Latest posts by Randolph Taylor (see all)
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- Why rent control is wrong for Chicago - March 13, 2019
Real estate investors face significant tax changes for 2018. Discover how to capitalize on tax reform and how it could affect commercial real estate performance. Continue reading "5 WAYS INVESTORS CAN CAPITALIZE ON TAX REFORM IN 2018 Webinar"
11:00 a.m. PT | 2:00 p.m. ET
|Navigating the New Tax Laws - Investment Real Estate Insights|
This month I’m going to offer a two-part series. Both articles will examine the advantages of leveraging the expertise of a commercial broker for commercial real estate transactions. This first article will cover the benefits of a commercial broker from a seller’s perspective; I’ll follow up in part two with a look at the benefits from a buyer’s point of view.
Commercial real estate is truly a specialty. A commercial real estate transaction is a complex undertaking that involves thousands of details and interrelated tasks. It can be very difficult for someone without a thorough knowledge of the commercial real estate business to manage a transaction efficiently and without missing details that would result in unnecessarily wasted time and money. The commercial real estate industry, along with all of the rules and regulations that govern it, is very dynamic. Things can change so quickly that even seasoned professionals can fall behind if they are not diligent about staying current.
I sometimes compare commercial brokers to attorneys. When people (that are not legal professionals) have legal issues, they could try to represent themselves, but it’s not a good idea. Without the vast knowledge and understanding of the minute details that a qualified attorney possesses, there’s a high probability that details could be overlooked and costly mistakes be made. Good attorneys know the most current laws and the smartest strategies and tactics for addressing legal issues. An attorney is an expert consultant for legal issues, and a commercial real estate broker is an expert consultant for real estate transactions.
A commercial broker can represent buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. So let’s take a look at what a broker can do for sellers.
One of the most important benefits that a reputable broker offers a seller is effective marketing. Obviously, when sellers list properties, they need to get the word out to viable buyer prospects. This is how they reach the best prospects and they get the best price for the property. Unlike most property owners, quality brokers have a wide variety of marketing tools and resources at their disposal and the expertise to use those tools to maximize the exposure of the property to the target audience most likely to be interested in buying. Because a broker has these tools in place and uses them often, he or she will be able to run each marketing campaign efficiently and cost effectively. Marketing for-sale properties is something most brokers do practically every day, so the process usually runs like a well-oiled machine. Once the seller submits the details of the property, the broker will have it in the MLS system, on multiple internet real estate sites, and in all the right print publications almost immediately. In most cases, signs, flyers, email blasts, direct mail and other communications channels will also be used to enhance the campaign. In addition to the standard marketing channels, if a broker has been working in the area for an extended period of time, he or she has probably built up a network of relationships with clients, investors and other brokers that will result in some excellent leads.
An experienced broker may also have the talent and ability to look at the property from different perspectives and recognize variables that the owner didn’t notice. A broker can frequently help the seller identify the highest potential for the property based on factors such as location, square footage, property type and more. For example, a property near the hospital may have the most value as a medical facility. A building near the courthouse may be ideal for an attorney’s office. A specific example in Wilmington is on the corner of Oleander Drive and Independence Boulevard. Remember the old Exxon station? Today it’s a thriving Starbucks. It’s on the corner of a busy, high-visibility intersection that’s easily accessible from either side, and near business and residential areas – it’s the perfect spot for a Starbucks.
Proactive commercial real estate brokers also will offer sellers ideas about the best way to utilize their properties. Understanding the variety of ways a particular property can be split or subdivided can expand the appeal of the property to a broader audience. A good broker will run scores of analytics to determine the true value of the property for a range of business scenarios, and then find the appropriate target buyers.
The bottom line is, a commercial real estate broker is a specialist that has the tools, knowledge and connections to help sellers locate buyers efficiently and cost effectively.
For the purposes of comparison, office space is grouped into three classes in accordance with one of two alternative bases: metropolitan and international. These classes represent a subjective quality rating of buildings which indicates the competitive ability of each building to attract similar types of tenants. A combination of factors including rent, building finishes, system standards and efficiency, building amenities, location/accessibility and market perception are used as relative measures. The metropolitan base is for use within an office space market and the international base is for use primarily by investors among many metropolitan markets.
Building amenities include services that are helpful to either office workers or office tenants and whose presence is a convenience within a building or building complex. Examples include food facilities, copying services, express mail collection, physical fitness centers or child care centers. As a rule, amenities are those services provided within a building. The term also includes such issues as the quality of materials used, hardware and finishes, architectural design and detailing and elevator system performance. Services that are available readily to all buildings in a market, such as access to a subway system or proximity to a park or shopping center are usually reflected in the quality of the office market and therefore all buildings are affected. The class of a specific building may be affected by proximity only to the degree that proximity distinguishes the building (favorably or unfavorably) from other buildings in the market.
The purpose of the rating system is to encourage standardization of discussion concerning office markets, including individual buildings and to encourage the reporting of office market conditions that differentiate among the classes. Nevertheless, BOMA International does not recommend the publishing of a classification rating for individual properties.
Most prestigious buildings competing for premier office users with rents above average for the area. Buildings have high quality standard finishes, state of the art systems, exceptional accessibility and a definite market presence.
Buildings competing for a wide range of users with rents in the average range for the area. Building finishes are fair to good for the area. Building finishes are fair to good for the area and systems are adequate, but the building does not compete with Class A at the same price.
Buildings competing for tenants requiring functional space at rents below the average for the area.
Investment quality properties are those that are unique in their location in the best metropolitan markets in the world, their design and construction quality, the solidity of the tenants and the tenant markets that they serve and the outstanding building management that is responsible for operating and maintaining them. These properties stand out as leaders not only within their own metropolitan areas but also within the international investment community.
Investment properties usually contain state of the art mechanical, electrical, life safety, elevator and communications systems. Their finishes are of the highest standards and they often provide the occupants with a mix of amenities - in variety and quality - that is exceptional. Often they house a lead tenant for whom the property is named and usually they are located in a premier metropolitan area. Investment grade properties need not be considered to be "trophy" material but trophy properties are usually investment grade.
Institutional grade properties are those of sufficient size and stature that they merit attention by large national or international investors, hence the name. These properties are of good design and construction, although they are rarely monumental in design or the use of construction materials. They are typically large. They may be located in secondary metropolitan areas, but invariably they will have a very stable tenant base.
Speculative properties usually will conform to popular design conventions (at the time that they are constructed), but without the use of exceptional materials or construction methods. The design and construction of these properties emphasizes functionality, in contrast with aesthetics or image and the design rarely reflects the image of any particular tenant or occupant. To attract national or international attention, speculative properties must be relatively large, although minimum size requirements are lower for properties located in premier office markets. They are often occupied by multiple tenants.
The Blue Book is a helpful market report with information brought to you by the true “on the ground” experts – the professionals of the Coldwell Banker Commercial organization from all over the world.
CBC-affiliated professionals represent one of the largest commercial real estate footprints in the U.S. The Blue Book brings their local market feedback directly to you with up-to-date commercial real estate research covering 130+ Primary, Secondary, Tertiary & International markets. If you are thinking of investing in alternative markets, the Blue Book is your go-to resource for local commercial real estate market data!