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.

Top Gun Prospecting Tips in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage, the prospecting process is critical to the commissions and listings that you attract. The best agents and brokers in the industry have a quality approach and system when it comes to prospecting for new business. Every day they are implementing their system into new segments of the market and with new clients.

To revitalise your career and your market share, you can adopt a ‘top gun’ approach to all of your new business efforts. You could say that the approach is based on an ‘attitude’ more than anything else. When you direct your thinking towards creating new clients and new business, everything tends to follow with leads and opportunities.

Action is the key to getting anywhere in this industry. It really doesn’t matter what agency or brokerage you work for; personal branding and networking will allow you to achieve the results you want with listings and commissions.

Here are some ‘top gun’ tips to help you with your growth of market share and client conversions:

  1. Make it easy for people to contact you. Over time extend your brand into the local area and with the right people through constant contact. To do this correctly, you will require a networking and contact model that devotes 50% of your time to current contacts, and 50% of your time to new contacts.
  2. Take advantage of technology through the use of auto responders, e-mail marketing, social media, mobile telephones, and call prospecting. The ultimate goal in any new business effort is to get in front of the right people to establish a long-term relationship. In our industry, the elements of trust and knowledge go hand in hand. It can be many months if not years before someone is ready to use your services. Staying in contact over and for the long term is really important.
  3. Be prepared to put in the time and the effort when it comes to building your market share. Every day approximately 2 or 3 hours should be devoted to the prospecting and networking model you have devised. That itself can be a very large challenge for some agents. They simply do not have the discipline for the process and hence do not take the required action. When you think about it, this leaves the market wide open for those people that can get organised and stay on track when it comes to their real estate business plan and opportunity network. It is a personal thing. It cannot be delegated.
  4. Tracking your efforts and your results will be important to getting traction in building market share. Understand the number of calls that you are making every day, the meetings you are creating, and the presentations underway for new listings. Seek to improve the numbers in a logical and consistent way. Commit time to the process in your diary so that you can reach new people with new property requirements.
  5. It should be said that the prospecting process usually involves a degree of discomfort and skill development. You can fast track the process through practice and role playing. You can merge those activities into your regular weekly sales team meeting.

A successful prospecting model in commercial real estate will take you quickly into the local property market and help with many new quality commercial listings. Consistency and focus will be required to stay on track and get the conversions that you require. The agents and brokers that control the listings, control the market.

Purchasing Commercial Real Estate – A Few Tips

Recent reports from a private real estate analyst called Real Capital Analytics indicate that region of South Florida actually ranks number 15 worldwide when it comes to the level of commercial real estate deals with regard to global property market transactions. This report is actually one of the first ones that have been done with regards to transactions around major metropolitan areas not just in the United States but also in the whole world.

The report has actually tracked global statistics and figures that totals to 1.04 billion US dollars in the field of office, industrial, retail, hotel, apartment and land sales in the year of 2007 alone. Furthermore, there are also information that indicates that more than 1 billion US dollars worth of transactions have been done for commercial property in 114 metropolitan areas in the same year.

With such good reports and astonishing figures, anyone can rightly assume that the Florida commercial real estate is something that countless numbers of investors are setting sights on because of its undeniable profitability. As a proof of this, the reports likewise indicate that foreign investments continue to grow in the most part of the state. Some observers in the Florida commercial real estate market even concludes that as time passes, it will become more and more profitable for people to invest in it. The favorable reports that the state continues to get and enjoy is a good indication that whatever place around the state you choose, you would still be getting back your investment in no time at all, as long as you know how to handle your business well since there is always a ready market for you if the business is really something hat people in Florida will either want or need.

If you are someone who is thinking about purchasing a Florida commercial real estate then be assured that the strategic location and the large number of residents and tourists in the place can expose your business in the local and international market. As more and more people get drawn to the many sights and attractions that the state has, they will then notice your business and you will have a ready market for those products or services that you hope to sell. Needless to say, there really is a big chance for you to earn big and earn quick if you will purchase a Florida commercial real estate because a lot of other business owners have already done that in the past.

On the other hand, if you are someone who is interested to be a Florida commercial real estate professional, then that could help you gain profits well too. Just get in touch with other people who are also involved in the same industry so you could get ideas what are the things that you should know and do so you could succeed in the market as well. In most cases, these professionals are very willing and eager to assist those who are only starting out in the filed.

