Off Season

This time of year I am often asked if things are slow in our world. After all, it is off season in Aspen, ski areas are closed, tourists are gone and locals take a deep breath.

The truth is, no we are not slow. In fact, we are very busy in off season cleaning, repairing, maintaining and working on client requested projects. Business shifts from taking care of clients to taking care of their stuff! If you had a multi-million dollar investment, you would want to know it was being taken care of appropriately.

Wonder what we are doing?
Fire suppression test and inspections
Backflow device inspections
Cleaning and sealing flagstone
Starting irrigation
Swapping out winter and summer gear
Tuning bikes
Building a swimming pool
Installing new T.V.s
Installing a new wifi network
Swapping winter tires
Servicing vehicles
Inspecting roofs
Flipping mattresses
Deep cleaning places that don’t get cleaned often
and my favorite, driving a Porsche to Denver for service.

There is no off to our off season!

Aspen Home

Being One Step Ahead – Aspen Property Inspections

We recently had the opportunity to interact with Sotheby’s broker, Andrew Ernemann whose client had a residential property under contract. As part of the due diligence process, Andrew asked us to walk through the property with him to offer thoughts on the condition of the property and identify any areas of concern.

Now property inspections are a typical part of the process before closing. Home inspectors will turn up the expected list of issues, many small, and they generate an impressive report full of photos and notes of concern. My favorite item is the disclaimer that states, “determining serviceability is beyond the scope of this inspection”. In other words, don’t sue me if I miss something.

What impresses me about Andrew is his out of the box thinking. He realizes that companies like Cornerstone deal with home issues on a daily basis. We will see small items that need attention for sure. What we are really interested in though, are signs of significant issues that lead to bigger issues. Our job is being one step ahead.

Our perspective tends to be focused on things like moisture, drainage, roof pitches, unusual signs of wear, and evidence of preventative maintenance. I would like to think we offered Andrew and his client value added input for their inspection deadline. We offered our observations combined with a budget expectation so that the buyer could address specific concerns and related costs. No charge and no disclaimer.

I think Andrew will close the deal. Good chance we might as well!


FloLogic saves the day

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, we had a FloLogic alarm call. The device tripped around dinner time on Wedneday night. We responded to discover a leak in the laundry room of one of our client homes. A $10mm home.

Imagine our relief that the FloLogic did it’s job. It detected water flow when the house was unoccupied, shut off the water and sounded an alarm. We then respond and discover the source of the problem.

We pride ourselves on being proactive on all fronts, especially protecting our client’s assets. But as hard as we work, we can not prevent or predict every scenario. In this case, a water supply line behind the wash machine spilt. It did not freeze, it did not disconnect from the hose.

The story ended well as there was minimal water and no real damage. More Thanksgiving than we had planned!

What’s next?

In our desire to offer world class service, we constantly ask ourselves, what’s next, what other services can we provide our clients?

For this holiday season, we want to offer personalized shopping. Let us take the hassle out of shipping all of your gifts to Aspen. Here are a few ideas of what we can do for you and your family with a few days notice:

• Personal shopping for any size, age or budget at our local stores. We can shop at either end of the spectrum: from Gucci to Kate Spade to Target.
• Stocking stuffers for any age or lifestyle.
• Personal shopping for hostess gifts for parties on your calendar.
• Wrapping services for gifts.

Let us know if you would like our assistance. A quick phone call or email describing your needs and desired budget are all we need to get started.

Remodeling your Aspen home

Are you planning on remodeling your luxury home?  

As residential property managers for luxury homes in Aspen, we frequently engage general contractors to perform remodels on behalf of our clients.  As we are ultimately responsible for the quality, timeliness and financial results of these projects, choosing the right contractor for the remodel is critical to our success. As the homeowner, it is important that you understand the selection process as well.

Here are some of the key things for you and your property managers to consider when choosing a contractor for the remodel:

Don’t just pick someone based upon a large ad or fancy website.  Do some homework first:

· Check with the local Better Business Bureau. 

· Find someone else who has had significant work done and ask about their remodeling experience. Would   they recommend their contractor?

