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 Agents – Technology Tips and Tools You Must Have to Succeed Today

In commercial real estate you will need some technology tools to assist your progress in commercial property sales and leasing. When used fully and correctly they will drive more opportunity towards you and help you keep it under control.

At the bare minimum in today’s commercial property market you should be able to work with all of the following:

  • Mobile smartphone with your personal diary and database
  • Computer for presentations and property information
  • Database that is easy to use and comprehensively captures the enquiry
  • Website that promotes your listings and your business
  • SMS technology for sending messages to clients and prospects of new listings and updates
  • Email contact and the use of attachments such as brochures and flyers
  • PDF documentation and formatting of promotional material
  • Creation of adverts and marketing material on your computer
  • HTML email that updates all your contacts of recent listings
  • Auto responders for automated contact via email
  • Internet placement of advertised properties
  • Use of word processing for reports and information memorandums

Some salespeople will have a PA to do this work for them and that is fine; it is the fact that you or someone working for you is doing it that really matters.

Presentational and communication tools today are part of business in commercial property. If you use the tools to their fullest capability then your market and the prospects around you will see it.

So let’s add a few extra technology tools to the process now that you may not use. They have something to do with the internet and they are all critical to the online profile you would like to have.

  1. Start to grow your personal profile on the internet by establishing an online community of contacts. You can do this with something like LinkedIn or similar internet based community tool. Importantly you should separate your business life and personal friends to two different sites as they are looking at you from different angles. Most professional business people will have a profile on the web that is searchable and is likely to be looked at by business prospects before or as part of business contact. Establish your profile on the internet the way you want to be seen.
  2. Establish a blog in your name so you can write short informational grabs about property industry trends in your area on a regular basis. Everything you write should be linked back to your main office website and your listings. It is remarkable how this simple regular practice will help lift your personal profile on the World Wide Web as long as you do it regularly.
  3. Write short online articles about commercial real estate and publish them to a recognised internet articles directory on a regular basis. There are some very good article directories on the web and many of them take articles on commercial real estate. That is where you need to go to write about things of interest in commercial investment property. Each article you write should be linked back to your website and personal profile. It is the link back to your site that is really critical to your branding and internet profile.

These extra 3 things will assist your profile on the largest and most important part of the promotional stage in commercial property; the internet. More than ever before the internet and your profile in it will be essential to your success and image in your market. Get ahead of your competition and start the 3 extra processes above before they do.

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.