Tips For Commercial Real Estate Investment

Commercial Real Estate Investment involves buying commercial properties that are bigger than a 4 unit apartment building. It is that real estate investment in which an estate is rented out or sold to make profit through rental income, interests, dividends, royalties, etc. but not for primary residence. It is better for the investors who are beginners in the field to avoid commercial real estate investment strategy. On the other hand, experience investor can go for for this kind of investment as the competition is much less. It is also the best choice asset class for building wealth, you may ask why? This is because there is a limited supply of land; no more land is being created! If you select a real estate with a land component in an area of increasing population and demand, the laws of supply and demand will work in your favour to increase the value of your investment. It provides better leverage than any other asset investment, with the ability to typically borrow at least 80% of the purchase price on house and land packages. 100% lends are possible in some circumstances. It physically exists and everybody needs a roof over their head. Wherever there are people, there will be demand for real estate. Given a healthy national economy, no deflation, an increasing population, or at least increasing demand for property in your chosen investment area, then your investment is liable to increase in value over time. You may have no control over the state of the economy, but I tell you, you can stack the chips in your favour by selecting the right type of property in the right area. Commercial deals take longer than other investments. They take longer to purchase, renovate, and get sold. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something to keep in mind so that you don’t get impatient or rush into a bad decision.

Tips to help you succeed in commercial real estate investment

This investment is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time as I said earlier to buy, renovate and sell, so you need to be patient. Think big and embark on big investment, buy properties at least 10units, remember that the more the unit you buy the cheaper they are per unit. Be prepared to spend a lot of money at first, fight the temptation to be discouraged by this, always have in mind that you can overcome this by borrowing from real estate investment trust or other source as I mentioned in one of my articles. Predictability is required in this investment because it follows a cycle which can be predicted, with predictability you can grow. It also requires consistent and persistent. Learn to analyse properties, know the worth before buying. Before now you suppose to know that commercial real estate is the business of marketing and finance, so you have to be master of finance, learn about mortgages and interest rate, loan programs that are out there. Also you need to be a skilled problem solver for anything going on in the business field in other to excel in this investment. Finally, remember that this business is not static, it changes in strategy and other aspects, so you have to be updated in the latest information, to do this you have to continue with your education/training on this.

Thing to look for when buying commercial real estate investment property

1. Solid Land Component; Aim for an investment where at least 30% of the purchase price is comprises of the land component. House and land, villa units, townhouses, and low apartment buildings can all fit in the bill. Land is the only limited resource, and that means value for you. If you purchase a unit in a high rise, not only will the value of the building depreciate over time, but what is to stop developers erecting more high-rises and diluting the supply in your market?

2. Stable or Increasing Population; Invest in an area with an increasing, or at least stable, population base. Avoid towns which are dependent on a single industry for the bulk of their employment. If the industry folds, so will the tenants.

3. Transport, Shops and Public Amenities; Invest in an area close to schools, shops, public transport and good public amenities such as a post office, library and park lands. These are the basic factors that make an area desirable to live in and will help to ensure continued demand for property in that area over the long time.

4. Affordable for an Average Worker; Select a median property in a median area, one which is affordable for the average workers. High end real estate is prone to vacancy and busts in recessionary times. Low end real estate is less desirable, can attract a lower quality of tenant, and cost you more in maintenance. Aim for a property that will rent for no more than 40% of the average household income for that area, preferably 30% of the household income.

5. Affordability for you, the investor; Try to invest in property that at least pays for itself, that is to say that the rental income will at least cover your mortgage repayments, insurance, maintenance, management fees, local rates and taxes. If this is not possible in your area, consider alternative areas. Otherwise you can still build wealth with negative geared property.

Above are few tips on how to succeed and buy a good investment properties. Just bear them in mind when buying commercial real estate properties and I bet you, you cash flow will boom.

