Commercial Building Inspections – Tips for Finding a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector

If and when planning to purchase a commercial property, the question often arises, ‘How Can I Find a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector for Conducting a Commercial Building Inspection?’ While one could easily write an eBook on this subject matter, this article offers several tips to help you hire a reliable and competent inspector for the purpose of obtaining a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. So without further ado, let me begin by telling you ‘What Not to Do’.

Never hire a commercial building inspector who was referred to you by the real estate agent or any other outside party who has a vested interest in and stands to gain from the sale of the property.

Although this statement goes without saying, it’s worth mentioning simply because many of those looking to purchase commercial real estate believe it is standard protocol to rely upon the realtor’s recommendation for hiring an inspector. In reality, this practice poses a conflict of interest that can have dire consequences for the party purchasing the property. Unfortunately, real estate agents who knowingly partake in this practice along with inspectors who continue to burn the candle from both ends know exactly what they’re doing and how to get away with it. While there may be a few exceptions to what I am telling you, I can assure you that the majority of inspectors who rely heavily upon referrals from real estate agents for their business are not going to rock the boat by disclosing any information to the client during the course of an inspection that may later serve to jeopardize their relationship with the broker or real estate company who referred them in the first place.

Never hire a Home Inspector to conduct a Commercial Property Inspection.

As for hiring a home inspector to conduct a commercial building inspection, suffice it to say that in most cases, conducting a commercial building inspection is altogether different from performing a home inspection for reasons too numerous to list in this article. However, the proliferation of home inspectors over the past twenty years (everyone wants to be one, especially in those States where home inspection licensing has become mandatory making it relatively easy for anyone to become licensed), hasn’t helped either as this has spawned an increasing number of home inspectors who are still unable to properly inspect a home, much less a commercial building, even if their life depended upon it. Moreover, given the number of significant and distinct differences between residential and commercial property, while experience in inspecting homes may well serve as a prerequisite, it is by no means a substitute for the vast amount of knowledge and experience required and yet to be learned by most home inspectors before they can even begin thinking about conducting a diligent and thorough building inspection.

Aside from ‘What Not to Do’, there are also other criteria you need to consider or at least be aware of in your quest to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector. namely:

Know the fundamental difference between a Commercial Building Inspection and a Property Condition Assessment (PCA).

Although this topic warrants a separate discussion, it’s important to note that the terms ‘PCA’ and ‘Commercial Building Inspection’ are often used interchangeably in the commercial sector. This in turn has resulted in a lot of confusion not only among real estate investors and others looking to purchase commercial property but real estate agents as well who more often than not simply do not know much less understand the difference. To make matters worse, the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) has also gotten in on the act by promulgating their ASTM Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA. What this means is that since they happen to be a nationally recognized organization in the construction industry, in certain respects they’re similar to the AMA in the medical profession meaning anything and everything they write on a particular subject happens to bear a lot of weight. The problem arises in that the Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA are often misunderstood by many in the profession and seldom if ever read by those buying and selling real estate.

To simplify things, all one really has to know is that the difference between a commercial building inspection and a Baseline PCA is like night and day since the later can be performed in a fraction of the time it takes to conduct a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. The reasoning behind this is pure and simple in that a PCA is essentially a cursory walk-through of the property that relies heavily upon second hand information obtained through interviews and documentation (that may/may not be readily available let alone veritable) normally obtained through the owner and/or occupants of the property. Hence, my advice to anyone who is seriously considering having a PCA in deciding whether or not to purchase a commercial property is to forget it since in most cases a PCA is a total waste of time and money in providing information contained in a property condition report that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Try to obtain as much information as you can about the company and the inspector beforehand

This is another statement that goes without saying but I mention it because many people feel uncomfortable in asking questions of this nature especially when speaking with someone they don’t already know. However, if you reflect upon what I’ve just said for a moment, the fact you don’t know anything about the company or the inspector should be reason enough to ask all the questions you can to solicit answers without being embarrassed.

Be sure to ask the company or building inspector for references

Last but not least, do not be embarrassed to ask for bonafide references regarding recent clients for whom they have conducted similar commercial building inspections. If the company or inspector is reputable and if they have confidence in the service they provide, they normally will not have any reservations whatsoever in providing you with this information.

