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Cabinets and other Woodworking ideas

Property Management

As we mentioned before, we have been fortunate to see some of the work that Nanke Signature Group has done, and they have a great team of woodworkers that they work with. If you are looking for a great Custom Home Builder in Arizona, your search should start and end with them. They are very fortunate to work with a great woodworking expert named Dave Schiller, who makes cabinets, hardwood floors, and a slew of other wood art that makes any home pop with luxury. Dave also designs doors, furniture, and generally works on home decor that is customized to each and every homeowner. To see some of the work that Dave does, you can follow this link here.

We have been following woodworking in relation to custom homes because there is absolutely so much detail that goes into every project. We have spoke with custom woodworkers in the past, and watched them as they do their work, for example, creating custom oak doors that will go on the front of a home. The elegance that each custom piece adds makes each homeowner giddy with joy, and we love seeing when an owner is happy with a finished product.

Taking woodworking to the next level is the construction of log homes, something that we don’t see at all in Florida, for obvious reasons. We have taken trips to Colorado or to Flagstaff, Arizona to see the custom log homes that some people are constructing for their vacation homes either close to ski areas or just in the woods away from the general population. Here’s an example of a custom log home that was built in Silverton, Colorado recently.

Custom Log home

This home, just like other log homes, was a custom home in that the logs had to be specially cut to fit each other. Within the home, you would notice that the A Frame construction means that there are no pillars or upright beam supports to support the weight of the logs. There are running beams that go the length of the home, but they are supported by an intricate wire system that is very tasteful to look at.

This home was constructed in 1998, and as you can tell, the steel roof is made to withstand a very harsh winter that can come in Colorado, especially in the high country. The interior of the home is very well insulated, not only by the wood that is constructed with, but also because of the ability the wood has to hold in the heat because of the size of the logs.

There are a few log homes that we have seen that resemble this, and although they are all different, we have marveled at builders ability to customize every log home with something special for each homeowner. From custom fireplaces to custom cabinets like Schiller makes, there is always something that we admire about woodworking.

We love managing homes in Fort Lauderdale, but getting out to places like Colorado and Arizona really gives us the chance to see other homes that we would not see in Florida.


Home Additions

Property Management

This post is dedicated strictly to home additions, and for those homeowners that are thinking about going on that wild renovation journey that so many talk about, but may never actually work on. We get a lot of custom home owners saying to us ‘Ron, I wish I would have known about this before going with a custom addition’. Well, now there’s so much research put into renovating, and so many bids are given to each homeowner before they choose a contractor, that those questions or statements are rarely getting uttered anymore.

For the most part, home designers are doing their part to make sure that each bid includes all the custom tailorings, and that everything is laid out from the type of stone to the type of wood being used on any home. Often times, there are centerpieces that custom home designers want the homeowner to focus their attention on, such as a fountain in the middle of an entry way, or a custom fireplace in the middle of a den. These perfect additions are nothing more than luxury, but they are what the wealthier homeowners are looking for.

Of course you want each and every home additions to run in accordance to what the home currently looks like. If there is a home with a more elegant and modern look to it, you won’t see any contemporary and flashy pieces or additions being added to it. You will see all builders making sure that they add to the home in good taste, and don’t go against the current quality of the home. We’re not simply talking about normal home builders here, we’re talking about the builders that import their pieces of luxurious additions from Italy, and a lot of the specific nuances they add to homes are meticulously thought out. We have recently seen some hearths that have gone above and beyond the normal standards for hearths, and they make the fireplaces in homes look that much better. Mantle pieces are cleverly drawn out, and made from only the finest woods that won’t show age over time.

Our current favorite home additions happen to be in exterior landscaping, and the fantastic spin that most luxury home builders outsource their work to custom landscapers to perform fabulous work. We saw a recent landscaping job in Fort Lauderdale that came in at a whopping price of over $140,000 for the backyard landscaping job! This project took over a month, and involved building two gazebos around the corners of a pool, with fountains running out from under the gazebos. The stone that was added to the backyard was perfectly shaped to go with the decor around the pool, and the homeowners were in love from the moment they saw the new addition.