Negotiating Tips for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

Life’s Experiences, Lessons learned, Classes taken, Books and Articles read, and then summarized for your viewing pleasure in the following article on Commercial Real Estate Negotiating tips

  1. Don’t let contract negotiations go back and forth more than twice – the more back and forth, the harder it is to get a deal done. Round 1 and both are focused on the sale. Round 2 and the focus changes to money. When you get past Round 2 parties can begin to nitpick, start to resent each other and lose focus. Issues can then become personal.
  2. Focus on completing the sale. Don’t get sidetracked by emotions, unimportant details, unforeseen challenges or difficult situations that arise.
  3. Endeavor to put all contract offers and subsequent pertinent details in writing. This avoids the misunderstandings, misrepresentations and omissions that typically accompany verbal communications and lead to a breakdown in the process.
  4. When you give a concession, ask for something in return. You might not always get it but the fact that you’ve given in on an issue ought to give you the standing to ask for and often times receive something in return. Just by asking and not receiving you avoid the other side continuing to ask concessions of you and your Client.
  5. It’s best to not take the first offer too quickly or too easily. Wait at least a few hours. When talking about it with the other Agent don’t talk about the ease of getting the property under contract. The other side will immediately think they made a bad deal and from that point forward the closing process can become more difficult than it should be.
  6. If you get to an impasse, change the focus and resolve less complicated issues. Then go back to the difficult ones. The process will go smoother and once you have worked through the easy ones, momentum will help get things finished.
  7. If you aren’t sure how to reply to a request or if you know the answer but want to soften the blow, use the “limited authority” approach. “I’m not sure, let me check with my Partner”, or “Let me take a look at such and such data” so that you can better provide a more meaningful reply.
  8. In order to support your position, rely on precedent. Suggest that this is the way that issues like these are typically addressed or that you’ve done such and such before with great success.
  9. Ask the other side for something that isn’t critical to making the deal so that perhaps you can trade this item away for something more important to you.
  10. Negotiations are a process. It doesn’t matter how quickly you want things to move, the process will move based upon the comfort level of your Client. Maintain focus, but keep in mind that the process will most likely not move as fast as you want it to.
  11. Stay away from high pressure tactics including ultimatums, demands or anything that sounds final and/or threatening. Most of the time it doesn’t help and it can lead directly to emotional responses that then creates animosity.
  12. Work towards a win / win. In order to have a successful negotiation, both sides need to win on some points. Give and take. Strive to achieve most of your goals understanding that the other party is trying to do the same.
  13. Present all of the facts to your Client. It’s your fiduciary duty as a Realtor to apprise the Client of all related facts to the negotiations – good and bad. Don’t push for the higher dollar offer if other terms of the offer put the Client at undue risk.
  14. Remember who you are negotiating with. Sooner or later you’ll be back at the table again with the same Agent. Don’t burn any bridges by transacting in a less than professional manner.

Smooth Real Estate Transactions: 4 Tips to Consider When Selling or Buying a Commercial Property

No one would invest in a piece of commercial real estate without investigating it’s resale value, income generating potential, building structure, etc. However, there are a couple of things that seem to get overlooked, even by the savviest investors. Following are the four most overlooked items that you should consider when you are selling or buying a commercial property:

Has the building been unoccupied for more than 180 days?

Collier County has an established Land Development Code (LDC) that governs things like a building’s architectural standards, setbacks, landscape and parking requirements. These requirements vary based on the district where the property is located. The LDC is reviewed and updated twice a year and new projects are required to comply with the codes. Existing buildings are usually “grandfathered” in, however, there are certain times that a building is subject to review for compliance with the current land development code.

One reason a building is subject to review is if it is unoccupied for a period of more than 180 consecutive days. To bring newer buildings into compliance with the LDC may be as simple as revamping the landscaping with extra trees or buffer shrubs. However, with older buildings it can be very costly. A local businessman purchased an older building with the intention of using it as a warehouse-showroom. When he tried to get a permit for a renovation, he was informed that he would have to change the front facade of the building to include among other things, a 75% glass storefront. To bring this building into compliance, it would have meant serious structural changes that increased the renovation costs by tens of thousands of dollars. The project proved infeasible and the building was subsequently resold and developed.

Will the occupational license require a change of use for the building?

Another reason that would make the building subject to review for compliance with the land development code would be if there was a “change of use.” Change of use doesn’t necessarily mean a zoning change. It can mean going from a jewelry store to an office supply store, or a retail store to a restaurant. The reason for this review is to make certain that the new use is in compliance with the permitted uses of the specific zoning area. This review also ensures that there is adequate infrastructure (ie parking) to support the new use.