My next article will provide tips as to what questions you need to ask and what else you need to be aware of in looking to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector.

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.

Commercial Insurance: Tips on Choosing the Right Company and Policy

“Commercial insurance” essentially refers to insurance that protects businesses and professionals from any unforeseen circumstance that could affect the business / professionals financially. It’s always a good idea to have some sort of coverage for your business, even if you work from home. A general liability policy at the very least is recommended as it covers businesses for cases like a customer getting injured on the property, someone trying to sue you for medical costs, if your products cause injury, if copyright infringement, and so forth.

General liability insurance is offered by some contractors as a stand-alone coverage through some insurance companies, although it is often combined with property insurance in Business Owner Policies, or BOPs.

Here are a few tips for choosing commercial insurance:

• The best insurance for your business won’t be the same for every business, because each company is unique. It’s best to go through a company that offers tailored solutions, so you won’t have to worry about paying for coverage that you don’t even need.

• Learn about the laws in your area. Where your business is located plays a role in how much money you’ll have to pay. The risks are greater in some areas. What is the minimum requirement for companies in your city and state? How big is your commercial property?

More Tips for Finding Good Commercial Insurance

• One thing to look for is a company that will offer ways to reduce the cost of commercial insurance to ensure that you are getting a competitive price. Some providers actually offer discounts for home-based businesses. You might also be rewarded if you employ good risk management, such a keeping the commercial property clean and hazard-free.

• Keep the terms “named perils” and “open perils” in mind. Open perils coverage refers to protection against nearly every potential loss, except for losses specifically excluded in the commercial insurance policy. Named perils policy, on the other hand, only provides coverage for losses that are specifically INCLUDED in the policy, such as theft, wind, fire, vandalism, etc…

• If you are looking for an insurance broker, make sure that individual knows your industry. The more knowledgeable they are about your specific needs and requirements, the better able they will be to help you get the best possible coverage at a reasonable price. Also, look into a broker’s geographical licensing and operations. Do they align with the regions or states your company operates in?

A good place to begin your search for a good commercial insurance policy is the Hiscox Business Insurance Group. Hiscox Inc is financially strong and offers affordable, tailored coverage in all 50 states.

Retail Shopping Center Performance Tips for Brokers and Agents

In reviewing the performance of any retail shopping centre there are many things to look at. As a type of investment, the typical retail property is dynamic and active in many ways. A true property professional will review all the facts before getting involved in property marketing or any sale or lease. Many things should be understood first before any action is taken.

What makes a retail property so different? It is integrated heavily into and involving the stakeholder’s interests; the stakeholders are the landlord, the tenants, customers, financiers, managers and leasing specialists. In an ideal investment situation the retail property manager would be balancing the tenant mix to improve retail sales and lessen the vacancy rate, and then to take steps to improve the landlord’s net income. Within those two issues there are many things to look at.

It can be said that retail property managers are perhaps the most specialised in the property industry. Their knowledge, skill, and systems will have a major impact on the property overall. On that basis the retail management fees paid today in a quality property should be substantial to cover the time required in property control and optimisation. The management processes and leasing activities in a retail property are intense. Mistakes or omissions made can impact the property in many different ways.

So here are some basic factors to help you get started in checking and optimising retail property performance from the aspects of the leases and tenants. You can add to the list based on location and property configuration:

  1. Tenant mix – review the tenant mix in all respects. That will include lease documentation, critical dates, tenant offering, sales performance, and lease longevity.
  2. Lease terms and conditions – in a property you will have many leases. All of them will have lease terms that are unique to the premises and the lease situation. You must know about the leases before any sale or marketing proposal is contemplated.
  3. Sales figures – most good retail properties will be tracking sales turnover by retailer. This will be done as a standard term and condition of the lease. The numbers will show segments of trade and the MAT average over time. MAT stands for Moving Annual Turnover and it will show how the sales figures are trending in retail segments in a shopping centre. It is a valuable analysis. It helps you see weaknesses in trade, tenant mix, lease structure, and clustering.
  4. Vacancy factors – given that you have leases in a property, you are likely to have vacancies as well, together with the threat of a vacancy with tenants getting to the end of lease occupancy.

Looking at all of these things you have the basis of understanding just how the tenants and leases impact the property and its current cash flow of rental. From that point onwards you can look at other associated issues such as outgoings, net income, and customer interaction.

