Real Estate Agents – Strengths and Weaknesses in Listing Commercial Property Today

In this commercial property market there are some real pressures and challenges that confront a lot of property owners when they want to sell or lease their property. They need the help of top agents that really understand the local area, to help in moving the property.

Contrary to popular belief, it is in markets like this that good agents can make a lot of commission. It all comes down to the way in which they package their services and help their clients.

In simple terms, top agents and experienced agents can do very well today providing they work the local area and their database. A good database will always get you through any market conditions and frustrations. In saying, that I am a big believer that a salesperson’s database should not be delegated to the office administrative staff to control.

Every salesperson should take ownership of their database; in this way they will get good activities from it. In this market you need leads that you can do something with. When a database is passed over to the administrative staff to control, the inevitable result is inaccurate and old data. The database soon becomes redundant. The salesperson doesn’t keep it up to date.

Become Change Agents

So we are the ‘agents of change’ when it comes to helping our property clients an owners get results in this market. We should know how to attract the right people to every property listing that we take on. Exclusive listings are more important in today than ever before. Some top agents will not take on ‘open listings’ for the very reason that they are a waste of time and effort.

When you know the drawbacks of the industry and the listings today, you can offer the clients that you serve some solid solutions. So what are the drawbacks? Here is a list of some of the bigger ones:

  1. The time that it takes to sell or lease a property can be longer today. Every client has to be conditioned for the best price or rent so the time on market is not lengthened. The first few weeks of every marketing effort are the most important. Position the property correctly to get the best enquiry in this time.
  2. High prices and high rents will achieve nothing. The price or rent for the property should be optimised for enquiry. You have to do more with less when it comes to marketing and inspecting of properties.
  3. A larger number of competing properties can frustrate your marketing efforts and time on market. Check out these properties before you do anything with your listing.
  4. Buyers and tenants are slower to enquire, inspect the property, and then make a decision. Your skills with each stage of the listing should be optimised. Hone your skills accordingly.
  5. Limited finance can put some ‘brakes’ on the larger deals. Find out where your prospects can get finance from and what the criteria of approval may be.

Whilst these may be drawbacks in the market, they are also opportunities for agents that can get focused and organised. Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

Are you a solution provider in this commercial real estate market? Top agents are just that. You can be too.

How to Successfully Develop Commercial Real Estate – Part 3

In Part 1, we pointed that the fundamental component to a successful development is money. In Part 2, we demonstrated that the single most important factor to the lender and the investor is the belief they will get paid back. The most reliable way to prove to investors that they will get paid back is to attract rent paying tenants to the project. The tenant is the most valuable asset in any commercial real estate development project. The tenant is the person or entity that will enter into a long-term agreement to pay rent, rent creates cash flow and cash flow help lenders and investors form a reasonable belief they will get paid back. Of course, investors also want to see tenants with long history of success, solid financials, well established brand and willing to sign a long term lease agreement. The lease agreement is probably the most important document a developer can produce. However, getting a tenant to sign a long term lease is not that easy. Remember the building(s) is not yet built and probably will not be for a couple of years.

So how does a developer find these coveted tenants and get them to sign a legally binding contract to pay them rent in a building that doesn’t exist yet? Often, the fundamental component to attracting prospective tenants to a development project is location, what this author refers to as the where principle. The generally accepted mantra for putting a real estate project on the right track for success is location, location, location. Pick up any article about real estate, look at any Web site, or watch any show on television today and you will find that most real estate decisions are based on location. Location is probably the single most important factor for attracting and retaining tenants, especially, desirable, financially stable tenants.

However, location is relevant to what you are planning to develop and whom you are developing the project for. As the developer, site selection or location should help you focus on the key benefits to the tenant. Application of the where principle to a prospective site will result in a detailed analysis of the market that surrounds, encompasses and makes up the development area. The surrounding demographic information and comparable, competitive project data should strongly support the new project and the intended use. Finally, it should strongly demonstrate to the tenant how the proposed site will be important to the success of the tenant’s trade or business. Focus on the location and the location information most important to the tenant and getting them to sign a long term lease agreement will be much easier.

We will examine the where principle in more detail and all of the five basic principles to developing commercial real estate and how these simple principles will demonstrate how to buy the land, build the building, attract tenants, be a landlord and buy or sell a commercial real estate project.

Choosing The Right Architect For Your Commercial Real Estate Development

A good real estate development starts with the right architect. An architect is concerned not only with the concept but also the planning as well as designing of a building or any real estate development. A degree in architecture equips one with the knowledge of the building and operational codes that are to be adhered for every architectural design.

