Property Management Blog

George Brett on OUR Kansas City Royals & The Media

Chris Lengquist - Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Turns out I'm not the only one grouchy with so called "icons" here in the Kansas City area. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JthYqUhiwFo&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

Lazy Real Estate Agents

Chris Lengquist - Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Twice in the last 10 days I've had clients lose bids on houses without ever having the opportunity to know that there were competing bids on those houses.  Twice.  Have real estate agents forgotten how to work for their clients?  Or are these agents simply selfish and lazy?  What about the courtesy to other agents that brought them an offer. One agent is a very well known Re/MAX agent here in town.  On behalf of my client I submitted an offer on Friday afternoon and even called to let her know the offer was on the way.  No response.  On Monday about 11:00 I called and asked if she had received my offer since there was no response.  Both times the I had to speak to voice mail because apparently answering the phone is not a high priority. At 5:30 last evening I get a call (my first call from her, mind you) telling me my client's offer was the losing offer.  I asked her how many competing bids she had and why hadn't I been informed that there were competing bids?  She said two others and that my bid wouldn't have won anyway.  When pressed, I found out one other bid was a lowball and the one we lost to didn't even come in until Sunday night.  I again asked why we weren't asked to give a highest and best and she said the other offer was cash so she was sure the offer of my client would be rejected. Well, at least I feel more comfortable that she is now negotiating on behalf of her client. Folks, I doubt seriously if my client's offer was even really looked at by the seller. A very similar thing happened the week before with a Realty Executives agent.  No announcement that there were multiple bids, just that we had lost. Let me ask you: If you were a seller and could get into a multi-bid situation wherein you could quite probably get more out of the one buyer because of the second buyer, especially in a REO situation, wouldn't you do it? You know why the sellers don't get our bids, too?  Because I'll bet you the agents are submitting just the top bid they collect.  The listing agents of most REO listings are taking a commission cut to get the listings.  They are not going to want to have to work that hard, just to keep the commissions coming in.  2% of $120,000 is enough.  Why spend a couple more hours getting $125,000 when it only means another $60-$75 to the listing agent after office expenses. I tell my kids one of the worst things I can call you is "Lazy."  Well, guess what...

Rental Property Swarmed By Bees!

Chris Lengquist - Friday, May 15, 2009
honey-bee-hiveSo yesterday I get a call from a tenant that is something I've never heard before.  And if you own and/or manage rental property, you know that is quite an accomplishment.  Seems the tree out in front of the house is covered in bees!  I asked "How many." "Millions!"  Ah, did she say millions?  This is a great tenant that was calling.  Rent almost always arrives BEFORE the first.  She's not really prone to exaggeration.  And she thought she meant literally millions.  That could be a problem. I asked what kind of bees and she was thinking honey bees.  I called my exterminator guy and he said he could get to them and kill them.  Though with the honey bee shortage of the past years I didn't think that was a good idea.  While I was still mulling what to do about this I got another call from the tenant. "I found a bee keeper that wants them."  Perfect!  I don't have to be Josef Mengele to the honey bees, the bee keeper gets more inventory, and the honey bee population of the Midwest isn't crushed by yet one more hive. Good tenants are hard to find.  I think this one is going to get a $25 gas card from QuickTrip as her reward.

Can Kansas City & St. Louis Really Get Along?

Chris Lengquist - Thursday, May 14, 2009
743-bus_oped_03-08-2008_IG11N0J7.standalone.prod_affiliateIn a rare act of cooperation a St. Louis based real estate agent and I (a Kansas City based real estate agent) are working together.  Matt has referred to me a gentleman looking to buy a house in the Kansas City area because his son will be going to dental school up at the University of Missouri Kansas City for the next three years.  Regular readers here of BBQ Capital: Kansas City Real Estate & Investing know that this is one of my favorite ways to own an investment property. Anyhow, the gentleman is coming in tonight so that we can look at a couple two or three possible houses for sale for him to choose from.  I'm hoping he'll see the wisdom of the Red Bridge area for his particular needs.  But back to the purpose of this post.  Can Kansas City & St. Louis really get along?  Let's look back at some of the ways the two cities have had issues.
  • When money is needed for stadiums Jefferson City gives St. Louis partial funding (some of that Kansas City area taxpayer money) and Kansas City is rejected and has to raise all their funding from it's citizens.
  • When money is needed to keep the bus systems running in both cities St. Louis gets several million while Kansas City is told there is no more money.
  • St. Louis gets a really cool arch built by the federal government.  Kansas City, well, no arch.
SABERHAGEN WORLD SERIESSo as you can see St. Louis usually gets the better of things and native Kansas City Missourians have what you might call deep seeded reservations about the city to the east.  Of course, me being from Kansas, I think it's all really pretty funny.  So in the end, that's probably why Matt and I can get along. But oh, did I forget to mention the 1985 World Series?  Kansas City got the better of that one, didn't we.  Even came back from 3 games to one.  Ha!