We’re a bit lucky to see all of these new additions, and to see them in some of the homes that we property manage. When we see these additions, we like to ask a ton of questions to make sure that we can recommend great contractors or builders when we come across them.

Modern or Contemporary in your Luxury Home

Property Management

If you own a luxury home, you probably have a certain touch to it that is all your own. You may have made this modern, or contemporary, depending on your taste. You may enjoy subtle overtones, or mixing a certain culture into your home that is unique to you and your family. Like we have said in many previous posts, we’ve seen quite a few luxury homes, so we can see different tastes come out in each home.

One of our current customers was over at our offices a few weeks ago, and was talking about a custom home that is being built for them in Prescott Valley, Arizona by a luxury home builder that specializes in making each home unique. www.nankeluxuryhomes.com is run by John Nanke, who has been a luxury home builder for over 20 years, and has a family line of custom home builders in the state of Arizona. When we spoke with John and his son, Jared about their projects, what leapt off the page at us was the detail that they put into each project that they take on. Not only do they cater to everyone unique needs, but they will go to great lengths to get the kind of materials that everyone wants to add to their home.

One project that they detailed was especially fascinating in that there was a custom fireplace that had small little bits of a special tile that had to be cut into 1 inch square pieces, which meant that they were adding over 1,000 small pieces of this special tile to the fireplace. The attention to detail that we saw in this project was especially interesting, and it made us wonder if other luxury home building companies took that much care or time in figuring out what their clients wanted.

Most builders simply throw up cookie cutter homes, where the home buyer can choose a few upgrades, but they don’t have the ability to really choose anything custom that would go into their home. We have seen some builders in the recent past change their philosophies to keep up with the other builders who are pushing the envelope a bit more. When the industry is filled with companies that build more than 1,000 homes per year, it’s nice to find family owned businesses like the Nanke’s who have dug out a niche in building custom homes around a buyer’s needs.

Really, you can call these people designers or architects more than anything. While they are very good at building things, their trained eye and imagination helps them bring customers dreams to life.

custom home kitchen

Most people who are building their dream home might not think about the little things, so it’s nice to have builders that are thinking for them, and asking the right questions about a project!



Custom finishings in your home

Property Management

Last post, we discussed luxury home builders, and what are some good things to look out for if you are looking to build a luxury home. This post ties in with that one in that we will be discussing custom home finishings, and the necessity for builders to add them, or for homeowners to add them while remodeling.

Basically, if you own a luxury home, and you want to rent it out for a very high dollar amount over and over again, you need to make sure that your finishes are top notch. What do we mean when we say finishes? Well, we mean the fixtures, the pictures, the paint, the trim, the flooring, and everything else that people will look at in your home and say ‘Wow’.

Home finishes
Home finishes

Custom finishes are so important because, if you want to rent your home for over $10,000 a week, you need to have the very best in doorknobs, faucets, countertops, and other fixtures.

Take the picture to the left. This is s standard display at your local hardware store that is ripe with drawer handles. You can find some of them starting at about $5 apiece, and you can spend as much as about $400 apiece. For the luxury homes, you want to be on the higher side of this because luxury guests will notice if you have a standard steel knob that is painted bronze, or if you have a nickel plated knob that is not very expensive. The more luxury your finishes, the more that people are going to be talking about your home consistently, and the more that you are going to be referred by people to stay at your luxury home or estate.

Custom finishes hopefully are added when the home is built, and the luxury home builder that you hire to build your palace needs to know exactly what you want. Cutting corners is not an option here, and if you don’t have the intention of adding top notch fixtures, then you will have to list your home for a little less.

This is also important when it comes to resale value of a home. Most luxury home realtors are going to notice the finer things, and if you are looking to sell your home for top dollar, they are going to want to see the finishes that will fetch high asking prices. If you want to sell your home for what you think it is worth, spending up front on the right finishes is definitely the thing to do.

If you see some of the properties we manage, you will notice some of the best finishes in some of them, and in others, some of the generic finishes.

