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!”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Property Management Customer Service

Property management isn’t just about the house, condo or apartment. It’s never totally about the property – it is always about the customer. Keep your clients happy, keep your clients smiling, and you will keep everything running smoothly. Giving your customers exceptional service, will mean steady income and no headaches. Kuester property managers know this, and their isn’t any secret to how we deliver customer service – here’s the recipe!

For most property managers like Kuester, there is usually two clients: the HOA Board of directors and then the individual owner. Both customers have to be treated with respect and care. Let’s discuss the HOA first…

Whether the property’s owner, out-of-town, or even out-of-state, the most important part of customer service is consistent and timely communication. We don’t suggest overwhelming and annoying contact, but we do think that keeping the property owner informed of an issues is always important. Depending on the arrangement, you should make sure the property owner is immediate informed of any changes to the property that might effect it’s value or their cash flow. Damages, late payments, and any tenant issues should be discussed at the property owners convenience.

After communication, timely attention to issues is paramount. If there is snow to be shoveled, see that it happens. If the pool needs to be drained, make the necessary arrangements. A good property manager is there to handle any issues that come up – quickly.

On the reverse side of the business arrangement, is the tenants. Many rookie property managers treat their tenants poorly – which is a terrible mistake. Unhappy tenants mean tenants who are going to be leaving – and when a tenant is gone, so is the source of income. Happy tenants stay, pay, and don’t have anything bad to say. Solid property mangers know that by delivering superb customer service, they can make their tenants happy.

How do you deliver a gold standard in customer service to your tenants? Be accessible! Be kind! Be on time! Your tenants have singed a contract and expect to live in a manner listed in that contract. Necessary repairs need to be made in a timely fashion, maintenance needs to be done promptly, and properties should react to their tenants issues quickly and without complaint.

At Kuester, we believe customer service is paramount. All our customers, property owners and tenants, are treated professionally and with respect. We have the skills and the savvy to deliver the service that is always rated tip-top.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Keep It Streaming

In the property management business, it is very critical to stay abreast of new technology. Not only is the technology of our homes an ever-changing matter, but the technology we use to manage our business is always developing too. We at Kuester believe that by embracing technology, we can streamline our business and make the process easier and more accessible for all of our clients.

Maybe we should quick clarify – for this blog post, we are talking about Internet based technologies. You might have been thinking that Kuester has the latest snow blowers or lawnmowers at their disposal, or knows where to find the best power-washers. Well, we do…We consistently work with vendors and contractors who employ the latest in proven technologies. You won’t be waiting for your common area to be mowed because Kuester is using dad's old push mower... don't fear there!

When we talk about using new technology to make the world of property management more streamline, we are referring to how we can deliver information to our clients. It is still hard to believe that the internet has only been around for a few years. It seems like we have always had e-mail, instant message, and social media. But in fact, it has only been a little over a decade since the web really broke loose on all of us. Kuester has embraced all of this technology, and use various computer programs and online tools to help streamline our business.

Thanks to secure websites, much of the relevant information needed by our customers is now available online. You don’t have to wait for monthly statements or phone calls – you can imply lo-in and check out your community’s information online. Having all the information you need at your finger tips allows all Kuester clients to feel a greater sense of security and trust. Plus our response time is increased and you never have to worry about trying to track us down.

Besides existing technologies, Kuester is always looking for any new device or application that can make the management process simpler and more efficient. Cell phones, PDAs, and laptops are all standard issues for our team members, but we will also continue to investigate every new gadget and program to see if there are real-world solutions available. We won’t just jump on Twitter to be part of the pack – when we adopt any new technology, you can be sure it will have a solid reason for existence, and will offer you a value-added service.

Kuester Property Managers - Charlotte, Boone, Fort Mill, Boone, Myrtle Beach & Concord