Proof of Funds for Commercial Real Estate Investors

Creative Financing

When a Commercial Real Estate Investor is looking to purchase income producing property utilizing any number of creative financing methods, one of the most important keys to their success is that their ability to provide adequate, verifiable proof of funds – P.O.F.- to both the seller and the lender. The verification of funds can enhance the investors credibility with the seller as well as satisfy the lenders requirement to know that the borrower has necessary funds to complete their transaction.

Proof of Funds

There are a few ways acceptable to lenders and sellers to show P.O.F. to close your Commercial Real Estate transaction:

  • Bank Statements or Bank Verification
  • Brokerage Account Statements or Verification
  • Escrow Account Verification

“Bank Verification” This is the most acceptable and widely used method to confirm the investors can complete the proposed deal. As such money must be put into a bank account and confirmed by statements or letter from the banker.¬† This is a “hard” (versus soft) method of verification, because money are deposited in an account in the buyers name to serve as proof the buyer can complete the transaction.

“Brokerage Account Verification” Similar to bank accounts, brokerage accounts show acceptable means to complete a purchase transaction. Likewise, statements or letter from the brokerage house representative will meet the requirement to prove adequate financial strength. This is also a “hard”¬† method.

“Escrow Account Verification” This is the one method that can be hard or soft evidence of necessary assets as the escrow agent simply needs to write a letter of confirmation attesting that the borrower has finances available to complete the transaction. It becomes hard when money is transferred¬† into an escrow waiting for the closing.

Companies

Finally, there are companies whose sole purpose is to provide evidence of the financial ability of Commercial Real Estate Investors to complete their transactions. Many of them provide “Proof of Funds” and Transactional Financing. P.O.F. is necessary at the beginning of the deal and Transactional Financing is for the day of closing only. Both of these methods are a necessary part of an investors arsenal when utilizing creative financing.

Key Priorities in Personal Prospecting in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate agency today, you as an agent really do need a personal prospecting system. When you can establish a prospecting system that is geared to the local area and your relevant property experience, things get a lot easier when it comes to market share and growing your commissions.

One key problem that exists in the commercial property industry is that many agents work with far too few clients. When they lose a few key clients, they lose a massive amount of income and momentum. It takes time to build up good and productive client relationships.

Your personal prospecting process should bring new clients into your ‘pipeline’ of client contact and networking. Be prepared to lose a few clients every 6 months or so. Prepare for the loss by building new relationships. Nurture good clients and quality listings; it is a deliberate process that is ‘formulated and commenced’ at an individual level.

The cycle of commercial real estate sales and leasing is quite long. On that basis it can be months if not years before a client is ready to act in a sale, purchase, or lease. Your networking system has to continue in a relevant way for the ongoing time to capture that business. The only thing that you should determine at the outset of a first contact is that you then know that the person or prospect has the potential to need your services in the future.

Here are some other tips to help you with your personal prospecting system in this property market and economy:

  1. Define your business area and your property type so you clearly know where you are focusing. You should also determine why people should use your services. If you cannot establish that information for yourself it will be very hard to sell and pitch the idea of your services to anyone else. Confidence and relevance are key factors in presenting and pitching your agency services. You must be better than the competition agents; how can you do that?
  2. Given your special services, why are you a top agent? Can you sell that idea to a prospective client? What can you do that is more relevant and real than some of your competitors? Over time these things will need to grow and consolidate. They must become part of your personal brand.
  3. At any time and in any market you will find clients that are under property pressure in some way or form. Through consistent daily prospecting you will locate these clients and you can work with them to solve the ‘property pain’. If you are lacking clients and listings now, take a serious look at your prospecting systems and efforts. Most of the agents that are struggling are those that do not prospect enough. I have met agents that admit that they do little or no prospecting at all; I then wonder why they even bother being in the industry given the costs and pressures that apply to the average agent. Every property market has opportunity to identify and action.
  4. Track your prospecting efforts so you can see where you are progressing in conversions, calls and meeting outcomes. It takes about 3 or 4 approaches to some prospects and targets to get them to let you have a meeting with them. Consistency and relevance in contact are the key factors. When you ‘open the right doors’ with prospects, keep them open through ongoing relevant contact.

