take your time and research the property before making a purchase decision. What is the land zoned for? Has there ever been any problems on the property, are their current tenants? Are the buildings (if any) sound and ready to be leased, or will work need to be done first?

2) Make sure you have enough money: The purchase price may be in your budget, but is the cost of needed repairs, fees, taxes, maintenance, management, etc.

3) Consult your attorney: As with any real estate transaction, having an attorney to advise you and go through the contract is a must to be able to project yourself.

Investing in commercial property can be a very wise decision--one that could see you comfortably through your retirement. However, it is a choice that should come only after long and careful consideration!

If you would like to know more about investing in commercial real estate in the Charlotte area, just give us a call at 888.600.5044!

Kuester Property Management

Friday, June 25, 2010

Should You Invest in Real Estate?

Real estate investing can be risky... and very rewarding! The first thing you should know about property investment is to be careful with "too good to be true" and "sure bets." As with any opportunity, there are people who look to take advantage of others and it is important to not get caught up in schemes that can bankrupt your before you ever get started.

If you are seriously considering investing in real estate property, here are a few things you should know to get you started.

•You should have plenty of investment capital, not only to make the purchase, but to make the necessary upgrades and pay the taxes. If an opportunity comes to you and you are being sold a "no-money-down" option, this is probably too good to be true. Also, if you are asked to take a huge loan that will put you in a debt you can't get out of, this is probably too good to be true! Always go into an investment with cash on hand and plenty to live off of as well!

•You should have a good knowledge of the real estate market and the area in which you are looking to buy property. Is this an area that is growing? Are there businesses to support your tenants or future buyers? What are other properties in the neighborhood selling/renting for?

•You should have good management, people and negotiating skills--or you should have a property management company work for you that does. Collecting rent, managing repairs and finding tenants can be a difficult job.

•You should have the ability to do repair work, access to people who can do it for you, or a good property management company who can arrange and coordinate the work that will need to be done.

•You should have a relationship with a property inspector who can evaluate properties before you buy them and validate the claims by the sellers of repair work that they have done.

Finding a good property in which to invest and making that into a rental property, or turning it around for sale can be a job in and of itself. That is why many people are turning to property management companies to turn their investments, into profitable businesses.

If you are interested in learning how a professional property management company in the Carolinas can assist you with your investment property, please contact Kuester Property Management.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Reasons for Hiring a Poperty Manager

Many people have chosen to make property an investment, and the smart and lucky ones have made a significant amount of money with this investment. Using a professional property management company can assist you in turning your investment into a profitable one.

A Property Management Company can maintain your property, find and screen tenants to lease your real estate to, collects the rent and handle maintenance and other tenant issues. Here are just a few reasons you should consider a Property Management Company:

1. Experience and Expertise:

Your goal with your investment property is to have the property make money for you. You do this by keeping the expenses low, and maximizing the income potential. An experienced property management company knows what can be done and has the ability to do it in an efficient way. They are also aware of the best practices, rules and laws in property management in your area and can give you the advantage of their knowledge so that you don't make errors in judgement that end up costing you your profits!

2. Property Maintenance.

Keeping your property maintained and attractive is important to retain its value and attract tenants. Maintaining a property can be hard work and require anything from minor grounds-work to major repairs. Your property management company not only has the relationships with the best contractors, they will be able to manage the day to day and the non-routine maintenance such that your investment is kept in tip-top shape at the best possible cost.

3. Getting the Price Right.

Getting the price right, and marketing it correctly can make or break your investment. If you go too high, you wont get tenants; not marketing it correctly, means you wont get tenants. AND... without tenants, you are losing money each month! By working with a qualified and professional property management company, you can assure yourself that the prices set are competitive in your market, for the type of property you have and that you have directed your marketing efforts at the proper demographic.

Owning investment property can be a lucrative income stream, but it takes good decision making and professional know-how to make this work. Feel free to contact Kuester Property Management to learn how we can assist you manage and market your investment.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What you ALWAYS need to do when you own rental property

Do you own rental property? Here are a few tips for you and your property management company to keep your business running smoothly.

1. Always Screen Your Tenants.
Never rent your property to anyone before doing a thorough credit history, checking references, and doing background checks. Failure to screen tenants often result in problems such as late-paying tenants, or those who damage the property. Your property management company should be able to assist you, (or in some cases completely manage) the tenant screening process.