Commercial Property As the Ultimate Storehouse of Value – 14 Winning Tips

To help invest in property that most nearly fits your wishes, let’s start by understanding the likenesses and differences, as well as the benefits and disadvantages, of owning a commercial property versus owning a home one. Here are few winning tips to serve as your steering light in an ocean of doubt.

1. Have clauses of every Sale & Purchase Agreement explained to you by a Barrister before execution.

2. Reasons your capital outlay is higher with commercial property are: commercial properties generally cost more and the margin of financing by banks is ten to fifteen percent lower. Rates of commercial property loans are sometimes higher than home property loans and the terms are generally not as flexible.

3. Capital appreciation of commercial properties are relatively higher than home property traditionally. With commercial properties you will most probably be working with companies and corporations whereby management is more ecstatic.

4. The value of a property is sometimes in close relation to the income it generates.

5. Approval level of upward rental revision is far higher with commercial properties.

6. With the properties, there are countless strategies you might support your tenants’ business.

7. Lease your property to firms / companies with successful track records and / or appropriate firms for the vicinity.

8. Long term leases can be anticipated from renters of properties.

9. It’s a norm for renters of properties to ask for a rent-free period for refurbishment to be carried out.

10. Renters of properties generally take better care of your properties.

11. There’s nearly always a budget for reconstruction works for properties put aside by your renter. There is not any prerequisite to furnish your commercial property.

12. Application rates and rates for give up rent and assessment are higher for commercial properties. Service charges can be applied to office lots, retail lots, serviced terraces, commercial shop-lots with facilities as well as some guarded commercial lots.

13. Collection of delinquent rental for properties is simpler in comparison to home properties due to straightforwardness of access.

14. The trend and requirement for intellectual commercial buildings is growing far more fast than smart houses. Unlike home properties, when the alignment of the project is favourable, it is OK to go for commercial properties found at T-junctions.

The excellent news is, you picked up this information and that already differentiates you from the outwardly blind flock of investing sheep. This information is one of the finest methods to start your successful property investment journey.

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.

Commercial Property Management – Tenancy Schedule Tips Tools and Tactics

The tenancy schedule is the tool of choice for a property manager or leasing manager in a commercial or retail property investment. It is the tenancy schedule that will keep the property manager up to task on forthcoming events and dates.

Often you find that the tenancy schedule is not up to date, so if anyone gives you such a document, treat it with the caution it deserves, and check it out completely before you act on the information contained therein.

So let’s say that you have a great tenancy schedule that you know is totally accurate. I get many questions about what I would want to see in a tenancy schedule. Here are my main priorities:

  • Details of the tenant name, lease, and full contact detail for emergencies
  • Tenancy identifier or suite reference that comes from the plan for the property
  • The area of the tenancy in m2 or ft2 (depending on your unit of measurement)
  • The % of the tenant area to the building net lettable area
  • The rent $’s per annum, per month, and per unit of measurement (m2 or ft2)
  • Lease start date
  • Rent start date
  • Lease end date
  • Term of lease
  • Option term of lease
  • Anniversary dates and reminders for rent reviews, options, expires, renewals, renovations, and make good obligations
  • Outgoings charges for each tenant on the basis of area and monthly charge
  • Outgoings budget for the building
  • Total outgoings recoveries for the property on a currency and % basis
  • Types of outgoings to be charged to the tenants
  • Insurance obligations of the tenant
  • Rental guarantee details or bonds held
  • Provision for critical dates relating to any important lease term or condition
  • Maintenance obligation details of the tenants

This list is not finite and you can add your own extra priorities, I would however make sure that it is totally correct and maintain it to the highest level of accuracy. When you do this you can stay on top of important upcoming events that will impact the occupancy or rental of the property.

Whilst you can buy ‘off the shelf’ software programs that display this above information, that can be quite expensive for those commercial and retail property managers that are first entering this type of property. The alternative is to create some simple spread sheet that contains the data; in saying that, it is essential that great care is taken to maintain the spread sheet that you create. Any errors in the tenancy schedule can destroy your landlord, your business, your tenant, your reputation, and the property. Accuracy is paramount.

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.