Given all of the above, the prospecting time that you apply to your career every day should be split 50% to established contacts, and 50% to finding new prospects. In this way you can build market share for the time that you lose a few good clients. Understand what works for you in commercial real estate and repeat the process over and over again. That’s a good way to get more new business.

Tips to Buy Overseas Property Safely

Buying a property is a process that requires patience and perseverance. It takes time to do the research on the status of the real estate market and its norms in your choice of destination. The crucial part is to find a proper, reliable and experienced service provider who can help you through the whole process, right from the start through to the final stage of owning your property. We have enlisted a few key points with a goal to help you initiate the process of buying your dream property abroad.

Hire an independent lawyer

Many people seek the help of real estate agents, which is not a very good start. No matter how smart, experienced, informative and well-mannered an agent tends to be, never fall for it. Always get an independent lawyer, who will represent you throughout the whole buying process. If you are represented by the lawyer, it means you are well-protected from making any expensive mistakes down the road.

Get help from a financial specialist

Sort out your financial preferences that would help you allot a suitable budget to purchase the property. Get a provisional mortgage if you have plans to borrow money apart from what you plan to pay from your pocket. Ask your financial specialist to suggest a long term repayment plan that would be feasible for you as the lending criteria and the borrowing costs may change during those years.

Hire a foreign exchange specialist

If you borrow money overseas, but earn at home, you have to make sure that the rate fluctuations would not affect the value of your property. The difference in the value of currencies could take the property out of your hands as it goes beyond your budget. Discuss with a foreign exchange specialist and understand your risks and have a proper contingency plan to handle unpleasant situations.

Double-check the agent credentials

Apart from hiring an independent lawyer, choose a professional overseas real estate agent to assist you through the process. Place your focus on the agency rather than the property you want to buy. Question them in all possible ways to make sure the company or the agent is potentially the right person to do business. No matter what they claim, make sure everything is true, to the last bit. Don’t trust reel reviews, read real client testimonials. Ask them to offer their “Terms of business” on paper prior to signing a formal contract with them.

Learn to get the most out of your investment

When you purchase a property overseas as an investment, you must understand that you can have big returns only with risks. Make a thorough inventory of the risk to reward ratio to help you cope up with the risks and to reap better rewards out of your investment when everything goes well.

10 Great Commercial Construction Tips

Commercial construction can be a big undertaking, both literally and figuratively. You might think you have it all under control, but do you really? Here are ten tips that will help make your next commercial construction project a success.

1. The lowest bid is not always your best choice. It’s a counter-intuitive thought compared to everything we have been taught. But even in these times of wanting to be sure to keep the bottom line in check, it’s important to find the best price for the project. Sometimes the low bid is that way because the contractor has no idea what the job entails, and other times they will come in low, get a payment or two, and then abandon the job.

2. Go online and do your research. Check references, run the contractor’s board numbers, and study the backgrounds of your contractors so you can know before you sign on the dotted line just what you are getting. The internet can also be a source of information about current trends in commercial construction.

3. Find a contractor who specializes in what you want done. Sometimes the biggest isn’t always the best. A smaller contractor who is more adept at smaller jobs might be just the right thing your job needs. If you are revamping a store, consider finding contractors who specialize in retail space renovations.

4. Start with the general contractor and build from there. By bringing the general contractor into the job first, you are able to use their knowledge on the job from the beginning and have them help guide the project.

5. Go ahead and add on that maintenance agreement. Once the job is done, you want to ensure that your project will last for years to come. A good maintenance contract that checks over the equipment is a great idea to clean and maintain things like your furnace or drain pipes. A quick cleaning now is much cheaper than an expensive repair later.

6. Does the goal of the project further your company’s image and brand? If it doesn’t, it might not be the right project for you. This is a big capital expense, and you want it to pay off with a solid return on investment for you.

7. Your project should make sense. Do you have custodial closet doors that open inwardly? Did the customer service booth end up with only a small front-facing window? Double check the design proposal before you go out to bid to ensure that the concept diagrams and blueprints make sense and lead to positive workflow.