2. Always Get It In Writing.
It is never wise to enter into a property agreement without a written lease or month-to-month rental agreement. It is important to document the terms of the relationship with your tenants -- including when and how you, or the property management company will handle tenant complaints, emergency and non-emergency repair requests, notice you must give to enter a tenant's apartment, etc. Your property management company should be able to assist you with a proper contract.

3. Always Handle All Financial Transactions Properly.
Establish a fair system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning rent and security deposits. Always inspect and carefully document the condition of the rental unit before any tenant moves in, (and make any necessary repairs to keep it in rent-ready condition) to avoid disputes over security deposits when the tenant moves out.

4. Always Stay on Top of Maintenance.
Maintaining a clean and safe property as well as making the needed repairs in timely fashion is vital to being successful at rental property ownership. If the property is not kept in good condition, you'll likely alienate good tenants, and tenants may even have the right to withhold rent, or sue for injuries caused by defective conditions, or even move out without needing to give notice.

5. Always Provide a Secure Environment.
Your tenants deserve a safe a secure premises. Assess your property's security situation and take the appropriate steps to protect it with proper lighting, tidy landscaping, security patrols where necessary and whatever else you need to do to protect your assets and tenants.

6. Always Let Tenants Know Before You Enter Their Rental Units.
It is not only polite, but in many cases the law to notify your tenants whenever you plan to enter a rental unit. You should provide as much notice as possible, at least 24 hours or the minimum amount required by state law.

7. Always Disclose Environmental Hazards.
If there's a danger such as lead or mold on the property, you need to disclose this to your tenants. You could be held responsible to any health problems your tenants suffer due to these types of hazards. It is always best to remedy the situation properly and as soon as possible, but at the very least you need to let the tenants (and potential tenants) know.

8. Always Work With a Reputable Property Management Company.
Choose and supervise your property management company carefully. Choose a company with a good reputation, references and experience managing the specific type of property you have in that market.

9. Always Purchase Liability and Property Insurance.
It is important to protect yourself by purchasing enough liability and other property insurance. Insurance can protect you from lawsuits by tenants. Injuries, fire and storms damage, burglary and vandalism are all things that can happen, and you should carry insurance to keep a small disaster from turning into a major one.

10. Always Resolve Disputes Quickly.
Dispute will occur eventually—in any time of property relationship. It may be something small—such as a client paying a day late each month, or something big, like the need to evict. But it is important to resolve disputes with your tenants quickly and without lawyers and lawsuits when possible. If a dispute becomes more difficult, you can consider mediation by a neutral third party, (again, your property management company can be very helpful here). By addressing any issue that arise quickly, you will be able to avoid costly and potentially devastating repercussions.

Kuester Property Manager

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What to Look For When Renting Property

In these harsh economic times, individuals are turning towards renting rather than purchasing, and it is important to build your own checklist of what you want out of the rental. Moving to a new apartment could definitely be an exciting task for you, but before you make advances in leasing, here are a few simple guidelines to follow.

First you should set a budget for yourself, and determine how much money you can spend each month to make rent. Focus your search around your budget, and even think about saving money; decide if living with a roommate is worth it for you and your situation. When looking for a roommate, make sure you thoroughly interview them to determine if it is someone you can see yourself living with.

When searching for an apartment/house to rent, make sure that it is close to where you work. Because gas prices continue to climb, and you're trying to save by renting, it would be ideal to find a place where you can walk to work. This will help you save while renting. Look for an apartment/house that is sizeable enough for you to live. You obviously don't want to live in a 4x4 brown box, so it's important to find something that won't be too difficult to adjust to.

Like negotiating the price on purchasing a house, you can also attempt to negotiate with a landlord. There is really no harm in trying! The landlord will be lucky to have a tenant that pays on time and doesn't cause problems. When signing a lease, make sure you read the fine print. Try not to sign a long-term lease, and look for a 6 month lease, unless you want to live there for an extended period of time. Find out exactly what you're responsible for, and budget your expenses. If it's not exactly what you're looking for, don't be afraid to write up your own agreement, and present it to your landlord for approval.

Remember, if you are really tight on cash and cannot afford much, you can always move back in with your parents (if that's an option). I know it doesn't sound glamorous to say that you live in your parent's basement, but it may be beneficial to you to save up for that dream apartment, or even house for the near future!

