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