Services to developers of properties for retired home-owners
Kingsdale have been managing retirement properties on behalf of major national developers for 20 years. During this time we have built up a wealth of expertise that we are pleased to share with all our clients.
In our role as managing agent, Kingsdale live with the consequences of poor design. We are therefore understandably keen to ensure that ill-judged or inappropriate build features are eliminated during the design process.
‘Bad design’ is not usually the result of a single major oversight or error. Rather, it manifests itself in a series of small design failures that cumulatively have a negative impact on end users and are the cause of much reputational damage.
For the reasons stated above, Kingsdale seek to provide our consultancy services from the earliest stages of the development cycle so that potential problems are identified and ‘designed out’ of the finished product.
∎ We will review outline plans and give advice and comment on all design aspects of the project.
∎ We will contribute to drawing up design and equipment specifications for key areas such as commercial kitchens, laundries, alarm systems and other security features.
∎ We can offer bespoke staffing ‘models’ to meet the needs of individual developments in order to provide the best quality service to owners in the most efficient manner.
∎ We welcome the opportunity to work with developers in creating new concepts for retirement living.
Service Charge and Reserve Fund calculation
Developers have a legal obligation to provide prospective purchasers with a realistic estimate of the cost of living on their development. Kingsdale have a wealth of experience and technical knowledge to draw upon in calculating a service charge budget to meet this requirement.
A further consideration is the need to fund both long-term repairs to the building (e.g. roofs, rainwater goods, windows) and the replacement of major items of equipment (e.g. alarm systems, lifts). In addition there will be a cyclical need to carry out costly interior and exterior redecoration of the building.
It is important that proper provision is made to ensure that funds are available to pay for these long-term costs when they arise. Establishing and managing a Reserve Fund (also known as a Sinking Fund) is an essential part of the long-term success of a development.
Prospective purchasers take comfort from the knowledge that proper provision is being made for future costs and that their investment in the build environment is being protected. However, it is important that the concept of the Fund is properly explained and that it can be clearly shown that their current contribution is both appropriate and fair.
Kingsdale have various funding ‘models’ that can be applied to the management of Reserve Funds and we will advise clients on the best option for them.
Legal documentation models
Whilst some developers will have their own legal arrangements in place, Kingsdale have various Lease and Management Agreement templates that can be adapted for individual purposes.
In either event, Kingsdale can offer advice on the appropriate-ness of any legal documentation provided.
Kingsdale will also prepare the ‘Owners’ Handbook’ that is required to be provided to all purchasers on a development. This explains all the significant aspects of living on a development and includes information on the alarm and other equipment fitted in apartments. The Handbook is an invaluable source of practical information about the Court - parking, catering, refuse collection and other day-to-day arrangements - and a handy reference guide to Court living.
Kingsdale understand the dynamics of the retirement market and we can bring this expertise to all projects that we are involved in:
People buy retirement properties for many reasons. However, many purchasers will be moving from a home where they have been living for many years and are therefore seeking the reassurance that their proposed move is the right one for them. Kingsdale bring their understanding of this anxiety to address these concerns.
∎ Kingsdale can assist in training sales staff to properly understand the concerns of purchasers and thereby build a genuine empathy with their clients as they proceed through a process that they are not likely to have undertaken for many years.
∎ The idea of paying a service charge towards communal running costs of a development is new to many purchasers. Consequently, it is very important that all aspects of the service charge, including any contribution towards a Reserve Fund, are properly explained and understood by purchasers. Prospective purchasers, and their families, need to be assured of the transparency of the service charge and of Kingsdale’s open accountability to owners for service charge monies.
∎ The best type of marketing is from referrals by existing owners. Kingsdale are confident of their management reputation and prospective purchasers are welcome to visit other schemes that we manage.
Countdown to site launch
Many millions of pounds are committed to development projects and the successful launch of a scheme is critical to its long-term success.
Kingsdale have been involved in site launches for almost 20 years and will guide clients through this exciting but challenging time:
∎ We will seek to appoint appropriately skilled staff well before the ‘launch date’ so that all staff will be properly prepared to welcome new residents.
∎ We allow time in the recruitment process for appropriate staff training. All staff will take part in a fully comprehensive training programme that includes customer service, health and safety, product knowledge and building management. In particular, it will include specialist training on emergency and fire alarm systems.
∎ However, and most importantly, all staff will be trained in the ‘soft skills’ of empathy with their client group and their particular and changing needs.
∎ New staff members will visit existing developments to gain ‘real life’ experience of the management challenges of a retirement development.
Kingsdale also arrange reciprocal visits by experienced staff to new developments for on-site ‘hands-on’ training.
∎ Kingsdale staff will also be available for any marketing events organised by the developer. This will give Kingsdale the opportunity to explain properly its role to prospective purchasers, and to address concerns by giving full explanations to questions raised.
Want to find out more?
If you would like to find out more about how Kingsdale can assist you in making sure your development is successful, please feel free to contact us without obligation.