Are you looking to rent in the Charlotte, Boone, Myrtle Beach, Fort Mill or Concord? Or have you considered an investment property? Please check out the Kuester Website for some great Kuester properties!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why You Hire A Property Manager

If you can afford one, you buy a dishwasher...saves time, gets those dishes spotless, and certainly makes most people’s lives happier.

Same with a snow blower, washer and dryer, or microwave. All labor saving devices.

People or services can be labor saving devices too. Cleaning people, delivery persons, gardeners, handy-men…All these people perform functions that we could do – but choose to outsource to save us time and frustration.

Some people we turn to provide services that we (theoretically) could do, but prefer to have in the hands of experts. Accountants handle our taxes, plumbers take care of our pipes, pastry chefs provide us with deserts, and thank heavens for those general contractors who help us with numerous projects around our property.

So whether you own one or two rental units, regardless if they are commercial lots or retail units, are you using a property manager? Why not? Unless you really enjoy all the time you are spending dealing with the tenants? Maybe endless landscaping and snow-shoveling is your cup of tea? Or perhaps chasing after rent or trying to even rent property is your idea of a relaxing weekend!

We might sound flip, but it is the truth. Property management is a rewarding and enjoyable job for many people. But for many other people, it is a time-consuming means to an end. If you don’t really love the day-to-day operations required in maintaining your investment property, then maybe you want to look into getting a property management agency.

Property management firms are affordable, reliable, and dependable resources for big and small property owners. If you want to free up some of your time to enjoy life, but still want to make sure that your tenants and property is managed – its an incredible solution.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Commercial Property: Investment or Not?

If you are looking for a good return on commercial property, you must have a solid understanding the ins and outs of real estate in the area. Commercial property can be a great find – and a great moneymaker, but you don’t want to leap first and ask questions later.

There are various types of commercial property. Let’s look at them individually.

Offices: tend to have a high value when situated in the central business district of an urban area or business district. Major office districts, regional centers and suburban centers are other viable areas. Think about where people are working. Probably not in the middle of a cornfield. Look at the area carefully, and see if this is a place companies WANT to do business. A good thing about office real estate is that there is a slightly different wear and tear. Doubtful that the place will be trashed from a raging party or burned down from a kitchen fire. Offices are also generally used less then 24 hours a day. They do come with different needs though, from electrical to plumbing. Consider this when investing.

Retail: Certain retail sites will always be at a premium. Location is key in getting the greatest investment potential for your money. Shopping centers, strip shops and malls have a great return on investment. The hot places that people are spending money are the hot places to rent out. But, sometimes retail areas can be fickle. New shopping malls spring up all the time, driving other malls out of business. Make sure the place you are investing in isn’t gone to be usurped by a new mall annex or a moving highway.

Commercially zoned real estate: This is a bit trickier. This type of property can be improved by converting it to a multiple use property - office, retail, residential. Mixed use real estate like this can buffer you from changing economic factors – and ensure you have a steady stream of income. This is sometimes trickier to mange and rent – so you will probably want to work with a knowledgeable property management firm.

Kuester Property Management

Monday, May 10, 2010

So You Are Thinking It Is Time To Own Some Rental Property

We hear the naysayers all the time. Not a great return, too much hassle, I don’t know what to do, etc... The fact is, that rental property is a stable and great investment. Let’s break it down for you…

Owning rental property can be a great source of steady income if handled properly, or it can be serious profit when looking for a long-term real estate investment. Going about both is a bit different though – so you have to be honest with yourself about your short-term and long-term goals. Deciding which way you want to go depends on several things.

Rental property is much like your own personal property…Well, you own it just like you own the home you live in! The owners/renters - you - have all of the standard legal obligations of owning property, including taxes, the mortgage, insurance and any other expenses. You also need to be aware of the condition of the property at all times and maintain a safe living environment for your tenants. There is also the investment of time in managing the property. Who is going to do repairs, mow the lawns, shovel the sidewalks, follow up with tenants if rent isn't paid, see that all rules are being followed, settle disputes...the list is a long one. Even if you can’t do it – a good property management agency can do it for you.

If you decide you want to keep your rental property as a long term investment – and not a short term windfall – take some extra thought. Be sure you protect yourself financially and legally. Owning rental real estate means knowing how to handle tenant effectively, fairly and legally all the while making sure you are covered.