We love seeing so many different luxury properties, and it’s fun to compare them to some of the homes that other people own, if we are fortunate enough to step in them!


Luxury Home Builders

Property Management

There’s a few companies that we have been fortunate to work with because some of our clients have been inquiring about building luxury homes lately. So, we thought we would do a post about what we look for in a Luxury Home builder. There are so many companies out there who call themselves ‘custom home builders’, but really, anybody can say they can build your dream home. You might want to do a little homework before shelling out over a million dollars for someone to build the home that you are going to showcase for the rest of your life.

luxury home

We’ve seen some amazing luxury homes in our day, and when we ask who the builders are, not once have they been anyone that would pop into your mind, or any large companies. They are most always small local companies based in either those cities that we are visiting, or located statewide.

The style that we like is more modern, which is much different than the traditional home that has a sloped roof, or the homes that look the same, no matter if they are large or small. We want something that sticks out in the crowd, and something that people will recognize, and say ‘That home was very special.’

Fortunately, we have seen a few homes like that in our day, and have had the opportunity to manage property that we were able to see some true luxury in.

We outlined what we look for in luxury when we travel here, but there are some different things we would do if we had a luxury home builder take over our project.

For one, we would have open floor plans in every single one of our projects because we want to be able to see through the house without having too many walls in the way. We have seen some custom homes that have not been very well laid out and have way too many walls, some simply because they are needed for structural support.

Another thing we would outline to a builder is that there has to be a certain custom touch to homes, or in other words, we would give a designer some freedom to put their touch on the property based on some of their past projects. We feel that when a luxury home builder goes above and beyond, that they will make sure they are acquiring materials that would not normally appear in your typical home that large scale builders would throw up in under two months.

That brings us to our next point, which is that any custom home project is going to have to take some time to make sure that the job is done right. Any time that we look at a project, we can tell if the specific attention to detail was given to a home based on the kitchen, bathrooms, and the fixtures that are added to any design project. If those are just thrown into a home without any thought that is given to it, a buyer is not going to be happy with a project.

During a luxury home building project, there has to be some semblance of communication between the buyer and the builder, which we think is the most important step of the process. If that is not looked after carefully on either side, then the project could be doomed from the start.

We have had good fortune to see some great projects completed in our day, so we want to make sure that you have the same good fortune!


Best places to build a luxury home

Property Management

We have spoken numerous times about how you should use a great property management company to manage your properties. Obviously, if you are in the real estate business, you have to either manage your homes or commercial offices yourself, or have someone else do it. That’s where we come in!

But there’s also the realization that if you have the ability to build your own luxury home, you need to find a reputable builder to do just that, build your dream home. Because we manage luxury properties in Florida, we have had the opportunity to see many properties in the past that have been custom designed and built for homeowners all over the nation.

So, that brings us to our subject in this blog post. Best places to build a luxury home.

What are your choices?

Ours are, with the reasons next to them:

Scottsdale, AZ. We love the area, and the ability to still find property in Scottsdale and the surround Paradise Valley area are still very much alive. Arizona property can still be bought for cheaper than some other areas in the US, and you can live outside Scottsdale and Paradise Valley at the fraction of the cost. You just have to be able to weather the really hot months. But hey, we’re talking about luxury here.

Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona















Keep reading

Do you know Luxury when you travel?

Property Management

When you travel, or you rent a property away from home, what’s your definition of luxury? Do you fly first class? How about rent a luxury car like a Cadillac, Mercedes, or anything a bit nicer than the average coupe, sedan, or SUV?

What about the home that you rent when you and a few families are taking a vacation? Do you rent something like the below?

Luxury Home

We of course want you to experience life’s luxuries, and renting a gorgeous home is one of the best things you can do when you are on vacation. Why? Because you can have a vacation, and go back to a luxury home to sleep at night, or you can throw parties at your luxury home instead of going out to the bars, or to fancy restaurants. Even if you don’t have too much money to spend while going on vacations, nowadays, luxury home rentals in places like Fort Lauderdale, Scottsdale, AZ, and around the country are getting more and more affordable if you go in with multiple other people or families for a weeklong or greater rental.

