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!