8. Along with number 7 goes ensuring that the areas like the office supplies and the copier are easy to get to and are going to keep things efficient in the office or administrative area.

9. Decorate in such a way that the colors and furniture enhance your brand and your company’s image. Your customers should feel like they are welcome in your new place, so be sure your contractor includes an interior decorator in the plans.

10. Be sure your contractors are all on board with the project and are capable of meeting the deadlines. This point is probably the most important one of all. Any delays are costly both financially and in terms of getting your business going again in the new location.

Hopefully these tips will help get you going in the right direction for your next project. Happy building!

Tips to Choose a Commercial Landscape Maintenance Services Provider

People who own commercial property spend a considerable amount of time in beautifying their landscapes. If you own a resort or hotel, then beautifying it to a great extent helps in creating a great impression among visitors.

Here are some useful tips which you can follow to select a reliable commercial landscape maintenance services company:

Be sure that the contractor offers the services which you need

One common misconception that many commercial property owners tend to have is that all commercial landscape companies offer the same type of services. However, this is not true. Therefore, you need to acquire a list of services that the company offers. Compare it with your individual needs. The usual services offered by these companies includes snow & ice management, landscape enhancement, irrigation and lighting, landscape construction, landscape design and landscape maintenance.

Landscape maintenance involves weeding, mowing, edging, trimming, pruning, turf and ornamental programs and seasonal color. In case of landscape construction, contractors plant, perform hydro seeding, installation of turfs, retain walls, installation of water features, drainage, erosion control and outdoor amenity installation. Landscape design involves site evaluation and plans to create or enhance focal points of outdoor areas. It also includes community master planning and amnesty designs such as outdoor kitchens, dog parks, patios, fire pits and fire pits.

Contractors who handle irrigation and lighting handle repair, installation, maintenance and suggestions for efficient water usage. The snow and ice management services offers involves plowing, ice melt application and clearing of sidewalks. The landscape enhancement services offered by contractors includes redesigning of focal points or addition of non-contracted items like planters, baskets, removal and trimming of trees and seasonal color displays.

Find out whether they employ sustainable practices or not

Do you need a company which can offer you with services and ensures that your landscape becomes sustainable? If you do, then you are certainly taking a wise decision. Making landscapes energy and saving water are environment conscious decisions and will make a significant impact on your budget and environment.

The landscaping company which you opt for needs to pay attention to the sustainability factor. The materials they use and their water management projects at your site should take into consideration the sustainability factor.

There are a number of questions which you will need to ask the contractor before hiring their services. Ask them where do they buy their plant materials and supplies from. Enquire whether they use native plants or not. Ask them about what changes can be done to help you save your money. Also ask whether the company can suggest any organic programs which are applicable in case of your property. Find out whether they recycle yard waste such as leave, fallen branches and clippings or not. Enquire about the programs which they offer to make lighting and irrigation more efficient.

Research the credentials of the company

You can save yourself from a considerable amount of headaches by performing some research before selecting a contractor. Check the website of the company, ask for references and also get in touch with your business associates. If you have a few questions looming in your mind, you can contact the contractor directly.

When you fix an appointment, ask whether the company holds any certification or license for the work they perform. Enquire whether they can offer any documentation or not. Ask about the affiliations and industrial qualifications of the company. If they claim that they are insured then ask them to provide you with insurance documentation. Also ask them whether they have the manpower and equipment to handle your project or not.

Commercial Property Leasing Activity Report – Your Complete and Foolproof Guide

When you manage or lease a commercial, industrial, or retail building you have to track the leasing issues, not only for the landlord, but also for the tenant. The performance of an investment property is impacted by rental and lease documentation in a variety of ways; you do not normally want a vacant property.

The Property Manager or Leasing Manager for the property has to keep things under control and on track to the property strategy, business plan, and tenancy mix.

To solve the problem it is best to run a leasing activity reporting process and update it at least monthly. Within each month the report becomes a moving tool to support the property investment for the landlord. It is a document that tracks:

  • Current lease activity
  • Forward lease changes
  • Vacancies

What you are normally looking to avoid here with the report is disruption to cash flow or something that disturbs the function of the property outside of any plans you may have. Accuracy in the report is paramount as it is likely to be the main document that keeps you abreast of critical lease issues. If there is an error in the report then you will likely miss a critical date on a lease, and that can be significant in the function of the property over the longer term for the landlord.