Missouri Audit of my Property Management Files

Chris Lengquist - Wednesday, May 13, 2009
train-wreckOkay.  So I told you the Missouri auditor had arrived.  My sales files are all okay.  My property management files, on the other hand, were a real headache.  First, there was the comedy of errors.  See, I use a professional software package for my property management (No, I'm not looking to manage more properties.  Just mine and the five other doors I have is plenty, thank you.) and it has a lot of accounting practices contained therein.  Problem is, neither I nor the auditor is an accountant. As such, we spent 3.5 hours looking at why we couldn't balance her figures that showed I had mis-appropriated $225.00 somewhere along the line.  The $225 was missing, unaccounted for and as you might imagine, that's a problem.  After about an hour I began to question myself!!!!!!  But every month I collect the money, write the checks and every month the check register reconciles with the bank statements so I knew I hadn't done anything wrong.  And besides, who steals $225.00?  If  you're gonna steal, go big! I went home frustrated at the end of the day on Monday and quite frankly, a little worried.  This was my reputation.  But then it hit me while mowing the lawn that night!  I went back in Tuesday morning and discovered she (we) had started with the wrong number from the bank statement.  I end my month on the 11th.  The bank ends the month on the last day of the month.  A combination of checks (totaling $225.00) were written/cleared in between those two dates. mosealYou might say you'd have figured it out right away.  And I probably should have.  But with an auditor sitting there asking questions about a financial software program I use that I barely even understand (it just works!) I did get a little flustered.  Which, is kinda funny really.  I spent years in DC as a private investigator.  I've been shot at.  I've met Senators and Congressmen.  I've testified in court so many times it's not countable.  Yet, here I was a little frustrated and nervous. Anyway, with the money problem solved I did find out my property management agreement I have with the two owners I work with didn't have a Missouri required clause requiring my Duties & Responsibilities regarding agency (never mind that I give them the official State of Missouri Brokerage Disclosure) and therefore my property management agreements are void as far as Missouri is concerned.  Simple enough.  I'm adding the clause today and getting the new agreements out in the mail immediately. Oh, and I was sited for not charging enough!  See, my agreement says 6% and on one property I've been taking a flat fee that adds up to 5.2345%.  So I have to charge more or amend the property management agreement.  Funny thing to be sited for as far as I'm concerned.  The owner never noticed or cared.  I'll guarantee you that! All is well that ends well, I guess.  I'll find out my punishments in about a month or so.  But I promised to keep you updated so there you have it.

Missouri Audit Update & More

Chris Lengquist - Monday, May 11, 2009
defcon_3The Missouri auditor finally arrived to day.  I'm nervous and relieved all at the same time.   Just hoping all of our forms are approved and pass the mustard.  Naturally, she wants a bank statement that hasn't arrived yet so I'll have to run up to the bank here in a few minutes to get it.  If that's all I have to do I'll be happy. *** With the adjustment of investment property financing in the last twelve months I've been working with more and more primary home buyers.  This weekend I was out looking in Brookside and Leawood at homes in the $295,000 - $320,000 range.  Tomorrow I'm out in Lee's Summit looking at homes in the $150,000 - $160,000 range. Keeps me busy.  I like busy. Just to let you know the client asked to see 14 homes.  Of those fourteen she asked for, just a week later seven have gone Pending.  Think the market is crashing? *** Wish there were more inventory of homes in a particular target area.  I have more buyers than properties.  Actually, only about one property a month shows up for what I'm looking for and we've been too slow the last three times.