Investing in commercial property can be a lucrative venture. However, you can capitalize on your return by boosting your commercial property's value by adding some investment friendly features. These improvements can run the gamut from a substantial initial payment to a mere investment of your time and sales skills. You can take a piece of undeveloped land and increase its value exponentially by using a few techniques to give it more selling power and you a higher profit.

If you find inexpensive and high-end property, consider this: Property that is on or near golf courses, lakes or beachfront is usually always a safe bet. Plenty of people have made a mint from rental shore homes. Sea or lakeside property is a rare commodity and should be jumped at quick! Ocean front condos in Myrtle Beach for example are great for increasing your profits from commercial property!

Kuester Property Management

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So You Say You Are Thinking Of Investing in Real Estate?

Property is almost always a great long-term investment. It can also be a practical short term investment as well. Just depends on when you buy, when you sell, and how much both transactions amount to…For the last year, prices on property has been dropping in many areas. That is bad news if you're looking to sell, but it puts the ball in your court if you're interested in buying. The market is changing, and everyone expects a rebound. Right now is a time to jump into the pool and make an investment if you have the cash available. Buying rental property in a down market can be a lucrative investment but there are some factors you should consider before you jump in.

We’ve quizzed our experts, and have these great four tips for you when looking for a rental property.

• Where do people want to live? Where do they want to shop? Where do they want to eat? Find out where tenants want to be…and buy there. Not only where do they want to be now, but look in areas that are going to be good in a few years. If you want a sure-fire bet, ask your real-estate agent to show you properties with solid rental track records.

• Don’t over extend yourself. Make sure your rental income will provide for your expenses. Don’t hedge too tight to the line. You don’t want to be worried on a month to month basis that you will have a shortfall. Plan for emergencies, for the occasional month you don’t have a tenant, for unexpected repairs, and definitely plan to have a small and tidy profit after you pay off your loans or mortgage.

• Find reliable and stable tenants. Screen the people who are renting your property. Don’t skimp out on background checks, credit checks, or references. Don’t take a leap of faith. These tenants are occupying YOUR investment. Make sure you have people who will provide for your income and not damage the property. Never rent to anyone without having them fill out an application that includes references - then be sure to check those references! Verify their employment record and, if they've leased or rented before, talk to former landlords to see if they've had problems in the past. A credit check is also a good idea - if they are already having financial problems, you don't want to be the next one on the list.

• Always have a standard rental contract drawn up that outlines the rules and regulations of the property, the rent and when it is due, any deposits required and rules regarding landlord access to the unit, etc. Be clear about what repairs and maintenance are and are not your responsibility as the landlord and the rules covering changes such as painting the rooms, etc.

• If you can’t manage the property, invest in an agency that can. Don’t have the time to manage the real estate? Then find an agency that can do it and can do it effectively.

• Make investments in your property that will reap further income. Landscaping, painting, new appliances, new carpet or floors – these will all add to the value of any real estate in the long-term, as well as make your property look more attractive to short term tenants.

• Know the laws and regulations in your state or local municipality. If you don’t know them – learn them. Or hire a agency to manage the property that does!

Those are some simple pointers, and there is a lot more fine points and common sense that we can provide you with when thinking about making the leap.

Kuester Property Management

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Benefits for Buying Commercial Real Estate

Buying commercial real estate can an exciting and profitable business. By investing in commercial properties in the Carolinas you give yourself a long-term revenue stream. Here are just a few benefits of commercial real estate!

1.) Multiple revenue streams: The great thing about commercial real estate is that you can have multiple revenue streams. The property itself can gain value and be resold, you can rent or lease to get a monthly income, and you can use the space yourself as an office out of which you can run your business.

2.) Diversification: It is important to keep your investment portfolio diversified. Investing in Commercial real estate is a great way to add additional properties to your investment portfolio, and having commercial investments adds some variety and options for your portfolio. Commercial real estate properties can be range from apartment properties to office buildings.

3.) Properties are currently available at a great price: There is plenty of commercial real estate available in almost every part of the Carolinas, and the poor market conditions have left some great deals in its wake. Take your time when choosing the right property and you can certainly find prices poised to rise.

There are many benefits to getting into commercial real estate, but like with any type of investing, it is very important to gain as much knowledge as you can before making those tough decisions about what to invest in.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Considering a New Business in the Carolinas?

Are you considering opening a new business or a second location in the Carolinas? There are many benefits to working with a professional commercial brokerage and leasing realty company.

