Five Steps to a Successful Commercial Loan Workout

Obtaining a commercial loan workout can be a very labor-intensive process. Having all of your “ducks in a row” is key to a successful workout. For property owners who can’t refinance, have a balloon payment coming due, defaulted on their mortgage or facing foreclosure, a commercial loan workout can accomplish one or more of the following:

1. Reduce interest and/or principal amount

2. Extend reset period or maturity date to delay balloon payment

3. Defer payments

4. Temporary interest-only payments

5. Avoid foreclosure

Please review the following five steps:

1) Required Paperwork

The required paperwork is gathered from property owners. Documents needed: Rent roll, copies of expenses within the past year, rental agreements, copies of the mortgage note, etc. Not having all of the required documents could delay the whole process.

2) Research Analysis

Before a commercial loan workout is submitted to the lender, a financial snapshot of your situation is needed. The lender is mostly concerned with your ability to pay each month if your loan was restructured to more favorable terms. Determining the current market value, rental rates and recent comparable sales are also important factors to consider. After a review of the note is complete, a workout package is generated.

3) Lend Submittal

Once a confirmation of delivery is received from the lender, the submission package is forwarded to a workout specialist. Not confirming receipt of the workout package by the lender could mean having your file stuck somewhere in the mail room for weeks or “lost in neverland.”

4) Negotiation Process

The workout specialist reviews the package and presents a loan modification offer. Sometimes the property owner or third party workout firm will make counter offers until an agreement is excepted with favorable loan terms. The whole process from start to finish could take between 2 or 3 months to complete. Keep in regular contact with the workout specialist at the lender until a proposal is received.

5) Final Approval

Once the lender approves the newly restructured mortgage loan, a proposal is presented to the property owner for review. The owner can expect the following options: Deferment of payments, lower interest rate, extended maturity date, greater cash flow or reduction of principal. The lender can propose any combination of options. Lastly, the modified loan documents are signed by both parties to make the changes official.

Because so many commercial property owners are not able to meet their mortgage obligations, commercial lenders are now willing to modify their existing mortgage loans to prevent avoid foreclosure. The key to preventing a default is to be proactive by contacting your lender or seek the assistance of a third-party, professional commercial loan workout firm.

Commercial mortgage loans are much more complex than residential mortgage loans. Hiring a professional commercial loan workout firm can help you navigate through the negotiation process with your lender.

Commercial Construction Tips – How to Know If Your Contractor Is Doing a Good Job

Big construction project or little one. An historic renovation in the heart of old downtown or a new retail center. No matter what kind of construction project you are undertaking, you want to feel assured that you have chosen the right contractor for the job. But how do you know that your contractor is doing a good job?

The success or failure of a contractor is often closely linked with you – how effectively you complete your hiring due diligence, how clearly you state your expectations, and how well you and your contractor communicate with each other during all construction phases.

Preparation and Selection

Before you begin your search for a contractor, you should clearly outline the responsibilities for which you will hold your contractor accountable. Those accountabilities should be included in the contract between you/your company and the contractor.

Next, you need to do your due diligence.

• Ask friends and colleagues who have worked with construction projects similar to yours for contractor recommendations. Ask these questions:

o How did the contractor handle the budget and materials?

o Was the project done on or ahead of time? If it was off schedule, why?

o Was the work done according to agreed-upon terms?

o Would your source work with that contractor again?

If their referral did well on each of those points, he or she may be a good contractor on your project as well

• Check ALL references!

Get it in writing

All good business relationships should begin with, “get it in writing!”

• Each contractor candidate should provide a written bid. Red flag: nothing in writing.

• You and your contractor should have a signed contract. Include details on the budget, scope of work, materials, the schedule, and the contractor’s specific responsibilities. Red flag: the contractor who won’t sign a contract.

• Your contractor should take notes during each walkthrough and meeting. Red flag: “I’ll remember… “

On the job

These are some important on-the-job clues that your contractor is doing a good job:

• Communication: you and your contractor communicate frequently and clearly according to your agreed-upon methods (text, fax, email, phone). Red flags: doesn’t return calls, is difficult to reach, provides limited responses to questions, communicates poorly with work crew.