Star Trek Movie Review From A Closet Trekkie

Chris Lengquist - Friday, May 8, 2009
Warning: This post has absolutely nothing to do with Kansas City Real Estate Investing. tribblesOkay, so I admit it.  I'm a closet Trekkie.  No, I don't own a Federation uniform.  I've never been to a Star Trek convention.  And I don't currently own a set of blueprints to that beautiful bird the Enterprise.  However, I do admit to having seen every episode of the original series far more than I'd like to count.  I do have a Star Trek watch.  And I scoff at the notion that Star Wars will ever be as cool or cutting edge as Star Trek. With that full disclosure I want to say I caught the 9:00 pm preview session of Star Trek last night and it rocked!  Heck, even their website is super cool.  But back to the movie.  I'm forty-four.  And even though there has been about a 40 year gap between the end of the series and this movie the characters, to me, were spot on.  Spock looks like Spock.  Dr. McCoy is as wry and sarcastic as ever.  Kirk is nothing more than a pirate with a really cool ship. Speaking of Kirk, I told a guy waiting in line last night that I couldn't wait to see the movie to see which "Star Trek" foreign policy makers we were gonna see.  To me, Deep Space 9, The Next Generation and all were all too peace loving.  Always trying to negotiate and see the other side.  Give me Kirk.  Shoot first, ask questions later.  After all, this is the movies, let's have some fun and blow some things up! Then take their women. Anyway, I loved the movie.  Oh, I'm sure there are some purist out there that will find something wrong.  But for me, I fell right in.  Maybe because I wanted to.  Now I can see future Star Trek movies that don't include a geriatric crew.  I loved the originals.  But I'm not ten anymore and they certainly shouldn't be sleeping with aliens and violating the prime directive at their age. I was going to bring up how awesome the Royals are doing but I'll save that for another day.  If you are reading this and like Star Trek get out and see the movie.  If you are in KC get out and see the Royals and the new "K".  I've been and it's an awesome upgrade. star_trek_mirror_images

"Going Green Sounds So Much Better Than Cutting Expenses"

Chris Lengquist - Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Anybody else sick of companies all over America claiming they are "going green" when what they are really doing is cutting down on postage expenses and shifting the paper costs to the clients?  I'm not saying it's a bad idea. I'm not even saying you shouldn't do it.  I'm just saying the Spin Doctors are out in force in everything we hear.  You literally cannot trust anything.  (Except me.  ;)   ) This just in from the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors:
So Long Paper Bills - E-mail Billing Starts July 1
Posted by
05/05/2009
For KCRAR and Heartland MLS, the Green movement is taking a big step on July 1, 2009 when we’ll switch to paperless billing.  Instead of printing and mailing or delivering thousands of paper bills each month, the standard HMLS and KCRAR accounting system will upgrade to electronic billing with delivery via e-mail.  Unless you opt to continue receiving paper bills, your invoices and statements will be delivered to the e-mail address you have on file with KCRAR / HMLS.  To check that e-mail address, go to https://ims.heartlandmlsweb.com and login to view your “Personal Information.” Still want that paper bill?  Fax the Billing Preference Form found under the Membership section of  “Forms & Documents” link in the right hand column on this page.  You may opt to continue receiving paper bills at no charge during 2009; charges for paper bills, as outlined on the Billing Preference Form, will take effect in January 2010.
treeLet me get this straight, if we want to not save trees by going paperless we need to use even more paper and electricity?  Let's call it what it is...You want to save the money.  It makes more sense for an individual realtor to hit print on his email and expend the $0.10 in paper and electricity (because we'll need that receipt for our taxes) than it does for KCRAR to continue to foot thousands for the expense.  I get it.  JUST QUIT CALLING IT "GOING GREEN!" Every credit card company I know wants me to "go green."  Every mortgage company I have, too.  They want me to foot the bill for having the copies.  I never opt to "go green."  I make them keep the cost.  That is until one of them actually comes clean and calls it what it is. Editorial note:  I don't hate the environment or KCRAR.  In fact, I love the fact that KCRAR provides free education for member realtors.  They can do this because they are consistently over-funded.  Cost saving moves like this are to be admired.  I just want what it is called what it is.  :)  Kind of like when Lowes and other retailers used to have 2.5' long receipts and everyone called them out they went back to practical sized receipts.  I don't need an advertisement with each receipt.  I just spent money with you, as you might know by the receipt!