A professional commercial brokerage can take the time to walk you through the process of buying commercial property. They will assist you in finding the property that best meets your needs and coach you through the buying process.

Buying or leasing a commercial business space is just the beginning of the journey, one which will hopefully be profitable and fulfilling. Work with a professional organization that knows business in the Carolinas. Work with Kuester.

Currently Kuester has several properties for sale and for lease, and we would be happy to work with you. Please call us at 704.973.9019.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not happy with your HOA? Get involved.

I myself live in a community - just outside Charlotte - with an HOA. The other day our neighborhood held its annual "neighborhood garage sale." It was a beautiful sunny spring day - the perfect Carolina weather!

As I sat with my neighbor (a good friend) I heard her say, over and over again, what a shame it was that the neighborhood association did not advertise the garage sale properly. She complained to herself, to her husband, to me, to the one or two people who stopped to look at the old children's toys... But fact is, we had hardly any traffic at all and it made for a very long day!

After a while I had to say something. Homeowner's associations work when the neighborhood residents get involved. And since my friend had not been on the garage sale committee, and since she did not make any effort that I could tell to help organize the event, participate, help, or lend her opinion beforehand, I truly felt that she did not have a reasonable complaint.

Many of us in Charlotte live in HOA communities and many are run well. The property management company takes care of things like the park and the pool and common area. The architectural committee approves fences and patios. But too often too much falls on too few.

If you are not happy with how your HOA is run, or how they handle the annual Easter Egg Hunt, or the color of the new playground equipment--then it is ultimately your responsibility to get involved. The folks that have taken the time and effort to step up and make the decisions for the community are not compensated. They do what they can, and sometimes that means there is no one to place an ad in the newspaper or update the neighborhood website.

Every HOA has large jobs and small jobs and if you are able--please consider doing your part. If you can't, that is fine too... but it leaves little room for you to complain when things don't go the way you would like!

Property Manager
Kuester Property Management

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Commercial Property: Keeping an Eye on the Competition

When you are considering the purchase of a commercial property, one of the best things that you can do ahead of time is research the competition.

How long do the other buildings have unoccupied space?
Are there several available properties near the one you are considering?
What is the average length of lease of the building you are considering purchasing?
What is the average length of lease of the similar buildings in the area.

Take the time to walk the grounds of similar buildings. Can you see what they are doing well? Do they have well maintained landscaping, walkways and parking lots? What makes these buildings attractive to tenants? What could they do better? Can you talk to any of the business tenants of neighboring building?

Investing in commercial property is a big decision and goes way beyond just finding a place and putting a "for lease" sign up! Before you buy, investigate the market, do your homework, and make sure to put considerable time in "knowing your competition." Learning from the people who are doing it well, will make you more successful!

Property Manager

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tips on Buying Commercial Property in the Carolinas

Across the Carolinas there are excellent locations for investing in commercial property. With the economy on the start of a rise, now is the time to make the move.

The Carolinas have beautiful mountainous regions, sun-kissed beaches, and wonderful metropolitan cities in between. Owning a business building and then leasing it out can be great business but as with any type of investment, you will need to do some careful consideration.

If you are a property owner of a commercial building, you will have to maintain the property. Landscaping, building maintenance, general cleaning, and build-outs will have to be done. Hiring a great Carolina-based Commercial Property Manager will be the second-best investment after the property itself!

A property manager will be able to not only take care of maintenance and upkeep of your property but also provide you with advice, pricing suggestions, marketing, collecting rent and negotiating contracts.

The commercial property market can be competitive, and it will pay to get yourself out in the lead. An experienced and professional property management company will be able to lessen the risk of owning a commercial property by lending you their expertise.

Another important factor is to carefully consider location. Perhaps more important than the location of your home, is the location of your investment property. Proximity to like buildings, parking, shopping, walking traffic and/or bus lines are all things that should be weighed. While different types of businesses require different types of locations, you should research what kind of location your prospective tenants will need.

The appearance of the inside and outside of the building as well as the property itself should reflect the types of clientele you would like to attract. If you are looking to have a high-end spa as a tenant, this should be a factor in the type of decor and landscaping you choose. The same goes for it you are looking to put a small manufacturing business into the space! What do your prospective tenants look for in a building?

If you are considering a Carolina Commercial Investment Property, please consider giving Kuester Property Management a call. From locating the right property, to managing it, Kuester is able to meet your investment property needs.