• Subcontractors: contractor hires quality subcontractors with verifiable references. Red flags: conflicts on the job, petty thefts, on-the-job substance abuse, wasted time, etc.

• Safety: contractor diligently observes safety practices and insists that all workers comply with safety rules. Red flags: avoidable injuries, safety issues.

• On the job site: contractor is working at the job site for the majority of the time. The construction crew is busy during all working hours of the week. Red flags: contractor is infrequently on site, workers have too much idle time.

• Security: appropriate security measures are observed at all times. Red flags: equipment and materials not secured or missing, the site is poorly secured during non-working hours, unauthorized people are on site.

Schedule and budget

Ideally, every construction project is completed on budget and on schedule. Realistically, there may be some schedule interruptions and unexpected costs.

Ask yourself some final questions:

• Is my contractor providing me with accurate, up-to-date information on all aspects of the job and construction progress?

• Is he/she managing resources, budget, crew, and materials effectively and appropriately?

• Are crew members working fairly harmoniously with each other?

• Are my objectives for this project being met?

When you can answer yes to these questions, it is most likely that your contractor is, indeed, doing an excellent job for you. Congratulations on your choice, and your new project!

The Various Commercial Insurance Coverage For Business Properties

There are three standard variations on commercial insurance. They are Property, Worker’s Compensation and Liability coverage. A host of other specialized plans may be purchased as needed for specific industries. Machinery, Debris Removal, Builder’s Risk, Business Interruption, Ordinance or Law, Inland Marine, Glass, Crime, Tenants, E&O, Malpractice and Auto insurance policies can all be purchased in the necessary context.

General Property insurance is needed for virtually every company. It covers any facility used by the company from damages and loss of property. The purchaser of these policies must be careful to read the details of coverage closely for items that are not covered within the general premium. Not only will a product that is uncovered not be replaced with the policy, but also if it is responsible for business losses, the general coverage may be nullified.

Liability coverage is similar to Property policy. Every company should have a Liability policy to protect their operations when they are responsible for a third-party injury. Lawsuits are expensive and insurance to cover the settlements is paramount to longevity in any industry. Again, not every circumstance is covered by general considerations. A close reading of the particulars will enlighten business owners to possible extras they may need.

Worker’s Compensation is the final and most important commercial policy to own. Surveys have shown now for decades, that where employees are happy customers will be too. If an employee is disgruntled, they will provide less than the best service. The most foundational way to show employees that an employer cares about them is to provide them with Workers Compensation. Either way, if an employee is hurt on the job, he or she is entitled to medical recompense. One policy covers every employee incident.

The specific details of every add-on policy in commercial insurance can be read and considered at the time of an insurance purchase. Most companies find that they need at least one additional variety of specialized protection. Even if these special add-ons are never used, owners will be happy to possess them since it is one fewer consideration to worry about.

The day-to-day duties of those in charge of purchasing insurance are complicated enough without having to fear an employee or customer injury. Having the building where everyone works and clients are serviced safely shielded from natural disaster and careless repairs, or burst water mains is foundational for those most at risk being able to rest at ease.

5 Handy Commercial Construction Tips

You might have been put in charge of a commercial construction project recently, and though you appreciate your boss’s stamp of approval on the work you are capable of doing, you might not know all of the components that go into the project. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind as the project progresses.

1. Start by hiring a good general contractor and then put together a practical budget for your project. This budget will need to be presented to the project owner, aka your boss or maybe even someone higher up than that, for approval. Be sure it is comprehensive. Your boss will want to know just how feasible the project is when he or she presents it to the board for approval. That budget will also be what the finance team will use to obtain financing for the project. If the budget indicates that the project location needs to be moved or that something needs to be scaled back, now is the time to make those changes.

2. Your boss or the board of directors might have one vision of what they want to see, but it might not actually be practicable. The project owner should be a part of the planning process so he or she is comfortable with the changes that are made. Also, while you are in the planning process, be sure you bring in all of the stakeholders including those who will be using the building when it’s all complete.