An architect is trained such that he/she transforms a user’s needs and demands into design and eventually into physical form. This implies that he/she should have complete training that will aid in the building of safe and healthy construction for people and the communities. Architects have to obtain licenses to practice architecture as their building designs and planning decisions play a vital role in the safety and security of the public.

Architects specialize in different fields among architecture i.e., land, land development, buildings, office parks, residential, landscape and the like. This specialization is a result of the increasingly fragmented, demanding and concentrated world. Thus, it is difficult for a single architect to be aware of the know-how of each of these fields and to accommodate the distinct demands of different clients.

An architect plays a very significant role in a project from its conception to its construction. The final physical form of a building or any real estate development is designed by an architect who obviously considers the desires and needs of the client. As such, it is important to choose an architect who is well qualified as well as experienced in the specialized field of your choice. An architect who has been in business for at least 5-10 years must have developed a strong foundation of relevant concepts. He/she must possess the skills, knowledge and experience needed for a decent and fascinating project. This indicates that it is essential to review an architect’s qualifications prior to selection; his/her degree, experience and license – all should be checked before one hands over the project. An important point to note is that he/she should be experienced for five plus years in the particular field of the development project and not just as a general architect.

Having said the significance of educational qualifications, it is time to review an architect’s affiliations and accreditations. An achieved architect should also be affiliated with a reliable institution, for instance, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Royal Institute of British Architects and the like. Affiliation with such institutes demonstrates an architect’s credibility and popularity in the industry. An architect who is affiliated and accredited by similar professional architectural organizations has certainly passed their comprehensive requirements. This is a strong recognition and a proof of their achievement. However, mere affiliation is not the only consideration before choosing an architect. Other relevant factors and elements should also be considered so that the ultimate decision is made bearing all concerns in mind.

Geographical area of specialty is also an important element. Some architects are specialized and well-aware of certain area(s), and as such their scope is quite limited to those areas. Although he/she may excel in architecture and the particular area(s), this does not ensure that he/she will be able to deliver equivalent results in the area of the project’s requirement. Thus, this aspect should also be kept in mind.

Certain other conditions are also relevant as they ascertain whether a project will be successful and simultaneously whether the relationship between the client and the architect is sound and pleasant. A good architect should possess good communication skills and should be responsive of the client’s questions and/or queries. This is a very important factor, which ensures the completion of the project on time and on good terms. For your relationship with the architect to be successful, the architect you ultimately select should, by all means, follow up on calls and emails and should keep his/her word on different aspects related to the project.

An architect’s connections are a reflection of his/her success and achievement as well as political and negotiation skills. One who is well connected and has contacts like city planners and those in political processes is most certainly preferred as opposed to his/her counterparts with relatively few connections and contacts. Yet another factor is an architect’s membership of local clubs as the Kiwanis, Toastmasters, Knights of Columbus, Rotary etc. An associated member is most certainly a better candidate.

Each one of the above mentioned factors are important considerations for an investor or a customer prior to choosing a suitable architect. At first, it might seem difficult to find architects with all qualifications but there are ways. You can talk to developers, other popular architects, city planning and building departments, local economic developments, chambers of commerce etc and ask for references. Similar references cal also be obtained from experienced customers, sellers and buyers. The advent and popularity of the Internet has opened previously unknown avenues for obtaining information. The Internet can be a source of information, details and contact about reputable, qualified and experienced architects. The websites of architectural professional organizations may also list prominent architects in different regions.

A good architect is the key to any real estate development. Once a solid relationship and understanding has been established with the right architects(s), the entire process of idea generation, conceptualization through to final construction becomes simpler and satisfying. A good architect is aware of all reasonable specifications and is filled with ideas that form successful real estate development strategies. Thus, it is absolutely imperative to choose the right architect – one who is aware, experienced and reputable.

Make Easy Money Online: Become a Commercial Real Estate Property Scout

There are lots of ways to make easy money online. I am sure you have seen many of them in your email inbox.

One opportunity you may not be aware of is becoming a Commercial Real Estate Property Scout.

What’s a Commercial Real Estate Property Scout?

It’s a person who finds property for investors which meet a specific acquisition criteria.

Here’s the deal: This opportunity has nothing to do with sales, data entry, or any of those other possible questionable online business opportunities you may be aware of.

A Property Scout uses the Internet to search real estate listing databases for properties which meet the investors criteria. There are literally hundreds of these databases, many of which are free to use.