Kuester Property Manager

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Commercial Property will hit bottom in 2010--and be a new investors dream!

If you are the owner of a commercial properties, hold on for a rough year. 2010 will likely be the rock-bottom for the commercial real-estate market.

The silver-lining is that new investors will benefit if they are able to step in and buy up the properties. Sellers of these commercial properties have been hesitant to lower prices, however they will need to to get the property sold and avoid foreclosure. Both scenarios work in favor of the buyer, who, if they are able to secure a bank loan, or have the cash on-hand will find remarkable deals towards the year's end and into 2011.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

HOA Rules and Regulations

Rules are meant to protect people and property, and HOA rules are the same way. While some people may be offended by the notion that they have to request permission to build a swing set, or put up a fence in their own back yard, there is always a good reason--or at least a good intention when an HOA set the rule.

If you do not want to live in a community that has restrictions on the size of shed you can put up, or how long your grass can get in between mowings, than perhaps living in an HOA community is not for you. But if you see the value in a neighborhood which abides by the same guidelines in order to protect the property values and the residents, then an HOA-neighborhood may be a great fit

If you are new to living in a homeowner's association regulated area and do not read the CCRs, it may be a bit of a shock to you the first time you are given a warning letter about a minor violation such as leaving your garbage can outside for several days after garbage day. But rest assured the committee member who noted the violation and the property management company that sent the letter to you are not "out to get you." No one likes to be the bearer of bad news--and if the issue is minor and a first-time problem, they will likely wave any fee if you take care of the issue quickly.

It is an adjustment if you have never had to follow the policies of an HOA, but in the end they rules are meant for you. After all, if there weren't a rule about keeping a rusted-out car in one's front yard, there would be little recourse for you if your next-door neighbor were to choose a '79 Buick as a lawn decoration!

Also, you should remember, if you feel that a policy of the HOA, or neighborhood covenant is unfair or ill conceived, you have the ability to have it put up for a vote if you are an active committee member. The HOA is there for you -- so participate and enjoy the benefits of having a community interested in protecting you, your family, and your home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Effective HOA Property Management

Finding a HOA Property Manager in the Carolinas isn't a difficult. Finding a good one can be!

Your Property Manager is a critical member of your association's operating team. You need to be able to rely on the Property Manager, or Property Management firm to oversee the landscape and facilities maintenance programs, submit bids for contract work, oversee billing and accounts payable and act as a liaison between residents and board members.

Choosing the right company to serve as your community's managing agent can be overwhelming—so we've put together a few tips.

The HOA Property Manager should be able to:
• Provide you with accurate, up-to-date financial reports on a regular basis.
• Provide overviews of your common areas and buildings' structural and mechanical elements
• Understand changing federal, state and local laws to avoid violations
• Maintain accurate, accessible files and records for your neighborhood, and make that information readily available to the HOA board and residents
• Attend any special meetings of the HOA board or residents
• Interact knowledgeably with other professionals like attorneys, accountants, engineers, etc.
• Respond promptly to inquiries from residents
• Maintain working relationships with reputable local contractors and service providers

If you are interested in learning what Kuester can do for your Homeowners Association, please check out our Property Management website.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Investing in Commercial Property

For serious investors, commercial property can be a lucrative purchase. Commercial property is a valuable resource that can be costly-but has a high ROI if managed properly.

A commercial property investment has a primary goal of generating income. You want your investment to work for you. Based on current market trends and future projections, you need to be sure that the value of the property will appreciate so that should you you need to, you can sell the property at a profit.

It is rare that you will have all the necessary capital necessary to invest in a new commercial property. Financing may be a crucial part of your investment. You will likely require a commercial property loan. To prepare for this loan, you you will need documentation on your business operations, your financial status and earning potential and the property title deed. While it is a buyer's market, lenders are none-to-eager to make loans unless they have assurances that their investments are protected.

You have your pick of plenty of great commercial properties, so shop around before choosing a piece of property. Your commercial real estate agent will be able to assist you in finding the best property for your needs and budget.

Investing in commercial property can be a smart way to grow your money, but not everyone can be successful--there are many factors that come into play, so take all the necessary precautions by choosing a good agent, using caution when choosing a property and hiring a reliable property management company.

For information on commercial property investing in the Carolinas, please check out our website:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Importance of Landscaping in Commercial Property Management

Your commercial property is a major investment for your company. Enhancing and maintaining the look of the property can be a very cost-effective way to preserve and enhance that investment, and ensure your future income.