3. Once you have the plan in place, it’s time to set up the schedule. If your project owner wants a specific date to open the building included, that should be the place to start and then work the schedule back from that date. Be sure to build in a buffer along the way to compensate for any delays that might happen. Actually, make that will happen. The unexpected is always to be expected. With a schedule in place, your general contractor can keep you appraised of the progress, and also let you know about any delays that were encountered.

4. Don’t be afraid to work within your own limitations. It’s OK to admit what you don’t know, and when it comes to construction, relying on your experts to guide you is not only okay, but a good idea. Your contractor will also know what will be needed in terms of how to best keep you up to date on the project’s progress.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. There is no such thing as too much communication. Your contractor will need to provide you with regular updates, and you will need to ask key questions to make sure you and your contractor are staying on task. Open communication reduces problems and generally catches them at a point where they are more easily solved. New apps available particularly for Apple products are great communication resources. From the bid process with SmartBidNet to portable CAD apps that let you do quick drawings on site and send them to anyone by e-mail, apps can help everyone stay on target.

These five tips are some of the main ones that will help you be successful. You can also check out some of our other posts for more information about commercial construction. Happy building!

Commercial Agents – Marketing Presentation Kit Ideas and Tips

When it comes to selling and leasing commercial or retail property, the marketing presentation kit that you use has to be optimised for your area and your property type. The marketing kit something that travels with you each and every day as you meet with clients and prospects in a variety of situations. This then suggests that the kit itself should be very useful and relevant to help you close on any listings or marketing strategies.

You never really know when the opportunity will arise to present and pitch for a listing. If you sell, lease, and manage commercial property the kit will need to be suitably versatile. If you work on Office Property, Industrial Property, and Retail Property, then the kit will also be comprehensively adjusted to suit these property types.

In your marketing presentation kit, you should have a selection of the following:

  1. Provide samples of advertisements that have been used on the other properties of various types. These should be local properties of a quality nature. When the client sees samples of good advertising with other quality properties they are likely to accept your marketing strategy and recommendation.
  2. Give details of the diversity and depth of your database. The database is a significant opportunity in the listing process providing you explain its relevance to the client. The client is unlikely to discard your agency from the presentation process if you can comprehensively connect them to the relevance of your database in providing the appropriate seller or buyer for the property.
  3. It pays to have a two phase strategy when it comes to marketing campaigns. Given that most of the marketing is focused on the first three or four weeks of the agency, this is what we call the primary marketing time. At least half of your marketing effort should be directed into that primary window of time. Most of the enquiry will typically come to you during this period. The balance of your advertising money and campaign can be directed across the remaining agency period which is the secondary promotion time. Throughout the campaign you should be tracking the results of advertising in the different types of media used. If something appears to be working well then it needs to be encouraged. If another segment of advertising or marketing is not getting any enquiry, then there is a need to adjust your campaign. There is no point in wasting time or money when it comes to marketing property. The vendor is seeking enquiry results and that is what you should be creating.
  4. Email marketing of commercial property through the database is a very effective strategy to attract enquiry. It is low cost and also easily undertaken. Show the clients some samples of email marketing and how they can tap into this opportunity.
  5. The signboard on a property is still one of the most effective tools of promotion. It is relatively cheap, and is usually seen by all the local property owners and business proprietors. Given that most enquiries come from the local area, the signboard is fundamentally important to creating enquiry. Show the client some differences between specially designed signage verses generic signage. Make your recommendations accordingly.
  6. Subject to the property type and the chosen method of sale or lease, you can show the client three levels of campaign as they can apply to a particular property. For example that can be the gold package, the silver package, or the bronze package. You may like to call them something different but the inference is that different levels of advertising commitment are available depending on the appropriate levels of vendor paid marketing. When you use this strategy, the client tends to select the middle package as a suitable solution.

As mentioned earlier, you may be involved with different property types. Because of this, you should carry within the marketing kit photographs of quality properties within the category of property. The client will generally only relate to their particular property type and the location.

Commercial Construction Tips – Facts About Construction Projects

Commercial construction is often an arbiter of changing economic conditions. Construction projects mean both an improving economy and a way to improve the economy of a given area. Read on to learn more interesting facts about it.