The State of Commercial Real Estate Investing in Kansas City

Chris Lengquist - Sunday, May 3, 2009
I like to keep up with commercial real estate.  Mostly, I read about it.  Ask questions about it.  On very rare occasions I actually get to partake in a commercial real estate transaction.  But commercial real estate investing and residential real estate investing are two completely different animals.  The Kansas City Star has an excellent write-up today on the state of the commercial market today. img_8368 First, let's remember who I am.  I'm a residential real estate agent that works a whole lot with residential investment property owners and would-be owners.  Also, I rent commercial space for my own use in an entirely different arena that my wife and I also enjoy.  So I do have experience with both.  My thoughts; Residential Investment Property Investing In Kansas City Today While there are definitely areas to avoid, I can say with a straight face that if you have cash you should be buying.  Now.  Not later.  The money is currently in single family homes, not multi-family homes.  There are more reasons for this than I want to discuss here.  But that's the way it is. Commercial Real Estate Investing In Kansas City Today Oy.  Read the article and look around.  In the retail strip center I lease property in we currently had 100% occupancy for the first time in a decade.  The strip center is run down and well-below the standards of other Olathe strip retail centers.  But one of the largest tenants will be closing it's doors on May 23rd.  (The owner told me he just isn't able to make it with his limited customer base cutting back.) About a mile from my center I've had another retail center talking to me about moving up there when my current lease is up.  They took a previously run-down center and gave it a new face lift.  Looks good.  But they also tripled their lease rates.  And it sits about 35%-45% occupied. *** BBQCapital has a reader that goes by the name of Another Investor.  And AI once said that she didn't understand the fascination with commercial real estate investing because of the capital and risk involved.  (If I'm too far off what you said AI, please correct me!)  And that it was her feeling that a commercial tenant will quit paying their rent before a residential tenant would.  After all, would they rather have a home to live in if they cannot make their store payments?  Probably. I think for large capital investors commercial is an excellent way to go.  And there are hundreds of reasons for this.  But for 99.9% of our readership here you're probably better off with 10-12 homes than one small, run-down strip center.  (Not saying you need 10-12.  But at that point you are probably thinking about going commercial.) Just my thoughts for the day.

Kansas City Rental Market Hot & Cold

Chris Lengquist - Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I received a phone call from one of my favorite Kansas City real estate investors yesterday asking me how the rental market is.  Well, that depends on which house for rent you are talking about.  She (along with her funny as heck husband) own investment properties from Blue Springs, MO to Olathe, KS.  Here is what I'm finding and what I told her. for-rent-kansas-cityKansas City - The Missouri side is better than the Kansas side when we are talking about within the city limits of Kansas City.  But Kansas City, MO has the really depressing area of US 71 Hwy over to I-435.  That market is flooded.  Waldo, red hot.  I put out a sign on the 23rd.  So far I've had six showings and several have taken applications.  Phone calls top thirty.  Another investor I know over in Waldo rented his place in less than two weeks.  Another in less than a week.  Over by the Bannister Mall area (what will we call that now?) I have an investor with only one vacancy in about eight rental homes.  Olathe & Overland Park - Pretty consistent. Rental properties seem to have a vacancy period of anywhere from two weeks to a month and a half.  Not too bad.  Not fantastic.  Just steady-as-she-goes, as usual. Blue Springs- Seeing  a little softness out there.  But not too bad.  Should have no more than 60 days vacancy.  I say that, but then a duplex I have over there is full and there are only about 3 vacancies in a neighborhood of about 220 doors.  But the western and southern edges of Blue Springs are little different story. The key when looking to buy more rental property for investment purposes is to look for properties that tenants will like.  Keep them in good condition and market them at fair prices for their respective neighborhoods.  Regardless of price range.

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