Property management companies do a many things for the commercial property owner, but one of the most obvious from the outside is how the lawn, landscape and property are maintained. Landscape design and maintenance can help achieve a premium appearance for your property. Your visitors and prospective tenants will have a more professional image of your company, that of your tenant and the people who work in your buildings will enjoy coming to work in a more pleasant and attractive environment.
Additionally, well-maintained landscape will discourage vandalism, and create a safer environment for those who work, live, shop or play on your property.

Whether you own an existing facility, or are constructing new buildings, working with a property manager who sees the value in focusing on the outdoors as well as the inside structure of your building is critical.
If you would like to know how Kuester can assist you in the property management of your commercial building, please contact us at: 704.973.9019.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

There are No Stupid Questions

There are no stupid questions…

When people buy a home in a neighborhood that is governed by a homeowners association (HOA), there is always a slew of questions that come up…And that is okay, Frankly, we expect them and are shocked when people don’t have questions, If you are the type that feels uncomfortable asking questions – we thought we’d answer some of the basics for you here!

What is a HOA?

A homeowners' association (HOA) is an organization created for the purpose of developing and managing homes. Most homeowner associations are incorporated, and are subject to state statutes that govern non-profit corporations and homeowner associations. State oversight of homeowner associations is minimal, and mainly takes the form of laws, which are inconsistent from state to state. An HOA provides people with shared neighborhood values, an opportunity to enforce regulations, consistent with overarching statutory constraints, to achieve a community representative of such values. The HOA is financially supported by all members of the homeowners association. Membership is both automatic and mandatory.

Why do I have to pay Association Fees and what do they cover?

Association fees are used by the HOA to pay for any costs that are incurred to common areas. These common areas can vary from association to association – but they can be pools, courtyards, parks, gates, playground, equipment and many many more items. Many homeowners' associations include management of a development's recreational amenities, maintained for exclusive use of its members. This can allow an individual homeowner access to a maintained pool, clubhouse, gym, tennis court or walking trail that they may not be able to otherwise afford to maintain on their own.. Talk to your association leaders and management about what your money is actually going toward… But yep – you gotta pay those fees…

What is a "managing agent"?

The managing agent is a person, or more likely, a company hired by the HOA’s Board of Directors to the day-to-day operation of the Association. You didn’t think the HOA is doing the lawn mowing and fence painting themselves, did you? They would, but they are home-owners too and they have day jobs as well. So to make sure that everything runs smoothly and swiftly, they hire the managing agent to implement the policies and decisions that the Association has decide upon. Here at Kuester Management Group, that is OUR role. It is our job to serve any Association, big or small, as a Managing Agent.

Monday, February 15, 2010

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks: Property Management

In many professional fields, you are required to take a certain amount of additional education hours every year. Doctors, lawyers, and teachers all continue to learn throughout their career, and many of us are better for that enrichment. At Kuester, we believe that consistent and constant education is important for all of our employees, board members and homeowners. We can never stop learning, and thanks to the Community Association Institutes, we don’t have to!

Community Association Institutes (CAI) provides education, resources, and mentorship to people who manage homeowners associations, condominiums and other planned communities. For over three decades, CAI has enlisted local, state and national experts to provide the latest information on community association management and governance. These experts are drawn from all across the United States, and are talented people who understand the intricities of the business. These instructors share their personal experience, their knowledge, and their ideas with CAI members. In addition to a solid pool of gifted mentors, CAI also provides plenty of educational materials: books, seminars and workshops, research, continuing education and periodicals. This material acts as a back-up to any managing agent, ensuring that even when we aren’t in a CAI class we are still learning!

The CAI educational resources allow Kuester to develop skills to govern or manage your association successfully. Their education options range from beginner to advanced topics. Some of the topics covered include operations, managing people, strategic planning, and how to develop the necessary resources to solve any problems. CAI' also offers an Annual Community Association Law Seminar that provides a unique learning opportunity to discuss emerging trends and legislative issues and laws. The CAI is also a great chance for networking, since professionals have the opportunity for sharing their resources, ideas, thoughts and stories.

Thanks to the CAI, Kuester managers and staff are on the top of their game. Their educational opportunities and resources give Kuester unlimited possibilities to expand their acumen and abilities. CAI proves our new saying, ”You can teach an old dog new tricks!”