Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Selecting a Property Management Company

If you've spent any time in a resort community, you've probably encountered a good number of vacation rentals. These can vary, from cabins to condos and perhaps even a seaside bungalow. These are properties frequently owned by absent investors and rented out to guests on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. In a busy resort community these homes can not only be a gracious lodging experience, but often more economical than hotels especially at "high season" rates.
If you're among the many considering investing in a rental property you must make a choice. Prepare to spend the time to maintain the unit and arrange for reliable housekeeping services, advertise your little getaway on the internet and in the local media, and provide facilities for checking guests in and out. The alternative is the preference of a majority of out of town owners...hire a reputable property management company to help maximize your ROI.
Here are a few guidelines to help in selecting the management company that best meets your needs.
> Naturally, word of mouth can help you in your research. Talk to locals and other rental property owners. Most will be happy to share their experiences with you.
> Note the visibility of the management company in the market. Are they easily located in the local phone book? How many units do they manage? Do they have actual office facilities or are your guests reporting for check-in to someone's garage? Do they advertise in the local travel guides and other area publications?
> Technology plays an important part in property management success. Does your candidate have a solid internet presence? Can you see ample photos online to help selecting an appropriate retreat? Can you easily check availability and book online? Most important, how easily can your candidate be found in the online community? Target a search engine and a search term that you feel people might actually use to shop for a property. In Ruidoso, New Mexico a mountain resort community the most popular vacation rental is the mountain cabin.
Select, for example MSN...and the simple search phrase "ruidoso cabin". If your property management candidate shows up in the first page, you've located a firm that has the marketing savvy to help your investment succeed. If the company you're investigating is number one on the first search page you've found an aggressive, professional marketer with the tools you need to maximize the return from your investment. If they do not appear in the first three pages of search results...move on. They may have a website, but it is not positioned to help you make reservations.
> What is the rental experience like for the guest? Is the initial contact with a friendly, knowlegeable reservationist? Here's where your own powers of observation come into play. Call your candidate and actually book a stay in one of their managed properties. How were you treated? Was the property well maintained and clean? Would you rent from them again? This simple technique can be a real eye opener.
These basic questions will help you get started in selecting the property management that can help you realize your investment plans.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Country Music - Introducing CT Harrison

CT Harrison just called to let me know that he was making another television appearance, this time on cable's PAX network. Not surprising. It has been said that if you throw enough "stuff" at the wall, sooner or later something is bound to stick. And CT has displayed remarkable resilience with his throwing arm. After knocking on doors from Nashville to Los Angeles I suppose that he has every right to become discouraged at the results of his efforts. But he doesn't. He just keeps on.
What makes a person that focused on his goal...his love of music? "My sister left home when I was just eight years old." CT recalls. "She left behind her Gibson Les Paul copy guitar. That was enough for me!" he remembers. "I used to sit in the living room for hours playing that thing to an 8-Track of Johnny Cash's Man In Black." Note: If you don't quite remember 8-Tracks ask Mom and Dad. "I would pretend I was Johnny Cash and the crowd was cheering for ME. Later, I also fell in love with the drums. After playing air drums every waking hour of every day my folks finally bought me a drum set. I guess this whole course was set right there."

CT was born in Las Vegas, Nevada where he was adopted at 11 months old after stays in several foster homes. He grew up on a farm near Roswell, New Mexico where he attended East Grand Plains Elementary School, T. Mesa Middle School and finally Goddard High School. "I wasn't a great student, but I did OK... and my love of music continued to develop." CT offered. While other Country Music hopefuls were waiting tables in Nashville, CT had his share of 'day jobs'. "My first after school job was in a butcher shop and I absolutely hated it! Next, I held a brief job at the local Radio Shack". CT seemed to embrace variety and jobs as a contractor, surveyor, psychiatric technician, nurse's aid, reservationist and several stints as a Disc Jockey followed.
But CT wasn't just working... he was listening as well. He had his ear to his Country favorites Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Gary Allen, Pat Green and his idol, Chris LeDoux. CT mused, "When I listen to what I've recorded, I can hear bits and pieces of all of them." And CT's discography continues to grow. "Waiting For The Other Heart To Fall was a 5 song EP that I really enjoyed recording. The season seemed to take over next and we released CT's Country Christmas. My current project American Outlaw is perhaps our biggest undertaking to date."
CT does reserve some time for relaxation. "I fish, camp and when darkness falls it's straight to the honky tonk dance floor." And all wrapped in a steady diet of Country music. His fantasy? "I'd travel to Scotland and visit old castles, Loch Ness and do some ghost hunting, in season of course." A grin swept across his face. "I really love ghost hunting."
CT's chosen genre of Country music has always been about lovin', leavin', drinkin' and fightin'. I asked CT which he feels has most impacted his career. "Bar brawls." he answered without the slightest hesitation. "One night in Farmington, New Mexico 5 pipe liners got me down in the parking lot. It took the better part of a month to recover but heck, that was FUN!"
You can sample CT's music or order it online at