Think about it – you have 5 families, and you are all renting a $10,000 per week luxury home that sleeps 25 people. If you were to rent hotel rooms, go out to eat, do things around any city that you are visiting – the bill just for that would be exorbitant, and you would probably spend the same amount of money on the hotels that you would spend on the luxury home rental.

We did some experimenting years ago when we were just getting into the luxury home property management business. We took vacations to nice places like Florida, California, and stayed in luxury hotels like The Four Seasons, The Ritz, and nothing lower than a Hilton. For the 4-5 star hotels, you were looking at least $300 per night, and that was about 5 years ago. You would be lucky nowadays to get hotel rooms that sleep more than 4 people for under $300 a night (Super 8, or Motel 6 is obviously excluded).

Our point is, you should look into renting a luxury property wherever you go.

What else is the bonus of renting a nice place when you travel? You get to see multiple different styles of luxury home building, and see many different ways that homes are built around the nation. Take Scottsdale for example. You will find massive estates in Scottsdale, every single one of them outfitted with a swimming pool to fend off the hot temperatures, and all of them beautifully landscaped. If you were to travel to Vail, Colorado, you might not find that pool, but you might be right next to the slopes.

Because of VRBO and Air B&B, there are so many homes you can rent. Just be sure to reach out to people who have rented those places in the past.

As always, if you are in the market to have someone manage your property, just give us a shout!

Perfect Property Management

Property Management

What do rising house, condo and townhome rental rates mean for Florida homeowners and investors?

Across the United States, rental rates are rising, and so is competition amongst potential tenants for quality rental housing. In fact, rental rates in Florida are outpacing the national rental rate increase averages considerably. While rising rents and higher demand are a boon to homeowners, investors and the housing market as a whole, what are the potential negatives of such statistics?

Well, the truth is that it depends on how you manage your property. If your property is managed properly, the negatives are fairly easily avoided. That’s where hiring a first rate, experienced and honest property management company comes into play.

Property Management

With high rental rates and increased competition, it can be difficult to wade through the vast sea of applicants wishing to rent your property. Screening those potential tenants thoroughly and taking any guesswork out of your decision to fill a vacancy with someone you don’t know can be a lifesaver.

Property management companies excel at this process, and use time tested techniques to ensure that the person who rents your residential or commercial space is solvent, financially secure, responsible and has no outstanding issues that would be ‘red flags’ and would potentially negatively impact your property.

Aside from handling this daunting and sometimes nightmarish process, property management companies can ensure that your property is well cared for and maintains (or better yet, increases) its attractiveness to potential occupants. Think about it: potential tenants will not doubt prefer to live in a home that is maintained well, has timely service completed, is freshly painted, and so on. Aside from handling the minutiae of tracking, scheduling and staying on top of this required maintenance, property managers also often contract local service technicians for less than their usual rates by providing a portfolio of properties, thereby reducing costs at a volume discount.

Most importantly though, property managers can help to alleviate your stress and anxiety when dealing with these management issues. Especially for owners who are looking to expand their real estate investment portfolio, getting bogged down in simple repairs, time consuming applicant screening processes and potential legal disputes ultimately takes time, and this is time and energy that is surely going to be taken away from your growing your investments and expanding your real estate empire.

As seasoned veterans of the property management industry, we obviously are a bit biased about the benefits of hiring a competent and enthusiastic property manager to take care of your properties. But don’t take our word for it! Do your research. A quick Google search on the advantages of using a property management firm will quickly show you the benefits of such services. Our advice once you make the wise decision to use a property management company for your real estate management needs? Shop around. Call at least three reputable companies in your area. Compare services, get several quotes, read reviews from tenants about their experiences, talk to other landlords. Research, research, research. The small amount of up front time it will take you will pay massive dividends in avoided stress

and time for mimosas on the beach down the road…

Finding your Perfect Luxury Rental

Property Management

Want to know the keys to finding your perfect luxury rental? I’m not talking about you being the renter, I’m talking about you buying a place that you will rent, and being the owner that rents the property. If you’re in the risky business of buying real estate, and finding a way to make money off your luxury homes, then this post is for you.