This type of construction helps public sector agencies as well as private firms. Big new schools in areas where people are moving give students a chance to learn in state of the art facilities. New office buildings bring jobs to the area, and the upward spiral continues. Not only do the buildings benefit the users, but the building process itself gives workers a solid job for several months, and the expenditures from the construction project go directly into the local economy.

The United States is second in the world in terms of this construction, regardless of where the company doing the building is headquartered. As much as 10% of all commercial construction takes place in the US, and New York is the city with the most commercial construction going on – $8.5 billion (that’s billion with a B) in 2013. A lot of the construction was for residential buildings. Following New York were Houston and Dallas. Those two cities spent $10 billion in 2013 on commercial projects.

One of the biggest trends in commercial construction is green building. Experts from the Environmental Protection Agency expect that by 2017 as much as 48% of new building will be done with green building materials. To put that in financial terms, it could mean as much as $145 billion dollars.

By 2018, 84% of residential construction companies plan to have at least some of their construction projects classified as green. To get an idea of just what kind of impact this has on the overall economy, consider that residential projects total as much as 5% of the current gross domestic product of the US. As more and more firms add green building to their plans, it might mean that as much as 18% of GDP will be based around green construction.

Big commercial office buildings are going green, too. LEED certification is becoming the main standard, and builders are up to 41% green as of 2012. Just how rapidly is this growing? Consider that only 2% of commercial construction, non-residential, projects were green in 2005. It’s no surprise that states like Hawaii and California are leading the way in LEED projects.

It’s not just the US that is interested in green construction, though. LEED certifications around the world are becoming more common. A study released earlier this year showed that as many as 69,000 LEED projects are going on globally in 150 different countries.

This construction is as important to the global economy as it has ever been, and the increases in such projects over the last few years signal a positive change after the worldwide recession of 2008-09 and the soft recovery that followed. With even more green projects being planned than ever before, commercial construction projects will also be kinder to the planet, meaning everyone will benefit for years to come.

Learning How to Do a Sales Pitch or Presentation in a Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate today the pressure of presenting and pitching your services can be high. Most opportunities for a listing will involve a few agents all chasing the same listing opportunity. This then says that your presentation process should be finely tuned and very professional.

The ‘generic’ approach to presenting your services to a client today just does not work. In every respect your presentation needs to be of the highest standard. To help you with that I have given you some tips below:

  1. Check out the client’s situation prior to developing any thoughts about the property and how you can take it forward. Find out why the client may be selling or leasing the property today; that information may impact your choices of property promotion. Find out why the client purchased the property in the first place. Also ask them about their impressions of property features and improvements.
  2. Get the facts of the market locally. There will be some competing properties in the general area that will tell you something about prices, rents, enquiry, occupancy and time on market. Get all of those facts together as part of your preparation to meet with and make recommendations to the client.
  3. Walk the streets around the property. As simple as this seems, the process of getting out of your car and walking helps you see and observe many things that you would normally overlook.
  4. Understand the property legally and physically. Most properties will have issues that are of impact to the marketing campaign. Look for the ‘hurdles’ that could affect your choices of marketing and inspecting the property with prospects. It is wise to remove the ‘hurdles’ prior to commencing property marketing.
  5. Know about the precinct and its history. The records of sales and leases should be accessed so you know what has happened in the area over the last few years.
  6. Give information to the client about the best alternatives in marketing and inspecting the property. They like to have choices and understand the logic behind each. In that way they will not be limited or frustrated in the final agent choice or decision.
  7. Show some successes as a local agent. Most clients want to work with the best agents and those that really know the local area. Have some examples handy of relevant property transactions that you have been involved with previously.
  8. Be relevant in your presentation and provide a visual time line to the actions that you will be taking. The client can then see how you will be moving things forward for them in a timely way. If anything, that will give them more confidence when it gets to the final choice of agent.

Presenting and pitching your services as a top real estate agent does not have to be hard. You can make a deliberate choice to be the best agent for the job and give the full facts of the process in moving ahead. Confidence is the key.

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.

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!