Will the building need alterations to the fire alarm or sprinkler system?

Another overlooked item is the fire safety system, which includes the fire alarm and fire sprinklers. By adding sprinklers or changing out a fire panel, you open the whole fire safety system up for review and it will have to be brought up to current code. Depending on the age of the building, this can include relocating the fire alarms on the wall; adding fire sprinkler heads; or replacing an entire control panel, which can add thousands of dollars to a project. If you are in doubt, get a consultation with a qualified general contractor or architect during your due diligence period.

Have you allotted enough TIME for planning and permitting?

Permitting is frequently the place where owners don’t allot enough time. According to the City of Naples Building Division, it typically takes three-four weeks for a permit application to be reviewed and a permit issued. However, if your permit application is rejected it can take another two-four weeks after your plans have been revised by the architect. According to the Collier County Building Department, it typically takes six weeks for a permit application to be reviewed and permitted. Depending on the complexity of the project and allowing for a couple of rejections, it is more realistic to plan on three to twelve months for a permit to be issued. A renovation might be three months and a building under 10,000sft might take six-nine months. Unfortunately, there are NO short cuts in getting through the permitting process.

With proper planning, your commercial real estate transaction can go smoothly and provide you with a profitable investment. If you have any questions about the process, it would be wise to consult with a reputable commercial general contractor and an architect.

Commercial Real Estate Agency Blogs – 5 Tips For Success

It’s no secret by now that one of the cornerstones of a great marketing strategy, you need to have great content, well-written and helpful to your site visitors. Perhaps the easiest way to achieve this is through creating and actively maintaining a blog. You’re probably thinking, wait, I’m a commercial real estate agent, where do I even start with having a blog? Here are some tips to get you started on your way to becoming a CRE wordsmith.

1. Don’t cover too much at once

As an author, your space on the blogosphere is pretty much unlimited. However, this does not mean that you should try to cram all you know about one topic into one single blog post. If you think that the topic can be broken down into smaller sub units, you should also make blog posts covering only those sub units. It will be easier for your readers to process, it will be easier for you to write, and it will give you more content and more traffic.

2. One topic = one blog post

Related to our previous point, your blog posts should revolve around one single topic. The reason is simple – both you and your readers will be able to stay more focused. If you’re already brewing with ideas, write them down and expand them in future blog posts.

3. Answer the right questions

Writing helpful content is one of the best ways to get your visitors engaged and keep them returning to your site. However, you need to make sure that you’re answering those questions which they need help with. Put yourself in the prospects’ shoes and see what kind of concerns and problems they might have.

4. Cover common problems

In your average working day, you come across dozens of clients and they all have similar questions and doubts. Why not use this knowledge to your advantage? Your blog can be a platform where you address frequently asked questions, problems and concerns your clients might have.

5. Look at the bigger picture

You might think that having your own blog implies that you should use it to write about yourself, your agency and your work experience. However, your potential clients will not be looking for information specific to your agency. Instead, they will be looking for more general information pertaining to the commercial real estate industry. This is why your blog posts should rarely touch upon your own agency, unless it’s something really worth noting – such as an important deal you closed, company anniversary, charity event you hosted or similar.

Commercial Real Estate Loans

Commercial real estate loans can help you purchase, build or refinance commercial properties owned by you or your company. Such loans are designed to help acquire, construct or simplify payments for residential income properties, such as like apartment buildings, commercial business properties (offices), retail and warehouses and development projects like a condominium and subdivision projects.

There are a number of free commercial mortgage lender databases on the Internet to help you find mortgage lenders and commercial construction lenders who will process your application. These search directories can be very powerful tools, if you know how to use them. As a general rule, you should only use commercial mortgage lender databases that give you direct links to the lenders, not brokers. This way, you cut the paper trail and do business directly with the lender.

Most commercial mortgage lender databases require that you fill out a basic commercial loan application. After you submit your application, the database matches your data with hundreds of commercial mortgage financing programs. The results of the search will depend on your location and the type of commercial real estate loan you are looking.