The leasing activity report is a forward looking report usually covering the next 12 months and everything that can happen to leases and licences therein. Special attention has to be given to anchor tenants, and tenancy mix strategies that are already in place; these strategies are already active and should be continued.

In a multi-tenant occupancy, the number of leases in the building can become daunting and diverse. When the landlord owns and operates a number of properties at the same time, the matter of lease stability is also complex. The leasing activity report keeps you on track.

A leasing activity report should include the following issues:

  1. A tenancy schedule of current leases including upcoming predicted or known changes such as rent reviews by type and timing, options for a further term, and expiry dates.
  2. Status of any current negotiations with tenants both new and established.
  3. Signed leases report (that is for existing leases for occupying tenants)
  4. Submitted leases report for documents that are outstanding for any reason
  5. Proposals for new leases pending a decision by the landlord or tenant
  6. Vacancy report of areas that are soon to be or are already vacant
  7. Marketing strategy and inspection feedback for vacant areas currently
  8. Prospects currently looking at the property and status
  9. List of vacant areas in competing properties nearby
  10. Changes to tenancy mix recommended
  11. Schedule of rentals in the current surrounding market to which you compete
  12. Overview of the types and level of incentive that exists in the surrounding market
  13. Target rentals and target lease terms
  14. Summary of recent leasing decisions made by the landlord in the last month that impact the property or any vacancy.

When you use these topics for your leasing report, it is clear for you to see that most things are covered and under control. In addition to the items above it is best to provide a time line graph of events both current and foreseen to help track events before they happen.

7 Tips For Buying a Property

Buying a property requires a good deal of research. Even if you are from the same place, you have to take care of a lot things before buying a house or apartment of your choice. Given below are 7 tips that can make the process a bit less stressful for you.

Location

As far as buying a property goes, the most important things is the location. Locations with facilities, such as hospitals, schools and parking lots are a great choice. Properties in these areas cost a bit more, but worth the extra price paid.

Haggling

Just because a property is on sale at a certain price doesn’t mean it’s worth the higher price. Moreover, the seller may not have taken an oath to sell it at the listed price no matter what. So, do your homework, find out the prices of other properties in the same area and then negotiate with the seller.

Go for a less sought after property

For instance, you can go for an apartment built above a popular shop. The apartment may offer more than enough space to meet your needs. Moreover, it may not cost as much as other apartments.

Control your enthusiasm

If the vendor or real estate agents comes to know that are in love a property, they may stick to the price offered, and you may not be able to get the best deal. Therefore, when viewing a property, you may want to control your enthusiasm.

Talk to the locals

To get a good idea of the neighborhood, you may want to talk to the locals. They can tell you how it is to live in the area. They will tell you about the nearby shops, pubs and other places. Aside from this, talking to the locals will give you an idea of what type of people they are. After all, you may not want to live with not-so-good people.

Auctions

Auctions are a good option too. Make sure you have gone through the paperwork before choosing a property. Also, don’t forget to view the property before signing the documents.

Team up

You should team up with your friends if you need help. What you need to do is be creative. While you may not want to share a flat or house with someone, your family member or friend may be on the lookout of a good investment opportunity. This can help you get the required capital to buy your desired house. Of course, you can pay become a full owner of the house after paying them their share of the property.

So, these are some simple but useful tips to help you new buyers like you. Buying a property is not a rocket science but it does require some research on your part. Therefore, you should not do it alone if you are a beginner. Instead, you should get help from someone in the light of the tips given in this article. Hopefully, you can get your hands on the right apartment now.

Tips On Picking "Sleeper" Real Estate Property

Real estate investing is all about perception. Your perception of where the market is going, in conjunction with where it’s actually going. The aim, as always is to buy low and sell high.

You want to buy a cheap tract of dirt and sell it as a high priced piece of developed real estate, after it’s appreciated enough to turn a tidy profit. Selling the property is an art in and of itself.