Advantages of the Opportunity

There are many things which make this opportunity attractive.

First, the price to get involved is very modest. It’s under $100 dollars.

Second, the money is really good. Frankly, there’s no comparison between what you can earn doing this and all the rest of the opportunities combined. It truly is one of the ways to make easy money online.

You can really earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Third, the support the company offers is incredible. While they won’t handhold or baby sit you, they will provide the weekly training, personal direction and weekly Q&A so that you can be successful–that’s more than any of the other opportunities do.

The fourth thing, is that you really can do this from home. There’s no travel involved. Plus it really only requires about twenty hours a week of work on a consistent basis.

The best part for me is that the company, Maverick Real Estate Investments, isn’t one of those schlocky companies promoting the next business opportunity. It’s real. And they sincerely want to see you successful because the big money for everybody involved is made when you find a promising property.

They’re committed to training you to be successful at it.

Maverick Real Estate Investments is in the commercial real estate business. That’s their purpose. And they’ve set up this business opportunity, so that they can attract people to help them find properties which fit their profile for acquisition.

It makes perfect sense if you think about it.

Disadvantages of the Opportunity

Are there bad points? Yes, a small one. But you really can’t blame the company for it, it’s just the nature of the commercial real estate industry.

If you need to make money right away, this is not the opportunity for you. Patience is key. While you can realistically make six figures and up a year, the fact is it takes time to find a property the investors want to acquire. It has to fit their profile (which they’ll thoroughly train you in).

And even when you find a property that meets their profile, they need the time to do whatever it takes to turn the property around which could take as long as 18 months to do.

But still, you have to admit it’s really good money. And let’s face it, you were to go into business for yourself, it would take that long AT LEAST to turn a modest profit–and nowhere near the money you’d earn as a Property Scout.

Now, they do offer an interesting way for you to get paid faster. But I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you really needed the money. You can get paid $15,000 when they buy the property and $15,000 again when they sell the property. It’s good money, but they prefer you to be partner with them and pay you when they sell the property and there are profits to be dispersed. It eases their cashflow.

Summary

In nutshell, this opportunity is legit. It’s lucrative. People ARE making money–and a lot. And it’s a profession which you can easily do from home using the Internet. Although it’s not perfect, it’s one of the few easy ways to make money online which is realistic and easily doable.

Understanding Commercial Real Estate Leases

When you list a property to sell or to lease you need to understand the type of lease that you are dealing with. There are definite differences in leases at all levels and hence a lease must be read fully before proceeding.

Leases are the foundation of property performance. The best salespeople understand the leasing process and the high value that it brings to the future sale. A good lease can enhance a sale price when the time comes.

As mentioned, there are many different types of leases, but there are some rules and common basic elements which will allow you to understand the lease or the potential lease that you can apply to a property. It’s all about interpretation of the lease document and that means that you must read the document.

Professional Property Services

After many years of working in the industry, I have seen the best people set the foundations of success around the leasing process. This means that they have grounded themselves with investment skills and knowledge by leasing property for a few years. So let’s now look at how you can move down this path of skill development regards leasing.

The better you negotiate and the more fully that you interpret a lease, the more professional you are and you appear to the people that you work with or serve.

You can and should add strategic value in the client in every lease that you negotiate. A lease is not just a document to allow a tenant to occupy premises; it is a tactical cash flow that can attract to or detract from the property.

The way that leases work for the property investor will solidly impact on the property and its performance for the duration of the lease. As you work with tenants or buyers for the property, the type of lease that applies will also impact on the negotiations. Let’s look at the main lease types and expand on some of the most relevant issues for you.

Gross Lease:

Under a gross lease the tenant pays a full rent that includes a component for outgoings and the building owner will pay all building operating costs (also known as outgoings). This means that the lease itself will have rent review provisions that escalate the gross rent only.

In a lease of this type the landlord needs to know that they can maintain the building outgoings to predictable levels over the lease term as the landlord holds all the risk of paying the outgoings. The levels of rent review escalations in the lease must be expected to cover or exceed the escalations in the level of outgoings over future years otherwise the landlord will loose money.

Gross leases are common in retail and office property. Your choice in using this rent and lease type should be balanced against the predicted levels of outgoings costs and future changes for the subject property.

Obviously an older building will have steady escalations in outgoings above that of a building that is younger. As a building ages and deteriorates, the gross lease method becomes less attractive and more risky for the landlord.