Tips To Get The Perfect Tenant Mix for Your Retail Property

The ultimate goal for any landlord is to achieve maximum income from their retail property. However, that does not imply that they must lose focus on the bigger picture and let their space to any retailer who is interested in the property. Maintaining the perfect tenant mix in the property leads to increased foot traffic, greater spend, delighted tenants and ultimately more demand and better rates for the property.

Read on to find out the five ways to create the ultimate blend of tenants for a retail center.

Study the demographics of the environment

The demographics of the nearby locations play a vital role in determining what kind of retailers will best tick among the shoppers. Conduct surveys and collect information pertaining to what your target customers would like to see in the area around them. For instance, pharmacy stores may be a valuable addition for an aging population.

Talk to your existing tenants

Existing retail tenants may be a good source of providing insight into what brands and products can add more value to their own store and ultimately to the landlord. Analyze the performance of the stores and take a deeper look into their strengths and weakness and build ways to overcome or enhance them.

Mix brands and categories

A retail center that draws a balance between the big and the small brands and has a wider collection of product categories than simply focusing on part of the demographics enjoy better foot traffic. Choose tenants from various product categories and be sure to include local retailers who always have something new and fresh to offer. Look beyond the retail line up and set up service facilities like ATMs to optimize the time and effort spent on creating the perfect tenant mix.

Make market assessment a part of the responsibility

Tenants come and may go at the end of the lease. This may interrupt the existing interconnections within the retail space. For instance, men visiting your retail center to buy baby diapers in one outlet tend to grab a few drinks at the next one. Retail centers must continually invest time and effort to assess the market and ensure that their tenant mix is optimizing the overall performance.

Hire a good commercial real estate property company

Commercial real estate property management services have mastered the art of using several proven techniques in finding the right mix for any kind of retail property. They study the area around the property, analyze the geographical pros and cons of the place and have seasoned real estate experts to work on the tenant mix. They perform competitor analysis to check what products and services are missing in the area and also work towards acquiring high quality tenants for the property.

Landlords and real estate companies can use real estate property management services to manage tenant relationships from the start till the end while they focus on other core activities.

Tips for Securing Commercial Lawn Mowers for Commercial Landscaping Properties

A lawn care or landscaping company with the knowledge and experience needed to handle the care for large commercial properties needs the right tools at their disposal in order to handle these commercial landscaping properties. That means only the best commercial lawn mowers designed specifically for large-scale properties. You want your handiwork to speak for itself whenever you drive off from a freshly-manicured commercial property, so here’s how to not just secure new commercial property owners as clients but how to keep them by providing the best service you can.

Don’t Be Afraid to Scout While On the Job

The life of a professional landscaper entails a lot of driving from job to job, and this represents an excellent opportunity to scout out new possible properties to approach to see if their owners are looking for landscaping services. Commercial properties with large, neglected lots are always ripe for the plucking, especially as sometimes the companies that occupy properties, such as law offices and similar professional services, are responsible for their own landscaping and do not have a property management company to rely on. Once you’ve gotten a good list of what might very well end up being new clients, you’ll have to track down who it is you’ll have to talk to in particular about landscaping services. Whether it is a grounds manager or a business owner, you will need to do some Googling – or better yet just knock on doors and strike up conversations with receptionists or other staff at the front desk.

Be Yourself with Prospective New Clients

It’s important to be genuine when you’re looking to forge new connections with potential clients. Business owners are inclined to be friendly with a fellow business owner, especially when they present themselves honestly and professionally. Being open and honest can help show prospective clients that it will be easy to work with you, even if it just means that you’re proficient at making small talk. However, when it comes time to get down to brass tacks, you’ll need to be straightforward and simple about what you can provide to a company, what types of commercial lawn mowers and other equipment you use on a regular basis, and how much all of these services will cost.

Don’t Lose Hope

Finally, don’t get discouraged if you keep asking around and all you’re getting is rejection after rejection. Not every business out there cares or even thinks about the landscaping on their property. Moreover, those who do reject your offer will sometimes give you feedback as to why you were passed over, providing you an opportunity to hone your sales pitch and strengthen your positions for future endeavors.

Of course, it doesn’t matter how well you can smooth-talk a client unless you have the equipment to back it up in your trailer. Make sure to use only the most safe and efficient commercial mowers that can stand up to the strain of large, robust commercial.