Buying an initial tract of dirt lends itself to some solid, rational guidelines:

First, look at trend lines for housing prices in your area. While most housing markets are in decline (and the housing markets in Florida and California are adjusting from more than a decade of over-valuation), there are markets where the housing prices are going up. This is a decent leading indicator that there’s a market for expansion.

Second, look for job related news. Home purchases require a steady source of income. New employers moving into a city, or a government branch office opening up are a strong indicator that good, well paying jobs are likely to come up. Where well paying jobs roost, home purchases follow.

Related to this, talk to your local city planning office. Are there recent purchases of “right of ways” to lay down sewer lines? Is the local telephone cable making plans to run out fiber optic lines – a “must have” trend in new home construction. These things point to areas where home growth is immanent. Other big tip offs are school bond issues (found in your local news paper) and new parks being opened up.

Before you look at the land, check out the adjacent commercial real estate usage. Look for “family friendly” or “residential friendly” commercial properties: Houses that are close to grocery and clothes shopping tend to fetch a higher price than ones that are farther away. If there’s a movie theater nearby, or plans for an elementary or middle school, factor that into the size of the homes you build, and what their amenities will be; buyers looking for those features are looking for “mover upper” homes – with a bit more floor space, and two (or three) bedrooms for the kids. Other spots to look for are anchor stores, like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. These companies spend millions on surveys of purchasing patterns before buying a store location; if they’re buying a plot of land, you’ve got about a year to a year and a half window to look into nearby real estate for single family residential and rental residential properties.

You can even flip this on its side – if you can talk to a group of commercial real estate investors, building a shopping center as the nucleus for home development is also a viable combined strategy. This also applies to highly urban areas. Many downtown areas that have been abandoned by businesses can be converted to apartment buildings, and some of the older housing projects are being torn down for mixed-use spaces with combined commercial and residential areas. In particular, you can often get block grants to help with the financing on projects like this, and there are programs from HUD that can help out a great deal with “urban renovations”.

Another source to investigate is the demographics in your area. Look at the US Census figures (and local county figures) for median age, and median birth rate per capita. You want to invest in areas where the population is growing already. High skews in the ’40s and ’50s indicate that you’ve got a bunch of people who are going to retire soon, and retirees are highly prone to selling properties off. Places to watch carefully are most of the urban parts of California, and great swaths of the rural Midwest, where demographic trends have been changing entire towns since the 1950s as the country’s population has shifted to urban areas.

If there’s a local planning council, or urban development council, make it a point to get the minutes of all the meetings from the past year. The city council offices will have them on file as a matter of public record. Also try to get into the next range of meetings as an observer. Discuss with the city and county managers where they see housing and construction trends moving. What you’re looking for is real estate that will be desirable in two to three years; look at road planning atlases, and look for all the data you can find. Also look for real estate that will be scenic – lake front property is as close to a guaranteed bet as you can get in real estate investing, particularly if there’s a lake that’s at the “far end” of a development axis. Likewise, if there’s land that the city council is looking to acquire for parks, buying the adjacent lots now means you’ll be able to sell them later.

Lastly, talk to the professionals in your communities. Talk to architects who can tell you if they’re busy or not. Maintain professional contacts with engineers, bankers and attorneys. They will usually know about projects well before the general public. Also make a habit of reading the local newspaper’s business section. Often times, the first clue that a business may move in to your area is buried at the bottom of a column on page 8.

Using the guidelines suggested above will help you to find “sleeper” raw land properties. These “sleeper” properties are perfect for the buy low, sell high strategy used by successful commercial real estate investors.

Tips for Outgoings Management and Budgets in Commercial Property

When you manage commercial real estate, the outgoings within the property will require focus and financial control. When the property market slows or gets tougher, managing the outgoings is really important; the outgoings form part of the financial strategy for the landlord and will impact the net income for the property. If the outgoings get too high, the property will be hard to lease and hard to sell.

Set Some Rules

You can split the outgoings into a number of categories and this is normally done to identify and track the cash flow by expense streams. Most importantly there are two sides to the outgoings equation. Some of the items will be controllable and others will be uncontrollable. This means that the landlord can exercise control on only some of the outgoings.