Semi Gross Lease:

In this type of lease the landlord is initially setting a gross rent which is paid by the tenant and is reviewed over the term of the lease, however the landlord also gets paid some regular money for outgoings that increase under a specific calculation. This is how it is done:

The landlord specifically recovers the escalation in outgoings above a nominated outgoings base year. This base year is selected at the start of the lease and is usually the last reconciled outgoings year prior to lease commencement, which is usually the previous financial year to the start of the lease (because it is fully reconciled and known as a set value).

As the new semi gross lease proceeds through its term, the tenant has to pay the escalation of the outgoings above the nominated base year. For example, if in a lease the base year for outgoings purposes was set as the financial year 08/09 and the known level of outgoings for that year was $85m2 pa, then in the financial year 09/10 when the outgoings escalate to $97m2, the tenant will have to pay outgoings of $12m2pa. As the lease ages and in the financial year 12/13, the outgoings could be $108m2, and in that case the tenant will need to pay $23m2.

In this type of lease the base year is set and the outgoings ‘gap’ will likely increase significantly as the lease gets older. This type of lease is good for the landlord with younger properties, in that it protects the landlord against the escalation of the outgoings above the base year yet still allowing the landlord to use a gross rent as the foundation for rent charge and collection.

It is common in this type of lease for the base year of outgoings to be updated at the time of any market rent review during the lease. Market reviews in this type of lease would be undertaken if the lease was lengthy (over 3 years) and so the market rent review would occur say each 3 or 4 years.

It is not necessary to do a market rent review at any particular time in a lease as the matter is negotiable at lease commencement, however be aware of the fact of re-setting the base for outgoings and the impact it will have on the landlord.

As a further interpretation of this type of lease you should look at the type of outgoings that are recovered in the calculation. It is not unusual for ‘lease savvy tenants’ such as the government or large corporations to nominate the type of outgoings to which the base year escalations will apply.

Naturally it is better for the landlord to recover the escalation in all outgoings in a building above the base year, however the government and corporate tenants are well known for limiting the calculation to rates and taxes escalations.

Clearly a lease is a product of a negotiation, but you need to understand what can be done and then get the best lease deal possible for your client.

Net leases:

The term net lease is firstly generic; hence you should be aware that there are 3 types of net leases within the category. So let’s look at them.

Net lease: In this lease the tenant pays some or all of the rates and taxes for the property or premises.

Net-Net lease: In this lease the tenant pays the rates and taxes as nominated in the ‘net lease’ method but they then also pay for insurance premiums for the property and premises.

Net-Net-Net lease: In this lease the tenant will pay for the rates and taxes, the insurance of the premises, and they will then also pay for repair and maintenance costs associated with the premises.

So what lease type is the best for the landlord? In most cases the Net-Net-Net Lease is the way to go, however it is a matter of if the tenant will accept and sign that type of lease.

As a point of negotiation it would be wise in any Net Lease, or a Net-Net Lease to have a higher start rent for the landlord and better rent review provisions that offset the lesser outgoings recovery for the landlord.

Net-Net-Net leases are common on properties that are fully occupied by one tenant. This is method of lease structure is widespread in industrial property and office property.

Percentage lease:

This type of lease is more commonly seen in retail property as the calculation of rent is linked to the trading figures for the tenant. In most leases of this type the tenant firstly pays a fixed base rent that is geared to some rent review method, and then the tenant also pays additional rent that is calculated from their turnover or sales. As the tenant improves its trading, then the rent escalates.

An essential part of this lease structure is to obligate the tenant to give you accurate and regular audited turnover figures. The lease has to support and enforce the audit process for the landlord. Monthly turnover figures are the best way to go in this, with the tenant providing the audited figures to the landlord by say the 7th of the next month. The landlord then charges the turnover rent to the tenant based on the audited figures.

This type of lease is also seen in new shopping centres as new tenants stabilize levels of custom and sales, in supermarkets for the same reasons, and in hotels or motels. The basic strategy with turnover rent is to give the landlord some cash flow from the establishment of a base rent from the start of the lease, and then to collect additional rent as the property and the tenancy becomes more successful in generating sales and customers.

Spell it out

In all leases, the recovery of rent and outgoings must be clearly set out to avoid debate and disagreement with the tenant. As you can now see, the selection of the lease type that you are to use on a property will significantly impact on the future for the landlord. It will also impact on any sales situation.

It pays to know what is going on in the market regards lease and rent types so that you do lease deals that are similar to or better than the rest of the market. The right lease structure, document, and rent will help sell properties at better prices.