Your application will be matched with commercial lenders who best meet the information you provided. You can compare rates and choose lenders who you think will work for you. If you use commercial mortgage lender databases to your advantage, you can easily secure loans for virtually any commercial property purpose. A good database gives you intelligent insight into what kind of conventional and government commercial property loan is best for your particular circumstances.

Tips to Hire a Commercial Real Estate Agent

If you don’t want to handle your relocation project or commercial lease renewal yourself, you can go to a commercial real estate agent. All you have to do is choose the right professional for your needs. Given below are 6 things you may want to consider during your evaluation. Read on.

Likability

A relocation or lease renewal is similar to a construction project. The difference is that it takes a bit longer than expected. So, it’s a good idea to go with someone who you like. This way you will enjoy throughout your journey and the process of negotiation may also go well.

Trust

Make sure the professional agent that you are going to hire can be trusted. It may be difficult to find out who can be trusted but it can be done during the interview. By asking a few relevant questions during the interview, you can get a pretty good idea as if they are trustworthy or not.

Conflicts of Interest

What does a conflict occurs? Actually, the conflict may occur when you go with an agent who already is a representative of many property owners in the same area. Now, the agent wants to serve you despite that the fact that they have given their word to the property owners that they will find a way to earn them the highest rate of rent possible. So, you may want to get a clear idea of the conflict severity and its importance for you.

Experience

Experience of the agent is of utmost importance as far as choosing the best professional is concerned. Ideally, it’s a good idea to go with a commercial real estate agent who has over 10 years of experience in the field. Their grey hair may be a sign that they have been in this business for years. You can ask about their experience during the interview.

Age

Age of the professional should not be taken as an evidence of their experience in the field. The million dollar question is how long have they been actively involved in the business. You need to keep in mind that commercial real estate is on the list of those businesses that people do part time. So, make sure you choose a professional who has been working full time as an agent. What matters is experience not the age of the agent. After all, age is just a number.

Specialization

Typically agents specialize in two ways. They can do it by industry vertical or location. As far as importance is concerned, location specialization carries more weight. An agent with location specialization has a pretty good idea of what is happening in the market. They know about the best deals and best property owners. Aside from this, their negotiation style is pretty impressive.

Long story short, if you have been thinking of hiring the services of the best commercial real estate agent, we suggest that you take these factors into consideration. This will help you choose the best service provider.

Commercial Real Estate Tenant Screening Checklist

The length of a commercial lease is more than a residential one. Generally, a commercial unit is rented for 3-5 years. Since it involves a great deal of money, it’s important to screen tenants before renting. Read on to know the essential commercial real estate listings before renting out an office space.

Have an established process for screening tenants

One must have an established process for screening inhabitants. Prospective renters must fill in an application form. In the form, one must seek permission to do a credit check. The method makes sure that there is no discrimination by the landlord while leasing out his property.

Review credit report

There are many online services which run credit checks on inhabitants on the behalf of landlords. After receiving the credit report, owners must review it carefully and ask for an explanation if there is any delinquency. The report will make it clear whether the tenant has a history of paying bills late or has suffered bankruptcy.

Get personal information

While leasing out a commercial real estate for rent, owners must ask for personal information of the lessee. Often during such a deal, tenants use the company’s credit, information, and not their own personal information. If the inhabitant is new in the business, it’s the right of owners to know whether he/she can pay the rent incase the business shuts down. Personal information will also help proprietors to know if the renter has a criminal background or not.

Contact previous landlords

Most applications ask tenants to fill name and contact information of their earlier landlords. However, owners tend to overlook it and don’t call up past proprietors for references. It’s a huge mistake as a past owner can give valuable information, which is not available otherwise. Therefore, before renting it’s imperative to contact previous owners of the prospective occupant.

Get help from tenant screening firms

It’s not always possible for an owner to do all the checks on his own. In such a scenario, they must seek help from tenant screening firms who do credit checks, reference check, etc. Landlords can make a decision based on the report of such firms.

Interaction in person

The last part of the screening process should include a face-to-face interaction with the renter. There are several things that can’t be communicated in an application or telephonic discussions. During such interactions, owners must study the body language of the lessee. This is a great indicator to know whether the occupant is reliable or not.

Proper screening doesn’t cost owners much, but reaps huge benefits for them in the long run.