The uncontrollable outgoings are those which are imposed on the property and have to be paid without any opportunity for cost savings, adjustments, or budgeting. Those uncontrollable items are normally council rates, land tax, and water rates. To a degree, insurance and energy costs will also fall into that category although some cost controls are possible with these items.

To manage the property outgoings effectively it pays to adopt a process similar to the following:

  • Create a budget for the property prior to the commencement of financial year
  • Track your expenditure to budget monthly. Adjust expenditure when you see a need and reason; early adjustment prevents bigger blowouts.
  • Look at the history of the property expenditure over the last few years to identify any excessive spending or items that are beyond the averages in the local area. The history of the property will allow you to adjust your budgets and cash flow expectations.
  • Make sure that you have removed the capital expense items from the normal repairs and maintenance for the property.
  • Talk to the owners of comparable properties in the same area. The outgoings between your property and their property should be similar. If not, you need to know why and take steps to fix that. Share information of outgoings costs with other similar property owners for this very reason.
  • Monitor the annual valuations for rating purposes. When these valuations are done, you will soon see the statutory charges and council rates rise soon after. It is not unusual for landlords and property managers to dispute the valuation in an effort to keep the statutory charges at a lower rate.

In preparing an expenditure budget for the property, you should time the expenditure so that the larger costs are expected; hence ensuring that the cash flow is suitably adjusted in preparation.

The controllable outgoings are those that the landlord can exercise decision and timing. Normal items of repairs and maintenance together with the contractor maintenance will fall within this category. If the landlord chooses to delay the expenditure with the controllable outgoings, then they can spread the impact of those items on the net monthly income from the property.

In summary, the property manager working on behalf of the landlord should exercise due care and diligence in the budgetary process for property expenditure. A well-managed landlord cash flow in an investment property is a correct balance of income against expenditure given the tenancy mix pressures on the building and the existing vacancy factors.

Your Perfect Guide To Financing Property Development

If you happen to be a property investor, a developer, or a landlord, there’s an array of commercial land and development financing options to kick-start your project. However, for many commercial realty investors, the alternative investment market is pretty complex and large. So through this post, we’re attempting to simplify commercial property financing options for investors like you who’re looking forward to developing their own commercial properties.

Commercial mortgages

Commercial loans are used for purchasing commercial properties, such as offices, warehouses, and shops. Broadly defining, these mortgages will work like their private counterparts only. That is, a commercial mortgage will work to spread the cost of any large purchase over a specific period of time-generally, a fixed number of years.

The plainest commercial finance type will be leveraged by existing businesses that want to invest/buy in their own premises; a place where a business is currently operating. One typical example is of a dentist who’ll want to buy a specific piece of land within the clinic’s premises. However, if the dentists can’t pay for that specific piece of real estate straight away, then the dental expert can avail oneself of a number of commercial mortgage options-for example, commercial bridge financing.

If you don’t wish contributing cash yourself, then it’ll be, sometimes, possible to get close to 100 percent financing by putting in additional security. However, for getting full financing, you must have a powerful trading record and a solid history of operating within the premise (where you’re looking forward to investing). If you talk of the businesses, then it’s easy for an established business to get a commercial fund; however, for a start-up, getting commercial mortgages is difficult as the lenders have to face a lot of risks.

Buy-to-let mortgages V. commercial loans

Now, there’s one more situation where a commercial loan will be suitable; according to this situation, landlords-having large property portfolios-will make the most of business loans whenever they’ll want to buy a lot of properties. Having such a portfolio, you’ll combine a lot of properties within one single mortgage. By doing so, you’ll be able to cut arrangement fees and even leverage economies of scale.

Such a commercial mortgage is different from a buy-to-let mortgage in terms of scale only. So this setup can be leveraged by only those landlords that have multiple properties. This specific mortgage type is never meant for those individuals who’re looking to acquire their first ever rental property-for them, it’s the buy-to-let mortgage option.

So that’s it, readers. If you’re looking forward to getting a commercial mortgage loan for land and development finance, you’ll have to touch base with some of the finest alternative financing lenders in the market. That’s because they’ll be the ones to cater to your commercial property financing needs easily and, most importantly, quickly.