There’s a few criteria that I think you should consider before buying something that you will (hopefully) be renting more than six months per year. Your list could change, but this is a pretty good summary of what you need to consider:

  1. This is the most important by far of all the variables when it comes to buying a luxury property. You clearly don’t want to buy a luxury home in some run down city in Ohio (sorry, Cleveland, but you’re not going to make the list). Popular vacation spots are what you should be looking for, and you need to do some research. We suggest finding people who have gone through the process, contacting them, and asking them question after question after question. Most vacation rentals are going to cost you a pretty penny, so doing your homework on the city or town you are considering buying in is objective number one.
  2. How many months per year will you be able to rent out your property? If you’re renting in the warm weather states like Florida or California, you probably are going to be able to rent more than you would say in New York. There are a number of factors that will influence the state you choose to rent in. For example, do you like the state, do you want to travel there if nobody is renting your property? If you had to sell your home and move there in a pinch, would you do it? Places like Colorado could be a great place to rent in because of the ski season, and the rather warm weather the rest of the year. Again, consult someone who has bought and rented a property in your desired state, and ask questions.
  3. What’s the going rate per bedroom, or per bed in your locations? You can normally find this information by doing some research on VRBO.com or Airbnb.com, so look into those sites and see what the supply and demand is looking like. You could try to pose as a customer, and ask questions through these sites to get the feel for how busy it is in these locations. Pretty easy to have conversations with some people through these very popular websites, so give it a shot.
  4. Lastly, will you be using a property manager? If you’re looking to buy a property in Fort Lauderdale, we know of a pretty good property manager you could contact:).

There will be a few more things you should think about, but that will get your wheels spinning a bit.


Fort Lauderdale homes

Property Management nightmares?

Property Management

When was the last time that you had a great experience with your property management company? One that left you absolutely speechless and wanting to reach out to your friends and family to tell them that you had someone phenomenal to work with that would take care of their property?

You probably started working with property management companies shortly after you graduated high school, and started renting apartments, houses, condos, townhomes. Basically, any time you had to pay rent, you were dealing with either a landlord, homeowner, or most likely a property management company.

We hope that you have had great experiences, but chances are that you have been in the upper 75% of people who have had to deal with slum lords, people who won’t fix things, or homeowners who simply won’t contact you when something is going wrong with their house.

This article shows you six signs that your property management company is doing a bad job, and I’m sure that either yourself or someone you know can back these 6 signs up.

So, we want to help you out a bit. Below, we have given you a few questions to ask of a property manager before either turning your keys over to them to be your property manager, or if you are renting a property, questions to ask that company before you enter into a contract.

  1. Does your company answer the phone, and have at least one repair person to deal with all the properties that you are covering? If your property management company has control over more than 10 properties, you need to have 1 maintenance guy on speed dial, or on staff. More than 20, 2 maintenance guys. More than 30, 3 maintenance guys. You get the drift. The more properties that a company is taking control of, the more maintenance is going to be a pressing issue.
  2. How many disputes have you handled in the past 12 months, and what have been the results of those disputes? If you see a greater number of disputes, ask to either speak with the homeowner, or the current renters to see what they say about each instance. If the solution was favorable to both parties, then you’re in good hands. If not, you might want to look elsewhere.
  3. How are rent increases handles, and how far in advance will renters know that the rent is increasing. Renters should be given at least 3 months notice before their lease is up that their rent will increase. If anything less, then you should look to work with a different property management company. Clearly, rent increases are up to the investor or homeowner, but that needs to be in the contract that you sign before you enter into agreement.
  4. Lastly, is there a main contact that you will be dealing with when it comes to a property management company? If so, make sure that you are comfortable speaking with that person, and that you know them on a first name basis. If you ever have a dispute, that person will be your go to person, so having them in your corner is a must-have.

We hope that you use this handy guide to finding a great property management company. If you have any questions, contact us today!

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