· Call a reputable architectural firm and ask who they recommend.

When interviewing a General Contractor, ask the following:

· Do they carry insurance; what type and what are the limits? Will it be enough to cover the projected costs   of your project (and then some, just in case)?

· Do they hire sub contractors or use employees? 

· Will they give back up to their invoices?

· Can they give references of at least two completed remodeling projects?

· Will they give a fixed price or an estimate? 

· How many other projects are they currently working on? 

· Depending on the scope of work, will they give a schedule of completion? Are they professional and             organized?

· Do they want deposit money up front and if so, how much? 

· Do they offer a standard one year warranty for workmanship and materials? 

· Will they work under a signed contract ?

Most importantly, when you are selecting a contractor for your remodel, don’t rush into an agreement.  Take the time to hire the right company.  Anyone pressuring you to commit is probably desperate for work.  It pays big dividends to make design and material decisions ahead of the project to avoid the stress of being rushed into a decision.

You can find more detailed information about finding a contractor for remodeling your luxury home and not getting ripped off in a recent article in the Fiscal Times – “Remodel Your House and Get the Most for Your Money”

Remember, once the dust has settled you want to love the finished product and both you and your property managers want to have a healthy relationship with the construction team.

Another great service example

It is so refreshing to me to experience great service because it is so rare.

Cornerstone’s FedEx Ground driver is a regular at our office. Kris is always pleasant and polite, even during our busiest of seasons. He is so good that we have specifically called FedEx to tell them what a great employee they have. They recognized him for that call. Note the correlation between the great employee service and a company that recognizes and rewards great service.
Today, Kris comes to the office with a delivery that was addressed to me personally. He stopped at my house but was unable to deliver because no one was home to sign. Rather than leave the annoying notice and starting over with the delivery process tomorrow, Kris decided to try the office to see if I might be there.
Now understand, I have never made the connection between my personal residence and Cornerstone’s address. Kris just knows his customers. He goes out of the way and more impressively, out of the box to make the delivery which happens to be a very important birthday present for my son.

That is great service! Thank you Kris; Cornerstone, take note!

Amazing Service

Having chosen the service industry, I am always in tune to how companies around me offer service.  I think in general, the public has come to accept and even expect poor service.  How often do you get eye contact or anything more than a grunt from the person at checkout?  It is not uncommon for a clerk to be either talking on the phone or texting while customers wonder around their store.

I like to think Cornerstone is different.  We pride ourselves on being proactive, thoughtful and engaged when it comes to taking care of our clients.  We strive to be the best service provider in our market, the key word being service.

Today I saw an awesome example of crazy good service that inspires.  While dropping a client off at his private jet, there were 3 gentlemen standing a respectful distance behind the plane.  They kept their distance as not to draw attention but it was obvious they were there looking at the client’s plane.

We asked the pilot who they were.  His response, “they are with Gulfstream and they are here to make sure the plane takes off.”  You see, the plane experienced a mechanical issue earlier in the week and there was some concern that it would be ready for the client’s departure.  The customer’s satisfaction mean’t enough to Gulfsteam for them to fly 3 guys out to ensure the plane was ready.  Funny thing, the client is considering a second plane.  Think it might be a Gulfstream?

That is GREAT service!  My first plane will be a Gulfstream…..



Cornerstone Property Management Teams up with Chubb Insurance

Cornerstone is pleased to announce we have been accepted into Chubb Group of Insurance Companies’ Masterpiece Protection Network.  Chubb has become recognized as a leader in the insurance industy by striving to be the best at what they do.  They deliver unparalleled service and innovation while building lasting relationships with their customers and support teams.  Sound familiar?

Because of Cornerstone’s similar values and relational approach to our Aspen and Snowmass second homeowners, we are part of Chubb’s network of preferred and recommended vendors.  We are proud to be recognized and associated with an industry leader.



Property Management at 8,000 feet

may9May 9 and it is still snowing in Aspen. Typically, we would be well into Spring clean up and maintenance schedules. Not this year. We have about a month before our clients start to return to town, which means we are under the gun. Good thing we respond well under pressure.